Post Mortem 2013, Predictions 2014

Post Mortem on 2013 predictions and thoughts into 2014

Here's what I wrote this time last year, and how well my forecasts held up against reality:

Predictions for 2013
Europe:
My guess is at least one country will abandon its attempt to join the EU. I'm not saying that a country will leave the EU, Greece would be my guess on that. Rather, a Poland or other eastern European country will look at the mess in western Europe, and decide that their citizenry shouldn't bail out a Greece/Spain/Italy or other more 'prosperous' country.
Well this was wrong, in so many ways. That'll teach me to not do any research. Poland is a member of the EU since 2004. And Croatia joined in July of 2013.
 
Technology:
3D TV will continue to disappoint as a sales driver. Just like HDTV is now standard in all new TVs. 3D will become standard in high end TVs. But I don't believe that people will buy a new TV, especially not to replace a LCD/Plasma with a 3D monitor.
Wrong again -
3D seems to be being abandoned, not even in the high-end TVs now.
 
Netflix/Hulu/etc
These guys will probably fall along the way-side as did Tivo, when cable companies agressively include all their boxes with the ability to time-shift programming. This will happen because of the recent court ruling that ALL channels, including over the air broadcast channels, carried on cable systems, can now be scrambled/encrypted. This means that all of the older TVs set up without cable boxes will now need to have a cable box to receive anything. Plus the cable companies are probably tired of being a utility and want the higher margins that come with providing services.
I'll give myself a break and still say maybe on this one. I still think a business model where you're abusing the network of another entity is putting yourself in jeopardy. But netflix/hulu are still around and still making money. The idea of being able to throttle sites puts this type of business in trouble. And we will see when the internet providers start being aggressive with their bandwidth decisions.
 
Robotics/Manufacturing
There will be a time next year when people in one industry will turn around and see the movement towards 'dark factories' places where humans don't need to be present in order to make goods. These factories will be located close to where the customers are. Probably here in the US, probably located near a transportation nexus. Likely located where prior manufacturing activity took place. Manufacturing will return to the US, but not the jobs, not in the old numbers, and not in support of the union organizations.

 
US Housing
Until there is a full accounting for the shadow inventory and other games being played with asset valuation, it is unlikely that we will see the end of a long depressed market. Unless there's a rush to sell all foreclosure inventory, in which case we'll see the robo-signing/robo-witness process go into full force. Small allowances will try to hide big errors.

I was wrong on this one. It hasn't really crashed, and there are 'healthy' signs out there. I still doubt that the health is as strong as people were writing about, but I'll acknowledge that the appearances seem as if things are recovering.

Predictions for 2014

Right now, I'm not sure.
Will Venture capital continue, will social impact investing continue? Yes.

will there be a huge success story that will bring in everyone to the table? No

Social Bonds will continue to get attention. but not many transactions. A social bond is still a private contract between parties. While it is still so difficult, it will continue to be a lightly used instrument. One thing that might change the entire scope is if a larger foundation agrees to backstop everything. Meaning that the large foundation will provide the liquidity that's needed in order to provide peace of mind and comfort to the social bond buyers, in case someone needs to get out of the transaction. This reduces the risk of the investment, and could facilitate that project. However, it would require someone to guarantee everything, and there are only a handful of groups that could successfully provide this type of insurance.

US Recovery
I still want to see the fundamentals improve, not the window-dressing. Unemployment numbers going down because people are no longer allowed to be counted is not a healthy situation. If we need to start talking about jobless rate, not unemployment numbers, then we should change the conversation.

New Tech
Smart-watches?
wearable computers?
google glass?
I think the VR helmet will finally become a reality. It might be used for entertainment purposes, and require a new style/type of director to determine the shots used. Finding that innovative person will take longer and shorter than before. Longer, because it will be another different level of experience. Shorter, because anyone can try, and with so many folks trying, someone will eventually get it right. Will it be in 2014? I hope so. I probably won't recognize it, but it will be traced to technology available in 2014, and experimentation that was refined in this coming year.