Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends!
Yup, another year is upon us--well, at least for the lucky ones among us--and with it brings perhaps the onslaught of mainstream media musings and blogosphere blather that:
b) Make fearless predictions for the year to come
Faithful FOPs know my disdain for the latter, particularly because there is rarely any accountability for those Nostramuses (Nostradami?) who spout said predictions (a feeling captured so eloquently in this ranting post of a couple of years ago).
This is why one of my more enlightening and enjoyable moments of the holidays came in reading this a piece in Advertising Age entitled "Digital Predictions That Didn't Pan Out" by Abbey Klaassen and Michael Learmonth.
Their "Top Ten" things that were s'posed to happen but didn't are:
- ONLINE ADVERTISING WILL GROW 29% IN 2008
- ADVERTISERS WILL LEARN TO LOVE FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE
- HULU, ANOTHER NETWORK ATTEMPT ON THE WEB, WILL FAIL
- DIGG WILL BE ACQUIRED
- A GOOGLE KILLER WILL EMERGE
- A BIG DAILY PAPER WILL GO ALL-DIGITAL
- 2008 WILL BE THE YEAR OF MOBILE ADVERTISING
- THE KINDLE WILL FLOP
- BROADCAST TV DIES, WHILE WEB VIDEO BREAKS THROUGH
- IT'LL BE A HUGE YEAR FOR INTERNET STOCKS
(Those are just the headlines; you should read the whole piece here. Well written and well documented.)
Indeed, the best way, the ONLY way, to predict the future is to lie.
Now it's not like I'm a "Nooge" (the New Year's version of a Scrooge, I guess), but one thing that 2008 proved, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is that NOBODY KNOWS NOTHING.
Nobody. Not your Tarot Card reader, your broker, your CFO. NOBODY. Not even Warren Buffett, the once invulnerable oracle who was down 32%, which is a little solace for the rest of us who took a financial kick in the groin.
The message is simple. The worst word in busines, particularly in marketing as we are the prognosticators of the corporate world (the financial types merely provide us with enough support rope for which to hang ourselves) is of a true four-letter variety:
Uh..that is, when used as an auxilary verb, as in "This will happen." Trust me, believe me, it won't. At least not as you expect or predict it to.
However, when used as a noun, as in "to have the will to succeed," the word WILL becomes perhaps our most valuable.
So for 2009, forget about predictions and focus on actions instead.
Worry not about "what will be"; concentrate on what your "will" will be.