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2022 predictions and 2021 score card

2021 Scorecard

First the scorecard 5.5 out of 9:

  • The big bubble unwinds. Miss. Some of the craziest components have started to stall but we are still in record territory. As Keynes famously said “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent”.
  • Cloud, e-commerce and telework stall. Hit. Some pullback in all categories as expected, even with COVID lasting longer. The main exhibit is Zoom’s valuation.
  • West grows faster than China. Miss. According to the IMF China will manage to grow over 8% vs. 2020 Real GDP. All major western countries are below 7% (starting from a much more damaged based in 2020 vs. 2019).
  • COVID goes away. Miss. Delta, Omicron…
  • Big Tech on the back foot strategically. Hit. They are finally being considered the 21st century railroad robber barons. This will lead inexorably to day 2 for all of them, sic transit gloria mundi. The only amazing caveat to this is Microsoft, which somehow has escaped notice.
  • Cyber is considered weapons-grade serious. Hit. Cyberwarfare is now a serious concern for everyone
  • Europe finds its footing. Difficult to say. Some movement, but not spectacular, time will tell.
  • No iPhone moment. Hit. Mark Zuckerberg has coined the metaverse, but the iPhone moment is still missing.
  • No substantive action on climate change, inequality, or cloud democracy. Hit. COP2 was better than expected, but not enough. However, the commitment by financial firms with more than $130T of assets undermanagement might just make the difference. ESG is not table stakes for all groups.

My 10 hopes for 2022

This year I will do my hopes. I have one certainty I am pretty sure about. 5 things I hope happen and 4 I hope don’t happen

1 certainty

  • Digital continues. There will be more cloud adoption, more use of bandwidth, more devices, more datacenters, more fiber, more private networks, more submarine cables, more satellites, connectivity will be more important… You name it. We might live in a very uncertain world. What is certain is that Digital continues year by year

5 things I hope that happen

  • Next big thing. It has been 15 years since the iPhone. Smartphone evolution has been absolutely inexistent for the last 5, pundits have been predicting the next big thing since 2015 at least. I hope this is the year of the next iPhone-like product that changes the paradigm, maybe we won’t notice even if it happens
  • Post-COVID. I hope Omicron is the last of COVID and we get back to normalcy not only in the developed world but also in the developing world where vaccination has been much less wide spread.
  • Inequality starts unwinding. There are promising signs that inequality is going down globally and in key countries like the US. Record wage growth and a tight labour market are the key ingredients short term for a reduction in wealth and income disparity. Longer-term we need to do something about education, and stop treating it as a luxury item.
  • Climate action starts in earnest. We are already running at least two decades late, but maybe we will be able to get our act together and declare war on climate change. The crazy energy and gas prices in Europe might be a great (if regressive) starting point
  • Europe shows the third path. The US’s unbridled capitalism seems to be throttling full speed to civil unrest. China’s socialism with Chinese characteristics seems too authoritharian and might become too static. Europe has a system in which it is great to live, however, it has to take responsibility of improving the world outside its borders.

4 things I hope don’t happen

  • No hot war. The tense geopolitical situation around Taiwan, Ukraine and Iran doesn’t flare up into a hot war involving the US, Europe, Russia and China.
  • No major civil conflict in the US. The heavily polarized situation in the US doesn’t lead to a re-enactment of January 6th or to even graver incidents.
  • No financial meltdown. The inflated asset prices in all asset categories, as well as unheard of levels of indebtness and monetary expansion don’t trigger a meltdown.
  • No literal meltdown. The Greenland, Artic and Antartic icepacks don’t melt down significantly accelerating climate change and sea levels.

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