My 2008 Tech Predictions: Niche Networks, The Social Enteprise, Hybrid VCs

1/ For the most part, it still feel like 2007, with little change [Brilliant Post]
2/ Real estate for high quality business .com domains will skyrocket. Thrice this week I heard someone describe a business model involving the purchasing a high value domain as core to the strategy: both from startups and from an investment firm launching a new product. I have written before that online personal real estate is key to social graph identityand build a successful personal brand.
3/ Web 2.0 upstarts not generating cash from subscription or freemium business models will die. Likewise, business models relying on network effects later monetized by ads will be difficult to fund (these are truly capital intensive and outlier businesses).
4/ Niche social networks (especially based around individual brands) will become the hot new medium for brands to connect with customers. Think about it, for relatively small amounts of capital, brands can reap huge ROI numbers. Plus, let’s face it — micro sites are so 2002. Try these impressive statistics: 1) Repeat website visitors are 57% more likely to make a purchase and 2) Based on McKinsey Consulting research, online communities result in customers 9x more engaged and who stay 5x longer than websites without communities.
5/ Public Relations sees its moment. Sure startups are great, but they are nothing without good PR machines. PR firms will be acquired up (see 7) and a focus on vlogging with see the lines between marketing, PR and growth blur.
6/ The social or collaborative enterprise software space will see revolutionary new products. The term “enterprise 2.0” dies off because it’s meaningless jargon used by elder-bubble men. Enteprise software or  enteprise SaaS with models focused on bottoms up approaches to adoption will be more the norm.
7/ Venture Capital goes hybrid. Following pioneers like Founders Fund and Y Combinator, more VCs will emerge, team up and move toward the incubator model and VCs want to own larger percentages of companies and realize they can play king makers by assembling top teams. VCs will look to build out their platforms – snatching up PR firms, SEO, and growth experts as offering value-added support help them win more deals.
8/ Yahoo stages a comeback. Too many smart people and too many good properties. They are bound to do something right eventually and they have cash to make acquisitions
9/ Undoubtedly my most controversial prediction: Backlash against the new market leaders: while Apple and the Boston Red Sox have for years been the underdogs, they now are becoming market leaders and bullies. This will not sit well with fans.


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