17 Bold, Marginally Probable Business Predictions for 2013
BY Jeff Haden
Planning ahead? Here's what will definitely, maybe, probably-not-but-wouldn't-it-be-cool-if-it-did happen next year.
Take a break from the usual new-year speculation about whether Twitter willl go public or Meg Whitman will throw in the towel. Instead, imagine a business world in which the following might happen:
1. In a surprising partnership Activision and Intuit release the video game Call of Accounting: 'In the Black' Ops, a game-changing first-person shooter that allows players to perform otherwise boring bookkeeping and accounting tasks by blowing all kinds of shit up.
Overnight, accounting becomes the most popular college major.
2. Big ideas continue to dominate the startup landscape, but one shy and (seemingly) humdrum entrepreneur builds a hugely successful business--meaning one with massive revenues and enviable profit margins--based on operational excellence.
She receives absolutely no media coverage, and she's cool with that.
3. The percentage of people who remember MySpace as an important social media platform continues to decrease causing many to wonder, in the dark hours of the night, whether fame is ephemeral and achievement an illusion.
They quickly turn to other thoughts, though, because that one is way too depressing.
4. Several high profile "free" social media tools take wildly unpopular steps to actually create a sustainable business model (see: terms of service, Instagram). In related news, economists roll their eyes and wonder why anyone is surprised that finding a means to generate actual revenue is important.
5. Richard Branson announceswith typical candor that his phenomenal success is 80% luck and 20% awesome hair. For the first time in his life no one believes him.
6. On September 23, no one--not one single person--expresses the opinion that "social media is the future of marketing." The world sighs in collective relief.
7. Responding to a question during a panel discussion, Mark Cuban says, "I don't know." Moments later Donald Trump also says, "I don't know." Jaws drop and stars realign.
8. Mark Zuckerberg "takes on a new role" at Facebook after realizing that running a company isn't nearly as fun as building a company. For the first time in his life he has much in common with the average entrepreneur.
9. Ayn Rand becomes known primarily as the lyrical inspiration for the Rush album 2112. Mentions still occasionally result in philosophical discussions regarding happiness as a moral purpose... but in most cases the result is a flurry of devil horn gestures.
10. An estate executor opens a storage locker owned by the late Stephen Covey. To his shock, it's a complete mess.
Moments later a member of the Storage Wars cast accuses the executor of seeding the locker with really cool items.
11. Gene Simmons, Kiss bassist and businessman extraordinaire, says, "You know... I just don't think that's a licensing deal I feel comfortable making. I'm going to pass." Jaws drop and stars realign.
12. In spite of admittedly diminishing skills, David Beckham continues to play soccer at the professional level. Journalists and fans lament what they refer to as his "tarnished legacy" while retired professional athletes and serial entrepreneurs everywhere nod their heads and think, "Yep, don't quit until they make you... because when it's over, it's over."
13. After an exhaustive investigation proves his workweek is in fact closer to 80 hours, the class action lawsuit filed by "4-Hour Workweek" purchasers is dismissed when Tim Ferris testifies that, "Okay, technically that is true... but look, it really doesn't feel like work to me."
People who tend to take things way too literally slowly accept that was the point all along... before moving on to feel strongly that "friend" really does mean friend.
14. National Hockey League executives realize too late they misapplied the economic principle of scarcity. Unfortunately by this point no one cares, except the thousands of businesses, large and small, that were crushed by the NHL lockout.
15. On a quiet Thursday afternoon in late July Tony Robbins takes a deep breath, sighs, turns to his staff, and says, "You know... I'm just not feeling it today."
Realizing for the first time that even he occasionally falls prey to dips in motivation, they instantly feel an even stronger bond with the Tonester (a nickname they affectionately use along with T-Robb and the T-Meister and FWT, short for Fire Walking Tony).
Staffers reach even higher levels of productivity while, unnoticed, Tony smiles and jots a note in his little black book of motivational secrets.
16.Yahoo! rebrands as "Yahoo..." to publicly recognize the exclamation point is no longer relevant.
Never a company to let an idea go to waste, after nine months of intensive study by forty-three individual yet synergistically connected committees, Microsoft announces it will rebrand its search engine "Bing!"
Unfortunately, the implementation requires an additional two years.
17. Every day your mother wishes with all her heart that you would call more often. (Well, I wanted to get one right!)
JEFF HADEN learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden