The Predictions Dilemma

The last quarter of the year is also known as predictions season. It’s the time where those who consider themselves to be wise and enlightened rub their chin thoughtfully and spout the wisdom of what the future holds.

I should know, in my days as an industry analyst I was often called upon as a digital Nostradamus. But predictions are no easy feat, and there is a dilemma associated with it… which I call the Predictions Dilemma (contact me for all your branding and marketing needs).

The predictions dilemma as I like to call it has two elements. The first part is, how long do people remember your predictions for. The answer is usually, not very long. This is a great thing and a bad thing. It’s great because you can say pretty much whatever you want and be wrong and no one will call you up on it (unless you’re really unfortunate). The second part of the predictions dilemma is in the attached photo. 

Along the x axis is how ‘crazy’ or out there your prediction is. You can be right and play it safe by extrapolating current trends. Saying that ransomware will continue into 2021 is a good example of that. It’s a trend that will likely be right, but along the Y axis you can see the level of interest is low, because you’ve pretty much stated the obvious.

Now, the more unique the prediction, the more interest you’ll get… up to a point… after which interest starts to drop because it sounds too ridiculous. For example, saying that every desktop will be a quantum computer next year is more interesting than playing it safe, but no one will take you seriously for it. 

So, there you have it. The sweet spot of predictions lie somewhere between Leonardo DiCaprio and Jeff Goldblum. Anything beyond Jeff is too crazy, and before Leo is just playing it safe.

Good luck in the future, whatever it may hold.