I've always stayed out of the prediction game. It's a crapshoot and most people forget you even made them after a while. So, it doesn't really matter if you are right or not. Although, if you make enough of them, by dumb luck, you are going to have a few come through. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
For those reasons, I've always shied away, but recently I was being interviewed and the host asked me what I saw coming for entrepreneurs in 2018 - what should they be focused on? I admit, I had to take a minute to think about it before answering. After the interview, it got me thinking a little bit more about the ever-changing landscape of entrepreneurship. I spent some time on it and came up with these
5 predictions of sorts for entrepreneurs in 2018.
Prediction #1: Entrepreneurship Will Replace Traditional "Jobs" as the First Choice of People for Their Work
Why is this important? Ok, this may be a little bold. Jobs aren't going to disappear, but a much larger share of people are realizing that the old industrial world ideas are fading. "Go to school, get a job, work for 40 years, and save, save, save to hopefully retire..." is being replaced by the new world view of entrepreneurship. This view is that because of the internet and the freeing up of people by technology, one can succeed in a very small niche and focus and do it from anywhere in the world. In fact Taylor Pearson writes about this in his book "The End of Jobs" and calls it the realization of the "long tail. The old school "job" is rapidly dying and people are seeing that they can be in much more control of their destiny through entrepreneurship - this is all because entrepreneurship is easier that it has ever been in history. And in 2018, it will continue to get easier.
Prediction #2: The Economy and Stock Market will Continue Their Meteoric Rise in 2018, but After That All Bets Are Off...
Why is This Important? This one is near and dear to me since I have coached traders and investors for almost a decade. Markets go in cycles. These cycles have 4 stages. Disgust, Disbelief, Acceptance, Euphoria. Disgust is typically the market crash (think 2008). People lose big, are disgusted and just want to walk away from it all. Disbelief is the stage of the cycle where the market starts to rally "to the disbelief" of everyone. Everyone is a skeptic. (think 2009-2016). After a while, that disbelief and skepticism gives way to Acceptance. "Gosh, I guess the market really is back. I should invest." (2016-Present). And the last stage is Euphoria. Everything from the past is pretty much forgotten, they are popping champagne corks on CNBC every time the market hits new highs, and suddenly every one is a successful investor. Your hair stylist is giving you stock tips, etc. The market rallies like never before and it seems like it will never stop....until of course, it does - plunging back into the disbelief stage. In my view, we are just getting into Euphoria and it go a while. I would not be surprised for it continue for a couple years - but we are closer to the end of this market run, than the beginning. Remember, stocks markets trade on the future and the earnings they will think companies will have in the future. The recent tax cut in the US is a huge boon to earnings. Without doing anything, just because of tax cuts, companies are getting an over 20% boost in earnings and this will fuel markets into newer and newer highs in 2018. This graphic from Agora shows you how the 20% increase comes to fruition.
So, make your money while you can. Keep a healthy paranoia, build a rainy day fund, and always be prepared. All good things come to an end, but for now enjoy the ride.
Prediction #3: More Businesses Will Become Obsolete and/or Obsolete Before they Even Get Going
Why is this important? Kodak was reduced to rubble in about 3 years from the time the digital camera came out. GE, a 125 year old company, is currently on the ropes and it looks like they may have to break the company up to save it. The speed of change is overwheming and getting even faster. Whole industries are getting turned upside down in just a few years. Uber is the largest transporation company in the world, yet owns no cars or has employee drivers. AirBnB is now the largest hotel company in the world in terms of "rooms" available and they own nothing. Are you prepared for incredibly rapid change in your business? You need to be, because very quickly your business could be obsolete. If you were going to create something that put your current product/service out of business, what would it be? Do it now.
Prediction #4 The Overwhelming Majority of People Are Not Ready for the Changes the World is about to Experience
Why is this important? Because the world and general public are not ready for the monumental change that is happening and will become very evident by end of 2018 Whether, it is in transportation,
AI, Augmentation, or in just about every other industry - You must be ready. The world is on the cusp of a great upheaval where the industrial phase takes it last gasp and dying breath, and the technological age takes full root. If you want to thrive in this world, you have to prepare and be ready for it. I recommend that you read the following two books as a starting point, "Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane" by Brett King and "Our Final Invention" by James Barrat. You'll be shocked at what already exists when it comes to AI, technology, augmentation, and how fast it is all moving.
Prediction #5 Blockchain Will be Adopted on a Mass Scale and Cryptocurrencies Will Become Ever More Prevalent. Governments Will Not be Able to Stop Them.
Why is this Important? Saving the most talked about for last. Technology is disrupting every industry and it is going to cause major issues as large organizations and entities that are stuck in the past come to grips with it. They will fight change until they cannot any longer. It is the nature of large bureaucracies to do so. We will see major disruption in banking and in world currency markets because of this. The current banking system was put in place in the 1940's and then revamped again in the '70's, but I'll spare you the history lesson.
Here is what you need to know. People have figured out that fiat currencies are a depreciating asset (the US dollar has lost over 90% of its value since the 70's) and the banking system has dangers (as we saw in 2008), so naturally, they are looking for an alternative. This is where cryptos come in and will change banking. They already are with the ability to transact in seconds compared to what takes the SWIFT system days for cross-border payments and settlement. And cyptos are not regulated by anything but the free market. No government or central bank has control or can manipulate them. Combine that with that fact that you will be able to pay for more and more with them in 2018 and beyond, and be able to use them universally across the world, and you can see why they are a threat to the old systems.
As I write this, Bitcoin has had a 40% decrease because South Korea is trying to outlaw it. How? How can you stop something that lives across millions of servers all over the world? You can't. In some ways, it is like a virus in that it moves from one server to the next if it encounters issues and keeps itself going (Yes, you cyrpto diehards probably don't like me using that example, but it is true). What about access? You can shut down the access points on the web, can't you? Yes, but every time you shut one down, a new one can spring up. You can see how this carousel is going to go round and round as cryptos threaten the monetary system and government control. Governments will continue to try and stop it, regulate it, etc. and that will cause wild swings in cyrptos, but the technology will win out over time. I advocate owning some crypto. For now, look at it like your casino money that you can afford to lose, but having a little is good idea. I am buying on the major dips like we just saw.
In the end, some form of cryptos will win out because of the underlying technology - Blockchain. And that is the real disruptor. Blockchain will be embraced by companies all over the world for tons of different uses in 2018 and that will further the use of cryptos and change whole industries and the way we do things.
Here is a great article that explains blockchain in an easy way to understand.
If you are interested in cryptos, one of my good friends and original investing mentors, Doc Severson, has put together a ton of free resources on Cryptos for people. You can get them here.
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