Review of KPCB’s 2017 Internet & Tech Trends
Sean Everett

Just a Few Comments from my Notes

I know you won’t mind; but there was lots to think on

p9: adults now spend nearly a full working day interacting with tech and digital media in the US. So, you’ve got your work job and now you’ve got your fun job.

What’s crazy is that even though it’s the case of consistent digital interaction, the framing of behaviors and infrastructure of organizations and law don’t yet permit purely digital interactions except in a few spaces.

p27: I’ve never been a fan of interactive or dynamic ads. It makes the user do two things they hate: 1) sit through another damn ad, and 2) you’re not going to make me interact with it?! Oy, the best ad doesn’t look, feel, taste, or sound like an ad. It’s compelling content.

The best ads don’t feel like an ad. It might have been written by many, but still serves as the best rule for this space.

p35: future ads are going to be pics instead of text. Humans process pics way faster. Pinterest and Snap might have an opportunity against the Googs here, but the search habit is so embedded in the human populace that now it’s part of the web browser URL bar. Snap nor Pinterest has that level of OS access.

I wouldn’t have written much of anything about these points but then I read this. Amazon’s visual search is something that seems like a plaything, but leads into how the transition to visual search comes. Snap and Pinterest have the problem of not owning enough of the perspective to be a source of answers yet. The hardware piece they don’t control, and the value of their networks are the value of whom you are connected to. Facebook mostly solved this, but they can’t pivot away from a primarily text-stream (Instagram could though).

p39: retail and brands. It’s not about just showing your product in context anymore. We believe it’s about creating an experience around your product that customers want to come for… is how you reach adults with kids and no free time. It ain’t rocket science, it’s just execution.

Not just creating an experience, but showing the value of the experience being better when the consumer/user is a part of the story. For both ends, it’s basically a old ad law being made anew.

p44: AR is going to be interesting. Yet to be seen how pervasive it will become from a visual perspective until we have the glasses that don’t look like cell phones strapped to our heads. Or as I call them, “Noggin Boxes”.

Glasses will be one entry point, automotive applications will be the spill-over. Possible that the concept of a workstation has something to say here also. But AR will cause another uneasy shift… with AR, the idea of presence will uncouple some behaviors from their seats. It will cause un-imagined benefits and consequences.

p45: AI Assistants, to me, are the promise of truly invisible software. Many have talked about it, but you can’t just say what you want and have it work right all the time, as well people are very uncomfortable talking to a machine in public. It just feels weird. No amount of NLP or AI is going to change human behavior. It’s going to have to jump the shark in favor of neural laces where I think it and it happens.


p53: customer support survey where people tell you what they want. I’ve got a better solution. Make your product and service so great that it makes support obsolete. I know, easier said than done, but it’s a goal that means your business is around forever.

This is literally my main and only measure of a product that I care about. If you need to evaluate the customer service, then it’s not befitting this customer. Marketing has done a great job convincing folks otherwise, but I wonder if companies who really understand long-term profitability will run after this metric.

p99: Twitch ain’t goin nowhere. Level that up with Minecraft and then add in some cryptocurrency where it becomes your job and watch a new economy blossom in a digital universe completely outside the confines of governmental taxation, which means you get to keep 33% more of that money you spent time making.

Pay attention to those using the metrics from Twitch and other gaming spaces and turning that into KPIs for hiring managers and recruiters. Gameplay depth and versatility as a metric — more than a new economy, it’s literally a transaction agent to be or have an ability to play games.

p120: tech and sports has been talked about for decades but there hasn’t really been a breakthrough killer product that everyone swears by. Maybe the bracelet / watch that tracks steps but that’s pretty low-grade in terms of information density.

The stopwatch and the finishing tape 😉

p123: state of the art for sports platforms is just analytics dashboards with some gamification added on top. But does that really increase your performance?

No. State of the art is doing personalized recovery metrics. Getting the food data is hard since it literally requires knowing how each body turns food into a calorie. Once that’s able to be grasped (scan food and mesh to known individual burn rates), then you get to improve health end. Right now, that takes a personal trainer, decent spreadsheets, and a nutritionist. We are a bit further from this end, unless wearables become devices which can also track injestables.

p150: do trends in gaming predict future product around all of tech, much like porn used to in the video production space?

Yup. Already has shaped automotive concepts and testing. Wouldn’t be surprised if IKEA and similar have been using gaming spaces to improve everything from retail engagement to product design also.

p165: it’s YouTube vs Facebook. The former gets longer form, the latter shorter form.

The battle between the videos you are curated to see versus the ones your network shares for you to see. Fun… and more or less another demonstration of what’s happened in the commons.

p176: the goal is a personalized linear channel. You tune into one TV station, let it play all day every day, and it’s filled with everything you want when you want it. Social videos, educational stuff, movies, TV, etc.

Yup, yup. And yup.

p182: security is a big deal, and as cyber becomes ever more important in the global economy (i.e., digital transformation), expect some big exits in this space due to the sheer need to protect not just information, but money.

It’s not the companies which exit I’m thinking of, it’s the countries.

p195: China has nearly 4x the number of people of America with an economy and excess cash flow growing at staggering rates. Personally, I feel they’re iterating faster than the US and Rest of World in key innovation areas like AI, Space, Manufacturing and a single mobile app for the entire country. Watch out when they launch their own cryptocurrency that lets them optimize their monetary policy in real-time.

Wondering if there’s a long wait until they opt out of stuff, yet hold enough sway to take a few growing countries and industries they’ve invested in with them.

p200 — 203: almost everyone in the country is connected to the internet via mobile and they spend almost all their time on it. Hello WeChat.

The lessons being gleaned from the West by folks I know here are interesting. It’s very much a hard nut to duplicate outside of the behaviors of many Chinese. And at the same time, it’s petty interesting to see not just the time on WeChat, but how that time is made more valuable because all are a part of its experience (my point above).

p229: China’s ad market doesn’t seem as fervorous as America’s. I have a feeling because the economy is more about direct payments.

Direct payments and shared reputation across a transaction. Very much cultural as well as economic.

p234: far fewer of India’s population is connected to the internet. Only about 1/3rd compared to about 3/4th in China and almost everyone in the US. Internet penetration is highly correlated to the wealth of a nation.

Growth will happen faster than its projected; but not because it will look like what’s come before. It will look more like China than USA. At least that’s my call.

p260: a singular digital ID is smart. What is it in the US? Driver’s license and Facebook. In China? WeChat profile.

This is huge. Heck of a grand experiment on one end, heck of a health play on the other.

p294: pay attention to sensors that are included in wearables. Without a sensor, there’s no data to analyze. So, the most pervasive (an accelerometer) will only give you number of steps. Not very helpful in helping you manage your health but I suppose it’s something. Once we get into heart rate, blood sugar, metabolism, etc we will start to unlock some pretty cool stuff. Then it requires a highly efficient, but low-powered AI like Biologic Intelligence to understand it all and detect anomalies in real-time.

We are closer to this than you write. The problem is one part connectivity, another part the bluntness of medical data versus the homeostasis that’s each’s individual body. When someone knows their framing, it’s going to be nothing for AIs to displace certain types of doctors, trainers, and nutritionists — which means a resetting of insurance wouldn’t be far behind.

p302: look at this crazy exponential curve in medical knowledge. And there’s not much out there on the impact food we ingest has on our health. Expect this trend to continue into the future as our population gets bigger and older.

I expect this to happen in two branches. Those who can afford wearables & AI coaches will know more about themselves than all except those who go into medical specialty services. The other will be on the medical industry. Am expecting a few black boxes to gain some light (brain, DNA, stomach) and reinventions of surgical procedures to show the way towards medicine less like a practice and more like a sport.

p314 — 318: number of genomes sequenced are increasing. Just wait until we start capturing people’s connectomes.

Can someone patent mapping my connectomes 🤔

p320: I take issue with this statement. It assumes that innovation is all it takes to raise capital, get big, and sell product. It doesn’t. Even scientific invention isn’t enough. You need to have relationships. Lots and lots of relationships to get capital from investors, corporate coffers, and customers. Then and only then does a product matter that someone can buy.

There needs to be a poster with an animal saying this. And maybe a tshirt.