What will be the next big thing after Facebook and Twitter?
Why?..And How Soon Do You Think It Will Be? In other words, what will be the next big thing in B2C web startups?
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The people who are offering the Zen-like answer (“the big thing that can be predicted is not the real big thing, it does not have true buddha-nature”) are being a little too skeptical. Historically, there’s been a fairly good record of people seeing “the next big thing” (NBT) a respectable fraction of the time, so it CAN be done, without 20/20 hindsight. Here are some successful big-thing anticipations that I am cherry-picking to illustrate when, why and how you can predict NBTs.
- The moon race/Apollo was the NBT of its time and everybody knew it. It trained a generation of technologists and spawned a huge ecosystem of offshoots we use to this day.
- Distributed computing was the NBT of the 70s, and Xerox invested in it for a decade to make it happen.
- As the man told Dustin Hoffmann in The Graduate: “Plastics.” Another NBT that plenty of people saw coming.
- Container shipping. The entire shipping industry saw it as a grand vision that could change everything, and they just had to wait for the people with the right talents. See my review of the history of the revolution: http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/0…
What caused the early warning visibility in each case?
The next big thing will not come out of an incubator.
The next big thing will not involve people who attend or speak at tech conferences.