Brenda Cooper

Review of my 2011 Predictions

Every year I play a predictions game.  It’s not really good futuring since the world is way too strange for prediction except by true experts in a field, and I’m a generalist.  But I still like the game.  So here’s what I said in brief form  and how I think I did in 2011…

Publishing and Creativity:

Prediction: Ebooks will keep up their relentless march to take over print.  They’ll be at or near 20% of the market next year.  25% isn’t unreasonable and print book sales will fall by 5 to 7% (to some extent ebook sales will spur regular book sales).  Note that I think this means there will more total book sales than there were in 2010.

And?: I can’t find 2011 numbers – I think they’ll be out in February.  I’m close, but I don’t know how close.  Will update in February.  In the meantime, I’ve gotten into infographics (finding – not making).  Here’s one on e-readers. And here’s another one.

Prediction: We are likely to lose Borders as a major outlet.

And?: Yes.  Same as above – a give-me for anyone paying attention.

Prediction: I can’t put a number on it, but there will be more attempts to make good franchises with rich multimedia (like Greg Bear and Neal Stephenson’s Mongolaid).  I doubt there will be a lot of uptake yet, but I’m not firm on this.  One major success could drive this market.  I just kind of expect the major success will happen after 2011.  What I mean is Twilight or Harry Potter like sales of something interactive and multimedia but that is not a movie or a mash up of marketing with a book.  I’d love to be wrong (to have this happen in 2011) since whenever this happens it will be fun to watch.

And?: I didn’t see as much activity as I expected here.  Al Gore’s ipad app version of the book “Our Choice” did well.  I’m going to re-prediuct this one though, these books are coming.  I think the application development just isn’t cheap enough yet.

America:

Prediction: We’re due for some wake up on climate change.  Unless nature itself pushes us even harder than it has been, there are slim chances of the wake-up happening now.  Still, it’s more likely that we pay attention to climate and energy in 2011 than in 2012, since 2012 will be full of the theater of the election.  But to be honest, I think as long as climate change is gradual and each individual event could be “normal” this is like being a frog in a pot of water set to boil – we just aren’t likely to notice in time.  So my prediction is that we keep making progress, but that our gains are way less than we need them to be.  In other words, we make headway, but the problem gets worse.

And?: Dismally, about right.  And that’s WITH nature pushing us extra hard.

Prediction: The economy will get better, but unevenly.  I actually expect the Seattle economy to do pretty well, and in fact most of the technology and entertainment fields to do well.  Well means forward progress, not bubbles or even ecstatic growth.  But I suspect unemployment and a tough housing market to be problems all year, with  minor progress on both.  The middle of the country will not fare as well as the coasts, and a traveler might feel like they are going through different worlds as they go from one side of the country to the other.

And: About right.  We are doing pretty well (comparatively) in the Seattle area, and the country is still dragging itself along it’s belly, barely moving forward.

Prediction: I don’t see anything to make our politics get better. 2011 will be a year of continued divide, of set-up for next year’s elections, of little to no progress on much of anything that matters.  Let’s hope I’m wrong.  It’s still unclear to me what Wilkileaks will do to politics and governance, but it is probably a major a game-changer. To some extent it increases transparency, which I believe is good.  But it is also theft and disrespect, which are not so good.  It’s also bad for order, and we need order to solve the problems we have right now.

And?: 2011 politics sucked.  Wikileaks did turn out to have less of an impact that I thought – at least on the surface.

Technology

Prediction: I think it’s a give-me prediction that we’ll continue to see e-readers and tablets do well, that the three major ecosystems (Android, Apple, and Microsoft) will continue to grow, and that consumers will align around them.

And?: Yep.  At least Android and Apple.  The ‘Soft is still struggling, although Kinect has done them well.  They are also doing OK in the business market – O365 is holding its own against also-successful Google Docs.

Prediction: More cloud computing adoption will war with the major broadband providers desire to charge differentiating fees, and net neutrality will be lost unless the major cloud providers (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle) somehow get on the bandwagon where they should be.   At the moment, it appears that the major carries like Comcast and Verizon are poised for the win.   The telco’s are too big for regulatory bodies to fight alone – they’re nasty and richand have a LOT of lawyers. This is really, really important.

And?: On cloud? Lot’s of us, including me (in my day-job hat as a CIO), remain hesitant to outsource our security and data stewardship responsibilities for what is still a price premium for mid-sized organizations.  Cloud adoption has continued, but I don’t know any other government CIOs of about my shop’s size that have gone wholeheartedly or big into the cloud – we’re nibbling the edges and watching. On Net Neutrality? Not a lot of change.  I think I’d characterize the year as a slow erosion of net neutrality, but nothing real will happen until after the election.

Prediction: Social media is ready for the growth curve to slow.  I predict more growth, but less than in 2010.

And?: Same problem as book sales – the numbers aren’t in yet.  But here’s an infographic from September that’s pretty good.

What did I miss? I think we almost all miss more than we see.  Most importantly, the impact of social media.  The amount of users grew across all platforms; the rate of growth does appear to have slowed down (except for Twitter).  But the impact – ?  An exponential increase that fueled the Arab Spring and Occupy.  A real impact on the world.  One we still don’t know the outcome of….

On a personal note, it was a weird year of recovery after losing my little brother to Cancer in 2010.  I wrote less (but still wrote – I finished a YA novel and a few stories, and managed to get my column at Futurismic out every month). I did a lot of promotion for Mayan December which is about one of my favorite places in the world.  It was published by Prime in August.  I worked hard since it was a year of monumental change and slim resources (once again wearing the day job hat).

4 Responses so far

  1. 1. Paul Genesse

    Brenda,

    I like your predictions.

    Well done.

    Paul Genesse
    Author of The Secret Empire

  2. 2. Linny

    I think also there was forward movement in equality for same-sex relationships, at least here in So Cal and I think in other major US coastal regions. A good sign for all civil rights arenas and social progress in general, IMHO.
    Love you lots, and looking forward to more of your work in 2012!

  3. 3. brenda

    Hi Paul – thanks!
    And Linny – hugs! Garden Gnome pic coming soon … have been entertaining family for weeks. I hope to get a real in-person hug soon…..And yes, there is forward movement. I think that’s all we have left, a forward lurch into equality that for all of it’s frustrations is happening rather quickly in the scheme of things.

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