Given the advent of the New Year, I wanted to share my thoughts on where I think certain trends are heading in 2014 just in case you happen to commit to something in some way and find you've caught yourself out.
The last thing you want is to chase a trend only to realise it's on a downward spiral, or to ignore something that's on the up, until it's too late.
I'm well known for being ahead of the curve most of the time, so I wanted to bring some of the trends on my personal radar to your individual attention.
While a very large percentage of my predictions have proved to be true in the past, you should note that these are trends that I expect to take shape in 2014 but I don't necessarily expect them to fully materialise or reach their full potential within the year.
So here's where I think things are headed in 2014 in no particular order of importance:-
This is my personal favourite. I can't wait to get my hands on a Tesla Model S.
If you don't know already; Tesla is a new(ish) U.S. car manufacturer of electric vehicles. Unlike other electric vehicle makers however, Tesla's cars are stylish, comfortable and very much driver's vehicles.
The flagship model has been pitted against the BMW 5 Series and very deservedly so.
Tesla is going to be to cars, what the iPhone was to mobile phones. There's no doubt about it. There are some difficult challenges ahead but I'm sure it's just a matter of time before Tesla is on everyone's lips.
Tesla is set to take prime position as the new Apple, and Elon Musk (CEO) is likely to be all the rage. Easily the number one company to push the human race forward.
Apple has lost it's edge I'm sad to say.
Everyone's going to be mimicking the way Tesla markets, executes and positions itself.
Yesterday every business wanted to be the new Apple, tomorrow every business will have its eyes on Tesla.
I think more and more people will rely less and less on paying their friendly neighbourhood web designer to put them a website together.
There are enough options now - and they're reaching maturity quite quickly - that make it easy for you to put a website together with zero tech or design skills. We now have website builders as well as dedicated platforms for things like shopping carts and blogs that make it very easy to be up and running in just a day or two (and in some cases, just a few minutes).
This news may worry freelancers a little, but it shouldn't. These new tools make way for freelancers to work on more interesting projects that demand better use of their skills and effort. They also pay better thus reflecting the real value of the freelancer's contribution while connecting them with better grades of clientele.
Tech Start-Ups in Europe
Definitely much more - not necessarily 'hot' but - important start-ups emerging from Europe. We've mostly only ever seen useful tech Start-Ups emerge from the U.S. but things are finally reaching a seismic shifting point.
There are more people that are now choosing to be Digital Nomads (people that work from their laptops while trekking around the globe) plus remote working and accessing talent in different parts of the world has become much easier and is being more readily embraced worldwide.
Quite a few tech hubs already exist outside the U.S. such as Vancouver (Canada) and Sydney (Australia), but Europe hasn't been as much a hotbed of activity as previously hoped.
This, I think will definitely change in the next few years if not this coming year.
More teenagers experimenting with Entrepreneurship
Expect more mind-blowing endeavours from teenagers. I've already seen Kickstarter projects by teenagers that have netted more than $25k in revenue in a single day. I expect to see many more examples of this in the New Year.
You probably know some teenager next door, or at least someone in your own social circle that you haven't given much thought to or expected to get very far, but one day they'll surprise you. You'll wonder to yourself how this little 'kid' that can barely string a sentence together has just generated five-figures in revenue in just one month, maybe even overnight.
Micro-businesses will learn to better leverage the global marketplace
Micro business owners that recognise the power of the global marketplace and learn to adapt, will outperform their competition.
It's going to require quite a few important shifts in terms of their work ethic, company culture and the way they do business but provided they lock onto this target; it will completely transform their business.
We're likely to see more micro-businesses putting themselves on the 'map' (so to speak) with products we've never thought of and places we've never heard of.
Ebay has been enjoying a comfortable place in the sun for quite some time. There have been many unsuccessful attempts in the past to dislodge them. This year, things are different. The audience that is hungry for great online deals is much bigger and more sophisticated than it used to be.
I don't think eBay is about to get displaced overnight, especially as a powerhouse, but there is plenty of room for an innovative disruptor to come along and carve itself out a pretty big niche.
Start-up working culture
Start-up culture is big in Silicon Valley (U.S). Trends such as turning up to an important meeting in just jeans and t-shirt, or not having much hierarchy in the organisation, or having increased transparency throughout the company are common.
These are just some simple examples and the cases vary but ultimately the working culture in Start-ups is antithetical to that in the corporate workplace in more ways than one, especially where a deliberate attempt to stamp out even the smallest trace of bureaucracy is concerned.
I think we're likely to see somewhat a rebellion more-so from the new graduates that are just stepping onto the career ladder, either because they're struggling with conventional employment choices or because they have more freedom to make unconventional choices.
I expect more of the smaller businesses will embrace this kind of culture too. Bigger businesses are likely to pay lip service to these ideas but unlikely to adopt them.
The above thoughts are based on the big trends I see emerging for the New Year.
There are many smaller ones too that may coagulate and turn into something big, but I'm not as confident about my predictions regarding those. For example, I expect to see many more Start-ups opt for expert mentoring and guidance on execution and strategy right from the outset but whether that will result in dedicated products tailored towards such services remains to be seen and how that is likely to be delivered is unclear.
That said, i'm definitely going to do my bit to make sure more and more Start-Ups and smaller businesses make their mark.
Happy New Year!