“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” – Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra
Don’t look for sources1 here! My predictions, after all, are my predictions. Follow them and either praise or vilify me at the year’s end. During the last 6 months, I have been encouraged by some editors2 to become more controversial – so here goes. In the last five years, there has been an enormous amount of doomsayers filling the airways with a constant barrage of eschatological3 phenomenon. Despite these doom and gloom prognostications, including the supposed Mayan calendar end, we all know the world did not end on December 21st. Well most of us do anyway. I have a neighbor who is not too sure it didn’t end. Her friend “knows“ about these things and was predicting the end. Of course, she is always right, even though she can’t successfully program the remote control on her TV. Sigh…
Actually, the Mayans weren’t the originators of the hoax. The calendar nonsense was propagated by mindless minions who parroted belief in the end-of-days phenomenon. Even the Mesoamerican long count calendar was probably actually invented by a preceding Olmec civilization. The fact is that the end of the baktun4 of the Mayan calendar is just like the end of our calendar, nothing more. I blame the start of the furor on Maud Makemson5 and Michael Coe6. This has been twisted and added to since then achieving nonsensical proportions. So also, has much of the doom and gloom that has been passed on by word-of-mouth. More people should really think for themselves7!
The fact is, I am optimistic about 2013’s business outcome, despite all the government dysfunction from both parties. I believe that the year’s economic results will surprise most economists. I am less optimistic about some of our physical environment aspects based on the scientific data on climate change8, but that is another story. The strength of America’s business revival will rest in people9. The weakness of our environment will be the result of poor government and irresponsible businesses.
2013 will be known from a historical perspective as a Galdwell “Tipping Point10” year. It will mark the beginning of a shift from the bloated corporation to the efficient entrepreneurial enterprise with virtual workforces. The foundations for this shift actually began at the start of this decade. Unfortunately, the real strategic strength of the year’s economic gains will actually be hidden by tactical losses experienced throughout the year. These losses will be expressed as economic elements move from traditionally measured criteria to conditions that are more difficult to determine.
It is notable that consumer psychology has changed considerably. Consumers have had their expectations reset by the economic disasters of the last decade. People are now being satisfied with a lower standard of living, as far as material aspects are concerned; if their livelihood is more securely based. Consumers are in fact optimistic in certain respects. They do not anticipate additional downturns or worsening finances. Even though most do not expect to gain financially in 2013 and furthermore view the decline in their real incomes to be long lasting; they are finding optimism in their employment and income stability.
In 2013, the workforce will realize this confidence in the job availability and security emerging from the new economy. A very significant number11 of workers will leave the full time employment of the Fortune 500 world to work freelance. Companies that showed little loyalty to employees during the recession will suffer a considerable amount of attrition due to this effect. More people will start pursuing careers doing what they like, for whom they like; rather than working in jobs they are unhappy with.
So here is my short list of my specific predictions:
- GDP will be up 3.2%.
- Unemployment will be below 7.1% in December.
- The Index of Consumer Sentiment will dip during the 2nd and 3rd quarters to return to a high at just under 88% by year end.
- SBA lending will increase at least 5% over last year’s $30B.
- The Stock market will go up over 4%.
- Brick and mortar offices will take a hit as more businesses, particularly small ones, will allow workers to work from home.
- Consumer empowerment will begin to have the strongest impact on business via social media adding over a trillion dollars to the economy. Social media will enable knowledge worker productivity to increase by over 20%.
- Mobile computing will continue to be strong even reaching an explosion point with more and more development focused on mobile12 as the primary platform.
- Microtime13 and Hypertasking14 will become common buzz words15 in business.
- 25% more small businesses (those that have survived the turmoil of recession or are new businesses run by savvy businesspersons) will see an increase in profits in 2013 over 2012.
- There will be at least one very serious power grid impact due to increase in sun spot activity.
- There will be another hurricane first; either the largest storm ever seen in the gulf or a second consecutive storm that threatens the east coast.
- In physics, the second dimension of time that has been postulated will be hypothesized as planar as opposed to linear in nature.
Well that makes lucky number 13 (see end of footnote #4 for the lucky reference). What will happen in 2013 is up to each and every one of us. To all of you, who have committed or will commit to making 2013 a year of success and agility, my best wishes. Whether you are taking the brave step in starting your own small business or freelancing to be agile; you are becoming a part of the new America in a time that I believe history will show to mark a new beginning in business. Remember to keep agile!
1 Hey if I gave you my sources you could make your own predictions.
2 This means you Richard Wood!
3 The theology and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events or the ultimate destiny of humanity. Colloquially referred to as the “end of the world” or “end time”.
4 A baktun is 20 katun cycles in the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar. It contains 144,000 days, equal to 394.26 tropical years. The current baktun started on 188.8.131.52.0 — December 21, 2012 using the GMT correlation. Sunday January 6, 2013 (UTC), in the Long Count is 184.108.40.206.16 (based on the GMT correlation). Oh and 13 is a lucky number in Chinese gambling. Take THAT doomsayers!
5 In 1957, Mayanist and astronomer Maud Worcester Makemson wrote that “the completion of a Great Period of 13 b’ak’tuns would have been of the utmost significance to the Maya.”
6 In 1966, Michael D. Coe wrote in The Maya that “there is a suggestion … that Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the 13th [b’ak’tun]. Thus … our present universe [would] be annihilated [in December 2012] when the Great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion.”
8 This has really moved beyond argument, with all due respect to my good friends who don’t believe that human beings are having a serious and detrimental effect on the global environment, including climate.
9 I still have faith in Yankee ingenuity. Actually, I have faith in mankind’s ingenuity and ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
10 The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is a book by Malcolm Gladwell.
11 Yes, I know that’s a bit wimpy of a statement, but I just did not want to put a number on it because it was too hard to derive. All the estimating formulas I used generated far too wide a range. Even the low number was significant though.
12 There are really two versions of mobile deployment designs those that are really dumbed down to a lowest common denominator of cheapest SmartPhones with small screens and those that are richer in design and intended more for tablets, but are still usable on better SmartPhones. I prefer the latter over the former.
13 Microtime refers to small windows of availability generally under 15 minutes where a specific task can be accomplished, like checking email, texting someone, ordering a prescription refill, programming a movie to record. All are generally accomplished through the use of a smart phone or tablet PC.
14 Hypertasking is multitasking that has moved beyond the business desktop and ferociously invading all aspects of daily life. People are consuming more than one medium at a time. They listen to music, browse online, read news feeds, scan email and perform a primary work function almost simultaneously.
15 I find buzz words unavoidable at times.