What to Watch for in 2014
Lots of people write prediction pieces heading into a new year. As a general fan of consumer internet / tech, aside from working at one such company, I can’t wait to observe a number of potential events in 2014. Rather than postulate about their outcome, I think it’ll be quite riveting for us observers regardless of how they sort out. Here’s what to watch for over the next 12 months (N.B. I didn’t include anything regarding Wanelo, and this list is biased towards my personal interests):
Google: What do they do next to push the envelope? Can Google Glass become more than just a punchline? When does it crack $400B market cap? Does it hit $500B?
Amazon: How does it get closer to owning local commerce? Can eBay make a larger dent in their business? When does it crack $250B market cap? Does it hit $300B?
Facebook: Can it come up with a game-changing feature / product for the first time in a while? Or can it make another Instagram-level acquisition? When does it crack $150B market cap? Does it hit $200B?
Twitter: How does the product evolve, particularly Twitter Cards? When does it crack $50B market cap? Does it hit $75B market cap?
Yahoo!: Can they make a major move that’s not an acquisition or acquisition-related?
Snapchat: Will they make any acquisitions? Will they get acquired? What happens with that “pesky” lawsuit? How do businesses start to use it effectively?
The fates of Path and Foursquare: Who buys each of them and at what price?
Potential IPOs from Dropbox, Square, Airbnb, Box, and Uber (among others): It’ll be a crazy year if all of these happen.
The continued Lyft vs. Uber rivalry: Sorry, Sidecar.
AngelList: So much going on here. Syndicates, alone, are going to be fascinating to watch.
Messenger app war (WhatsApp, WeChat, MessageMe, Line, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, etc.): I feel like something’s gotta give here.
Nomi vs. Estimote vs. iBeacon: In-store tracking includes others as well, and it’s very early, but exciting, days for the space.
Mindie, Leo, Frontback, Popcorn, etc.: Do any of these nascent, buzzy apps really catch fire and take off? Which company is the Snapchat of 2014?
Music streaming services: Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, iTunes Radio, Beats, etc. This space could use some consolidation.
Whisper: An app that I’m fascinated by but do not use. How does it evolve to capture a wider audience? Does it need to?
Rap Genius: This would’ve made my list pre-SEO debacle, but now following this unorthodox company will be even more entertaining.
Bitcoin (and other crypto-currencies): How does the threat of regulation continue to affect their price? Will any formal regulation be put in place? When does Bitcoin hit $1,000 again? Does it reach $2,000? How do companies like Circle and Coinbase continue to play a role in driving these currencies forward?
Jawbone vs. Fitbit vs. Fuelband: The wearables space is crowded with these and many other players. I’m not sure if 12 months is enough to sort it all out.