2022 — Social, Search & a dash (crash?) of Crypto
If I had to place my bets around most-likely-to-be-disrupted in 2022 I’d put my money on search and social. With dash (crash?) of crypto.
Google owns over 91% of the global search market and anytime you have a single player in such a dominant space you have to think it’s ripe for disruption. Not only that, Google search results suck. Have you all noticed the number of sponsored search results creeping up (or down the page)? Have you noticed that any of the non-Ad results are almost always some kind of click-baited, SEO’d article about something VERY close to what you want to know about but a little too explanatory and not to the point?
I’d love to be able to search by expertise or across the results from users in my social graph (more on that in a bit). I’d love to be able to search for a recipe based on the types of food or influencers I follow and get results accordingly. The data is all there, it just isn’t economical (yet) to provide that functionality.
And have you noticed that no one has innovated on the concept of a bookmark in ages? I LOVE bookmarks and my browsing history and think there are some great products that could come from it to help me remember the things I’ve seen and better categorize them. Google certainly doesn’t want to see bookmark innovations; it takes away from their paid search ad revenue.
Anybody remember when Hotmail was around it was like all the rage to have a Hotmail account and then nobody could figure out how they were going to monetize it? Then BAM! You could get a whopping 5MB of storage as a paid add-on. Game changer.
Until Google came along and gave everybody 1GB of free email storage. Wowzers. Hotmail monetized too early.
While social certainly isn’t the same, it feels like the way social is being monetized is a little short-sighted. Attention and advertising go hand-in-hand and then juicing the algorithms to increase attention inevitably increases revenue from ads. I get it. But are we able to do anything with our social graph that is really interesting? Not right now.
An example I come back to time-and-again is around my LinkedIn social graph. LinkedIn isn’t a professional social networking platform. It’s a professional influencer platform. Nobody has a LinkedIn account because they want one. You do it because you have to. LinkedIn monetizes through ads and job boards as you’d expect.
But I want to use my LinkedIn social graph to manage my professional network over time. I want to see my connections through a lens of time, experience and current endeavors. Who do I know that is doing crypto now? I’m headed to Dallas next week, who should I reconnect with there? Who should I meet because the network graph math says we’d be an interesting match even if we aren’t connected?
The same idea could be applied to Facebook (sorry FB, you’re never going to be Meta to me). I’d like to see reviews for products or comments on articles according to my social graph. I want to be able to leverage my social graph to do more interesting things than try to incite likes or clicks. Again, the data is there.
Social graph pollution is a real thing. The attention platforms will always be all about it but what if I want a more curated experience? I could see interesting products around automated curation for my social graph that helps me surface insights across a range of potential uses. I’d even pay for it.
I love the idea of crypto and I think it’s inevitable in the next decade. Will I walk into a 7-Eleven and buy a Slurpie with Bitcoin? I doubt it. Will I be leveraging applications that use the blockchain for a bunch of things? You bet.
That said, I’m convinced that crypto will be the thing that triggers our next crash. A downturn is inevitable and it is usually triggered by something ridiculous. 20 years ago it was the Dot Com boom speculation. 10 years ago it was the real estate speculation and obtuse financial instruments. In the next couple of years it will be crypto.
In the long run, tech and real estate recovered and were even more robust. Same will happen with crypto but not without some serious pain.
Happy New Year everyone! Here is to a really interesting 2022. :-)