Predictions for 2011

‘Tis the season for predictions. These are not mine, but they are a rather good collection from JWT.

I’ve picked out a few of the 100 that interest me the most for some comment. I’m particularly interested it the subjects that talk about making and selling things in new ways…

Making things

Predictions for 2011 - 1: 3D Printing

I’ve already written a post about 3D printing. Since then I’ve read loads more about this exciting area. It’s an easy first prediction that this is going to blow up in 2011. The i.materialise blog is a great source of inspiration.

Predictions for 2011 - 14: Breaking the Book

Predictions for 2011 - 18: Kids E-books

Self publishing has never been easier or more worthwhile. I’m particularly interested in the potential for interactive kids books. There’s no doubt that the tablet is here to stay, and this new generation are going to be using these computers from a very young age. It may finally be time to do Microsoft Bob right.

Predictions for 2011 - 47: Long-Form Content

This prediction just feels right to me. Anecdotally, I’ve noticed a tendency to want to read longer articles recently, whereas not that long ago I used to skim and skip much more. e-readers and tablets will make it more natural to sit back and digest more content properly too.

Predictions for 2011 - 52: Mobile Blogging

Predictions for 2011 - 59: Next-Generation Documentarians

Predictions for 2011 - 79: Smartphone Cameras Take Over

It still amazes me that I can take photos or shoot and edit video and upload it to the internet, using just my telephone! The tools are still pretty rudimentary though, but getting better every day.

Selling things

Predictions for 2011 - 09: Banner Ads Do More

Predictions for 2011 - 17: Captcha Ads

Banner ads are an area in need of much improvement, for sure. The best adverts only manage to be entertaining eye catchers, but the typical ad is usually a flashing annoyance, no more sophisticated than the early animated GIFs. There must be more advertisers can do with large chunks of real estate on so many popular websites.

I see CAPTCHA ads being very annoying though. They’ll only be a novelty, though advertisers will love the idea of making users answer questions about their products…

Predictions for 2011 - 40: Group-Manipulated Pricing

Experimentation with pricing models is a fantastic idea. A neat example is the Humble Indie Bundle (blog post), who make their sales stats completely transparent and live. You can also choose how much to pay and who gets what percentages of your money (the site, the developers or the charities being supported). This year they threw in a bunch of extra games halfway through, and new buyers had to pay over the average paid price to qualify for them. Great incentive to lay down a little extra and grow the average.

Predictions for 2011 - Humble Indie Bundle

The Humble Indie Bundle show buyer stats right on the main page

Predictions for 2011 -'s homepage showing the ever-increasing sign up price

The ever-increasing price of was a significant motivator for me to join early as well.

Predictions for 2011 - 51: Micro-Business

I don’t have an opinion on this one, but airbnb, Zilok, NeighborGoods and particularly Skyara all look very interesting.

Predictions for 2011 - 75: Scanning Everything

Predictions for 2011 - 62: Objectifying Objects

Predictions for 2011 - 85: Storied Products

Predictions for 2011 - 83: Social Objects

Four varied predictions, but they all feel related to me in as much as they involve connecting things to information in creative ways. I’m not sure QR codes, stickybits, RFID tags or any of these approaches will have long lasting appeal, but there will be a lot of fun had trying them out. 

Storied products is the development here that I think has the most potential, though there is a great likelihood that most attempts at this will be a weak strain of story, much like the trend last year to apply game mechanics to sites and apps was reduced to badgefication. I’ve been thinking about story techniques since I learned of the Significant Objects project:

A writer carves an impressive back-story around an otherwise worthless object, and then sells the object on eBay for piles of money. Sounds like the premise to a subpar Judd Apatow film.

In this case though, it’s not a movie, it’s an online project called Significant Objects, and at its root is a social experiment more than any sort of cash grab.

The thesis behind the project – run by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker – is as such:

“A talented, creative writer invents a story about an object. Invested with new significance by this fiction, the object should … acquire not merely subjective but objective value. How to test our theory? Via eBay!”

Walker expands on the premise. “I’ve long been interested in the idea that the objects that mean most to us are those that have narratives, or play a role in our own life narratives. We [Walker and co-curator Glenn] got interested in whether the story could simply be invented.”

(via Significant Objects: Can Stories Increase the Value of Objects by 6,000 Percent? –

Other things

Predictions for 2011 - 25: Digital Downtime

Predictions for 2011 - 28: Digital Interventions

See Neil Cocker’s Blackspotting blog for an example of this ‘digital downtime’ trend in action. It feels a bit like the minimalist trend that’s been going strong for a while now. The idea will absolutely get a lot of traction, but I don’t really see the big deal. I guess lots of people have addictive personalities, so they overdose on information and social networks, and then need to overreact in the other direction to compensate.

Then again, I’m probably a prime candidate for one of these interventions…

Predictions for 2011 - 93: Transmedia Producers

This is another prediction I’m not sure about, but I certainly hope it comes true. We’ve had enough poor games, comics and ‘webisodes’ that feature side-plots, minor characters, back story and other material only tangentially related to a big feature film. It will be good to experience a story designed from the ground up to properly take advantage of all available mediums.

I found this list via the ever fascinating

JWT’s 100 Things to Watch in 2011 (via Fred Wilson, who has a good eye for this kind of thing) [via]