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02:35 PM
Greg MacSweeney
Greg MacSweeney
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There Oughta Be a Rule

Media outlets, including Wall Street & Technology, are fond of predicting what the future will bring.

Media outlets, including Wall Street & Technology, are fond of predicting what the future will bring. In fact, it seems that almost everyone suddenly becomes clairvoyant as the calendar turns to the new year. Financial analysts issue predictions for the Dow, entertainment reporters inevitably predict if Brad and Angelina will wed and technology journalists like to predict the latest and greatest iPod killer.

But if you dare to try to be an annual fortune teller, you should be required to revisit your predictions. For instance, most financial analysts thought 2006 would be a rough year for the U.S. markets. Wrong. Brangelina were sure to get married. Nope. And an iPod killer was supposed to unseat the iPod. Wrong again -- Apple still holds more than 75 percent of the market. And how many experts predicted YouTube's success, let alone that it would be worth $1.65 billion to Google? Not many.

Here at WS&T, we issued our own predictions in the Vision 2006 issue issue. We highlighted 10 challenges and topics on which Wall Street firms would focus during the year. Of the 10 predictions, it is safe to say that our editors were absolutely correct on eight of the 10. For those of you keeping score at home, that's an .800 batting average. The Vision 2005 issue issue focused on 12 predictions, and 11 of the 12 were big issues that year (a .912 accuracy percentage). Hall of Fame numbers for sure.

But in the interest of full disclosure, I predicted last year that business- oriented podcasts would become popular in '06. Well, I may have jumped the gun a bit. News-oriented podcasts (NBC News, CNN, NPR) have hit their stride. But business media outlets -- Wall Street & Technology included -- have seen much less adoption of their podcasts by the business community. JPMorgan Chase, Lehman Brothers, Fidelity Investments, Apple (obviously), IBM, BearingPoint and a host of other household names all have podcasts available on iTunes, but actual adoption numbers are hard to come by.

So my '07 prediction is much broader this year: Business will continue to adopt ideas and technologies that come from consumers (iPods and podcasting, social networks, wikis). Previously, technology trends were made popular by business and then adopted by consumers. But now the tide has turned, and this will continue to impact business strategy. I guess we'll have to wait 12 months to see if this prediction is any better than my last one.

Greg MacSweeney is editorial director of InformationWeek Financial Services, whose brands include Wall Street & Technology, Bank Systems & Technology, Advanced Trading, and Insurance & Technology. View Full Bio
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