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10 media and tech observations from 2017

A few thoughts on 2017 from my vantage point between media and technology worlds. 

1. Whither Sonos?

In the race for home speakers and AI, nobody has yet acquired Sonos. I can’t understand why.

2. The future of digital journalism is still murky

In 2017 I spent more on digital journalism (subscriptions) than any other year. Never has there been so much discussion about the topic (and I recommend Peter Kafka’s podcast series in particular) but it still feels like the long-term economics are brutal.

3. AI in the home is going to have unforeseen consequences

There are going to be many unintended consequences of putting AI/voice devices in every home e.g. nobody has really considered the impact of having AI interact with kids (who are huge Alexa users) over long term.

4. Apple’s AirPods are really good

The AirPods are probably the best new product Apple has released since the Macbook Air. To my surprise I use them constantly and am starting to get the argument that they’re an ambient computing platform.

5. Nintendo’s product success is cyclical

Re-learned lesson of the year (for the third time in my life): don’t bet against Nintendo.

6. Discovery of the year: Farmdrop

Frankly I can’t believe it took me this long to try this farm-direct Ocado competitor. I highly recommend.

7. The beginning of privacy as a brand value

It’s hard to see what dislodges Google and Facebook but brand damage around their data privacy policy is continuing to grow. FB still can’t defeat rumours that their app listens to conversations.

8. The public market starts to get relevant again for high growth tech companies

The early trend of public market tech financing vehicles (, ) is probably going to increase. Related: Many large, vc-backed companies aren’t going to get acquired and need to accept that *they’re* the consolidators.

9. Silicon Valley discovers that kids are on the internet

Probably one of the most-reported on topics in the second half of the year. Commonly misunderstood as a content issue, this is really an infrastructure problem. Controversies around YouTube, adtech etc are only the beginning

10. Either you slanging crack rock/or you got a wicked jump shot

Long-term survival in digital media landscape requires superior scale (Disney/Fox, Oath, TW/AT&T) OR superior speciality (, , ). As companies on the latter axis scale up, many forget this rule.


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