2011 Predictions

So every year I try and throw my hat in the ring of amateur prognosticators and posit what is going to happen in tech in the upcoming year. The following are my guesses (some wilder than others) as to what will happen in 2011.

1. Facebook growth slows, they hit 650M users by 4th quarter of 2011.
They’ve been growing so fast, that unless they get major inroads in India, Russia, Brazil, and China, they are not going to be able to sustain that growth. BRIC is the key to fb growth in 2011. I’d expect them to be able to get another 50-75M users from all the other countries out there, but to get that extra 75M they have to come from those 4 countries.
Likelihood: Very Likely

2. WordPress ecosystem grows up
Automattic is sitting on a potential gold mine of revenue from the ecosystem surrounding their tools. With 25M blogs, and another 25M installs of wordpress self-hosted elsewhere, you’re talking 50M+ users out there (though many users likely have multiple blogs, and many are inactive). The marketplace for tools has already proven itself through premium theme sites like woothemes (which pulled in $4M+ in 2010). We’ll see many services and shops spring up to try to cater to this market as wordpress becomes a more commonly used Content Management System. To control this marketplace though, Automattic will need to get people to buy stuff and process the transactions ala Apple. Back of napkin math tells me $50-75M in ecosystem revenue this year.
Likelihood: Very Likely

3. The first Youtube millionaire emerges
There are tons of youtubers out there who are generating TONS of views on their videos and making decent coin from the YT revenue sharing. However I can see someone finding the correct balance of product placement, ad sharing, and quality content that gets them the 100-200M views they need to get close to grossing 7 figures from their YT channels. (I also don’t think it will be iJustine)
Likelihood: tossup

4. Apple’s Mac App Store does $1B in gross sales in first year
Assuming the average app price will be in the $15 range, we’re looking at 70M apps downloaded and installed. I feel adoption of this might be slower than we think, mainly due to OS fragmentation, and lots of people running old versions of OSX, especially if Snow Leopard is required to use the store.
Likelihood: Bet money on this one

5. Apple gives away Lion for free or less than $30
Why give away Lion? Well chances are the Mac App Store would work best on Lion (most iOS like experience). This would also entice lots of users to upgrade as well.
Likelihood: Very likely

6. Twitter hits 200M users.
They’ve been hovering around the 150M range for a while it seems. I can see them hitting 200M if they introduce a chinese partnership of some sort, but kids don’t care for it, and I don’t see that changing.
Likelihood: Very likely

7. Fox sells off Myspace for LESS than it bought it for
Not the colossal loss that AOL took on Bebo, but it will be significantly less than the billions they thought they were going to cash out of it. Wouldn’t be surprised if one of their former executives who has raised tons of $ for their buyout firms gets involved. (not entirely sold on this one though)
Likelihood: Long shot – not sure if they are willing to take the ego hit.

8. Groupon goes on a buying binge & hits $3B in gross sales.
The sales figure is going to be hard to verify as they are still private. Rumors were they were close to an annual $2B run rate in late 2010, so $3B seems feasible in 2011. How do they get there? Buying their way into new markets, snatching up lots of little competitors cheaply.
Likelihood: VERY likely

9. Facebook credits expand beyond facebook
Think about it. They become a socially backed wallet with 150M mobile devices already in use. Why not let people buy merchandise w/credits? Bump credits to a friend? No one else has that same reach on so many mobile devices in the US/CA/EU.
Likelihood: Better than 50% chance.

10. Google reboots android marketplace
Google is going to need to reboot the marketplace to improve the ui, experience, and filter out spam more. Look for this around Q2 2011. We’ll also see the quality apps start earning more money from their app purchases. Android apps won’t be as profitable as iOS apps until late (q4) 2011 or early 2012 though. Look for this marketplace reboot right before iphone 4S or iphone 5 comes out next june.
Likelihood: Better than 50% chance.

So what do you think will happen in 2011?

2015 Tech industry predictions
2014 Predictions Recap
  • I was expecting something on the demise of Yahoo in this list. Especially after their whole “sunsetting” fiasco earlier this month. It will be a sad day for me if on the slim chance they kill Delicious. Delicious is like the smart-ish recommendation engine for me. Not the most obvious or easy to extract, but it’s gold.

    Ooh one more. (Edits this comment.) Google Hotpot and the changes in the search algorithm across the board (Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook) to include check in sentiment. David Mihm made an interesting post on the Local Search engines on this too.

  • well I wrote most of this before the sunsetting of delicious. I also don’t think delicious has as large a scale implications as us early adopters think. No one who uses yahoo for search uses delicious. My mom would think was a food recipe site or something.

  • “6. Someone will finally make it easy for small businesses to get online”

    is that finally done?

  • Igor

    Google already did that a months ago or so… they’ll just keep improving, I think the Mac Appstore will be even more successful than the mobile one. I think Myspace is gonna stay for a while (they’re still big… losing a lot but still big). And there are already youtube millionaires (e.g. Fred).

  • yola i think is closest to getting this done

  • is Fred (got a link?) making millions of $ from his yt channel?

  • Pete Cashmore

    Hey Brian,

    Given that your 2010 predictions were almost spot on, I’m not gonna argue against these!

  • Thanks Pete!
    Maybe I should do this quarterly or something.

  • Brian,

    You can already Bump money to a friend with FaceCash ( It would be great to get your thoughts.


  • Fred’s yt channel: and website:

  • Google reboots android marketplace…Android apps won’t be as profitable as iOS apps until late (q4) 2011 or early 2012 though. Not too sure about this one…Android Apps are one hot ticket right now…If Apple Apps store and it’s earnings can be an example…Android type devices have a huge market…add this to the fact that Android is open source and it provides potential opportunities for freelance developers and programmers alike….take a look at my post at :

  • compare apples to apples. apps that are the same on both platforms. pretty sure iOS versions are still more profitable. There have been complaints about mobclick and google’s ads not being profitable for developers (though the same has been said of Apple’s iAds), thus the revenue from downloads has to be higher to offset weak ad revenue

  • james

    I feel so weird being the one to mention this but while the beiber may not have not done it through youtube alone he was found there so its because of the YT that he made his cash.