Year in review - 2014

Some of the biggest trends of 2014

I want to expand on Fred Wilson’s (@FredWilson) post so first I’ll pull some points from his blog and then expanded on my own and add a few new points:

1/ The social media phase of the Internet ended. This may have happened a few years ago actually but I felt it strongly this year. Entrepreneurs and developers still build social applications and we still use them but there isn’t much innovation here anymore. The big platforms are mature.

2/ Messaging has taken the place of social media. Families use whatsapp groups instead of facebook, kids use snapchat instead of instagram, etc. Facebook’s acquisition of whatsapp in February of this year was the transaction that defined this trend.

3/ Mobile and messaging platforms have started to impact the enterprise. Slack is the poster boy for this trend in 2014. Another indicator was the launch of BlackBerry Passport.

4/ Windows pushing out the Windows 8.1 update to most of their devices is looking very promising. Android, Windows and Apple are the big three competitors in this space. This year, with the launch of Surface Pro 3 as an excellent laptop replacement, we’re starting to see this trend become more defined in mobile and tablet computing.

5/ Advanced stake-funding platforms like Swarm have emerged to raise capital in a crowdfunding manner but with different benefits to the investors. Crowd-funding is expanding to cryptocurrencies for development projects or other currencies.

6/ Two major splits happened: HP split into two companies, where Hewlett-Packard Enterprise will focus on their server solutions and HP Inc. will go with their personal systems and printing systems. The second one was split of Paypal from Ebay. Will this be the trend for other companies? Maybe. Only time will tell, but staying on top of new frontiers might be a little easier with two companies.

7/ One of the most significant advances to Bitcoin development came in the form of the Sidechains pegging to the blockchain.1

8/ Tim Cook publically announced his orientation and noted that he identifies as gay. Now for the most part I don’t care about Tim’s personal life, but what this announcement represented is huge. His reasons for doing so were as follows2, “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”

9/ Net neutrality debate emerged as a national political issue with Obama’s endorsement of Title II regulation of the last mile of the internet. We saw some incredible discussions on the slow-vs-fast lane and on the FCC’s powers to regulate the Internet. All we know is more changes are coming.3

10/ Cyberwarfare and Cybersecurity was by far the dominant theme ending 2014. The US takedown of North Korea’s internet last week foreshadows what could happen in near future. Chris Dixon (@cdixon) also predicted some of these changes would come about:

  1. Related Bitcoin 2.0 developments can be found here 

  2. Tim Cook’s essay in Bloomberg Businessweek. I highly recommend reading it. 

  3. See this Washington Post article for more details