What Does (Local) Innovation Look Like in 2019? An Open Question

Following reports of downgraded revenue estimates for Q1 from Apple on Thursday, Kara Swisher asked in the New York Times if we are witnessing “the End of the Age of Apple.” It’s a question about much more than the iPhone maker, prompting us to consider what innovation looks like these days at a time when the tech industry as a whole is inspiring less than buoyant attitudes among the general public.

Etymologically, innovation refers to the introduction of something new. And that, in a nutshell, is the promise of Silicon Valley, much like what is widely considered the best of the American spirit itself: to forge new paths through the unknown, to figure out what’s needed before most people know they need it, to devise ways of doing tasks big and small that make everyday life more convenient, entertaining, informative, even safer.

If 2018 proved to be the year the pernicious underside to tech’s special brand of Manifest Destiny collectively smacked us in the face, 2019 will (should?) be the year tech leaders pick up the pieces, getting out ahead of privacy concerns and regulation, offering a better deal on data to the public whose trust they stand to regain, and figuring out how to grapple with long-term corporate issues like doing business in censored lands and fostering cultures supportive of women and people of color.

Where does innovation lie in this giant act of clean up? More specifically, what will innovation look like going forward in local marketing and retail? How will it at once address the unignorable concerns about privacy and transparency that have reached a fever pitch of late and stay true to the best of the Silicon Valley spirit, namely, introduce something both novel and necessary? How do local innovators move fast without breaking things? Is that possible?

We at Street Fight want to hear from you, our readers, about the innovation you’re excited about in local in 2019 and your concerns about business practices in the industry in the months to come. Drop me a line with your predictions, concerns, and hopes for Local in 2019 at jzappa@streetfightmag.com. I may add them to the piece or write a follow-up.

Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor.

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Follow him on Twitter @joe_zappa, and shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.
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