Battelle's '08 Predictions: How'd He Do?

Boing Boing partner and Federated Media founder John Battelle publishes a list of predictions every new year -- and at the end of that year (like, as in now) he revisits them, to see how he did. In short, he was pretty spot-on for 2008. His year-in-review posts are fascinating and insightful, and he's frank about even the parts that missed the mark. Snip:

Reading over my predictions for 2008, I was struck with one thing: It wasn't a list. It was more of a narrative, making decoding how I did that much more difficult. After the narrative, I focused on the biggies - Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL, and Newscorp/FIM. I'll have to keep that in mind when I post my predictions for 2009 on Jan 1 next year.
Excerpts from a few of the company-specific predictions, reviewed:
1. 2008 will be the year Wall Street gets frustrated with Google. Sometimes, a picture says it best [ Image above, at top of post - XJ ]. It's clear the bloom came off the Google Wall St. rose in 2008.

2. Google will continue to struggle with its display advertising business, at least as it is traditionally understood, in part due to a culture conflict between its engineering-based roots and the thousands of media-saavy sales and marketing folks the company has hired in the past two years
I think this clearly occurred (note Armstrong's acknowledgement of this issue here, Comscore noted that Google had just 1.5% of the display market by June), but with the appointment of David Rosenblatt as President, Display, I expect the conflict to be resolved, at least temporarily. I do not believe, however, that this issue is anywhere near off the table. To do display right, you have to act like a publisher.

1. Yahoo, meanwhile, will spend most of 2008 trying to figure out what to do with what it bought in 2007, and attempting to articulate a strategy that is anything but "we have 500 million users, so we must be important." By mid year, it will have succeeded.
Well, I was right about the first part, and very, very wrong about the second. I guess I was just too optimistic that Yahoo would get its shit together by mid year. Both the bear hug that was the lost Microsoft deal, and then the goat rodeo that was the lost Google deal, killed any clarity at Yahoo. But I do believe there is a comeback story to be written there. It just won't be Jerry writing it.

Predictions 08: How Did I Do? (Battellemedia)


  1. I dunno, it’s not too impressive to claim that “Microsoft will fail to gain much traction in anything that is Web related.”

  2. Agreed, while my Google was at one time worth seven times what I paid for it, it is now “only” worth three times what I paid for it. I have time.

  3. This really sounds like someone trying to argue that his predictions were true, rather than looking at them objectively. Things like “All the anecdotes I’ve heard about the company in the past year … point to this conclusion” really don’t make for justification of statements like “he was pretty spot-on.” Many of the questions involve him arguing that he was correct by picking and choosing parts of individual predictions that were correct while ignoring or discounting parts that were not.

    By my count, it seems as though about seven of the predictions were reasonably correct, out of 21.

  4. Does the decline in Google’s share price really make it clear that investor’s are frustrated with Google? I assume investors have also discounted Google’s value based on their outlook for the overall economy.

  5. Looking at the list, some of these predictions look a lot like “there will be conflict in the Middle East” type things.

  6. I’ve seen my share of corporate warriors. John Battelle is a corporate wizard.

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