01 Dec 2013
14 for '14
HBS alumni weigh in on what to watch for in the coming yearTopics:
"A new push for college athletes to (finally) be paid will gain strength; the NBA will win the broadcasting rights lottery, securing new deals with at least two networks; and the only time A-Rod wears a Yankee uniform next year will be if he decides to dress as a Yankee for Halloween."
—James Andrew Miller (MBA 1988), writer and coauthor, Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN
"We will see more investment in the tech-enabled food space. Many investors and entrepreneurs were scared away from food after the infamous implosions of Web 1.0. But food is one of the biggest industries on the planet, and the tech that supports it hasn't changed in 30 years. Stay tuned for big innovation."
—Nick Taranto (MPA/MBA 2010), cofounder, Plated
"History—with the recent exception of 1998—suggests that midterm elections during a president's second term can be brutal for the incumbent's party. But voters have never been so disgusted with Washington. How are they going to vent that frustration? Will they make one side pay, or everyone?"
—Karen Tumulty (MBA 1981), national political correspondent, Washington Post
"Watch for these three things: the Central African Republic to replace Mali and Somalia as Africa's worst hot spot; the 2016 US presidential race will begin to hog the news and quickly annoy you; and I'll be lost somewhere in the sands of central Africa wishing I was in a Jacuzzi in Shad."
—Francis Tapon (MBA 1997), author detailing his current four-year journey through all 54 African countries at Africa54.com
"Consumers will acquire a greater appreciation of targeted, personal marketing. A growing number of advertisers will embrace online marketing technologies and deliver richer, more relevant brand experiences and services at scale, from the smartphone to the desktop to interactive TV."
—Bob Lord (MBA 1990), CEO, AOL Networks
"Cloud storage will become more specialized (versus generic services like Dropbox). I think we'll begin to see more cloud storage offerings from companies that know specific file formats and that do something special with the stuff you're storing."
—Scott Belsky (MBA 2008), cofounder and head, Behance; VP of products & community, Adobe
"In the fashion space, 2014 will be about personalization. Much like in other industries, fashion lovers want to be able to put their stamp on the things they buy. Trend-wise for spring: varsity meets Vogue with ensembles that combine ultrafeminine florals with sportier separates. So dust off your crimson sweatshirt, pair it with a pretty print, and you'll be runway ready."
—Aslaug Magnúsdóttir (MBA 2000), founder, Moda Operandi
"In 2013, the most graduating HBS MBAs since the bubble year of 2000 took jobs in the tech and telecom industries, while the fewest since 2003 (the beginning of a four-year bull market) went to Wall Street and related fields. So, ever the contrarian, the Harvard MBA Indicator is bullish on stocks for 2014 but bearish on the tech sector. If (only if) that turns out to be right, you read it here!"
—Ray Soifer (MBA 1965), chairman, Soifer Consulting
"The Twitter IPO is a sign of the maturation of the social media world. Thanks to superior consumer data, expect social platforms to grab media dollars from TV budgets and to drive e-commerce sales. Facebook continues to grow but look for Google to get more aggressive by leveraging YouTube and Google+."
—Walter Delph (MBA 2003), CEO of the social advertising company Adly
"The endless choice of the 'long tail' is filling listeners with a sense of clutter and boredom. Highly produced, ear-catching pop music feels refreshing in this environment, so look for a small number of top acts, driven by big-budget YouTube videos, to rise ever higher above the fray."
—John Piscitello (MBA 1998), film composer, No Place On Earth and The Short Game
"Watch out for Republicans who would have Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower—maybe even Ronald Reagan—rolling in their graves as they nix investment in infrastructure, install a climate change denier to chair the House subcommittee on climate change, and try to make it harder for young people and poor people to vote."
—Andrew Tobias (MBA 1972), journalist, author, and treasurer of the Democratic National Committee
"Policy in Washington will run on inertia with partisan gridlock blocking any change in direction. But in the 50 states there are 25 with a GOP governor, house, and senate (population 165 million), and 13 with complete Democrat control (population 81 million). There, united governance will see 25 states drift rightward and 13 drift leftward. We will see what works. A controlled experiment in governance."
—Grover Norquist (MBA 1981), president, Americans for Tax Reform
"TV networks and streaming providers will experiment more with 'weekly installments' versus 'available all at once' models to figure out what actually draws the most viewers and revenue (as opposed to just drawing buzz). And everyone in the entertainment industry will keep trying to understand how to best leverage social media—or control it when fans' and critics' reactions aren't positive."
—Erika Olson (MBA 2003), author and film critic
"The breakup of nations continues: The economic crisis and the concentration of the knowledge economy in a few cities creates enormous incentives for regions to cast off. They begin by demanding ever-greater control over their taxes and national accounts. Then they seek autonomy. Eventually they seek independence as powerful and rich city-states."
—Juan Enriquez (MBA 1986), managing director, Excel Venture Management
What do you think? Make your predictions in the comments in the "Post a Comment" box below.
Class of MBA 1988, Section A
Class of MBA 2010, Section C
Class of MBA 1981, Section F
Class of MBA 1997, Section I
Class of MBA 1990, Section H
Class of MBA 2008, Section I
Class of MBA 2000, Section B
Class of MBA 1965, Section F
Class of MBA 2003, Section H
Class of MBA 1998, Section K
Class of MBA 1972, Section J
Class of MBA 1981, Section B
Class of MBA 2003, Section A
Class of MBA 1986, Section B