Almost religiously for the last few years I’ve been posting predictions, until the last one, I had a pretty good track record of getting them right.  This year after a reader tweeted to remind me, I figured I would take another stab at them.

So take these with a grain of salt. If you bet on these and win big, please buy me something from my amazon wishlist, or a car. 😉

1. Amazon takes on chromecast/roku/apple tv.
Amazon will put out a $40-50 device that streams Amazon prime, and probably even Netflix. The only reason it will include Netflix, is because consumers demand it, and will help it sell like hotcakes. Where this will differ from the Chromecast is in the fact we’ll see a dedicated amazon shopping button on the remote. This will bring up effectively an Amazon version of home shopping network, which paired with prime will absolutely crush it. Secret killer feature: voice recognition (think “remind me to buy Toilet Paper” and KindleTV actually orders it for you).

2. Apple TV comes out, and is clear.
I’m taking a wild guess here that Apple will put out a completely clear 50” TV that looks like a flat black base with a giant piece of glass attached to the top of it. This base will have all the existing AppleTV functions built in, as well as the motion sensors like those of leap motion. It will use sonar or something along those lines to track motion as well as infrared. For safety reasons it might have a thin bezel around the edges, but it will be super thin. Price point will be $1000 for the first one.  Though i’d honestly prefer they skip glass and figure out how to make it a hologram tech/projector.

 3. Facebook crosses 1.4 Billion users this year.
Through acquiring a chinese tech company, perhaps QQ or another messaging app platform that has a huge number of asian users. Price tag $5-6 Billion.

4. Bitcoin passes $2500
After the scares around regulation or banning in certain countries, the dust will settle and we’ll see some major players in banking throw their weight behind it. Initial moves will be buying for something that is priced in bitcoin using your regular citibank credit card or debit card tied to FIAT money accounts. Citibank will hold a reserve of a few million $ in BTC in order to speed the transactions.

5. Amazon takes on payments in a big way.
Amazon will strike a deal with starbucks and mcdonalds to let people pay with a QR code tied to their Amazon wallet/account. 7-Eleven will be on board with this too, as they will be rolling out lockers wider.

6. 7-eleven takes on FedexOffice and UPS Stores.
7-Eleven will strike a deal with USPS and Amazon to offer shipping drop off, and package pickup. Basic postage functions can also be done there too. The corner convenience store will have a row of self-service kiosks to provide auxiliary functions previously not available. Think ATM, Self-serve stamps/mail machine, dvd-rental, etc. 7-11 has been expanding aggressively in dense urban neighborhoods, so this could be a trojan horse no one is watching.

7. JetBlue and Virgin America merge.
Virgin America wasn’t doing so well financially last year, and only recently posted a meager profit. I only suggest these two, as they seem to culturally fit, however they may have a ton of route overlap, so it might not make sense. They do fly similar planes though. Personally I’d like to see JetBlue acquire someone else and infuse them with their style and plane experience.

8. Same day delivery expands from lots of e-commerce players
With traffic getting worse and worse all across the country, and people being more comfortable with online purchasing. We’re going to see more regional players adopting same day delivery using a store or city-adjacent ship to home model. This will also grow from local grocery chains. I bet we see Whole Foods roll out a delivery service in at least one city this year. This won’t make it to low-end grocery, this will be a premium service. Walmart or Target may tackle this in a few markets as well in an effort to stave off Amazon.

9. Twitter will post disappointing revenue figures
Now that the IPO is behind us, we’re going to see that Twitter’s revenue growth (despite all their BS accounting trickery) falls flat on its face. Their only user growth market is in teens and overseas, and monetizing the international market will be tough. Their US toolset for monetizing is vastly inferior to Facebook’s (sidenote: we’ll see them poach a few key guys from FB for huge amounts of CASH, not stock).

10. Many big box stores start downsizing their stores
Some of these companies like Kmart/Sears, Best Buy, etc will start dwindling the number of items they carry. They are stuck either owning or leasing these 50,000 square feet locations though. My guess is they remodel the stores and find new uses for the land. One idea is turning non-retail space into mini data centers. Another is splitting retail space and creating test brands to sell different products (putting a physical wall in between the stores). I think we’ll see them setting up distribution centers for taking on local shipping and fulfillment.

What do you think will happen in the business world or in general in 2014?

*disclaimers: Do not take any of this as investment advice.
*disclosures: I own Amazon stock, also own some bitcoins

7 Comments

  1. What about Google’s announcement of their plans for their robot aquisitions? Also, what about laser sintering patents expiring?

  2. Thanks for posting this Brian!

    I agree that TV will be a big theme this year, given the amount of content that Amazon have I’m kinda surprised they aren’t in this space already (with a physical product). An Apple iTV and iWatch seem like good bet in 2014 based on the rumour mill but it will be interesting to see what their take on these products categories are, what they do different and whether customers back them like they do their other products.

    Your prediction on Facebook in an interesting one give any the ‘demise of Facebook’ posts lately. I think for Facebook to get any meaningful growth going forward it would have to be through China and they certainly have money to burn with the $3 billion Snapchat apparently turned down.

    Bitcoin seems like it has definitely jumped into the mainstream this year, and I have a feeling that it will have a long future especially with VC firm Andreessen Horowitz putting $75 mil into Coinbase. I do hope for bitcoins sake that it doesn’t reach $2500. If it is to be treated as a currency and not a speculative investment it will need to find some exchange stability for people to have confidence to spend and not hoard it.

    Great post as always Brian, looking forward to seeing how it all pans out 🙂

  3. Lachlan, I think $2500 is just a rough plateau for it. I don’t see it as a currency as much as a commodity like gold. Gold price is far higher than cost to mine it, but it maintains this premium. I see bitcoin almost as the backing of the value. However this is just the first step in currency changing meaning in our society.

    I did qualify the FB one would be via the acquisition of an asian property. There is almost 100% overlap with the userbases on instagram and facebook though.

  4. I think we’ll see a laser sintering printer from makerbot by Q4. I’m much more bullish on SLS tech than on fused deposition modeling w/ABS etc. Just because the products can be much closer to production quality, and you can use so many more materials (ceramics and metals).

    Which google announcement? aside from them buying general dynamics, they’ve been quiet about their other skynet acquisitions.

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