I hope everybody out there is doing well. I've been noodling over predictions for 2008 for awhile, but it has been an "interesting" start to the year for our group so I've been busy with customers, partners, and other folks within Microsoft. So here goes... I won't go too deep into any of these as any of them may prove to be an interesting blog post later in the year.
1) Tech proves to be resilient compared to the rest of the world economy -- other areas of the world economy will suffer, but companies continue to make technology investments in both marketing and infrastructure.
2) Facebook overtakes MySpace as the premier social network destination -- improvements in the Facebook API and the comparatively strong user experience will push Facebook over the edge.
3) Paradoxically, Facebook will have problems appealing to older generations -- I don't think 2008 is the tipping point for boomers & older demographics necessary to truly take Facebook mainstream. Maybe 2009. Naturally the Facebook user growth rate will slow but most folks in the tech press will make this out to be an execution problem that Facebook management will need to solve. What can I say... it sucks to deal with the law of large numbers.
4) We'll see a handful of great success stories from startups that use utility computing models -- I know a lot of you startup folks are using AWS in a variety of great applications, but this is the year that the utility computing model goes more mainstream. You should know that we're paying attention. ;-)
5) China will fascinate us with the 2008 Olympics -- I became a believer after visiting last January. The Olympics will give people around the world an opportunity to learn more about what is happening there. Hopefully we'll be able to bring it to you ;-)
6) The term "Web 2.0" will become dated -- Web 2.0 has had a good run, but it's coming to an end. Early money is on Web 3.0 as being the new term but in my humble opinion, that is lame. We shall see.
7) Designers increasingly become first class citizens in the web development world -- Not an altogether bold prediction here, but we're in the middle of a megatrend around user experience that probably has another four or five years at minimum. Big advances in this area continue.
8) The "Echo Boom" begins -- Startups will heat up significantly in 2008. Look around at all the web innovation sponsored by the major tech companies -- Silverlight, AIR, Google's Android, Windows Mobile, the iPhone SDK, Sharepoint, Facebook, OpenSocial, Amazon Web Services, Windows Live, etc.
All of that represents just a sampling of the things being developed today... millions if not billions of dollars of investments made to improve web experiences.
I don't necessarily believe that we're going to have a boom like we had with Windows software, then later with the Web. But I do think we're entering a period where developers have *a lot* of choices and *tons* of opportunities to make a lot of money if they can build successful applications, web services, or experiences. I really think the boom is just beginning especially for disruptive small businesses.
What do you think?