Why should the smart people have all the fun with year-end predictions? You can issue your own! At this time of year, even hopeless nitwits can seem smart.
Once you set up a blog — any free service will do — all you have to do is throw together your trends. Keep these easy-to-use techniques in mind.
• Re-use last year’s trends. Does anyone really believe that 2010’s trends sat down in December for a cosmo and never stood up again? You can safely predict that this year’s trends will be next year’s, too.
• Search in Google for your industry’s name and “trends.” Take notes, rewrite a little bit and, boom, you’re an expert.
• Water the evergreens. For 2009, someone predicted, “Data interpretation will become a significant challenge for new BI users.” Will become? Can you imagine fewer business people having trouble interpreting data no matter what year it is?
• Follow in the draft of top vendors. Competition cyclists know that the easiest place to ride is just inches behind another rider. See where Oracle, IBM say they’re going and point in that direction. If a gang of marketing departments push an idea, it’s guaranteed to find at least a few new customers.
• Quantifying is risky but, done cleverly, it adds credibility. Just make sure your numbers can’t be verified. One clever expert sees 15 chiefs of analytics being hired in 2011. Bingo! The mere presence of a number, any number, gives the feel of certainty. Even if someone wanted to count, how would they do it?
• It’s good to be vague, but better to be incomprehensible. Suppose your crystal ball shows video becoming a big deal in 2011 (as if it weren’t already). Don’t just write “video,” as one hapless analyst did. Instead, pile on enough mumbo jumbo to let readers feel smart for having understood anything at all. Those who’ve tried to read 50 or 100 words will tweet about your “great” predictions.
• Aim for the horizon. Don’t let yourself be bound by others’ definition of “year.” If your vision fails to come true in 2011, you’re just that much further ahead of your time.
Above all, you must enter to win. After the first weeks of January, normal standards set in. If you feel like a fraud, remember that last week’s predictions are like last night’s eggnog. All people remember is the party, and all your readers will remember is your name.