Prognostications 2005
January 3, 2005
Responses from:
There are plenty of great vertical sites, and I strongly believe that these sites will continue to florish. Being at Yahoo, you may be blinded and think that search and consumer shopping is all that is out there. Let me give you a few examples:


The big horizontal gorillas:

- Yahoo
- eBay
- Google
- Amazon

But then there is everything you want from a vertical point of view

- Getty Images (stock photography)
- The Server Side (Java developers)
- IronmanLive (you know :)
- Extranets from all my service providers (Finance, Insurance, etc.)
- BlueNile (jewelry)
- BlueFly (Designer Clothes)
- iTunes

I am sure there is more ... I think you are correct that any individual can probably live with 5 - 10 sites for 95% of the interest. I think that any DIGITAL content is going to be huge on the internet. No more fedex, that's why Getty Images rocks, that's why Amazon will kick ass in the near future. Key is to combine service with special interest devices and special interest applications. Today, the focus is all on horizontal stuff, like entertainment, commodities. GYI is a great example of a true money making machine.

This theme is the future of the Internet.
In many other traditional businesses, there is room for 2nd, 3rd, tertiary place. There is a lot of money to be made in being second or third. But I wonder if in the Internet space if there is meaningful room for anything but top 2 or 3. For instance, there are many different car manufacturers--that fuel economies of the world. But there isn't a clear difference between 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th--meaning they won't all go away to leave just the top 2-3. All 20+ can exist and be profitable and affect their countries economies. On the flip side, with Coke and Pepsi, there is the constant battle for 1st/2nd with RC bringing up 3rd. 
To that end, is the Internet more like the automobile, or more like soft drinks? Meaning is there really room for more than handful of leading, meaningful, websites? If not, this could be an important way to adjust thinking about the Internet; even with so much choice, only those that are easy to use, consistent in delivering what is promised, and long term focused, may be the only ones that survive and thrive.
The car industry continues to consolidate, even now. It's all about distribution channel and understanding local cultures. A great example is Renault and Nissan. Essentially one company, that has maintained local brands (France sells Renault, US sells Nissan), under the hood, it is almost the same car.


Some other things that come to mind for next year:
- Steroids and sports (speak ENTERTAINMENT, not sports), It is everywhere, the audience wants to see spectacular results, and performance enhancements were always around. Science is just getting better
- Capital punishment
- Iraq

The US will be there a long long time, will loose many lives, and the next administration will go home like we left Vietnam

- George Bush

Are you kidding me ? We will see the "true" George W now, where he is on his second term. No need to please the crowds to get re-elected. Don't be surprised to see the US drifting further right (rich gets richer)

- United States and credibility with the world

We missed the opportunity to unite the world, Europe will become united to be as strong an economy as US (and don't forget China)

- Meaningful culture in the United States

Only in small pockets. Mainstream America is fat, lazy, and wants to be entertained.

- Obeisity in the United States

The worst is still to come. According to the latest stats, the average american is almost 20 pounds heavier compared to I believe 25 years ago.

- The future of the democratic party

The democrats have become the party for the intellectual leadership, they need to re-define their role to appeal to the blue collar worker, or they will stay forever in the opposition.

Dirk