At the end of each year, Street Fight invites staffers, friends, and luminaries from the industry to share their predictions for what’s in store for the coming year. Today, we take a look back at some of the predictions that people had for 2013 to see who nailed it and who missed the boat.
Howard Lerman, CEO, Yext
“We’ll see the launch of more vertically enabled commerce experiences like Uber and ZocDoc. Vertical commerce enables an optimization of both the consumer and business interaction. “
A+: Nail on the head. Uber transformed from a darling of the tech community to a mainstream sensation in 2013, putting $285 million in its pocket at a $3.5 billion valuation. Looking to cash in on the company’s success, a deluge of startups popped up to create on-demand marketplaces for a number of local verticals, ranging from home repair to laundry and housecleaning.
Damian Rollison, VP-product, UBL, and “Streets Ahead” columnist
“It seems inevitable that in 2013 Google will integrate the remaining pieces of the old Google Places into Google+ and solve some of the most egregious issues. Even better would be for it to direct some of the company’s brilliant innovative minds to the common types of businesses for which Google has traditionally provided poor support, such as service-based and multilocation businesses.”
B+: Most in the search industry agree that Google needs to improve its small business products, but the search giant dragged its feet in 2013, says David Mihm, Director of Local Search Strategy at Moz. He told me that he believes the company made substantial strides in terms of adding multi-location and service-based support but says there’s still a lot of improvement to be made in the SMB products, (which he gives a 4 out of 10.)
B: Patch did do “something big” in 2013, but it’s likely not what the team had in mind. Under pressure from management to reach “run-rate” profitability by year’s end, the hyperlocal network underwent a series of reorgs, new hires, quick fires, and high profile PR nightmares that have lead to an apparent “winding down” of the project.
Alistair Goodman, CEO, Placecast
“Apple will commit to growing Passbook into a genuine full-service mobile wallet and will opt for QR code-enabled payments rather than NFC chips, igniting renewed and heated debate about which features ought to be standard on mobile wallets. With retailers rushing to integrate with Passbook’s functionality and an increasing availability of mobile offers, Apple will offer closed-loop marketing for real-world transactions — the ability to deliver a geo-triggered offer near a store, and demonstrate that the offer drove a transaction in a brick-and-mortar store.”
C+: Not quite. It’s still unclear whether Passbook will join Mobile.me in the graveyard of Apple’s failed software projects, but consumer and marketer adoption of the service didn’t catch on as expected in 2013. But there’s still hope. The retail community has rushed to adopt Apple’s new Bluetooth LE protocol, iBeacon, which could solve some of the local connectivity issues that limit its usage.
Rick Robinson, chief product officer at Urgent.ly and “Turf Talk” columnist
“Fledgling entrepreneurs and otherwise enterprising people will take to Craigslist and other platforms to provide a place for consumer wishes to be filled promptly and reliably. No more diving into directories looking for answers. Consumers will send their requests to the marketplace, with the results widespread, as merchants respond with their best price and college students scramble to find you a buyer for your used car.”
C: Still nascent. The reverse marketplace model went backwards in 2013. After raising $14 million to pursue the idea in 2012, Zaarly reversed course in 2013, killing its reverse marketplace in favor of a virtual storefronts model. Meanwhile, the company’s biggest competitor Taskrabbit laid off around 20% of its team as it “realigned” focus toward its enterprise products.
Matt Sokoloff, Publisher/CEO at Bungalower Media
“In 2013, SMBs will begin ditching their websites in favor of Facebook (and Google+). For a lot of SMBs, their social network pages rank higher than their main site’s, and, if they are happy with the level of their social media interaction, many will ditch their main site.”
C: More adding, less ditching. Sure, social media usage among small business owners has skyrocketed over the past two years, increasing from 45% in 2010 to 85% in 2013, according to data from Borrell Associates. But website usage among small business has held its own, increasing from 70% in 2010 to 80%.