Let's get in end-of-the-year mode with my batch of predictions for 2023. I tried to write them down as fast as possible, without thinking about them much, to see what was spinning in my brain's background.
So here goes:
- Infrastructure eats the world. This is a teaser of sorts, as I have kept pushing to write an article on this since last December. If I had done that, I would have been able to brag about my visionary skills; instead, I have a massive document full of notes that I now have to clean up and make readable. Expect a newsletter edition on this soon 😎
- U.S.-China cold war is the new norm and further fragmentations develop worldwide as a side-effect. Also, expect more social movements in China.
- U.S. back to the moon program is an exciting distraction while they prepare for domination on the low-orbit satellites network. Consider it the new internet for the next 20-30 years. Expect China to move in aggressively as well.
- Under the pressure of global spikes of recessions, developed economies rediscover frugal behaviors. At the same time, the employment market is still reconfigured around different modes of remote working and even more professions pushing for even more work/life balance. Countries with GDP heavily relying on tourism (and the related crap job economics) suffer the worst.
- Tech fall from grace is achieved. Web3, blockchains, NFT, and co, are the new IoT. They are progressively abandoned as they accrue negative connotations. Yet investors still pursue 2012 models and try to fuel a new esoteric consumer technology that promises massive adoption without solving any obvious problem.
- The metaverse dud is confirmed while Facebook mostly keeps on trucking, maybe trying for a significant acquisition this year despite regulatory pressure. If I'd been cocky, I'd wager they'd consider TikTok, as they'd argue to Senate it's better to have an ominous star-spangled monopoly than a Chinese powerhouse in hockey-stick growth. Apple might eventually try to further push Facebook on a slippery slope by launching an AR initiative (I doubt it will still be goggles, but rather a solid developer platform with sexy building blocks as a first indication they're serious about this market). Also, don't expect an Apple car anytime soon.
- Google has been surprisingly quiet these last few years. They'll have to do something momentous. They might confront Microsoft and Amazon and get serious about B2B, pulling an AWS-type offer leveraging their massive AI investments. Maybe not ChatGDP-like, maybe just like it.
- Microsoft... Microsoft is going to consolidate into a super-business app. This is their major card to play to move ahead of Apple as a platform, and most of the necessary building blocks they require are here. They lack a payment layer, though. Not a B2C layer like Apple Pay or the Apple Card; think more like a B2B one for invoicing, accounting, and tax management.
- Europe ramps on its regulatory fight against tech platforms, doing the U.S. dirty work while still struggling to build its own giants (as nothing indicates that any European country understands it won't achieve tech supremacy alone).
- Europe has started to notice how the U.S. is brain-draining its top technology and science and is considering tying public startup support to some sort of EU sovereignty. And, yes, this one is pure wishful thinking 🥸
- Electric vehicles stay on track to become the new norm before 2035, while incumbent automakers get in panic mode to source batteries and other critical technologies they never really committed to. The unresolved problem of deploying recharging stations becomes front and center, and both incumbent and new-entrant automakers cry for public investment (in contrast, Tesla stock doesn't fall as much as everyone expects now). Tech platforms reinforce their push into this market as it becomes an easy mark and offer unexpected pivots for some of their flailing offers (yes, expect ads in cars pretty soon).
- All-in-all, for the global economy, probably the worst few 3 to 5 years are ahead of us before we reboot around a new reality that doesn't involve full-on globalization and as we get back infrastructures on track after divesting for the best of two decades.
As the last world, always remember that forecasts and predictions give you reference points looking ahead. The hypotheses I try to frame precisely set a vision of the future that you can assess. The hypotheses are the value you want to extract because they map out the bottlenecks we will face.
Predictions themselves are just a by-product.