I was at the business center last night for a relaxed wind up to the year. Melissa Clarke-Reynolds (founder of Pay Global and one of New Zealand’s top female entrepreneurs) was there and ran us through a couple of her predictions for top trends in 2008. I thought that was kind of a fun idea, and thought I’d hit you with mine:
Greenifying transport – doing something about climate change
I think everyone has noticed a large shift this year in public awareness of climate change. It’s been really cool but also really frightening to see that a lot of what we’re doing about it, is talking. In New Zealand still, we get up in arms that the council is ‘anti-cars’ when they lower the speed limit along some of our city’s most pedestrian-heavy streets, we have a serious issue with a lot of car drivers who seethe in anger when they see a bike taking up valuable road space. Our council is pledging to make us the first carbon neutral city and yet find decisions such as allowing bikes on trains for free rather complicated.
I have a friend who is mid campaign to help the council understand the value of integrated transport systems and drive awareness of active transport. There is a whole heap going on in this area in Wellington, that, unless you knew someone as crazy as her, you wouldn’t know about. I think in 2008, we will reach the tipping point and people here will seriously start to question their use of cars as a primary method of transport.
Music shops will start to fade
One of our major retailers has already closed its doors and blames the internet and cheaper music buying alternatives.
Turns out people, when faced with the option of music that costs more and the same music that costs less, will go for the cheaper options most times. The value in a music store used to be the knowledge ideas they contained of new music and music you may like. You can get all this off myspace and iTunes now, so why go to a shop?
I think we’ll start to see this with a lot of industries, as the internet makes it cheaper and faster to access the value that was traditionally held in stores. This may sound frightening to some people, but I suspect these industries will simply evolve to exploit new opportunities: I hear the music industry now makes more money off selling cellphone ringtones than they do off cd’s…
The kids who have grown up with the internet get one year older
Why is this important? Because they are very different from us and the older they get the more they will take control of this beast we created but they understand. Things that worry people like my parents, such as getting a virus with every email, or clicking the wrong button, or their browser accidentally disappearing… are things that these kids don’t blink an eye at. They are already teaching their parents how to use technology like the internet, they are not held back by the same mental barriers we are and I can’t wait to see what will happen when they start to actively shape it.
Social networking sites will take over the world
I think Melissa was saying of every 1 million people in the world, 88,000 belong to a social networking site. I suspect that will probably double next year. Love them or hate them, applications like Facebook, Bebo and Myspace offer at the very least, enough value to stick with them. And as we all signup and enter our personal details, they gain ever more power… I have no idea what that will result in.
More virtual businesses
We have long since managed most of our business online, in fact, realistically, this business is 3 brains, 3 computers and an internet connection. So is PlanHQ, and many of the other startups here and around the world. There is virtually no barrier to entry… As long as you have an idea, some form of initial cashflow (as in a part time job or capital), you can have your own business. As the internet generation start to head towards teenagers, I suspect that we’ll see some seriously young entrepreneurs giving the world a run for it’s money.