2018 Predictions — Checking In On The Top 10

Checking in on my January Predictions

In early January, I made a set of predictions for the year ahead. The matters addressed were fairly broad, including media, technology and business, in order to get some of the most outlandish ones a fighting chance of coming true. As we’ve reached this b*tch of a year’s halfway point, time has come to check in and see if I am indeed a business prophet or yet another hack with a newsletter (the smart money is on the latter). This version has been updated for the sake of brevity; the complete updated list will be available in December.

Big Tech’s Reckoning

Prediction: the corporate anthropomorphic representation of God, Love, Hunger and Lust (Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple, respectively) continue to destroy the economy’s equilibrium (goodbye, media and retail), and politicians start to grow some cojones. The anti-trust movement comes from a 2018 senator-to-be eyeing up the presidency. We’re already seeing the early signs of grovelling to the masses in the form of Bezos making his charitable donations public, Apple bringing its extra cash back home, and the Zuck writing that his 2018 resolution is to “fix Facebook” (that’s your job, mate). Come November, it’ll be a bloodbath.
January likelihood: 60%

Check-In: Bit of a mixed bag, though November is yet a long way away. Amazon continues to amputate whole industries with single acquisitions, and Trump’s team still lacks the collective IQ to take on the big dogs, paving the way for potential anti-monopoly candidates in the near future. It however appears that most Republicans are following El Presidento into the madhouse, leaving the Democrats to tackle alone the anti-monopoly issue (a dangerous move, but with high risks come high rewards: eating into Trump’s base). Businesses stopped grovelling and are now making bold moves, emboldened by the AT&T ruling, tax cuts and a good economy. The inmates are running the asylum unshackled, though their reputation has taken a big hit.
Likelihood correction: 40%

Digital Decay

Prediction: Pinterest, Twitter, Snap, Buzzfeed and Vice continue to sink into irrelevancy and are bought for a fraction of their historically highest share price.
January likelihood: 70%

Check-In: Pinterest lost about $100M in 2017 and pushed back it’s already-doomed IPO to 2019. Twitter is surprisingly doing pretty well, thanks to the American Orangutan bringing it back from the brink of irrelevance, and is once more gaining users, though this may be short-term. Snap will soon be a Penny Stock and Buzzfeed is sinking across the board. As for Vice… hahahaha *breathes in* HAHAHAHA. No acquirer in sight, though.
Likelihood correction: 75%

Crypto

Prediction: Crypto-currencies get kicked in the teeth by regulators and loses 50% of their value as the world becomes slightly less chaotic. Institutions pick up the slack and prices start to rise again before the year is over.
January likelihood: 60%

Check-In: Not to brag, but BitCoin did lose exactly 50% of its worth in the past 6 months, and Cryptos have been hounded by various regulatory bodies across the world. Now the time has come to rise again, as institutions have indeed begun showing some interest in cryptocurrencies.
Likelihood correction: 80%

Stock Market Re-shuffle

Prediction: Tencent Holdings overtakes Facebook and indefinitely breaks into the top 5 of the world’s most valuable companies, while Facebook starts its inevitable downward spiral as we realise that rich kids are not immune from being giant D-bags. Meanwhile, Amazon overtakes Microsoft on its way to the top spot. We also see a return to the mean: those expecting the Dow to rise by 25% again are sorely disappointed.
January likelihood: 60%

Check-In: Here is what the market looked like at the end of 2017. Apple is still on top, but Amazon has indeed climbed from 4th to 2nd spot (hope you invested). Facebook fell victim to its misdeeds, but is still 5th, with only a slight rise in value when compared to its neighbors, while Tencent is 6th, and looks unlikely to catch up anytime soon. The Dow also stopped climbing as predicted.
Likelihood correction: 70%

Global Tech Cold War

Prediction: China continues its battle for talent, AI and robots against the U.S., with mixed results. The US still has the best talent, but Beijing is training many more technologists. China will continue to plow money into its homegrown research and hardware sectors, while the US struggles with less control over its private-sector top performers than Beijing. The race is a tight one.
January likelihood: 90%

Check-In: Yes. Very much yes. Nothing to add. I’ll take my Nobel prize in prediction in the form of a chocolate cookie, thank you.
Likelihood correction: 95%

Syria

Prediction: Syria-related headlines get rarer as the West does its best to ignore/forget the fact that it failed to act in any sort of meaningful way when faced with evil (2017 is the year I realised our moral high-ground is an illusion — see: Rohingya, CHIP, Yemen, Las Vegas…).
January likelihood: 90%

Check-In: As predicted, the West has been so engrossed in its own issues that the Syrian war has indefinitely lost the front page. Rohingyas continue to die, refugees continue to drown, Yemen and Venezuela are being starved and chemical attacks against civilians continue. But yeah, good job on separating families and pulling out of the UN Human Rights council. Way to lead the free world.
Likelihood correction: 95%

North Korea

Prediction: The world learns to live with a nuclear Korea. The Cheeto-In-Chief continues his Twitter-rattling while other nations actually get things done and adapt, as South Korea has in the past month. Whoever claims The True Believer Rule could apply here has not been paying attention the reality on the field.
January likelihood: 70%

Check-In: The world has very much learned to live with a nuclear Korea. Having two fat children meet in Singapore has not, and will not, change that. Promises were made, and nothing has changed since, though Dorito-Man has claimed… victory (?) on Twitter. South Korea is the big loser there, as it has lost all of its leverage, and is unlikely to get it back. The big winners? Kim, who is now treated as an equal on the world stage, and China, who no longer has any incentives to stop trading with his nation.
Likelihood correction: 80%

Brexit

Prediction: Negotiations continue, though more and more people realise they’ve just made a huge mistake. The UK gives in to most of Europe’s demands, drifts further from the U.S., and continues to sink into irrelevance. May’s political career does not survive the year.
January likelihood: 60%

Check-In: May may yet still be in place, but the rest remains very true. Should there be a new vote today, the U.K would remain in Europe, as choosing to leave was indeed a terrible idea. A “special relationship” with the U.S should be abhorrent at this time and, as it stands, the UK is looking to lose £72 billions a year as a result of its childish choices.
Also, it’s not coming home (see below).
Likelihood correction: 80%

World Cup

Prediction: France wins the FIFA Word Cup. You heard it here first.
January likelihood: 40%

Check-In: 40% was very optimistic at the time. But a few days ago, France beat Argentina in a 7-goal thriller which saw Les Bleus get their ticket to the quarter-final. Urugay and Brazil are however on their way to the final so 40% remains a good bet.
Likelihood correction: 40%

Hope

Prediction: Infant mortality, deaths from infectious disease, and wealth inequality between the poorest and wealthiest nations continue to decline. The number of girls attending college and global income continues to increase. People continue loving each other, and keep making great TV shows. The world keeps turning.
January likelihood: 100%

Check-In: This remains true. May it always be the case.
Likelihood correction: 100%

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