Every year, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker releases her "Internet Trends" report, a wide-ranging overview of the tech industry with an eye to its fastest-growing sectors and the forces driving them. Meeker's slide deck is one of the few documents that everyone in Silicon Valley reads, since most research of comparable quality is circulated privately within individual firms.

As Steven Levy put it in 2012, Meeker's "annual info-packed presentation on the state of the Internet has become a tech industry event in its own right." In other words, this roundup of significant trends is significantly trendy all by itself.

The 2017 edition, which arrived on Wednesday, shined a spotlight on continued consolidation in digital advertising, where two of the five ascendant tech companies are more or less eating the world.

CNBC led its story on Meeker's report by noting, "85% of online advertising dollars now go to Google and Facebook." VentureBeat noted a curious discrepancy: "Growth in Internet population is slowing, but growth in online ads is accelerating."

Meeker's emphasis on gaming as a springboard for tech innovation did not go unremarked. Venture capitalist Blake Robbins tweeted, "Love that Mary Meeker's '17 internet trends report highlights gaming and esports. Big believer in gamification for training and education."

Not everyone was thrilled with Meeker's report. For one thing, the number of slides has ballooned in recent years. "Internet Trends" circa 2017 is more than twice as long as the 2016 version, weighing in at a whopping 355 slides. Bobby Grasberger‏, who works on brand strategy at Twitter, diagnosed the cause of growth as "less understanding of where to focus."

The lack of a clear focus prompted Quantcast cofounder Paul Sutter to speculate that Meeker's area of expertise may not be the center of tech action anymore, questioning whether "maybe internet and mobile innovation have peaked?"

Multiple critics on Hacker News pointed out that the report neglected to mention the explosion of cryptocurrencies, which Adamant Research founder Tuur Demeester‏ also noted. This comes at a time when the market cap of all cryptocurrencies is surging rapidly (worth almost as much as Uber's valuation).

Roshan Choxi, cofounder of the online coding school Bloc, went through some of Meeker's past reports to see how they've held up over the years:

She does consistently mention tech globalization (mostly regarding China/India) and [...] the economic trends seem pretty consistently and accurate. But she misses out on some huge industry trends like the critical role that data plays today or the overtaking of traditional industries over the last ten years via "software eating the world" [...]. She's also consistent and mostly correct about mobile being a dominant trend (up until now), but everything else like "Re-imagining Messaging" and "Content Creation -- Changed Forever" sounds like it was just the flavor of the year.

The most poignant response came from Coursera cofounder and AI expert Andrew Ng:

The full 2017 slide deck is embedded below for you to peruse:

Published on: Jun 1, 2017