Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

2019 Will Be A Year Of Haves And Have Nots

milky way [étude 9]

2018 was a strong year for my predictions. I don’t want to overstate, but I feel like I crushed them. Considering the complexity and difficulty of many of the predictions, I’ll take 18/22 and an 82% success rate as a win across the board. As we enter 2019, it’s time to think forward over the next 365 days to consider what will happen.

On the whole, I see less grey in 2019. I think we’re either going to see huge wins or massive stumbles. We will see wild success or critical catastrophic failure. There will be increased consolidation and acquisition. For many, it will be the only path for survival. I also think, at a broad strokes level we will see a major break between legacy organizations who were too slow to move (e.g. Sears) and those who continue to take control of their own destine (e.g. Walmart).

If you’re a first-time reader, please note, my predictions typically are focused on the marketing, advertising and technology industries. This means I’ll generally cover social media, data, agencies, product development and consumer trends. However, on occasion, I’ll offer thoughts that cover pop culture, polictics or frankly, areas that interest me.

I never use any insider information I may have. What you see as predictions are just me trying to read the tea leaves. Also, please understand, my belief that something will happen is not a declaration of my desire for something to happen.

At the end of the year, usually, in December, I’ll review each prediction and score it. If I get a prediction right I earn a single point. Getting it wrong results in no points.

With that out of the way, here’s what I think is going to happen in 2019. First, I want to start by revisiting predictions in 2018 that didn’t happen, but I think will happen in 2019.

  • Whiskey will have a down year. Year over year we will see a decline in units sold. The plateau is right around the corner. Rum and Gin will fill the sales gap.
  • “Robert Mueller’s probe will conclude and will yield nothing of substance. Substance will be evaluated as yielding something that would have grounds for an impeachment vote. There will not be an impeachment vote.” While this didn’t happen in 2018, I think it’s clear we’re nearing a conclusion to the investigation and I don’t see an impeachment happening any time soon.

Beyond what I considered in 2018, here are 18 more things I think will happen.

  1. Apple will make a bid for Tesla.
  2. Snapchat’s stock will fall below $5 AND the board will entertain methods to replace Evan Spiegel.
  3. Pinterest and Uber will IPO at billion dollar plus valuations.
  4. Amazon or Walmart will make a play for Target.
  5. Netflix’s debt and expenditure for content development will force one of two things to happen. One, it will sell/merge with Fox, Amazon, etc. It will take on a massive share buyback undertaking.
  6. More than 25% of states in the USA will offer recreational marijuana policies and laws. That tax money is too seductive for it not to happen. The country-wide adoption by Canada simply adds more pressure.
  7. Accenture will make a bid to extend their ad agency competition model, by doing one of two things. They will either purchase/merge with WPP, ironically becoming that which they’ve tried not to be. But, they’ll need to if they want a foothold on the paid media side of the equation. Alternatively, they’ll avoid the agency models, but instead, choose to own more pipes. Building on their 2018 acquisition of Adaptly, Accenture will look to purchase an organization like MediaMath.
  8. Liverpool will win the English Premier League. Manchester City will finish second but will win the Champions League. In doing so, Pep Guardiola will be back to manage Manchester City in 2020.
  9. Kevin Durant will stay with the Golden State Warriors and the Lakers will fail to recruit another big name to play alongside Lebron James.
  10. In 2014 I wrote about the idea of a Human API, where people would be operating in a more transparent environment and become brokers of their own data. 2019 is the year where it starts to happen. This will be lead out of the E.U., who have a far more restrictive approach to a free economy and are infinitely more anti-data use for commercial purposes. I think in 2019, it starts with a mandate to opt out of certain data being collected or used and a means for compensation if you specific forms of personal data.
  11. Roku will be acquired. It’s too small to beat out the direct competition but just big enough that with the right partner it could scale. I could see AT&T, LG, Samsung or Verizon being potential buyers.
  12. Travis Kalanick will be back in a big way. Since I try to be specific, I think a “big way” means founding another primetime startup or returning to the CEO role at Uber.
  13. Globally, we will see a decline in mobile/cell phone purchases. We are at peak saturation. Last year’s phone is just as good, if not better than this year’s phone. Little reason to upgrade.
  14. The 5G cellular spectrum will be made broadly available and two things will happen. One, Apple will NOT release a 5G phone. 5G will be so fast and accessible, organizations and countries will forego WiFi in favor of 5G.
  15. LiveRamp will sell to someone in 2019. It won’t be Salesforce. If you’re a company like Publicis an acquisition of LiveRamp makes far more sense than yet another “disruptive” creative agency. However, I don’t see them or another large holding company purchasing LiveRamp. I think it will come from someone like Google or Verizon. Why them? They’re two companies who rely on data for ad-targeting, but are generally blind to many forms of 1st party data, but for whom have enough data about people that a LiveRamp acquisition would be like throwing gasoline on a fire.
  16. We are at peak subscription box services. Blue Apron, Kiwi Crates, Birchbox, Trunk Club, Hello Fresh, Frank and Oak, and the list goes on and on. Too many services. Not enough money to go around. We’re going to see massive consolidation in the marketplace happen through merger, acquisition or bankruptcy.
  17. Ford, GM or Fiat Chrysler will have a bailout/bankruptcy situation. We will see the same happen for one of Indian Motorcycle, Harley Davidson, Triumph or Ducati. None of them offered a lower cost, less exciting and more electric offerings. The market isn’t big enough to sustain all of them.
  18. The scooter rental craze taking over the country will hit serious resistance. The South Park Scooter episode will become art imitating life imitating art. Too many scooters. Too little regulation. Too many potential problems.

Phew! That’s a lot. 2019 is going to be a heck of a ride if even half of my predictions come true. I certainly welcome your thoughts. Where am I completely offbase? What’s a sure-fire win? I’ll conduct my review of how well I forcasted in December.