I've not posted for a short while, so I thought I'd start with a round-up on how I did with last year's predictions before providing some more cowardly custard predictions for 2011.
I thought that 2010 was a bad year for me in the prediction stakes because I hit a 50% rate. However, on reflection this doesn't seem to be the case. The issue with prediction is uncertainty and value i.e the level of detail and non-obviousness within the prediction. It is trivially easy to define a broad set of predictions on well established trends that means you're almost always 100% right but then they're not much use.
Taking the case of specificity, a prediction of a single number coming up in any of the 52 weeks of the lottery is very high whereas the odds of predicting what the entire set of lottery numbers are on a specific week is very low. Equally, predicting continuation of an established and understood trend (e.g. "I predict the sun will come up tomorrow") is of little value. Not all predictions are equal.
So how do you strike the balance? Each year, I've upped the stakes on both the specificity and non-obviousness of the predictions hence increasing the probability of failure. However in doing so I've failed to understand that the target should not be to achieve 100% success but instead 50% as an optimal goal i.e. a level of specificity and non-obviousness that means you're entirely right half the time. The future is uncertain and predictions should reflect this otherwise we're not pushing the prediction hard enough.
With that said, here's how I did :-
- The number of mergers & acquisitions in the cloud computing and open source industries will reach fever pitch, surpassing previous years: Well, that happened. It was a fairly insane ride in the world of M&A from Novell, 3Tera, CloudKick, Makara to Heroku and a host of others. Score:1
- The first examples of people trading on variability in cloud infrastructure prices and the early formation of brokerage concepts will appear: Whilst examples of brokerage concepts appeared, companies started to use reserved, spot and on-demand instances to reduce costs and we even had announcements regarding spot markets, there were no clear examples of people publicly trading on variability. Score: 0
- There will be no let-up in end user confusion surrounding cloud computing: Whether it's surveys of Canadian Executives or Technology Resellers, confusion over cloud continues unabated. Score: 1
- Despite many predicting the death of the book, paperbacks will have a surprisingly good year: Despite the doomsayers and the rise of kindle, published figures show that paperbacks have held up remarkably well with only modest declines in volume. Score: 1
- RPI in the UK will rise sharply and the FTSE 100 will drop below 3,000 during the year. Judging on past performance, the MPC will keep interest rates low because they're barking mad: Whilst RPI rose sharply and the MPC held interest rates level, the double dip has been somewhat delayed by financial engineering. So, whilst I still hold to this prediction, any major drop has been delayed until 2011. Score: 0.
- Under howls of protest, banks will be given more taxpayers cash. This will be despite being bailed out, given free cash through quantitative easing and then splashing lots of dosh on bonuses: Well, we have the bonuses, healthy rounds of free cash aka quantitative easing courtesy of the USA but with no double dip and the bail-out of the credit default swap bonanza that was building around sovereign debt, any effect has been delayed until next year. Score: 0
- House prices will continue to drop in the UK: Using the same metrics as last year, house prices in the UK (except in London) have dropped. Certainly, the lack of the double dip has kept prices higher. Score: 1
- Summer ice disappearance exceeding the worst predictions of current climate models: Artic summer sea ice volume was 4,000 km^3, by far the worst figure on record. Score: 1
- There will be legal attempts to claim and quantify ownership of social networks as company IP: Actually, this had already happened before the prediction was made, so that has to be a score : 0 for not checking properly.
- The new Doctor Who will be pants and the attempts to spice it up and make it more gritty will look rather sad: Whilst the attempts to spice up and make Dr Who a bit more gritty are public record, I have to say that Matt Smith is excellent in the role. Score: 0
Overall, 5/10. I had originally though this was a "could do better" score instead I realise that this is exactly what I should aiming for.