Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

First off, Merry hoho and Happy New Year to all of you who celebrated this holiday season. Thanks to a combination of family, friends, exhaustion, champagne and Bailey's Caramel on the rocks, I've been quiet on the blogging front (I felt I'd spare you the alcohol- and chocolate- fueled mutterings this season.) But now it's back to it, so without further adieu... here's a quick look back on 2006 and a quick look forward to 2007...

Looking Back - 2006 - Everything 2.0

1) What do you get when you cross mainstream popularity with an undefined business model? a $1.65 Billion payday
In October, amidst many online rumours, Google offered up a mind-boggling paycheck ($1.65 Billion) to acquire YouTube, the net's ultimate online video sharing database. The site that makes everyone a star had yet to sign any substantial copyright deals and couldn't really display where their revenue opportunities are, but displayed enough to become one of the biggest acquisition stories of the year. Users question whether the purchase will make the site better or worse, as competition sprouts up in every direction.

2) Google Officially Begins it's Conquest of the World
Soaring stock, big ticket acquisitions, entering new markets. 2006 marked the year when almost nothing could go wrong for the company. A decade ago a senior exec from Sun Micro handed these guys a fat check after only ten minutes of a presentation. That check could turn out to be one of the smartest investments of all time.

3) Console War Begins... with a Shortage of Ammunition
PS3 spends most of the year being held up and getting slammed by the public. Wii catches everyone's eye with it's innovation and reinstills faith in a badly-beaten Nintendo. The consoles launch a week apart with mass shortages on both sides. Gamers who got their hands on either turn them around for small ransoms or claim neighbourhood bragging rights to close off 2006. Predictions run wild on whether the Wii, 360 or PS3 will ultimately win this generation of the console wars, even though all three are firmly in premature stages of adoption. Casual gamers worldwide sit back, play Madden 07 on their PS2s and wait until prices become reasonable and the HD-DVD/BluRay battle clears up before flocking to the stores to determine the big winner. On a side note, while Sony made it to market first this time, Nintendo promptly took a page out of their book and prempted Sony by issuing the first recall. Take that, Sony!

4) Citizen Media Beats Up on Traditional Media
The increase in attention to and use of online vehicles like blogs, videosharing, podcasting, etc starts to take it's toll on traditional media, as more and more mainstays see ad revenue drop almost as fast as readership. News outlets do what they can to keep up with the trend, with some (The Guardian, BBC, Reuters) leading the way and others (insert mainstay here) lagging behind.

5) When One Life Just Isn't Enough....
With a huge spike in media attention in the second half of 2006, Second Life has now become a part of the mainstream... sort of. Doubling in size (over two million residents today) in less than a year, Second Life has seen the big boys of first life's corporate world - Coke, adidas, Toyota, IBM, etc - make a big push into the virtual world. Even Rueters set up a virtual world, reporting on "in-world" happenings with their very own SL correspondent, Adam Reuters.

Looking Ahead - 2007 - Evolution 2.0

1) Bubble Bath
Talk of Web 2.0 turning into bubble 2.0 will be a hot topic this year as more and more similarities to the late 90's seem evident. However, lessons learned from last time will help curb worries and adoption of Web 2.0 applications will continue to rise.

2) The Blogosphere Keeps Growing... by Retracting?
Growth in overall numbers of blogs begins to plateau, as every Tom, Dick and Jane stop creating short lived blogs and dedicated bloggers continue to improve and contribute. Overall summary - tangible growth (like overall numbers) will decline, while intangible growth (like quality, accuracy and interest) will increase, helping to cement blogging as more than a fad in the eyes of most non-believers.

3) Shape Up and Sell Off
Another year, another step closer to effective business models. As more and more start ups start to accurately display their value propositions and clearly describe their business paths and revenue opportunities, many more acquisitions (including several high-profile) will take place. Most likely companies to be acquired? Facebook, digg, Technorati. Deep pockets could also nab a TechMeme or Wordpress. Nerd Alert North continues to fight off suitors, waiting for an estimated $2 billion offering before sitting down at the discussion table. Likelihood of acquisition? Minimal.

4) Console Me
Like the masses, I give in and finally buy a new console to replace my dying PS2. Brand loyalty and faith in the BluRay format lead me to overpay for a PS3, which I believe will reduce costs slightly by Q3 and introduce a motion-sensor controller by the holiday season (which i won't likely be able to get my hands on until Q2 2008). Wii-staria dies down while PS3 adoption picks up and 360 adoption stays steady. Ps3 outsells Wii and 360, but not by much. Overall sales to date will still rank 360 (thanks to being first-to-market) ahead of PS3 and Wii at year's end, but all remain incredibly tight until late 2008.

5) Not Your Son or Daughter's 2.0
Much like Web 2.0 saw this year, 2007 displays big progress for Enterprise 2.0, as more companies investigate, determine and act on the opportunities the applications bring to the corporation. Wikis for knowledge management, intranet blogs and corporate networking for employee communications, even podcasts and vidcasts for instructional training at your desktop. 2007 marks the year The Man sees what the people saw in 2006 - a fundamental shift in the way we operate - and start to apply it to the way they operate.

No comments: