Benedict Evans has become one of the most foreseeing tech and innovation analysts of the last decade. Although he's mainly concerned with consumer markets, his take on where the new scalable opportunities will come from is (mostly) spot on. Every year he releases a +100 slides deck on a hot issue.

This year is about The New Gatekeepers (of e-commerce). And there are a few things worth discussing...

Foreword about predictions and innovation

As usual, it's important to remember why rock star analysts or more modest artisans like myself are so enamored with predictions.

Predictions are helpful because we get them wrong most of the time (or we don't), but they force us to understand the underlying forces at play. And when we have misinterpreted how these forces will play out, we still have identified them. Which, in turn, makes us highly reactive and capable of adjusting courses and leveraging them.

To quote the criminally forgotten Pierre Wack talking about strategic scenarios (one of the most efficient ways to frame predictions to the effect of understanding underlying market forces):

Scenarios can be successful in structuring uncertainty only when … they change the decision maker’s assumptions about how the world works and compel him to change his image of reality. This is differentβ€”and moreβ€”than simply designing good scenarios. – Pierre WACK, 1985

This is how you should read Benedict Evans' predictions. Not as a way to bet on the future but rather a way to see what's at play behind the scenes.