2010 is drawing to a close. Mark Zuckerberg has just been named Time’s Person of the Year. We’ve been covering various tech companies and entrepreneurs since 2005, and this year, here is a quick synthesis of what look like the major trends from where I sit:
1. Cloud Computing Adoption
Cloud computing is becoming real, and is being adopted heavily inside enterprises, SMEs, and even by consumers. We’ve been running our comprehensive Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing series. Participants are either already experiencing or expecting to see 30%–40% cost savings. Private cloud adoption is very strong among enterprises. Needless to say, the trend will continue to change the IT landscape this coming decade. [Top 10 Cloud Computing Trends For The Decade]
2. Massive Outsourcing and Offshoring
We started by asking the question Is Outsourcing Dying or Thriving? and did a comprehensive tour through numerous outsourcing companies and investigated sub-trends. The resounding conclusion is that outsourcing is growing in leaps and bounds. In fact, our recent story on oDesk throws light on Outsourcing 2.0 and how a global army of 750,000 freelancers from faraway countries are delivering the benefits of outsourcing even to SMEs. Expect massive shift in workforce geographies this decade. [Top 10 Outsourcing Trends For The Decade]
3. Social Web
Over 500 million people on Facebook indicates a massive shift in how consumers and businesses are viewing the social media movement. Perhaps under appreciated is the fact that everyone now is a brand. Even individuals with hundreds, if not thousands of “friends” are incessantly playing to an audience. Social games, mobile social, social apps, social news, crowd sourcing – all reinforce the trend. A tremendous amount time is being wasted on social networks, but at the same time, seriously productive and valuable work is also being done, leveraging the trend. All told, the social Web will drive the next decade’s evolution of the Internet. Personalization and privacy issues remain TBD. [Top 10 Social Web Trends For The Decade]
4. Vertical and Local Web
It has become increasingly possible to reach people in faraway places using the Web. And it has also become possible to hyper target, and access & offer highly localized, specialized, and verticalized services. Both trends will continue, but to make money, the verticalization and localization trends look more promising to me, although cases like Facebook and Groupon speak to the contrary. Let’s put it this way: there will be a few very large, global players. But there will be millions of smaller, niche, localized and/or verticalized businesses that will continue to open up entrepreneurial opportunities around the world. The latter is directly in line with our One Million by One Million work, and a trend that powers our mission for the next decade. Also relevant is my Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS) formula. In particular, niche e-commerce is a vibrant trend that will continue to grow. Sub-trends like group-buying and daily deals will be layered on top of any niche to create further traction. [Top 10 Vertical And Local Web Trends For The Decade]
5. Online Advertising
No question that online advertising is booming. In particular, though, search engine marketing – both pay per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) look like the most powerful and effective customer acquisition models out there. As personalization and privacy issues get sorted out on the social Web side, that will emerge as a comparably significant customer acquisition channel offering hyper precision and cost-effectiveness. [Top 10 Online Advertising Trends For The Decade]
6. Online Gaming
Massive time being spent on games, massive money-making opportunity. Momentum will continue. Also interesting niche opportunities, not just blockbuster hits.
7. Tablets and Smartphones
Smartphones continue their run as a preferred convergence device for communication, computing, gaming, navigation, etc. Tablets, led by the iPad, have emerged as a strong media consumption device category. Both trends will continue over the decade. Also notable is the mobile app trend.
8. Online Video
The greatest beneficiary of the rise of the tablet as a media consumption device is the online video eco-system. This includes downstream players including component vendors like Finisar, streaming players like Netflix, CDN players like Akamai. I am particularly excited about the online collaboration trend including desktop video conferencing, as well as e-learning using video-based platforms.
E-books have finally taken off this year, and will continue their momentum over the next decade. They stand to dramatically change the book publishing business. There are many regions that have not yet been affected at all – India, a great “reading” nation, being one. The pricing issues are complex, but will hopefully be sorted out.
10. Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship
Definitely on the rise. Entrepreneurs are learning to be more scrappy and rely less on outside capital. We will continue to support and help build this trend further through 1M/1M.
In addition, the green trend continues on. I have not seen as much momentum in healthcare IT or online education as I would like to, but I hope those two trends will become more meaningful during this decade.
What did I miss? Readers, please feel free to share your thoughts around interesting trends that you see.