Business

Last updated: 22 december, 2010 - 16:25 GMT

Here comes 2011

About this programme by Peter Day

'Tis the season to get Mark Anderson on the line and explore with him some of the things he sees happening over the next 12 months.

Mark is an industry commentator based on an island off Seattle on the West Coast who emails a regular report called Strategic News Service to subscribers who are key people in the tech community.

The magazine Fortune once described him as one of the "100 smartest people we know".

At the end of every year, Mark Anderson takes a look ahead at 10 of the key things he thinks will prove to be significant over the coming 12 months, and it's a habit of Global Business to get him into a studio in the USA and tease out just some of the future predictions and look back at some of the ones he made 12 months previously

Last year at this time Mark had some compelling observations about such things as the rise and rise of the telephone as a computer platform and what he thinks was likely "a cloud catastrophe" in 2010 when something awful disrupts the rush to store and process data remotely outside a corporation's own internal network, so-called cloud computing.

Crunch

He didn’t exactly predict the storm over Wikileaks, but he was not far from it. This year he sees security as a very major tech issue. He thinks 2011 is going to be a 'VEVEM' year - very exciting and very messy.

Last year at this time I wrote this about my annual conversation with Mark:

"The USA is a nation which sort of invented itself, so it is not surprising that in American life there is a huge almost religious belief in the onwards and upwards progress of technology and invention; if it gets us into a global mess such as pollution, then high tech innovation can also get us out of it, that’s the assumption.

Mark and I discussed whether this faith in the progress of technology is not slightly misplaced. Maybe we should seek other aims for humanity after the huge disruption caused by the Credit Crunch?

Maybe we should rein in our appetites, be modest about our aspirations, forswear global travel, go local and seasonal in what we wear and eat? Maybe the upwards and upwards assumptions about technology are wrong?"

That feeling has intensified over the course of last year, and it was intensified even more by that article in the magazine Foreign Policy that I mentioned in last week’s Global Business commentary, the one which pointed out that the onwards and upwards optimism common to American technology does not apply to other parts of business activity.

In most walks of life. things are much harder than the tech people assume. And problems are much less resolvable.

I was going to take this up with Mark Anderson at the end of the conversation about 2011, but do you know a glitch got into the system and we had to sign off early? It was a case of technology biting back, I suppose.

Previous updates - November

October

September

  • The media is going through a 'double-mangle' says Peter Day.

  • In San Diego, Peter Day investigates the company that produces WD40's secret formula.

  • Peter Day looks back on a year of the credit crunch with Simon Johnson, former chief economist for the IMF.

  • Peter Day finds out from the experts how to start a bank.

  • Peter Day looks at the great expectations in landlocked Bolivia and its part in the auto revolution.

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