Saturday, August 28, 2010

The bets ...

Every now and then I make bets about the future, a gamble on the actions of individual players (which is, as Hayek would explain, a really bad idea).

I thought I'd write down some of the outstanding bets I have, leaving out the counterparty (unless they're ok with it) & how much it is for (which is always a cup of tea). Naturally these are reckless (I like to gamble) and whilst I don't expect to win, I do expect to get the general direction of travel roughly right. The day I win is the day I haven't pushed it far enough and I'll be disappointed.

[2006] : The Open Source Bet.
By the end of 2015, it will be accepted wisdom that open source provides the only viable mechanism of creating competitive markets in the utility computing world. It will dominate this space and be considered the norm.
[LOST. There's a lot of talk about the importance of open source especially in the cloud market and some good examples such as Cloud Foundry, however the case for creating a competitive market is unproven and open source doesn't dominate the space. Heading in the right direction but NO cigar.]

[2006] : The JS Bet.
By the end of 2015, JavaScript will be seen as a rapidly growing enterprise language for developing entire applications, both client and server side.
[LOST. Despite all the chortling, Javascript has gone on to become a massive language with client and server side components built with this using numerous frameworks. However, I don't think we can say unequivocally that it has become a rapidly growing enterprise language. Heading in the right direction but NO cigar.]

[2007] : The Broker Bet.
By the end of 2013, we will see adverts for computer resource brokers.
[LOST. Alas it looks like it will be end of 2014 / 2015Heading in the right direction but NO cigar.]

[2008] : The Three Step Bet.
By the end of 2013, Oracle would have bought Sun in order to get into the cloud space, RedHat would have bought Novell and Microsoft will have bought Canonical.
[LOST. Oracle did buy Sun but then RedHat waivered on Novell and without which the triggers for MSFT / Canonical were less likely to happen in the timeframe. NO cigar!]

[2009] : The Escape Button Bet.
By the end of 2014, VMWare will have divided into two companies, one focused on existing virtualisation technology (IaaS Group) and the other focused on PaaS technology. The IaaS group will have been sold off to another company.
[LOST. VMware did build an open source platform play called CloudFoundry and it was this that EMC spun off into a company called Pivotal. However, EMC did not jettison the virtualisation business despite rumours. Heading in the right direction but NO cigar!]

[2010] : The Rackspace Bet.
By Aug 2013, Rackspace will be providing EC2/S3 APIs alongside its own.
[LOST to +James Watters. James argued the team at Rackspace were culturally against such adoption. He was right, I was wrong. Even if by 2016 Rackspace is all over Amazon, NO cigar!]

Added Friday 25th March 2011
Rather than creating new lists, I thought I'd extend this list.

[2011] : The Apple Bet (@GeorgeReese & @mthiele10)
By the end of 2017, Apple will have or will be in the process of filing for protection under chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.
[LOST. This was based upon the assumption that Steve Jobs was still in charge and continued a focus on innovative leadership. However, Cook took over and has done a marvellous job in rebalancing the ship. Oh, do I think that AAPL is out of trouble ... not yet ... but Cook has added many years to that company. We're not there yet but this bet is lost. NO cigar!]

Added Friday 30th July 2012
[2012] : The Public Public bet (@lmacvittie)
By the end of 2016 the common view (as in held more often than alternatives) will be that the future is hybrid as in public / public and that private cloud will be seen as niche.
[LOST. Depends upon which circles you walk in but there's enough marketing / vested interests and inertia that there's still a cacophony of hybrid as in public + private. We're close to the tipping point of people waking up not quite there yet. So, NO cigar!]

[2012] : The "Who's the Daddy" bet
The first $1 trillion market share company will be Amazon.
[Hmmm, sadly it looks like I might actually win this one. Obviously didn't push it far enough.]

[2012] The Inertia bet (@jeffsussna)
By mid 2014, a competitive market based around an open source technology which contains at least four IaaS providers (each with >100K servers) that have initiated a price war with AMZN will exist or by 2020 IBM, HP and Dell's server infrastructure business will be in severe decline verging on collapse (unless they have previously exited those businesses).
[Well, the competitive market didn't appear - so we will have to wait until 2020 to see the result]

Added Friday 6th August 2012
[2012] The Modified VMWare Bet (@botchagalupe)
By the end of Feb 2014, VMWare will have :-
1) Acquired Basho or an equivalent company providing distributed storage capabilities to Riak CS
2) Launched an open source IaaS offering.
[LOST to +John Willis. Well VMWare did acquire Virsto and has adopted a closer relationship to OpenStack providing support for it. Heading in the right direction but NO cigar!]

Added Monday 15th October 2012
[2012] The Amazon Two Factor Market Bet (@jeffsussna)
If GCE (Google Compute Engine) launches at scale with success then by end of 2015 Amazon's AWS consoles will have extended to enable you to control your GCE environment.
[LOST to @JeffSussna. AWS didn't launch a console for this but then it is also arguable that Google hasn't launched at either the scale or success that might warrant it. Still, NO cigar. Jeff wins.]

Added 6th May 2013
[2013] AWS Revenue Bet (@geoffarnold)
By end of 2017, AWS revenue will exceed 50% of 2011 worldwide server revenue [approx. $26Bn]

Added Friday 19th July 2013
[2013] The Dead Duck Bet (@cloudbzz, @EdLeafe, @kylemacdonald)
By end of July 2016, either OpenStack will be flourishing through provision of a massive market of AWS clones or the project and its differentiate from Amazon strategy will be widely seen as a dead duck. 

For clarification:-
1. AWS clone does not mean that all AWS services are provided but instead the market is focused solely on providing as many AWS compatible services as possible. The differentiation strategy will have been abandoned or the project will fail.

2. The counter bet is that OpenStack won't be a dead duck nor will there be a massive market of AWS clones built on OpenStack. In this circumstance, the differentiation strategy of OpenStack will be seen as successful.

[LOST to @cloudbzz, @EdLeafe, @kylemacdonald. Well the flourishing market of AWS clones didn't get off the ground and OpenStack pretty much gave up the public space and headed to the private market to compete with VMware, which also adopted OpenStack. Amazon naturally is setting the market ablaze and whilst "OpenStack continues to struggle in its attempts to broaden appeal beyond core customers among service providers and telcos" it has enough supporters along with niches in Telco and projects such as the EC Horizon effort aka Anything but Amazon - that we can't describe it as being widely seen as a dead duck. Certainly in some quarters. We'll just have to wait a few more years. Still, NO cigar!]

Added Monday 9th September 2013
[2013] The Highly Aggressive Smart Phone and Tablet Collapse Bet
(@reverendted, @pwaring )
By the end of 2016, numerous press articles will have proclaimed the future death of smart phones and tablets.  By the end of 2018 both categories will be widely viewed as 'dead markets' and expected to become rapidly niche by end of 2021. NB. The original dates were 2018, 2020 and 2025 respectfully but in this case I took a hyper aggressive stance rather than my normal reckless.

[2013] The It's Alive! Bet (@crankypotato)
By the end of 2023, research labs will have an entirely biological clock including display with no mechanical or electronic components.

Added Saturday 13th September 2014
[2014]  The "I'm not allowed to drive here anymore" Bet (@h_ingo and @lhochstein)
By end of 2030, at least one city with a population in excess of 1 million will have outlawed people driving cars.

[2014]  The "Silicon Valley isn't what it used to be!" Bet (@quentynblog)
By end of 2030, Silicon Valley will not be commonly ranked in the top 5 most innovative places in the world.

[2014] The Amazon doesn't lose Bet (@littleidea)
By end of 2025, then neither MSFT nor Google will have wiped out AMZN which will remain a dominant player in cloud infrastructure. 'Wiped out' will mean less than 15% of market share by use. 'Dominant' will mean in the top 2 of public infrastructure providers by use.

For clarification
* 15% then I buy the tea
* Still in the top 2, then @littleidea buys the tea
* 15% but out of top 2 then we just hang out drinking tea

[2014] The Disruption Bet (@crankypotato)
By end of 2030, the period 2025 to 2030 will be commonly considered (by the general press, population and business press) as far more 'disruptive' than the period 2010 to 2020.

[2014] The Big Data's gone horribly wrong Bet [@thinkinnovation]
By end of 2023, Big Data will have experienced its first casualties with more than Five Big Data (product) vendors having gone bust or sold in a fire sale. For clarification, the vendor must be a well known name to experts in the field in 2014.

[2014] The IoT didn't save us Bet [@ZakKissel]
By end of 2030, many of today's large Tech company leaders in IoT will be reported (in the common tech press) as facing severe disruption by new entrants. For clarification. Many will be four or more company names associated as tech leaders in the field in 2014. Large will mean greater than 5,000 employees.

[2015] The Warren Buffet Bet[@jstodgill]
By the end of 2030, Warren Buffet will have made a small fortune from printed electronics. Key metrics will be that Warren Buffet will have a) invested in printed electronics b) made a 10x return.

Added 3rd July 2015
[2015] The "I blew the company but still got paid millions, it was the staff wot dunnit" executive sweepstake.
By the end of 2025, how many of these companies will survive as stand-alone entities? For clarification, being acquired does not count as surviving nor does merging with another. The candidate companies are - Cisco, IBM, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, Dell, NetApp, VMware, Amazon and RedHat

0 survive - @frabcus
1 survive - @rorti33
2 survive - @zeruch
3 survive - me (@swardley)
4 survive - @sddc_steve 
5 survive - @saulcozens  
6 survive - @WorkingHardInIT
7 survive - @rbramley (would prefer 6 but that was taken).
8 survive - @codebeard (for a laugh, though he'd rather have a lower number).
9 survive - @yoz (though he'd rather have 7)
10 or 11 survive  - alas, no-one was willing to take this. Rather telling.

To be honest there was much nashing of teeth that the lower numbers had gone and so the high numbers bets are more gestures of sporting behaviour. The usual bet, I'll buy a cup of tea for the winner next time I see them.

On a general note, everyone expects some - if not a a significant number of these companies to be gone by 2025. So, if you're into collectables ... do remember this. There might be some useful freebies at events that you can hold onto for 40 years or so as reminders of past greatness.

Added 25th August 2015

[2015] The "We succeeded by changing the definition" bet. [@WorkingHardInIT] 
By end 2020 Gartner will state that :-
1) hybrid means public plus public cloud consumption i.e. not just public plus own hosted (i.e. private) environments.
2) bimodal means three (or more) groups, not two.

[2015] The I had to up the risk factor (i.e. drop from 10%) until someone accepted - "OpenStack is sooooo niche" bet. [@Vecchi_Paolo]
By the end of 2020, the total revenue from product, direct licensing and service provider sales (excluding general hardware) of the entire OpenStack ecosystem will be less than 1% of the revenue generated by AWS.

To be frank, I expect that OpenStack will make a reasonable sum of money in the network equipment vendors space ... however, it's only a cup of tea. Still can't believe I had to drop from 10% to 1% of AWS revenue to get any takers. Not exactly a great deal of confidence out there.

Added 8th December 2016

[2016] The somewhat extreme mode "Hey, just what happened to Uber?" bet [@CloudOpinion, @GeorgeReese]
By the end of 2024, Didi Chuxing will dominate the US self driving taxi market.
Had to reduce from 2025 before anyone would happily take it.

[2016] The extreme mode "your entire company runs on Lambda?" bet [@davidajbagley, @jmwiersma, @LarryLarmeu]
By end of 2021, a $5Bn revenue company will announce it is running entirely on AWS lambda.
Had to reduce the date from 2024 all the way to 2021 before anyone would take it.

[2016] The somewhat extreme "What's an FPGA?" bet [@bmkatz]
By the end of 2023, a modular FPGA based device will dominate the mobile market.
Original had a target of 2025 but hey ... extreme is extreme.