Five dead-cert predictions for 2019

 

I recently read an article on predicting the future. Apparently it’s not so easy. With so many moving parts, making solid plans for tomorrow is always a bit of a punt. That’s why people like Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet play the game a different way.

Rather than try to guess how tomorrow will change, they go the other way and plan around the things that won’t. With that in mind, here’s our crystal-clear-ball-gazing take on five things that won’t change in 2019.

TECHNOLOGY WILL KEEP IMPROVING.

The circuit board theory of Moore’s Law has extended to all technology. For the uninitiated, Gordon Moore was a computer scientist who worked at Intel in the 60’s. He observed that the number of circuits we can squeeze onto an integrated circuit board would double every two years. Turns out he was bang on. This means our tech is getting smaller, faster and more powerful at an exponential rate – so it stands to reason that next year’s kit will be faster and better in just about every way.

PEOPLE WILL FEEL BUSIER.

Back in the 1950’s John Maynard Keynes predicted a future world where everyone would work less and have way more leisure time. Similar theories are bandied around today. If the robots do the work, the people get to play, right? So far, not really.

Despite any number of studies and reports that say most of us are working fewer hours, most people feel busier, more distracted and more stressed then ever. This article from The Atlantic explores why. But in summary: it’s mostly in our heads.

Partly there’s the constant-connectedness that blurs the lines of work and leisure. Then, there’s science that shows how superfast smartphones can make us feel like the world is moving faster. And don’t forget the avalanche of information about everything that fuels the paradox of choice and sends us round in circles on the simplest of decisions.

But mostly it’s that crazy thing where we see ‘busy-ness’ as a badge of success so we overcommit in every area to show how cool we are. Don’t pretend you’ve never done it. And even as the sum total of this onslaught has spawned a billion dollar ‘calming-down’ industry, there’s no doubt that ‘busy-ness’ will continue to be a thing.

EVERYONE WILL WANT MORE FOR LESS.

While technological advances don’t do much to make us less busy, we do like to believe there’s efficiency somewhere. That’s the fuel in the freight train of ‘more for less’. 

We all like to think we’re getting smarter, better and more efficient. And the easiest way to evaluate this is the balance sheet. Couple that with the internet’s unstoppable disruption of supply chain and we’re all driven to do more of what we do in less time and for less money.

It’s the same everywhere. Creative industries are commoditised, service industries are re-evaluating service propositions and teachers, nurses, lawyers and bus drivers are grappling with the realities of a more-for-less world.

And customers are expecting it too. The struggle to sell utilities into a saturated market creates value-adds and product bundles that thin margins and increase ‘value’ reinforcing the expectation that everyone deserves more for less.

PEOPLE WILL PAY MORE FOR EASY.

The business opportunity in all of this is the value in making things easy. If action is a function of desire over cost with a multiple of how hard stuff feels, then making things easy can make good money. It’s something we’re seeing in the strangest of places. Mail-order toothbrush anyone? It’s a crazy idea, that sells like hotcakes. Dollar Shave Club, entertainment on subscription, evening meals on your doorstep from Nadia Lim - people pay more for easy.

 

I like to think the psychology runs deeper than convenience. It’s less about dodging a trip to the supermarket and more about not having to think. And I reckon that’s the opportunity. Don’t sell me more, sell me better. Cut back on your constant content and only loop me in on stuff I need to know. While my active brain is hungry to hear the deals and the options and the extra stuff, my lizard brain just wants everything easy. And when it comes to buying stuff without considering price or promotion, lizard brain is the the one that comes back for more.

FAMILY WILL STILL COME FIRST.

In the rough and tumble race to deliver more for less, important things can easily get forgotten. But whenever you ask anyone about the weekend, their highlights will always be family and friends. That’s because we’re human.

For all the tech and the toys and the connectedness of this century, people relate best to people. So here’s the thing; rather than ride the train of more for less, why don’t we focus on more humanity and less efficiency? More quality, less quantity? More time with people and less time online. And my big prediction for 2019 is this: the more we do the stuff that’s real and genuine and human, the less we’ll all stress less about busy.

That’s what I reckon, what do you think?

 
 
Michael Goldthorpe