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What Comes Next: 2010 Edition

January 11, 2010

—Warning: Adult-type language follows—

Predictions are what you do this time of the year. Here is my hat. I shall now toss it into the ring like a gentleman. Maybe not like a gentleman, but whatever.

Just so you (and me a year from now) know, this is all gut-reactions and fairy dust guessing. Also, fair warning, this may not all make a lot of sense. It may jump around. That’s just how I think.

Short Term (6-12 months)

Economic Optimism

After 1+ year of pinching pennies and dreading the layoff, people will come out of their caves, but not stray too far.

  • Fuck Staycations – Those who can will pack up the kids and do something. They will get out of town. They will spend money on big experiences by cutting small luxuries.

Communication opportunity: 2009 was about attracting the locals. In the next year reach out and give people a reason to leave their city.  Become a destination.

  • Micro-innovation – The online creative culture is getting stronger. Look at places like Etsy and you’ll see that people are finding new ways to make a living. Also, there will be more of an emphasis on doing work that makes you happy. See the Lemonade Movie as an example of ad agency refugees doing their life’s passion. Nothing is cut and dry anymore.

Communication opportunity: As agencies and freelancers don’t be afraid to help people with that one crazy idea. It may just be the next big thing.


  • Social Media will become a requirement. That damn simple.
  • Strategies that try to overtly manipulate social media will fail. And the ones that add value will win.
  • 2009 was about personal brand. 2010 is about being a person. Be real. People will respond in kind and you’ll have a relationship built on trust instead of fakery. P.S. people have an incredibly sensitive B.S. alarm.
  • Media (read: newspapers, TV, magazines and the like) will bring their content to the people or perish. May sound ridiculous to traditional media, but people don’t want their news at the corner newsstand they want it on their computers and phone. Figure it out.
  • Advertising: More than ever people want two things from advertisement and the products they hawk = entertainment and value. Give me a 30-second laugh break and I’ll pay attention, but I’m still a savvy customer so you better give me a reason to go to the store or, even better, go online.

One last thing for communications and this is a biggie because I think it’ll be relevant for years to come. Never forget that beyond the transfer of information you’re trying to trigger some kind of offline action. Friends, followers, diggs, thumbs-up and whatnot are great and all, but I think the real measure is can you get people to get in their cars, take a bus or walk to do something? Anything? Those are your true fans. While you cultivate new social media connections don’t forget these people. Engage them. Bring them into the fold. Give them the power to carry your message.

Longer term (9 months+)


I’m going to borrow the tribe concept from Seth Godin for a little while.

  • Geographic Tribes will get bigger. A side effect of the housing fuckery is people aren’t as mobile as they used to be. With housing prices expected to remain stagnant many will be in their city/town whether they like it or not. If you can’t leave ‘em, join ‘em. What I think this means is that people will start to self-identify with their city. I think we’ll see the rise of city pride outside of sporting events.
  • Online Tribes will be smaller. Doesn’t mean people will unfriend, unfollow or plain kick-out their connections. Means there will be a stronger focus on local brands and people. Following a bakery in Paris is nice and all, but following the one in my neighborhood is even better. Croissants are no good if they’re across the ocean. Yumm. Tasty, tasty croissants.

Random Generational Thought

Don’t know if it’ll be this year or in the next few, but I believe 2010 will at least be the start of generational conflict between Gen X and Gen Y (or Millennials if you prefer). The recession has forced Boomers to delay retirement, which has halted the upward career momentum of Xers, which in turn has made it harder for folks of the Y Gen get and retain jobs. That’s a lot of friction and something has to give. There are other reasons including differences in attitudes, risk-taking, and work-life ethics that would contribute to the conflict, but I’m not the best to be talking about that. If you’re interested I’d suggest doing some research, it’s very enlightening.

Well, those are my thoughts on the upcoming 12 months. If you skipped to the bottom, here’s some Cliff’s Notes…

  • Be a fucking person. Don’t be wooden. Skip the corporate-speak.
  • Be open to the crazy ideas and the nutty people behind them
  • Be entertained and be entertaining. It will show through in everything you do.
  • Inspire action.
  • Watch out for those damned Gen Xers (or Yers, depending on your age).

Love to hear what you think in the comments or on Twitter.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2010 4:44 pm

    I think you’ll continue to see staycations for awhile, simply because for a lot of people the economy isn’t healthy enough to support travel yet. I think 2012 will (hopefully) be the turn around.

    With all of that said, I’m going on my first real vacation ever in March. I rock funderemployment like no one’s business.

    I’m surprised that social media is a requirement with so many people utilizing it poorly.

    I’m not sure if it’s the economy or the home buying thing, but I’ve killed off Facebook account and I think Twitter may not be far behind. If I don’t drop it, I will be culling the hell out of my followed list.

    There’s a lack of personal connection with a lot of people on there. I’ve met some good people on there, but I’ve realized that it happened a lot more when I first joined Twitter and didn’t really know anyone on there.

    I started out with a designer ‘tribe’ on there, that morphed into a local ‘tribe’ and now it’s pretty much a ‘people that I know in real life’ tribe.

    • January 17, 2010 1:16 pm

      About the staycation: that’s why I say those who can afford it will get out of town. I just don’t believe you can hold people down for long. It may be 3 instead of 5 days, but folks will pack-up and roll out.

      Social media: I’ll clarify. Social media will be a requirement if your organization wants to succeed. People will increasingly expect and value a one-to-one connection with a real person.

      Keep it up with connecting with people-online and off. It’s still a work in progress for me, I’m not the greatest at it, but I believe it’s how we’re going to get through this funk.


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