Personal and Professional Resolutions for 2009

Godley Head, Christchurch

2009 is going to be a rough year

The time between the end of 2008 through the beginning of 2009 is an artificial boundary. Just because the moon enters a new cycle, and scientists have added an extra second to time, does not automatically mean all is going to be well.

Unprecedented change is coming to all levels of the system in which we live and work in the coming 12 months. Driven by the global financial crisis, global warming, and a dramatic change to the US Presidency; the mechanisms of the financial industry, more background levels of political unrest, China growth wobbles. The list goes on. The world is going to change, and not just because President Obama wishes it so.

Never a borrower nor a lender be

Festering in Wall Street for many months, it began with the Lehman Bros collapse. 30 other banks were either nationalised or went bankrupt within weeks. The stable post-war banking system has failed. (note: Hedge funds started in 1949, more information on the current credit crisis)

Hedge funds and other financial engineers discounted risk, and found that what the market giveth, and the market also taketh away. With the withdrawal of easy credit in the market, consumer and corporate spending has slowed significantly.

There are issues with the government bailouts and buy outs: the profits over the last 10 years has accrued to the few, whilst the losses have been socialised to the taxpayer. The only upside is if the large bailouts increases the velocity of money, and churns in positive ways within the economy. Giving credit to the non-creditworthy is not sustainable.

Easy credit, once the oil of business and the way consumers lived up to lives they expected, has disappeared. Using credit, either obtained from credit cards or housing refinancing: cashing out the perceived value of a property; is spending money from the future. A small scale personal ponzi scheme that only works if the future is bright.

However, the future is not always bright. Perceived value is at the whim of the markets.

There is no global upside until 2010 at the earliest. Sadly, 2009 is not going to be magically brighter than 2008. And Access Economics has stated that Australia is likely to experience a recession in 2009.

Crisis as a Catalyst

Why all the rhetoric and pessermism above? Where is the optimism? What about the future? The world has survived these bad economic times before!

Firstly: Lower free consumer cash via easy credit equals less spending results in reduced corporate revenue.

As the corporate reporting season starts in mid January through to mid March, the full corporate impact and cost of the crisis will be revealed.

The reduction in corporate revenues, and therefore expenditures will demand dramatic changes; business as usual will not be sustainable. The status quo cannot be supported. Now is the time to trot out the sacred cows and to ask: do we continue to feed this cow, or eat it now?

With a recession, the revenue doesn’t magically stop; finding it becomes more difficult. Good managers should and will reevaluate every dollar spent.

My IT Industry Predictions

For 2009, there is one thematic word: Austerity

  1. Online Social Networking will break out of walled gardens of sites and appear in desktop apps and on web sites. Some of these placements will be surprising.
  2. Weaving into social graphs will become the new search engine optimisation
  3. Operating Expenses Squeeze: Less corporate travel, more virtual meetings: video conferencing, shared whiteboards, use of social tools.
  4. Any product/service that cuts costs will succeed in the mainstream: Netbooks, IPTV, VoIP, small cars. All premium brands and premium product lines will survive in the face revenue challenges.
  5. Clouds on the horizon can sometimes have a digital lining. Based on the needs of the above four drivers, apps that live online and can mash together in a scalable way will succeed.
  6. The future is dynamic. Platforms that will succeed in 2009 will be based on two languages: Ruby (Rails, Merb and others) and Javascript (Larger, more complex apps as performance increases).
  7. The semantic web will slowly emerge. Before the full RDF revolution comes the evolution of microformats, but there needs to be more and better tooling across all vendors.
  8. From the ashes of 2008/9 will emerge the next large, profitable success story. Calling who this success is will be a sport amongst pundits through 2009. Twitter is my call. They may get purchased or develop a revenue model.

Personal Strategies for 2009

So, from these observations, what does it mean me personally?

  1. Follow the Social
  2. There will be a little less travel; countered by a little more time in the office.
  3. Cloud is the future. Look for the digital lining
  4. Dynamic (and functional) language-based platforms made on the changes the development game

Calendar year 2008 is a mere road bump that is the year ahead called 2009. Buckle up, and hang on.