My Predictions For 2009: Influencer Angels And Personal Data Assets

2009 predictions

Who doesn’t like a good prediction post around the Holidays?

I did a prediction post last year but in the spirit of admitting “What the F&%k do I really know?” I figured I would forgo predictions and instead compile a small list of observations and personal wishes for trends going into 2009. The reason for this is that I embrace any time the blogging collective ‘stops following the herd’ and ACTUALLY focuses on free thinking and thought leadership. I enjoy this tremendously more than the Techmeme game and hope such spirit can find it’s way into more mainstream posting.

Now onto my observations and hopes for 2009…

Minimalism en Vogue.
Between our troubling economic times and the well documented cognitive benefits of reducing clutter, I fully expect the role of minimalism as a lifestyle choice to be front and center. As people question the economic and cognitive value of material possessions as well as those services consuming our attention (the most valuable asset), I expect our web applications, consumer mentality, and personal environmental choices to be reflective of fewer, but more valuable/multi-purpose things. Small is the new big.

Passive Data Collection. One of the primary benefits to interacting through technology mediums is the ability for our activity to be logged, filtered and made intelligent. Imagine your own personal “cookies.” I think one of the biggest trends for the 2009+ will be applications that a) make sense of and b) help predict/provide future recommendations based on things we are already doing; i.e. requiring no additional work on our part. Great examples are RescueTime and Google Web History. RescueTime is a desktop app running in the background to let you know how much time you spend using various applications or on various websites. Google Trends allows you to see your search histories in Google, including frequency of queries and other sites that may be of interest to you.

Personal Health Monitoring. At Workstreamer, one of our new favorite applications is Daily Mile. Daily Mile is a great example of a new breed of web apps and smart toys (see below) that are focused on making a healthy lifestyle both an interactive and social experience. Personal health is such an important issue in the face of lifestyle diseases and the ever increasing costs of healthcare. Example of smart toys with a fitness focus are Nike+ and Fitbit (one of the real crowd pleasers at Techcrunch50)

“Customers as Assets”. I wrote about this yesterday, citing a great quote:

It is amazing how fast the world changes. 50 years ago the biggest asset for most companies was their equipment. 15 years ago the biggest assets for most companies were their employees. Today, in 21st century – the time of social networks, the biggest assets for new companies are their customers. All this suggests that an entirely new revenue models need to be created – models, where customers give and receive back something of higher value than their own contribution. The new companies’ role is to bring together people, who are able and willing to help each other. But how are they going to profit out of this? – by sharing profits with their customers.

Value Add Angels. I will post more on this later, but I see trends toward larger syndicates of angel investors where some subset of investors are not only investing cash, but also time, resources and social capital in much more front-and-center way. I believe that angels able to provide social capital and online presence will prove just as valuable, if not more so, than traditional dumb money. Ashton Kutcher, Tim Ferriss and Todd Stottlemyre are examples.

Personal Data Assets. I have long been an advocate of, a social bookmarking site that logs all the websites, quotes and information I encounter throughout my day. is truly my personal library. Yelp is another personal library I constantly use and share with friends. One thing that has hindered my use of these personal libraries in the past has been their reliance on the web/browser based. However, between the iPhone’s GPS functionality and Applications, I see personal data assets going mainstream and ultimately providing new monetization opportunities. These could well be blogs 2.0

Smart Toys. Toys that enable us to use our experiences and interactions with them in an intelligent manner. Nike+ is one the best examples I know of. That said, smart toys don’t even need to exist in the physical sense; check out the virtual pets, FooPets and contrast with Pleo. 23andMe is another example of a company that I feel combines the excitement and fun of a toy with the real-world value of data for personal empowerment and health.

Technology Leadership. I really hope that technology and innovation are able to assert a leadership role in helping us transition into a new world of value creation and autonomous work. Read Michael Lewis’ great piece. As Mike Lazerow points out, the ‘security society’ is dead. And as Malcolm Gladwell stated on Charlie Rose,

“Meaningful work is one of the most important things we can impart to children. If you think there’s always got to be a connection between what you put in and what you get out, then of course you’ll run off with a great excitement after an idea that catches your idea”

Technology can be the catalyst.

Web Enabled Education. Education has gotten far too expensive in an age when knowledge and expertise should be more accessible than ever. As people look to transition into new fields and/or develop new skill sets to embrace new conventions or stages in life (what’s retirement?) we need to find the platforms and outlets to disseminate that knowledge. I am particularly looking forward to following School of Everything, Path101 and EduFire.

Do you have more to add? @samhuleatt


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