Fearless Predictions for 2011

Here's a recap of my nine fearless predictions for 2010, as posted in December 2009:

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

If this happened, it didn’t register a blip from what I read.

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.

Thankfully, this didn’t happen. But will it soon? And are we any readier, whether individuals or governments?

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.

See #2 above.

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.

My techie friends tell me this is harder than it seems. By 2012, then?

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.

If the first half is true, it is not yet true; and the second half was not at all true.

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

Here’s how wrong I was: Bristol Palin got more buzz than Mike Huckabee.

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).

Let’s see: Google did struggle (Wave fell flat, privacy issues with Maps), Apple kept chugging along (it continues to confound me – it should be doing worse), Twitter made the leap, Microsoft did not make such an acquisition, Facebook didn’t improve but is now up to a half a billion users (mind-boggling), and YouTube didn’t improve either (it continues to confound me – it should be doing better).

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.

In fact, we were actually treated to Teen Moms and Toddlers in Tiaras, but who’s splitting hairs here?

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

Markets in dollar terms (as of late November 2010): US +9%, Mexico +20%, Brazil +6%, South Africa +21%, Russia +13%, Egypt +5%, Thailand +60%. So what do I know.

In other words, once again I fell completely flat on my face. So here’s my new strategy: be a little more cryptic. Hey, it worked for Nostradamus, right? To wit:

1. An athlete is going to die in the middle of a televised sporting event. And it won’t be football.

2. Bearish on: Canada, China, France, Japan. Bullish on: Indonesia, Poland, Singapore, Turkey.

3. It all comes to a head in North Korea.

4. Jeb Bush and David Petraeus get serious 2012 buzz. Looking ahead: Rubio-Christie in 2016.

5. LeBron James will not be wearing a Miami Heat uniform by the end of the year.

6. New price point for genetic testing: $99.

7. Plastic surgery “jumps the shark,” and we coin a new phrase for it to account for its utter banality in Hollywood.

8. Fox unceremoniously drops “The Simpsons,” which ends up on another, cable station and is transformed into an edgier, not-for-kids, not-as-funny shell of its former self.

9. Toyota suffers another operational setback: exploding Prius batteries. Combined with their sagging potency as showy markers of green cred, we see a glut of Priuses on the used car market.

10. Whichever company buys Netflix is now the king of personal entertainment for the year.

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