2013 Predictions & heralding in Imminent Change – Marshall Sponder’s Web Journal on 12/12/12 December 12th 2012

Yesterday I released the recap of my 2012 predictions and as promised, here’s my 2013 predictions  on 12/12/12 – ha!!

I am aware my 2012 predictions were not that exciting or “far out”, except for one of them (flooding) that turned out to “right on”, when Hurricane Sandy submerged much of Lower Manhattan and destroyed parts of New Jersey’s coastline.

Overall, my predictions for this year were almost entirely correct.   And,,,, I am not to disappoint for 2013 either, so pay close attention to what I say.

This year, we’ll try going by “Spheres” and “Circles” starting first with the “Marketing Sphere”.

Source: BusinessInsider.com + my own type

The Social Analytics Sphere in 2013

  • Foursquare will be acquired by Twitter in 2013 (there, I am being audacious)! Dennis needs to sell now, his platform is losing momentum.  I know he’s afraid Foursquare will turn into Dodgeball (what happened after Google acquired it)  should it be acquired  but now is the time to exit.  People want an integrated experience, not just a check-in and a coupon and Foursquare on it’s own, or even in partnership, can’t provide it.  GroupOn is a contender here, but I think Twitter is the best fit for Foursquare.  If Foursquare isn’t acquired by Twitter in mid 2013, it will irrelevant by the end of 2014.  Sad, but true.  Sometimes, one has to give up what one has created to order to move forward.
  • I think there’s even money that Microsoft or Facebook will buy Yahoo! in 2013 as well – that was certainly speculated in October 2012, but nothing seemed to happen.  I think will happen and is a very good match, actually at this point.  I’d give it more than an even Chance.   In some ways, having a Facebook – Yahoo! merger might actually be an excellent thing for Facebook as it grows out it’s ad network outside of Facebook.  We’ll see what 2013 brings and if I’m right on or all wet on this one.
  • The Software API Platform wars that have begun to manifest in November will stay with us all throughout 2013.  The developing story is about Data.  Up till now we where being hyped on Big Data by whomever, but in 2013 we are becoming much more aware of Data in general, but the data that is “bad” that we have. We never had a condition where data integrity was questioned so fundamentally.   Here are some of the early milestones – the beginning of a trend.
  • In 2012 most of the Social Media Management platforms began to merge (Salesforce+Buddy+Radian6 vs. Oracle+Vitrue+Collective Intellect, etc,etc, etc).   I predict these combined services and technology stacks will fail to meet their “targets” and it will be very apparent by the end of 2013 when some of the same companies start being “unloaded“.
    • Even now, the signs are apparent, Collective Intellect has “disappeared” behind Oracle’s veil (not a good sign but I’m sure they’ll say nothing of the sort has happened – just what you’d expect).  At least, Radian6 has not totally fallen victim to Salesforce, but then, they just had to lay off almost half the company (100 people) last month.
    • Surprise – Surprise. But none of the Buddy Media people were let go, so much for the value of Social Monitoring in Salesforce’s eyes.  Seriously, the value of these listening and management platforms was vastly overrated when they were acquired and the bubble will burst fully in 2013 and if someone had asked me, I’d have said that to Benioff himself, etc 
    • But the people who set these mergers up are looking at market and financial opportunities – they have no idea weather the mergers  will really work or not when they proposed them (nor, frankly, do they care, as long as they cash out).  However, the people who work for these companies are impacted, which I suppose you’d call “Capitalism”, the rule of the market, which is driven by greed.  As long as the investors are happy, no one really cares what happens with these mergers as other, more nimble companies and start-ups will quickly evolve and replace them and that will be apparent by sometime in 2014.

The Spaghetti Intelligence Mess care of Salesforce, Oracle and IBM

But the fundamental mistake of Salesforce and Oracle’s move into creating Social Media Marketing Factories – is that the process can be modular in the first place, like a puzzle you just have to buy the pieces of and put together, and then sell to corporate clients who will “hang it on their wall”.

Look, if you buy a bunch of different sized and shaped medal blocks and try to fit them all together – how successful do you think you’d be?  You might as well go after the   “John Chamberlain” approach, and mash the who thing up to big mass, and try to make sculpture (or sausage) out of it.

John Chamberlain – Care of the New York Times

Yeah, that’s more like it!  A Software “mess”!   Modular software stacks work well when two things are in place.

  1. The Modules were built by the same people (team)
  2. The Modules were build according to open standards and all the software stacks are using the same set of standards and coding in similar ways.

So, I don’t think it will work out quite the way Benioff and Ellison planned, and the track record of these types of mergers is shaky, at best, but I think in 2 years the software stacks will be integrated well enough that they will more or less work as it was intended for both platforms when they set up these mergers in 2011 and 2012.

The problem is, by that time, the market would have moved on, and what Salesforce and Oracle will have is platforms that don’t actually address what people will want or need in quite the same way in 2015.

  • Much smaller, nimble companies will dominate in 2013 – though I was putting forward a contradiction by predicting that many of the mergers that took place in this sphere in 2011 and 2012 will fail while encouraging them to take place.  After all, I just said Twitter will buy Foursquare, which makes a lot of sense, but the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, as good as it sounds, might not, as the technology stacks are too different, and the customers they were created for were different and had different needs – something the authors of these concoctions should have considered.  Sometimes Bigger isn’t Better.  Look what happened when HP bought Autonomy.

Note: On December 14th (two days after my 12/12/12 post was first posted - the “Marketing Cloud” failures are already being validated – read this from AllThingsDigital:

“……Marc Benioff, who is famous for declaring that “Software Is Dead,” may face a similar fate with his recent bets on Buddy Media and Radian6. These applications provide data to people who must then analyze, prioritize and act — often at a pace much slower than the digital world. Data, content and platform insights are too massive for mere mortals to handle without costing a fortune. Solutions that leverage big data are poised to win — freeing up people to do the strategy and content creation that is best done by humans, not machines.

Big data is too big for humans to work with, at least in the all-important analytical construct of responding to opportunities in real time — formulating efficient and timely responses to opportunities generated from your marketing cloud, or pursuing the never-ending quest for perfecting search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). The volume, velocity and veracity of raw, unstructured data is overwhelming. Big data pioneers such as Facebook and eBay have moved to massive Hadoop clusters to process their petabytes of information.”

  • Google+ will pick up steam in 2013 and reach a threshold as Facebook’s growth will slow and some of that will be people deciding they can get more done on Google+.


The Marketing Sphere in 2013

  • Major Marketing/Advertising/PR Agencies streamline and meaningfully standardize on the Analytics Platforms they use and the Metrics they employ  – either they will roll their own, buy  platform(a) or standardize with select vendor partnerships.  The imperative to increase  performance and cut costs will drive decisions in this area.  The process is already beginning and is likely to accelerate in 2013, which will be the first year that Social Media becomes “practical”. Work on this began in 2011 and will reach an Apex in 2013 then becoming routine in 2014.
  • Marketing Analytics will improve as Big Data is included now, almost routinely - consider the analysis that was just released by NBS on what drives purchases of Album Label vs. Singles on iTunes. No doubt, the interfaces will largely move to be easier to use and be accessible to analysts rather than being confined to Data Scientists and Staticians (as they are today).

 The Data Sphere in 2013

  • Big Data measurably advances health care with such things as the 23andme API and other medical data initiatives. As expected, Obama care will help drive the advances and quite a lot of attention will be drawn into Medical Big Data.
  • By the end of 2013 cost effective Big Data Analytics platforms will begin emerge that anyone can use like ClearStory.  Currently, only Data Scientists can meaningfully use the current platforms and the kind of problems that are being solved are dictated by corporations, government and universities.  But Big Data is in our personal lives but we’re not in the position to formulate our own questions, or answer them.  In 2013 that will markedly change.

The Culture Sphere in 2013

  •  The Democratization of Art fully begins in 2013 – technology has freed it – and the arts are redefining themselves, yet again.


Louvre gives old mining town a lift

    • In my teaching at Rutgers University (which I’m really enjoying) and coming in contact with the young and incredibly talented minds there, I have come to see a real dilemma that students and by extension, the arts are having with the technology/art mix.  For one thing Instagram has challenged out notions of what is and isn’t serious photography.
    • I predict by the end of 2013 technology and various mash-ups that museums and galleries are doing, along with many of the artists  will  create a new cultural awakening, and a redefinition of the role of Art in Society and daily life.  I’d like to think my course at Rutgers University is part of the change.  Lets hope so and wish me luck in this endeavor.
    • On of the leading indicators of an imminent change is the era of democratization of 3D printing and printers that is just at the beginnings of a much larger movement and will become very popular in 2013 and in may be that in 5 years on out of 60 people will either own a 3D printer or have access to one directly.
                                               Source: blog.makezine.com via Marshall on Pinterest


The World Sphere



Normally, I’d stay away from World Predictions this time – but I just can’t resist a few insights on what I think will happen next year.

  • 2013 is going to be a year where our basic assumptions of how the world is will be challenged  and that can manifest itself in a number of ways.  Here’s a couple of things that I believe likely to happen in 2013 which will profoundly affect our scientific and religious beliefs  on the nature of our reality.
    • There’s a strong likelihood some form of “intelligent life” will be found on Mars in 2013.  Certainly, we will likely find evidence of ancient life on Mars sooner or later, but I’m thinking more of living intelligent life – perhaps at a cellular level, living now.  The very fact we found that Earth isn’t alone in the Universe of having Intelligent life presents a staggering change in many of the assumptions that have underlied Western Civilization.
    • If the life that is found is of a higher nature of intelligence, the world will be shocked and the story we tell ourselves about our own uniqueness as a species in the universe will no longer be true.
    • There’s a good chance that Global Warming will finally be accepted as “de facto” condition of the world and weather patterns will that have plagued us will be attributed firmly to Global Warming  in 2013.  I think many in the Eastern Seaboard were shaken by the devastation we had here with Hurricane Sandy, which wasn’t really all that powerful a storm when it finally hit land at the beginning of November.  Some of the basic assumptions that those living in NYC had were challenged as lower Manhattan was flooded with several feet of water.
    • Many other of our institutions,and our assumptions around them,will be challenged in 2013 such as the nature of marriage and some of the details on how this country was formed. Perhaps some historical facts about how our country came to be and what it stands for will also be challenged.
    • Politics will actually improve in the United States in 2013, and we absolutely know that Team Obama is going to keep and use the same Big Data Analytics team that worked his campaign – and in fact, the whole idea of Government and how we’re governed will be informed by Big Data which will provide some very interesting findings – we can expect some of these to surface in 2013 and 2014.
    • Education will continue to be revamped from changes in technology in 2013, with remote and assisted training becoming more common.
    • In a connection to the Art Sphere – our ideas of past and present life will be challenged in 2013 much as they have begun to be challenged in 2012.  The story of Max Galuppo discussing his long departed relatives (or himself in the past) were discussed on National TV in November – but we’ll see this kind of thing more often in 2013 as the nature of our realities are put under a microscope and questioned.
    • One more trend peak up to our awareness in 2013 is MERGING OF THE 2D and 3D worlds – we are seeing Google Project Glass becoming available in 2013 and a new “passive presence” mechanism going mainstream.  We already experience “passive presence” with Near Band communications – applications like Sonar on the iPhone alert me when friends are nearby.  In 2013, this will actually go up a notch as applications such as RedPepper Labs Facedeals will automatically “check us in” as we enter venues or stand in front of paintings, etc.   One can envision a world where we visit a museum – look at a painting, the museum knows we’re a frequent visitor and records it – sending the data to a third party service that matches my liking that particular artist/painting to Brand Affinities and is able to connect Brands to me- in return, I get free admission.    Something like that could happen – maybe not quite in 2013, but soon after.

Finally, i’m sure we’ll see a lot more flooding and violent weather changes – that is a given – because as I said in my 2012 predictions, we’re in the “New Normal”.

We crossed the line of no return in 2012, whatever that means and whatever that leads to – we’ll find out soon enough.

9 thoughts on “2013 Predictions & heralding in Imminent Change – Marshall Sponder’s Web Journal on 12/12/12 December 12th 2012”

  1. The World According to M Sponder , no less :)  Spectacular and brave, with a good does of genuine insight. Nice work Marshall. See you in 2013 to tick off the ones that came true.

  2. Some of these insights will be accurate predictions from the perspective of those who move in the corporate space. Those of us who do not can often see more because we don’t believe what media, educational systems and society have conditioned people to believe.
    Yahoo! being acquired is particularly likely and you mentioned “speculated in October 2012, but nothing seemed to happen”.   When you realize that any publicly traded corporation can be controlled by those who have sufficient money, it becomes far more obvious how the world works. 
    Just as celebrities have branding experts who carefully craft their public persona, major start-ups to be rolled out have a given path. There is always the interesting supposedly rags-to-riches story of the founders starting something in their garage / college dorm who rise to wealth because this is America where anyone can do that. (Note where they went to college – even briefly – and who their families and connections are.)
    They get so much media buzz they become the “hottest new startup” and start growing. Then there are rumors reported in traditional media and tech circles that giant player X wants to acquire them / they turned down some huge offer.  At that point they are scripted for a larger role and giant player who supposedly did NOT get them most likely will officially later.  (But sometimes one major player buys them and another major player who is supposed to be but really isn’t a “competitor” uses what they built. Think Friendfeed acquired by Facebook but Google rolls out what they were doing.)  
    As John D. Rockefeller said, “Competition is a sin” and the best way to create a hidden monopoly is to control all the major players.  We all have to use common sense and discernment. We have the Internet and the truth is easy to find – if you look. YouTube is the best place to start.  I would suggest the videos of G. Edward Griffin talking about Collectivism.

  3. @GrowMap Thanks for your honest assessment of my predictions for 2013.   I’m not sure if your saying you agree with them but think more could be said beyond the corporate side, or   if your saying something else.  At any rate, thanks for weighing in.

  4. @MarshallSponder  I agree that there will be continued consolidation of all things corporate and that you are in a position to be able to accurately predict what will eventually happen. Exactly when anything happens is harder to know in advance.
    There is a need for social media monitoring platforms to be more clear in their benefits. Many will fall by the wayside or be acquired. Small businesses need someone like you to help them find which one to use and how to use it. Corporate solutions are usually poor choices (too expensive / more powerful than they need / not easy enough to learn to use).
    Small business is always at a disadvantage. Because it takes just as much time to work with them and the financial return is so small, almost all research, comparisons, agencies, solutions and consultants focus on what works for the Fortune 500. Even those sites that brand themselves as pro small business really aren’t if they recommend what works for corporations and not small biz – and that would be most of them.

  5. Nice piece, Marshall – I may not agree with all of your predictions, but there are a few I do agree with (and a bunch I hope do happen!) In any case, I hope 2013 is a prosperous and interesting year for you.

  6. @GrowMap I guess we’ll just have to see how 2013 plays itself out.  But already, one of my predictions is being validated – read this http://allthingsd.com/20121214/beyond-marketing-clouds-the-age-of-machine-learning/ and think about the various “marketing clouds” from Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe.

  7. The year hasn’t even ended yet and one of my predictions for 2013 is being validated – read this http://allthingsd.com/20121214/beyond-marketing-clouds-the-age-of-machine-learning/ and think about the various “marketing clouds” from Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe.

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