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Startup Whisperer 2011 Prediction Results

This is now the third year that I have been issuing my technology predictions.  Last year I posted my predictions for 2011 and I am working on my 2012 predictions.  I'll be posting those to the corporate GameHouse blog as well as doing my own on this blog. 

As always, I do a folksy and bucolic self assessment.  My rating system of: “nailed it”, “borderline”", and “whiffed it.”. Please comment if you disagree with my self-grade. 

Here we go:

Prediction #1:  The year of the tablet. We were honored to be one of the first developers to support the Ipad with our game, Marble Mixer.  Some people thought we were crazy.  2011 is the year where the tablet is going to explode.  Tablet sales will exceed 50 million this year.  2011 predictions

Result:  Nailed it.  In fact, IDC revised up their Q4 2011 forecast.  They estimate that worldwide shipments will be 63.3 million units for the year.  Nearly 300% YoY growth. 

Grade:  Nailed it.

Prediction #2:  One of my metrics for a trend is when my 7-year old son can figure out how to setup his iTouch as a videophone over WiFi on his own.  Videophones have been around for awhile but they are going to be everywhere from the simplicity of Apple's Facetime to the new slew of tablets like the iPad 2.

Result: This was a huge year seeing new smartphones, tablets, and devices embracing video phone services.  In July, Facebook did a deep integration with Skype.  Skype continued to support new platforms like the most recent Apple smartphones, Android devices, and heck, even Microsoft's Kinect.  In addition, Google's new social networking platform, Google+, integrates video chat in a consumer compelling manner.  Video conferencing is everywhere.

Grade:  Nailed it.

Prediction #3:  The personal cloud is going to take off.  Certainly, we're all biased at RealNetworks.  We just won the best software as a service award at CES for our new product called, Unifi.  Consumers are going to head to personal cloud services in droves. Consumers will love the fact that they are not tied to specific platforms.  Look for the big players like Google and Apple joining the party.

Result: During 2011, there were many examples of personal cloud storage in 2011.  The hype started early in the year at the 2011 CES show.  However, it wasn't until Apple introduced the iCloud that personal online storage became legit in the mind of consumers. When it released it, it was (and is) tightly integrated into Apple's iOS and Lion operating system.  For me, its a little too easy and I personally like to have more control over my storage options versus the Zen-like iCloud "on" button. 

Grade:  Nailed it.

Prediction #4: Amazon is by all accounts a top ad network.  I have blogged about this in the past.  My guesstimate is that an Amazon affiliate network has 2 million affiliates generating on average 5,000 impressions per month per publisher, or 120 billion impressions per year.  Amazon starts to take on huge players with its deep knowledge of consumer behavior and its already large base of publishing relationships.  Get ready for Amazon "Adwords."

Result: They did announce that they were dipping their toe into buying internet ad space then reselling to marketers at a premium. Not really an ad network per se, rather its a DSP (Demand Side Platform).  It will be interesting to see if they start to expand on this idea across their entire network of sites and their affiliate networks.  I still think that Amazon could build their own version of shopping AdSense.

Grade:  Borderline

Prediction #5:  Big tech IPOs come back – we'll see IPOs coming back topped off with not one but two big ones:  Facebook and Groupon.  Groupon said no to Googl'es $6 billion offer to be acquired.  Groupon wants to make its mark as a true long-standing Internet brand.  Facebook is primed to go and they will.

Result:  It was a big year for tech IPOs.  Linkedin kicked off the year with a successful public offering. The list continues with Pandora, Zillow, Groupon, and now Zynga.  We have seen a little bit of a hangover post filing due to the trouble with the EuroZone and sentiment that the valuation bubble is softening.

Grade: Nailed it.

Prediction #6:  Google will buy Twitter – Google needs a big win in social media.  This is a no-brainer given Google's search horsepower.  They are going to pay crazy multiples which they are used to paying.

Result:  It didn't happen.  Twitter continues to execute very well as a standalone company and is secretly building a big business.  Business Insider estimates that their revenue is over $2 billion. 

Grade:  Whiffed it.

Prediction:  Seattle startup acquisitions – I have been 1 for 4 for the last couple of years.  This year I predict that BuddyTV will be acquired.
Result:  BuddyTV didn't get purchased.  But, the startup that I was Chairman and former CEO of did get purchased. AdXpose was purchases in August by Comscore.  I was off by a year on that prediction.  I have a couple of thoughts for 2012.  Stay tuned.

Grade: Whiffed it.

My personal score out of 7 predictions:  4 "nailed it", 1 "borderline" and 2 Whiffed It."  Not too bad.  2012 predictions coming within the week.


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