Fred Wilson put up a couple of posts around the turn of the year which are worth taking a look through. He starts by setting down some of the key themes that he saw during the course of the year and followed it up the next day with a few thoughts on what might be on the cards in 2015.
It’s worth reading the posts in full but if you want a quick summary, the key themes in 2014 were set out as being:-
- Social media is no longer a distinct “thing”. It’s here, established beyond doubt and we all use it.
- Messaging is now the predominant growth area in social (e..g Facebook’s acquisition of Whatsapp for $19 billion in October)
- The ‘sharing’ economy never was – it’s always been about renting in return for hard cash (e.g. Uber and Airbnb going stellar)
- Crowdfunding (or at least money raised via networks) means the internet has finally reached capital allocation (e.g. Lending Club IPO hits $1 billion in December)
- Whilst it used to be iOS v Android on mobile, there’s now a new player in town: non-Google Android (e.g. Xiaomi)
- YouTube is unstoppable and the first choice for under-16’s (e.g. as well as a key location for the release of The Interview)
- Cybersecurity, hacking, crime and cyberwarfare set the tone and are now of vital importance for us all
I’m interested to see a big overlap between these themes and many of my posts here. I don’t for a second claim to have anything like the insight that Fred has into what’s going on but I think most people would agree that uncovering basic general trends is not rocket science per se. Where people like Fred excel is in being able to absorb all of this information, analyse it and then actually manage to pick a crop of companies for each fund to invest in from which the global “winners’ of each sector could ultimately emerge.
I wonder what will be beside the set of bulletpoints this time next year.