The third of my speculative thought pieces reflecting on significant developments of -6m/+6m in tech as I see them. Reflecting on 2021 and predicting the first half of 2022.
I believe it's also time for a short reflection how I've done so far, but I'll keep that for the end.
Reflecting on the defining tech themes of 2021:
1. Web3's emergence:
You can probably say by now that I'm web3 enthusiast. I really like the ideas behind crypto-punk movement and blockchain technology seems to me as perfect way to solve some of the recurring problems I see in enterprise tech stack and operations.
Anyway, I'm glad that cryptocurrencies, DeFi and NFTs started moving "mainstream". That word needs parenthesis because web3 is faraway from mainstream but new wave of blockchain-based services aimed at disrupting big tech is a good start.
2. Remote work's permanence:
I wrote about all the discussions and concerns I hear about remote work but it seems that despite return-to-office pushes (we had a failed one as well), flexible and hybrid remote work arrangements are here to stay. Once you get a taste of "work from home heaven", you don't want to come back.
Needless to say that there's not WFH heaven for everyone, for some it's WFH hell! But it's good news that virtual collaboration technologies saw more investment and adoption in 2021 than ever before.
3. Startup funding explosion:
Flush with cash and enthusiasm for tech's potential, VCs poured historic amounts into startups across all tech sectors in 2021 - from DeFi to space tech and everything in between.
And that's a good thing because no matter if successful - once a startup founder - you'll always be better person afterwards. Even if failed founder - you'll be better second-time founder, better employee, better manager, better solopreneur, etc.
Predicting the key themes for the next six months of 2022:
So what's gonna happen in 2022, what's gonna be new?
1. Virtual worlds slowly ascend:
As metaverse platforms like The Sandbox and Decentraland gain users, albeit I believe only temporarily, engagement in persistent 3D virtual worlds could take off - especially for gaming, social, work, education, and events.
2. Renewables revolution:
I would finally like to see climate consciousness combined with high energy prices to drive rapid growth in residential solar, energy storage, EV adoption and other clean technologies in 2022.
I would also love to see Europe to rethink it's unsustainable green strategy without politics but with scientific and common sense debate.
3. AI regulation debates:
As AI advances in emotion/bias detection and generation of audio/video content (love Midjourney), pressure will (hopefully) rise to regulate aspects that can infringe on privacy and agency. Global debates on AI ethics are needed and I don't see them happening - so this is just wishful blurb.
The seeds of broader technological shifts like crypto adoption, remote work, and immersive digital worlds planted in recent years will grow even more influential in 2022.
I expect new challenges in aligning digital future with human values. It might be existential question - what are human values and how we want them represented in our digital future.
Now short reflection on my past Tech Themes
I've noticed that my thoughts rotate among very similar themes (or their variations) - remote work, AI/ML advancements, crypto and blockchain, climate and health-tech, and very stock-market related topics like big tech regulation.
I guess I do believe these are big topics where we need to move needles forward and most of my time is spent on the fringes of these large topics -> I do manage team(s) on-site and remote, I do trade options and crypto, I do mentor and coach startup founders, I do care about team's and individual's productivity and work satisfaction.
Well, I'd like to see more variety in topics and especially in predictions, so let's work on that!