12.15.2009

Fearless Predictions for 2010


Here's a recap of my nine fearless predictions for 2009, as posted in November 2008:

1. At least three major media companies are going to go belly-up.

This was too easy: Reader's Digest, Philadelphia Newspapers, Star Tribune, Sun-Times Media Group, Source Interlink Companies, and R.H. Donnelley all filed for bankruptcy, and did I miss any?

2. Barack Obama will experience an unforeseen, 9/11-like event, and will have his "deer in the headlights" moment just like W did (remember "My Pet Goat"?), but like W he will find his voice soon after, and unlike W, he will inspire us to some action that decades from now we will be glad we were forced to take.

No unforeseen event, although certainly more than the usual amount of first-year tumult. To his credit, President Obama has maintained a calm, reasoned demeanor; some may want him to be more fiery, but I think this bodes well for his ability to move towards rational policies and responses.

3. The Dow Jones will be at 13,000 by the end of the year.

Who knew it would crater to half that level by March? From that vantage point, 10,000+ is more than acceptable.

4. South Asians will dominate the small and big screens.

I didn't watch hardly any TV and caught zero movies, but I heard Slumdog Millionaire got some buzz, Bollywood put out another gajillion films, and was there anything on TV that could remote approximate this prediction coming true?

5. Despite Obama's best efforts, Afghanistan will destabilize - and it will not be pretty.

Kudos to President Obama for staying on top of this foreign policy issue in the midst of many heated domestic topics. It still ain't pretty in Afghanistan, but I can't say this prediction came true, and that's a good thing.

6. Kim Jong Il will die, North Korea will open, and South Korea will impress the world by being ready to bear the massive burden of helping its beleaguered neighbor.

Who's to say the first of these three predictions hasn't already come true? I still hope for the second and third.

7. Obesity in America will reach epidemic proportions, as a huge spike in deaths dominates and ultimately shipwrecks discussions about national health care reform.

I'll take an "incomplete" on this prediction; it's only a matter of time, right?

8. We will not be talking about Sarah Palin by the end of the year.

Um, between the autobiography, Levi, and the Newsweek cover, I'd have to say this was equal parts "wishful thinking" and "bad prediction."

9. One or more of the big Chinese car makers - BYD, Chery, Donfeng, and/or SAIC - will be household names in the US.

Nah. Why make the Big Three fight on equal terms for American consumers when you can prop them up with dubious regulations and lots of government dough?

Once again, wildly and laughably off. Which only emboldens me to make more stupid predictions, of course. So here go mine for 2010 (remember, these are predictions, not requests):

1. Roomba will go mainstream, and vacuum cleaner sales will plummet in response.

2. Los Angeles is going to experience "the big one," and while it won't be Katrina II, neither Sacramento nor Washington will be ready to respond.

3. Florida will experience massive flooding, not at homes near the coast but at homes in the middle of the state that are built on top of high water table locations.

4. We're going to see the first prototype of a laptop the size of a deck of cards, which projects its screen onto a wall and a virtual keyboard and mouse onto a table surface. No one will be ready for this.

5. Time will show that the stimulus, cap and trade, and health care reform concepts that were initiated in 2009 were, while not perfect, largely positive; President Obama creates a huge halo effect in the November midterms, and Republicans actually lose ground.

6. Mike Huckabee will be getting more 2012 buzz than Sarah Palin.

7. Losing some luster: Google (Wave falls flat, some scandal involving either Brin or Page), Apple (Jobs health failing, consumers skittish), Twitter (an unfair connection to some really grisly crime broadcast in real time by an evil tweeter). Gaining some luster: Microsoft (a major acquisition that actually works out), Facebook (a major improvement in the user experience), and YouTube (ditto).

8. After a long run of crime dramas, reality TV, and bad nighttime soaps, we are treated to a line-up of sitcoms on one night by one network station rivaling the Cosby/Ties/Cheers/Night Court Thursday nights of mid-80's NBC.

9. Politically and stock market wise, I'm bullish on Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa, and bearish on Russia, Egypt, and Thailand.

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