The World is a Dynamic Mess of Jiggling Things

Feynman_2553738bVery little time to share words here lately! It’s not yet time for a long story today but just sharing shortly one of my new hobby, may be one of the reasons why I don’t spend time on this blog… I stumbled upon a video of Richard Feynman lately on YouTube. I don’t know how this happened, someone must have shared it and I must have just follow. Most of the time social media can be entertaining at first but often quite depressing shortly after with an after-taste of “why do I lose my time on this?”, but this time however I got there and I don’t regret it.

I remembered the name of Feynman from when I was a student in science but honestly, that was just a name and I have not been smart enough to really enjoy the pleasure of mathematics and physics more than for a couple of years, so I mostly forgot everything about him… I’m really happy that I watched this video of him on YouTube. Only now I really get a chance to really discover the character and I now just love listening to him and watching him. Of course, the topics are always of interest and it’s very refreshing , but more than that, the guy is such a great orator I can’t stop watching him . Perfect attitude, sparkling eyes, charming accent, severe sense of humor but more than anything, passionate by what he is talking about. I am now addicted almost as much as when I was addicted to James Gandolfini and the Sopranos’ show, when I swallowed their 7 seasons in a summer. Ok, some might be shocked by the comparison (the New York accent must be for something here…) but he was for sure such a charismatic presenter that the comparison with best comedians works really well. I am amazed by how magnetic his presence is and how good he is at captivating our attention. This guy had something very special on screen (and I guess on stage live as well). Thank you mister Feynman.

Here are a few of the one I liked lately, hope you will like ‘em as much as I do.

Feynman about Rubber Bands

Feynman on simplification

Feynman explaining how computers solve clerks filing problem

I Am Not a Gadget

Long time no write! I’ve been lucky enough to have some vacation time lately, though it feels already so far. I’ve been mostly disconnected with a lot of outdoor activities, a lot of driving and finally a bit of reading and it was damn good. The chance for me to finish “You are not a gadget”, the book from Jaron Lanier from 2010. Here’s a few lines about it.

I had heard just a bit of this book before my friend Leigh offered me a hardcopy of it. Leigh thought I would be interested and I was really neutral when I started reading, having heard only a few things about it.

Well, I really enjoyed my read! It seems very obvious that the people who disliked it and made a lot of noise about it were more offended by the fact that Lanier was cheeky enough to touch some almost sacred views on the state of our digital world… exactly like partisans of a church are offended when someone criticize the mother church.

I enjoyed my read mostly because it did raise true questions that I wouldn’t think about, it opened my eyes on a few major things and spiked my curiosity and desire to dive more in some of these surprisingly very valid questions.

Here are four topics that I really enjoyed during my read, certainly because I have engaged with all of them somehow over the last 15 years.

The state of music

Along this book, Lanier brings a very grey and pessimistic vision of the state of Music today, definitely bitter and sad. It’s a very negative view on both the artistic side and the business side.

On the artistic side, there’s a lot about the fact that we are not anymore on a creative path but on the path of repurposing, revamping, repeating, cleaning, productizing without injecting much novelty. It looks like this thesis can quite easily be deconstructed. But still – may be I am getting old as well – honestly I can’t help looking for the answers (and not finding them). Since hip-hop, what new major music genre popped-up that really matters and bring new meat on the table? Anything that let me think of a bright future for contemporary music? It is certainly not reading pitchfork that helps me deconstruct Lanier’s thesis.

On the business side, it is even more solid I think, articulated around the idea that while we killed the old traditional model of our music industry, the new digital era didn’t bring any solid business model yet to make this industry as good as it was, not only for producer but also for musicians themselves.

Here is what it’s about and if you are interested, you should definitely jump on the book. You might disagree or think it’s badly argued, it is still a very valid discussion I believe!

The state of Media

Very similarly, Lanier questions how we killed the traditional media and wonders about the solidity of what’s taking over it. Is that so good? As good? More dangerous? In a very similar way as for the Music side, the News industry is such an obvious example of how things have been demolished without having a solid digital replacement.

Surely, the topic being discussed here is in fact the nature and consequences of the hegemony of a dominant mass-advertising model for the media landscape, against any other economical model. Again of much interest I think.

The real face of Open Source

Jumping to yet another totally different discussion: the Open Source model in the software industry. Beware, this part can be bloody, and might hurt the most if you are an Open Source aficionado.

Lanier makes a lot of references to software development all along the book, as it seems he has been very much involved with it. In particular, he spends quite some time discussing the nature of Open Source, giving a very tough and hush vision of it, in a way we are really not used to. For Lanier, Open Source would not equal Innovation but the opposite and Open Source would not be the way to go to disrupt the world with new products. As simple.

Honestly, he has a take that is worth to listen to. It seconds quite a few thoughts I had about Open Source when randomly thinking about it, on the bad days… And yet again, you feel first like “come on, it’s too easy, stop ranting” and then after thinking about it, his point is not so stupid even if it goes against many of the ideals that come with open source that many of us support…

How all this connect in a wider world

Lanier also goes to a more global sociological level, analyzing the digital revolution as a more global phenomenon for our society. As forces coming from the digital arena are taking over more and more the command of our world, it is indeed interesting to look into this. Some parallels with early days of socialism and Marxism took me by surprise, but again, I didn’t find it easy, I found it interesting. After all, isn’t it good behavior to challenge things that we all consider good?

In short, all of this, at a first sight, sounded a bit easy and simply controversial, but then got all my attention and interest. I wish I could get back on vacation, rent a cabin at La Push and spend a few months looking at the world and chewing on this, but this will not happen so I will simply let you with the advice to read this book if you haven’t, the most certain thing about it is that it should not let you blind… it’s seriously shaking ideas.

I will certainly read the next opus of the guy now!

Digital Marketing Robots won’t do the job for us…

… they will just make it easier, (or debating data vs. intuition to drive your digital marketing)

Are our robots are the new superheros?

Our marketing robots, the new superheros?

I read this blog from Noah Kagan recently that, among other things, raises this very catchy fact that says that “only 1 out of 8 A/B tests have driven significant change” (in their case).

Quite an interesting read even if on an online marketing vendor blog. Not a revolution, but good factual feedback from the ground. It tells me something I already know, but that is always good to hear from others.

In these time where we are all about Big Data, strongly believing in Metric-driven online marketing; more and more thinking data scientist is the new specie that will save the world, or at least our online businesses; it’s good to remember these are not the drivers. There is indeed a big tendency to praise analysis now, analyzing all and every single thing, diving into numbers, KPIs, analytics, metrics, reports; a tendency to think these will not only support but lead the marketing discipline. We could even see a tendency for discouraging people to believe in their good sense and their intuition first, to push them to a more “scientific approach” by trying all possibilities. I think this is a very dangerous direction.

Yes, Digital Marketing is nothing without measurement

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer that online marketing can not work without measurement. “If you’re not measuring marketing, you’re not marketing” as my colleague Nico likes to say. In some areas (like inbound marketing, demand and lead generation), the only way to know and validate the efficiency of your marketing effort is using measurements and numbers and I’m the first to think any thing you do in that field should be measured.

This being said, while measurements can turn into analysis, or potentially into prescription or recommendation, they can certainly not be in the driver’s seat! It cannot take over our marketer’s brains, ideas and intuition.  It can only help or influence them.

Still, analytics can not replace ideas and intuition (but it can kill them…)

At eZ, I am working a lot on tools that can help optimize digital experiences (aka CXM – customer experience management). There is a big engineering and scientific effort to make tools that will always be better and smarter in order to measure and recommend changes. Technology can be extremely powerful and I am very impressed to see up to where we can take the optimization and recommendation effort!

Still, what Noah Kagan reminds us is that the kinds of tools we build here are nothing without the brain that uses them. One of the biggest risks is to rely too much on optimization tools, up to a point where you could ask your editors to simply write as much content as they can (or even emulate them with robots), letting the platform running a/b or multivariate to pick against the combinations of as many variations the ones that bring the best results. Yes we can do that, but, without the brain picking the right variations, it will go nowhere. It will only generate ever increasing big data and consume computing time as well as human data-scientist time!

Marketing  can only work when you first have well-inspired choices

This approach is dangerous and this might hurt our industry. The risk is that we might not deliver on the promises we generate. Tools and methods like A/B testing or even Marketing Automation can only work when you first have well-inspired choices that you consider interesting, but different, and you want to test them. There might be no need to compare in too much detail small variations, and the game is certainly not to compare all possible variations.

 By giving too much credit to machines, we might put ourselves, web professionals, in danger. If we want our tools to bring value we should clearly say how, and the very important prerequisite is to have digital marketers, creative people and writers crafting content and campaigns with inspiration and intuition. No, the Data-scientists and their robots certainly have not taken over the online marketing arena.

As long as we are always conscious of that, and keep room for it, the technology we will craft will deliver very high value that really helps businesses.

And to conclude on this topic, here is a fresh look at Singularity,

Dead simple is not Stupid Easy … or why the idea of Pair Designing

Easier to keep things simple when working with a pair

Easier to keep things simple when working in a pair!

When I have a choice to make, if I am uncertain, I try to always choose the simplest of all the options I have. I basically look at the several paths and try to evaluate their complexity to pick the simplest. It is not only that I am lazy but more importantly that I realize it is often what works best.

Over the last years, in all fields, this has been working  well. More than that, the (not so) few times where I did not do that, usually I would realize things didn’t go well. Or let me say it differently: when things have not been good, I could have had them good by picking a simplest option…

Now making ‘things simple’ is not that simple! I was at this web meet-up and was hearing this guy using the “Dead Simple” and “Stupid Easy” phrases every two minutes, this made me rethink this all-simplicity thing in the context of my work.

I am currently spending a good share of my time reworking user interfaces, with the only goal to improve the User Experience of our software. This is a domain where having things simple is really super important and tough, as the software we work on is actually quite complex. I am working with a talented UX consultant on that project and its working pretty well. I am the product owner and he is the UX designer, but truth be told I am also designing a good share of the UI and he is owning a good share of the product.

The collaboration works fairly well, even if I am sure we could improve. One of the reasons why I think it works well is because, alternately, when one of us gets enthusiastic about a solution or a feature, in many cases he would tend to forget the importance of keeping things at their simplest. Working in a duo helps you achieve this better. Designing a product is a work that is tricky: you can’t design a good product if you are not inspired and passionate, and it is almost impossible when you are passionate to keep this external neutral view on things that is required to keep them simple. Even the more talented product designers can tend to lose this. As much as we are all conscious of the risk of the ‘feature creep’ virus, we are never really sure not to catch it, especially when we try to solve complex problems.

Of course, products should be designed not only involving 1 or 2 persons but much more, involving all end users, as they are the ones who know best what simple means. Actually it should be understood “simple to them”, not “simple to us”. I still think you can’t go through inception with too many people involved. This would take you back to the risk of designing the things people “want” not the ones people “need” (thanks for the early lesson on that Mister Jobs…)

So that was my thought on this Saturday morning. As much as in coding, where it is now a clear statement that Pair Programming (the practice of having two developers writing the code at the same time) is what leads to the best code (if you do it right), designing with two might be what leads to the best design! I am not an expert in the field and some folks surely already use that technique and name, but if ever this is not the case, I would be very happy to be a pioneer of using it. Pair Designing helps you keep things simple; that is its first value!

And to conclude on simplicity, isn’t it, in all things, what makes them great or not? The simplicity of silence in music, the simplicity of pure lines in art or of empty spaces in architecture, and don’t get me started with food and wine. Even more than anywhere, the simplicity of relations and communication between persons. And not forgetting to quote one more time one of the masters:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
— Leonardo Da vinci

Happy Weekend!

10 years ago, we were already in the Experience Management business!

The wrong train?

The wrong train?

This is a small rant I was on lately. If you’re not so much into “Content Management”, not sure this will speak to you… you might want to pass. This is of course only my personal opinion, and it is quite not about eZ itself (the company I work for) or about our products, it is more about our small industry, the ‘Content Management’ industry.

I hear some colleagues and friends in our industry, saying things like “eZ changed (again) positioning to move to Experience Management”, I also hear some people saying things like “I can’t stand this people calling WordPress a CMS” (to not only take eZ as an example). I hear some saying, “These guys are in the Portal industry, not in the CMS”. Actually I often hear myself explaining how our company, eZ, is moving from a pure Content Management platform to a more global “Experience Management” platform.

Come on! Truth to be said, this is somehow wrong. Just noise, or sometime may be trying to surf the good waves. Experience is for sure the word of 2013, the word to use and Experience Management the spot to be on! It is THE thing to do – fair enough (just learned from analysts today this might have to be adjusted to DX when speaking about acronyms, stands for Digital Experience… uh, what about when we do print business?).

But honestly this is just about our jargon. Is there really, beyond the words, any big change? I don’t think so, we just try to do things better. I think it seems to be a big change only if you are looking at software and at products from a wrong, short-sided view: the features and only the features.

Yes eZ Publish is in the Experience Management. Yes WordPress is a CMS, and in the Experience Management as well. They both have been for years now. And this stands for many others who jumped from one box to another, whether it is Portal, CMS, e-commerce, Blogging platform, Wiki…

To illustrate my thought I like to make a reference to this article of Harvard Business Review called “Marketing myopia” which introduced the famous question “what business are you really in?”. It uses the example of the railway industry in the US, who lost the transportation battle because it was too narrow-minded, considering itself in the “railway business” instead of being in the “transportation business”. Saying it in an other way, it was focusing on the product and the feature, not on the business objective.

Well, eZ has always been in the “Experience Management” business. So does WordPress. CMS has always come second. Content Management might be a process, it is more than anything a list of features that I don’t want to list here. I remember, I was then not yet working for eZ but using eZ Publish. The folks at eZ were hesitating between different appellations: e-commerce? portal? CMS? … this was because eZ had to give it a name and a position. I am pretty sure the goal was indeed, already, to create a platform for Experience Management!

What changed in between? Well, the ‘Digital Experiences’ our customer need to build have quite significantly evolved. 10 years ago it was still mostly about creating a website for communication and information purposes and simple way for the user to reach it, now it is just much more!

I predict a dark future on the mid-term to the people who are thinking they should stick to ‘Content Management’ feature set and certainly not touch other functional domains… I think they will miss the same train the railway industry missed!

Changing positioning as in the 2 examples that I gave above (eZ and WordPress) should not be seen as a sign of uncertainty, I believe it should more be recognized as a sign of lucidity in which business we are and how it is evolving!

And of course, at eZ, I will keep highlighting our changes to a bigger CXM / DX / UXP platform, but more to explain our vision on how Experience Management has evolved. Why it doesn’t ask for the same things yesterday, today and tomorrow and why we constantly innovate to try to provide these features – whether they are in the CMS box, in the BI box or in any other! Surely focus is required to be successful, but looking at the solutions from one single feature lens is not what I would call the right focus.

Cheers

About Folders in Folders and Finding Your Way to the Right Information

I went through that post from Oliver Reichenstein from iA entitled “Mountain Lion’s New File System” that I found really interesting. Unfortunately I couldn’t comment on the blog so I decided to echo some of my thought in a blog post here.

(iA are the folks doing iA Writer, software that I now use to write things like this blog post since my friend Rainer showed me the way. I absolutely recommend it to people who like to write.)

First, kudos to the author, this is the kind of post that I really like! Instructive, inspiring, and raising questions. I really recommend to any person interested by UX and UI.

While the post is entitled on the Mac file system, I think it is not exactly the core topic – at least it was not for me. The core topic is how flat document organization is step by step taking over traditional tree based organization and how the “Tree” model doesn’t scale.

A global recurring UX problem to solve!

The interesting thing about this topic is that it touches every one, and it relates to almost all kind of applications. From consumer iTunes (as mentioned in the article) to very “Enterprise-grade” content repository (no need to explain that when you reach millions of documents in these time of Big-Data time, the nested-folder model is even worst). From photo software (think Aperture, Lightroom, iPhoto…) to business related applications (think crm, cms, project management with apps like Jira…). From file systems on a computer to native applications on an iPhone… and of course not to mention finding information on the Web or navigating through your email!

The new iTunes navigation, even no "tree like" navigation. Search is almost the only way.

The new iTunes navigation, even no “tree like” navigation. Search is by far the main path to find your music.

The way you classify, store, manage information is a corner-stone of all software user interface, and the concept as much as the problems are the same in many different places.

Finding and accessing the desired information is a real problem, especially in this big data world where amount of both structured and unstructured content is growing exponentially, faster and faster.

Search, finally a way to classify information that works?

So the big thing which is changing is SEARCH. We used to access information a lot based on how we stored it and classified it, because for a long time, search was limited. Search technology is making progress, and at the same time, the amount of data and document we work with is constantly growing. As a direct result, accessing the information is more and more based on a search and discovery of the information repositories independently of how this information has been classified and organized by its creators. The user can’t remind all the way to access the information. It is not hard to understand why:

  • First content creator are not good at organizing their information on a large-scale. They can totally skip the classification step or be wrong or not consistent in that job. The classification plans themselves can evolve and change.
  • Second, after all, what defines more a document than the data and meta-data it naturally contains? Manual classification in many case is asking the user to define something that is already present in the document.

Email is may be the first place where this happened. It is at least where I started to notice it: highly unstructured content, the best practice of storing your emails in different mailboxes or folders and sub-folders worked for a few years but very quickly, the constantly growing volume of email made this simple operation both impossible (lack of time) and useless (not that much helping to find, as not consistent) and Gmail showed the way. The way was ‘a simple search’ combined with intelligent tagging. Now, me as many other users, are using their inbox as a global container where they keep their thousands and thousands of email, but simply use states (such as read / unread or archived) and tagging combined with search to retrieve them.

A flat 1-level organization of content

Another very simple example that we all went through which very similar: the way we organise our file systems. For instance, I used to store my work documents under an organization where I would split document between Admin stuff and Customer stuff. I placed all my expenses documents in admin, after 6 months, I started to place customer expenses in the project sub-folder in the customer main folder… I ended up with something totally not consistent). This is just one basic example that happened to me so many times.

fsJust an example where the user – me – changes the way he classifies information, leading him to an inconsistent organization. And I am sure this is true for all of us, I know it is not only me as I watched my friends and colleague and I see how they work. Defining a fix structured or even using a fix taxonomy simply doesn’t work that well. I guess humans are not made to manage information in that way, even the more precise and organized persons are failing here at some points!

It is in fact way simpler to keep all that information in 1 level and forbid the creation of a 2nd level of sub-folders. Or forbid too complex classifications and let the search do the rest! And thanks to better search technology, this start now to be possible.

Snow Lion showing the way?

As iA mentioned in the article, OSX Snow Lyon made some significant progress in that perspective. The article from iA mentions a lot the iCloud capabilities. I am not an iCloud user, I don’t really plan to be one (even if this article has really seeded the idea of giving it a try…) but even without iCloud, the latest versions of OSX brought some innovation in that direction on the topic.

All My Files in FinderMy favorite one may be, in the finder: how spotlight has been integrated so that you can use the finder and order “All your files” accordingly to a range of criteria like Name, Application, Last Opened, Last Created… and combine this with a full-text search. This is brilliant.

Unfortunately, on this one, we are clearly still early stage, it is really painfully slow when you search on “All your files” and not in a single folder (but this might be ironically due to the fact that all the files are not yet in a 1-level tree…). Still, it is damn practical and clearly showing the way and I am sure performance issues will be solved!

Another attempt to make progress is the way applications are dealing with file versions. The removal of the “Save as …” in most Apple apps. and the management of the document abstracted from the file goes in the same direction. It is still I think very early stage and I have hard time to totally understand the real value (and still hates it on a regular basis…). This could also do a full topic for another blog post.

Consumer Vs pro, should there be a difference?

Back to iA article, the author speaks about how iCloud, the Finder and applications relying on this are benefiting from that new flat way to store and access content. However, they clearly say that in a professional context, it is not the same story and using the traditional tree of folders and folders and files is the way to go. That is also why they suggest both Dropbox and iCloud are different, one being a good fit for team work and the other for personal stuff.

I actually challenge this. I don’t understand why, in a professional context, suddenly, using different of folders to define a structure would be needed, and more importantly, would work.

Further more, I think that a professional context brings even more complexity, more information and more importantly more users which might have their own expectations of what the folder structure might be… in short more reasons for the organization of files to fail!

So, as much in Dropbox than in iCloud or Gdoc, as much in you iPhoto than in your Document Management System, the future is certainly going more and more to flat organizations of your files and more smart ways to navigate and discover this and not only a simple classification plan such as a multi-level folder organization.

In my job at eZ, building Content Management applications, we are really in the process of pushing search as the first way to discover content, before using the tree-based navigation. I hope to share soon some information about that.

‘In-Application’ navigation

The article of iA brings also another idea interesting to discuss. It introduces the fact that, while accessing information IN an Application, the discovery of the right file is made easier (for different reasons). This is true. Using the application context to facilitate the activity of finding your document is surely very interesting and efficient (starting by the very obvious idea of not dealing with the file that are not to be open in this application). There is however a very close next step that is to consider that the document live within the Application. I really think this is a wrong and dangerous concept and while it might seem to be a good way to improve UX, looking at it from a higher level, it would not! Reason for that is that Applications comes and go, today iA Writer is my favorite writing application, tomorrow it will be another. It is key to preserve and use as much as possible open standards for documents. It is also as important if not more, to preserve open ways to access documents and manage them, independently from the application. Locking users to and in the application is not the way to go (even if I understand application vendors want to do so) and can only result in very bad User Experience on the long run!

And here, unfortunately, Apple has been playing this game a lot, which is clearly starting to hurt end-user experience. For instance, I am personally into photo and I have been taking photos for some time. I have over the year a library of a few thousands photos. I used different configurations and applications to develop, manage and access my photos but the last 4 or 5 years, I have been with Apple Aperture photo software. This has in the end been very painful despite the many cool features Aperture could show. The upgrade cycle of Aperture has been hard to follow, sometime costly, the quality fluctuating a lot and the features not always really the best compared to competitors. Many time performances have been a pure disaster. In the end, the experience has been bad, mostly because, whatever I wanted to do, changing was not obvious, or should I say ‘using an alternative solution’ was not smooth. The library of Aperture, even if you keep the media out of Aperture, is creating a silo that you can’t access without Aperture and this is the main issue. Changing application means going for a real migration of your library.

I decided a few week ago to finally drop Aperture and to rely on a software that is not dictating how the files are stored (I am going to use DXO Optics Pro to develop and navigate in my library). At any time my library will still be organized in the file system and I will be able to use any other tool emerging with no effort! I am very happy and excited about finally making this change! But lets stop here (I could actually write another whole other blog post about that).

While I’m totally in for using context elements such as ‘which application is being used for a special document’, I think it is essential to let the system taking care of the documents independently from the application! Removing this would lead to only worst user experience in the long-term. There is enough room for progress in the operating system itself to stick to that!

And note that this is also something true that does apply to enterprise software like document and content management. Users and organizations would get a lot of value of an open storage. Storing in a database is totally ok but storing in an obscure, not readable data schema is way more of an issue.

It is all about context

Time to hit a conclusion, as I made this blog post way too long now, and doubt it has a very solid structure (but must more look like me talking to myself on all these interesting topics). I hope some will still have liked it!

My conclusion would be that if Apple shows the way to go here, it is certainly via Spotlight. With the ever-increasing amount of information we are dealing with, structured or unstructured, we can not any more classify ourselves and we need tools to do that. We need tools like strong search engine, we also need tool more advanced and I am really looking forward to see if some of the promising technology around text and data analysis, semantic or not, can finally bring value to end-users.

I would totally foresee topic extraction and mapping or named entity extraction and mapping as one of the technology to embed in the system for exploration purposes – auto discovery of the context. And more than ever, I look forward to see what will be the operating system of the future! Will Apple still show the way here? What do you think?

Post-Apocalyptic Tech Predictions for 2013

Larry Kent with Rubbing Crystal BallI am not sure how Transparent Content Management did in 2012. I am also not sure if any thing big really happened this year in Content Management, rebounding on @piewords prediction post!

Anyhow here we go for a round of predictions for the year to come, going beyond Content Management! I decided on ten of these, a good number, faster to read, faster to write.

1: ‘No Empty Enterprise Social Networks’

There will be a wave of customers with empty ‘Enterprise Social Networks’. Just like what happened ten years ago with portals, enterprises will have a hard time getting employees to use these tools when they are just an internal replica of the public social network. Why would people go there when they can go on the public ones?

Just like Plumtree who ten years ago launched  a “No Empty Portal” campaign, some vendors will focus their marketing on trying to have their customers using the software to deliver on the promises of the social enterprise… but will fail.

In the meantime, more creative vendors who have the feel for a good mix of social features with more Enterprise functionalities, without simply cloning what’s happening on the public side, will really strengthen their position on the market.

2: ASP back in business

Fifteen good years after its creation, the ASP acronym will make its comeback. “Application Service Provider” is actually very explicit and people will use it to escape the loud and confusing terminology revolving around cloud computing. ASP will be big in 2013!

3: “Mobile First” Is Over

The expression’s sun will set. Don’t use it in 2013 or you will be perceived as old-fashioned. ‘Mobile’ doesn’t mean much anyway; most of the devices are now mobile but still very different! For instance, the iPad screen is much closer to my grandma’s desktop (actually it is way bigger in number of pixels…) than to a mobile phone. “Mobile first” will be abandoned for things like “Touchscreen First” or “All Screens First” or something of the sort.

4: e-Commerce Will Get Bigger Than Ever Thanks to Real Point of Sales

This prediction can almost be used every year but it will keep happening, yes, e-commerce will keep booming. Beyond traditional 100% electronic commerce, new hybrid shopping experiences will be developed more and more and they will be a major driver for e-commerce: car services ordered and paid online, in-shop buying but online paying, local food delivery and pick-up on the mobile device… This also means it will be more and more difficult to tell the difference between electronic and traditional commerce.

5: Big Data Reality Check

After serious buzz, people will want to understand what is behind Big Data and they will understand it is not a phenomena that touches everything and everyone, even if it is clearly a major disruption. Big Data will change over to more concrete technology topics, related to data manipulation and data analysis. “Big Data” will lose 30% of its popularity on Google search and the BD bubble will progressively decrease.

6: Marketing Automation Will Go to the Next Step

Marketing Automation is an amazingly promising set of technologies but it also has a hard time delivering on its supposedly very measurable promises.

In 2013, Marketing Automation will solve this by integrating more seamlessly other online marketing software. It will suffer from the move to mobile usage which makes it more difficult to track users. It will also suffer from some data privacy programs that will hurt some of the techniques they use.

Some vendors will stay on the side of the road when others will really understand this and reach success by shaping a new generation of Marketing Automation more focused on inbound marketing and self-service integration.

7: Amazon Will Finally Ship the Fridgdle

I don’t know if I will hate it or love it, but in 2013, the Fridgdle of Amazon will make its really successful debut. Fridgdle is the home device that probes what’s in your fridge and recommends grocery items. The Fridgdle, based on the same technical platform as the Kindle, will be a 7-ish inches tablet-like device that magnetically attaches to your fridge and comes with a Bluetooth-connected in-fridge camera to detect the level of stock. 2014 will be the year of mass production.

8: Brooklyn Will Get Its Flagship Tech Company

I have paid a lot of attention to the NYC tech landscape since I arrived in the area two years ago. Actually I find the tech community very vibrant, interesting and nice. I feel part of it and really enjoy it. I’ve been working in Manhattan and Brooklyn at different locations. I of course love Brooklyn but still, I must say that the community is huge but more made of individuals, agencies, consultants… it lacks a serious tech company or two. No real big name to raise to challenge the Manhattan players such as Stackoverflow, 10gen… and such. This will change in 2013 and it will not come from a startup but from a company moving to the east side of the river…

9: Open Source Will Keep Being Repositioned

Five years ago, being Open Source was a huge Marketing and Sales differentiator for vendors using this model; to the point that some vendors  decided to go Open Source only to surf that wave. As it has already been discussed in many places, Open Source will be less and less present in Marketing and Sales folk vocabulary. The number of mentions in business articles will seriously decrease. It will be mostly a technological thing, related to how software is developed and how it works with little impact on how it is sold. While this will hurt some Open Source vendors, it is I think a good move; it takes Open Source value back to where it should be, not a sales or marketing criteria but a best practice when it comes to developing software, a technological characteristic which results in quality and innovation more than in super low costs. I do expect this trend to be a good one, a sign of maturity for Open Source vendors doing it the right way.

10: Github Will Go Beyond Collaboration on Code, and Will Seriously Hit Atlassian’s Reign

Since Github got this massive $100M funding, we didn’t hear much about them, did we? We will soon see concrete results of this funding, which will go beyond Github’s usual territories. This will obviously be about collaboration and about building software and this will definitely tread on Atlassian’s territory. I can’t predict exactly what will happen, but certainly it will involve development process, allowing a lean and agile way to build software. Github will also explore continuous testing and building topics.

These are my quick 10 predictions for next year. I look forward to seeing what comes true, and how!

In the meantime, Happy New Year to all, Happy New Year New York and see you in 2013!