What Is Going To Happen In 2018

This is a post that I am struggling to write. I really have no idea what is going to happen in 2018.

  • Will the crypto markets continue in their bull cycle? I have no clue. I was showing my daughter’s friend an app that helps people save and invest and he said to me “I don’t need that, I just buy some ETH every week.” I said “that’s a good plan until it isn’t.” I just don’t know when buying crypto will stop being a good idea. It was a great idea in 2017.
  • Will the economy extend its eight year expansion? I have no clue. The longest post WWII economic expansion was 10 years from 1991 to 2001. Can this one beat that one? Maybe. Will this one also burst over the collapse of another tech bubble? Maybe. But again, I have no idea when that might come.
  • Will the corporate tax cuts that are coming from Trump’s tax bill lead to increased hiring and investments, or will companies simply hoard that cash or pay it out in dividends? Likely a bit of both. But I think Wall Street has largely priced in the increased earnings so I’m not sure the tax bill will be a boon for the stock market in 2018.
  • Will the current Internet oligopoly (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google) continue to take share from the rest of the sector, or will one or more start to falter? I’d like to see the latter, but I suspect it will be more of the former.
  • Will the rise of massive growth funds (SOFTBANK, Sequoia, etc) lead to the best and brightest tech companies delaying IPOs even longer? The logical answer is yes, but I think the answer may be no. We see an increasing desire of founders in our portfolio to take their companies public.
  • Will the tech backlash that I wrote about yesterday continue to escalate? Yes.
  • Will we see more gender and racial diversity in tech? Yes.
  • Will Trump be President at the end of 2018. Yes.
  • Will the GOP lose control of Congress in the midterm elections. Yes.
  • Will we avoid war with North Korea? I sure hope so.

So there you have it. Ten questions. A few predictions. A lot of unknowns. That is how I am going into 2018.

Happy New Year Everyone.

#blockchain#crypto#Current Affairs#economics#employment#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Personally the last one is the most important one.The rest we stumble forward as we always do. The last one, not so.Happy New Year!

  2. William Mougayar

    “The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions.” — Claude Levi-StraussI like asking questions. I used that format in my last post, posing 13 questions re: crypto.

    1. awaldstein

      All questions are not equal.Those without a point of view are best left unsaid.

      1. William Mougayar

        of course. smart questions can say a lot.

        1. awaldstein

          Happy New Year my friend and my best to your wife!

    2. Vasudev Ram

      Socrates too.

    3. PhilipSugar

      I always say there are three types of knowledge:1. Knowing the question and remembering the answer: rote knowledge2. Knowing the question but using knowledge to solve: actual learning3. Not knowing the question and having to come up with it and the answer: An entrepreneur.

      1. William Mougayar

        I like #3.

      2. Twain Twain

        4. Knowing what the right questions are and coming up with the answers: an inventor.

        1. PhilipSugar

          Yes, but key is you have to come up with the question.

        2. cavepainting

          Isn’t this the same as #3? How do u see it as different?

          1. Twain Twain

            The right questions to ask weren’t the ones Satoshi et al asked. The right questions to ask after 2008 financial collapse was: “Why weren’t the machines intelligent enough to model risks?”The answers were to do with data biases and the inability of the AI to understand language.* http://www.nytimes.com/2008…* https://www.informationweek…So … investors and engineers of Blockchain, alike, asked the wrong questions.

      3. Vasudev Ram

        Re. 3:One of my favorite quotes, because it really reveals the meaning of objectivity (which we can use more of, seeing current events of last year, etc.):A layman was watching a scientist perform an experiment.He asked: What do you hope to prove by it?The scientist replied: A scientist does not try to prove things. (S)he tries to find out.(Seen in an old issue of Reader’s Digest, IIRC.)

      4. Vasudev Ram

        This reminded me of another one I had read years ago. it may be a Persian or Sanskrit proverb. Found it.The phrase I searched for was “he who knows that he knows”. There are four parts to it, by using or not using “not” with each of the two clauses in the above phrase. Here are a couple of results:#1: From: https://www.theguardian.com…He who knows not; and knows not that he knows not is a fool, shun him.He who knows not; and knows that he knows not is a child, teach him.He who knows; and knows not that he knows is asleep, wake him.He who knows; and knows that he knows is wise, follow him.- Persian proverb#2: From:http://www.xenodochy.org/ex

        1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          He who knows not and knows that he knows not is Socrates, think like him !

          1. Vasudev Ram

            Nice to see you here again.

          2. Vasudev Ram

            Actually, on further thought, based on what I’ve read, I don’t think Socrates was in the “he who knows not” category (for the first clause). He was likely in the “he who knows” category and just used his method of questioning to elicit thought (instead of blind belief) in others. Hence the term “the Socratic method” or “Socratic questioning”. Of course, because of the intolerance of the rulers of the time, he paid for it with his life. However, he may not have cared, because he was disgusted with the state of affairs (or affairs of state :)https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

          3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            Not sure I agree:Perhaps Socrates invented the humblebrag !If aware of https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…Platos records the Socratic method (teaching through questioning) as functional because of anamnesia (in the dialogues)This is based on the Hebrew idea that we once knew everything apart from right and wrong “before the fall” and learning is a matter of prompting of recallInterestingly anamnesia is “un-forgetting” (I believe the second recorded use of the word first used by Plato – ( did Christ cite plato ?) is in the earliest Koine Greek accounts of Christ recommending the Lords Supper for the same purpose – to get back to perfection).We know that Paul was a highly educated Greek and later went on to debate with the stoics at Athens when up on the same charges as Socrates, where he brilliantly paraphrases Socrates defence as his own and in doing so refers to Greek mythology Epimenides (of the I am lying paradox), and the foundation of the Court in which he standsWorth a read for its eloquence whatever your faith:https://www.biblegateway.co…The implication to my mind is that Socrates is very aware of his earthiness and (humility, humour, humus, humanity (of the earth), and humble-brags his real but enlightened [ a known unknown] ignorance.

          4. Vasudev Ram

            Interesting about anamnesia / “un-forgetting” and being enlightened – words you used – it reminded me that the Buddha used to talk (as I’ve read) about “remembering” (oneself) – just another term for being or becoming aware of the self …

  3. OurielOhayon

    One safe prediction : Fred will keep writing one great post everyday.

    1. fredwilson

      Or just one post. It is impossible to be great every day.

      1. OurielOhayon

        🙂 Btw I threw myself in the water and tried to make some predictions for 2018. Last year it was not that bad.https://blog.goodaudience.c

      2. Vendita Auto

        Jesus was a carpenter and he walked on water !!

      3. Twain Twain

        Prediction for 2018, investors will examine the contribution they made to Trump being elected in the same way that FB’s senior managers have.Guardian: “To most Facebook employees, Garcia-Martinez said, “Trump is the incarnation of Satan. The fact that they helped Satan get elected does dog a lot of people.”* https://www.theguardian.com…Investors sent the signal that all they cared about was virality metrics, “killing it” and network effects so that’s what the startups and platforms set store by.

        1. JLM

          .If you are an investor and you rode the Dow to 24K, why are you angry at Pres Trump again?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Twain Twain

            Haha, Jeff! There are lots of versions of “conflicts of interest”. Some investors hate the political views he stands for but will indeed benefit, directly and indirectly, from stock market upturns during his tenure — not that he can claim credit for that upturn, mind.

          2. JLM

            .All conflicts are eventually immaterial or resolved. In this case, we know the people vote their pocketbooks.I want a healthy skepticism and friction between business and government. This is healthy. If there is no friction, I worry about corruption and the gov’t anointing winners.The stock market is a fair gauge of sentiment. No President gets direct credit, but it would be intellectually lazy not to acknowledge that a President can put a thumb on the scales.Here’s the thing — we have had such anemic growth for the prior 8 years, that our current 3.3% looks like a rocket. I predict we will see 4-6% for two consecutive quarters in the first Trump term.If so, we will experience enormous improvements in income and a rabid competition for labor.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Alex Murphy

            as if DT is responsible … it takes 12 to 18 months for almost any action of the Exec branch to hit the markets. It has to work through regs, into actions, into changes in corp behavior, into the teams, into the actual financial performance, into revenue and profits.The economy (both in terms of GDP and labor) are reaping the benefits of the prior administration. This was true for GB in 2001 on the downside and DT today on the upside.For example, cutting taxes will decrease investment that would have otherwise been a write off and increase distributions. This does not help.Wall St is short sighted. Foreign investment has been driving up demand for stocks. This will reverse, and then watch the knife drop.

          4. JLM

            .What a President actually accomplishes is not nearly as important as what he says he accomplished and what the people think he accomplished.Pres Trump drove a revision to the Tax Code through the Congress in less than 90 days. It was, essentially, what he laid out at the beginning. It was a nice bit of legislative initiative.Pres Reagan, the last President to revise the Tax Code, took three years to get a tax bill through the Congress. No President since then has had the guts to tackle the job.The economy is going to continue to expand and add jobs. Pres Trump will take and receive credit for that phenomenon. The debate as to whether that credit is deserved is not a winning message.I don’t quite get what you are saying as to cutting taxes decreasing investment.In the revisions is a provision for immediate expensing of all capital expenditures. Instead of depreciating new plant and equipment over some recognized depreciation schedule, it will be expensed in the year of acquisition.This is, in many ways, the ultimate tax cut. Let’s assume you and I had a business (corporation) which produced a $1,000,000 profit. We would see the immediate benefit of the reduction from 35% corp tax rate to 21%.We would have expected to have a post-tax profit of $650,000 and now we will have a post-tax profit of $790,000. We would have $150,000 more in the company.If we simultaneously replaced some critical plant and equipment costing $1,000,000 we would have ZERO tax liability as we would depreciate it fully in the year of acquisition. We would have $1,000,000 more in the company.Being crafty financiers, we would borrow the money for the capital acquisition from a bank with a ten year, fully amortizing loan with a 4% interest rate. The interest would be a business expense.We would have $1,000,000 cash in the company (which I would suggest we withdraw and loan to ourselves because loans are not income to us), no tax liability, and a payment plan which would mirror the useful life of the new plant and equipment.Of course, what I describe is exactly what the sponsors of those provisions are hoping for — economic stimulus by means of more free cash flow, capital expenditures which drives manufacturing thereby creating jobs, and the ability for you and me to harness our efforts and put more money in our pocket.I would use my share of the borrowed proceeds to buy a nicer beach house thereby further spurring the economy.In the end, everybody is happy and prosperous (except for those who want to pay higher taxes and don’t like prosperity).JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          5. SubstrateUndertow

            Do you really believe that presidents stoke the Dow in any significant way relative to the much larger SubStrateUnderTow forces imparted by the fundamentals of business cycles?Granted presidents often get sweep into power by public reaction to key business cycle break points. The power of the surfer should never be conflated with the power of the waves he rides.We all love to ride the Dow up. But to avoid riding it down it is best to keep political persona worship to a minimum.

          6. JLM

            .You are talking to a guy who has surfed the winter swell at Rincon. The surfer, through his board, harnesses the power of the wave and directs the board where to carry him. The wave has no direct control as to where the rider and his board arrive.Presidents get to enact policy and policy impacts the economy. The President gets the first opportunity to explain and advocate for policy and from his bully pulpit influences the reaction of the markets. He does not control them; he influences them.While I don’t think the President drives the Dow on a daily basis, a broad stroke — like the winter swell in Rincon — injects power into the economy which individuals harness for their own gain.It took Ronald Reagan 3 years to revise the Tax Code in 1986, the last time anybody had the cojones to tackle the job.President Trump got the job done in 90 days.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. SubstrateUndertow

      Missed yesterdays post just read it. I’m a day late but I’d still like to give a huge up vote to that great post especially this :Personal data sovereignty so that we control our data and provision it via API keys, etc to the digital services we use.

  4. Farhan Lalji

    Don’t think anyone is wise for doing only one form of investing for saving. What was the app you showed?Here’s to participating in the AVC community more in 2018. Happy New Year.

    1. fredwilson

      Stash is the app I showed

  5. Richard

    Just when you thought financial liferacy couldn’t get any worse …. the millennial mind / 2017 kicked in.

  6. NS

    With so much happening, gaining mindshare seems to be a big challenge. Re: crypto, would be interesting to see when real fear overtakes the crypto investing frenzy.

  7. Jim Connolly

    Happy New Year, Fred!

  8. pointsnfigures

    Think (hope) China will eliminate the fat man in NK. Cost/Opportunity Costs will be too high for them to keep him there. I am encouraged by the events in Iran and think we will see a decrease in terrorism in 2018. I agree on stock mkt. Priced in, but I think we will see a huge uptick in M+A activity. Will be hard for corps to hoard cash. WACC just dropped a lot. Disagree about the Dems. Republicans will hold both houses.

    1. bsoist

      Republicans will hold both houses.I agree. I almost included this in my comment, but decided not to dive into the political.

    2. Tom Labus

      GOP toast

      1. pointsnfigures

        that’s why there is a market.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      That’s definitely the smart thing for China to do. Trump will keep upping the pressure and come closer and closer to the ability to solve the problem in just a long weekend, and China would be better off doing it themselves.

    4. Alex Murphy

      Considering they are delivering oil, I think that is a big wish.

      1. JLM

        .The revelation of the at-sea oil transfer photos is a big deal.The world is led to believe it was discovered and revealed by the South Koreans. The only problem with that is the ROK doesn’t have that satellite eye-in-the-sky capabilities.Those were American pics and Pres Trump didn’t want to confront the Chinese premier in order to safeguard whatever real or imagined personal relationship he fancies he has with Xi. It also saved Xi and the Chinese face.The actual tankers used for the at-sea transfer were tiny vessels compared to modern tankers. This lends an air of credibility. It is also a very dangerous undertaking.Most pumping capability for the transfer of oil is at portside. Ships don’t cross the ocean with pumps on them.China is not going to play ball.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    5. LE

      China will eliminate the fat man in NK.If they eliminate him they lose a great bargaining chip and that is why they haven’t done it so far.

      1. pointsnfigures

        my point is that the costs/opportunity costs will finally weigh in favor of them deciding the bargaining chip is worthless.

        1. LE

          Right. What is interesting is that past administrations had allowed the nuclear buildup thinking that the plug could always be pulled when push came to shove.

    6. ErikSchwartz

      China will do whatever it takes to keep the north and south separate. Not a chance in hell that involves removing Kim. Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn rule applies.

      1. JLM

        .China is getting a free look at American planning and the ability for the US to project force. They are not going to give up that ringside seat.China views the Korean Peninsula as an anchored aircraft carrier in their backyard. If NK were to be re-united with the ROK, it would provide a land bridge to Manchuria.This fear of a land bridge directly to China was exactly why the Chinese intervened in the Korean War.The Chinese had always admitted to losing 4-500,00 KIA in that war. Recently, they have admitted they lost upwards of 1MM. This fear runs very deep.The Chinese, over the last decade, have extended their reach into the S China Sea by building up and fortifying a dozen atolls which are now equipped with shore-to-ship missiles capable of interdicting 40% of all the cargo being shipped in the world.They can reach the Philippines and Subic Bay from some of these forward projected atolls.The Chinese are not about to let us have a peek into Manchuria.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. JamesHRH

          I have seen similar analysis. It makes total sense.Korea is über strategic until China decides it is not.

    7. Vendita Auto

      Persia has a long esteemed history diplomacy / diplomatic support is the only way forward. China will not eliminate Kim Jong-un they do not do the bay of pigs China is a master of the longtail game. The world needs people like J.K. Galbraith not Oliver North.

    8. JamesHRH

      Dems have to rebuild.People forget that an upset candidate – like a blossoming startup – was let into the game by and incumbent that was incompetent, lazy or rotting (or all three).That’s the DNC right now. Not fixable in a year.The GOP was not much better, but revolution hit them first so they are further along in adapting.

      1. JLM

        .The DNC was crooked, but it had another problem. Pres Obama took his campaign apparatus and maintained it. Usually a termed out President sends his best people to the NC of his party.Pres Obama has an organization called Organizing for America which has the data engine of his campaign. This is what a NC retains — the institutional memory of the last campaign together with all the consultants, GOTV effort, etc.The DNC does not have such an engine.To make matters worse, OFA and DNC are both trying to tap the same donors to fund their operations. At worst, one or the other prevails which kills the other. At best, they both get funded and hopelessly diluted. Either way, it will continue to be a problem for the Dems.The reason Pres Trump was so high on Reince Priebus was because of the high level of cooperation during the campaign. Reince was the right guy for the RNC, but the wrong guy for Chief of Staff.Campaigns are like startups, if you let them be.The Dems had the superior GOTV organization in the Romney/Ryan v Obama campaign, but now it’s the Republicans.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. JamesHRH

          Not a lot of team play on the Dem side.Wonder who started that ” take care of Numero Uno ” trend? Can’t find rhetorical font.

  9. bsoist

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels a little clueless about this year.I do think the bull cycle continues for crypto for most of 2018.I hope to at least see Amazon falter eventually. I think it’s possible, though unlikely, we will see signs of that in 2018.Have a safe and prosperous new year, AVC!

    1. awaldstein

      I think there is a betting chance that Whole Foods will falter, Amazon not something I can wrap my head around.

      1. bsoist

        It’s hard to imagine. I struggled to even put that in writing. A few years ago, I kept telling friends “HBO is trying to become Netflix before Netflix can become HBO and Amazon is going to beat them both at that game eventually – while concurrently earning from them via AWS.” I was once very bullish on Amazon, but I have changed my tune.

        1. awaldstein

          We shall see.The thing about Whole Foods and Amazon is that with all of the other acquisitions they left them pretty much alone, rolling in efficiencies of course.Changes in Whole Foods are essential as while an amazing brand they were a failed model. To be successful they need to disrupt the distribution model as way. I was not surprised to hear rumors that they were considering buying UNFI.The food biz is a mess. It is hard. The more disruption the better as it needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

          1. bsoist

            See my comment above about Whole Foods. I think the space was their main play.Let’s see what happens after they buy UPS. 🙂

      2. sigmaalgebra

        I don’t know what Bezos has or had in mind for Whole Foods. I doubt that he intended that it remain much as it was. Roughly, in some sense he wants to get into the grocery business, and maybe he thought that Whole Foods was a good enough and cheap enough way to do that.

        1. bsoist

          I was a little puzzled by Whole foods at first, but it is my understanding that they have warehouse space in places where it’s difficult to zone for warehouse space.

      3. Richard

        Wholefoods has a two things going for it in their 30 year run, the renewal of downtowns across the US and inept competitors (Kroger Safeway et al.). They have fun out of runway on the first and are slowly (wow are traditional groceries clueless at pricing and product ) being caught up to by the second.

        1. awaldstein

          Smart comment. And true.But the thing you need to realize is that the perishable, warehoused food biz is simply broken.Broken from a margin perspective. Broken from the economics of being a launch pad for local producers. Broken in their pledge for transparency.It simply doesn’t work and the math is both ugly and simplistic to see it.Can you fix it?Sure and If I was Amazon and wanted to I would:-Own distribution and warehousing. Will require acquisitions.-Own the source of staples for Organic as the only way you can control prices on Organic at scale is to own it.-Figure out who their customer is. WF nor Amazon for WF hasn’t.I look at WF and Amazon through their failures like the artisanal food and wine biz.It will take innovation not just logistics to rethink this.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            I doubt that Bezos is much into either “artisanal” or “organic”.Yes, Amazon and perishable are quite distant now. For a case of 24 cans of Campbell’s soup, etc., Amazon can be fine. For some perishable items, say, a sack of Green Giant (recognized brand) Russet potatoes, okay. For nearly anything else perishable, e.g., fresh fish, tough to too tough.

          2. Richard

            I agree with your analysis.1) 20 basis points can be extracted through brokers / distribution. The UNFI contract goes through 2025. Buying UNFI may be have some antitrust implications, so I expect that they will purchase a second tower distributor (KEHE) or bring in houseTree of life.2) 20 basis points can be saved by building up an organic produce cooperative.3) 20 basis points can be saved by buying one or two beverage companies.4) Top line can be improved by getting serious about prepared foods (still run by college dropouts without real food pedigree)

          3. LE

            -Own the source of staples for Organic as the only way you can control prices on Organic at scale is to own it.Agree with most of what you say but with the above I would offer that if you are a big enough customer of someone you do ‘own it’. An example of this is Walmart with it’s suppliers. Or really any business that allows one customer to makeup a large portion of their business.One of the reasons that Amazon is doing their own deliveries is your point ‘own distribution and warehousing’ (and delivery). But the other is simply to put the fear of god into the vendors and use as leverage for better pricing.

          4. JamesHRH

            Great comment. A roaring start to the New Year for you.

      4. Amar

        Hopefully this is not one of those “post hoc ergo propter hoc” things Arnold 🙂 Amazon might be something you cannot wrap your head around but that is insufficient reason to think Whole Foods will falter.Having read your comments over the years, I am aware of your experience in marketing and retail. I am curious to hear your unemotional take on why you think WF is set to falter. Have a great 2018 sir.

        1. awaldstein

          Fair enough question and I will find the time to post separately on this.And note I said they could not that they would.My insight into them comes from a 4 year investment in a brand that sold through them and know the company, the logistics and the culture first hand.

          1. Salt Shaker

            WF wrapped inside of AMZN automatically changes the ground rules and def of success or “falter.” (It’s like the Apple Watch and Apple.) A pimple relative to other rev streams and lines of biz, and dependent on how/if AMZN reports and separates WF wrt earnings. I believe WF is another feature—an important one—to drive AMZN Prime subscription, which is a pure profit play. As you know firsthand, grocery is a low margin biz. AMZN may squeeze some points on efficiency, inventory mgt, big data, but WF will work best as another feature influencing Prime acquisition/retention rates. Wal-Mart likely better equipped to monetize traditional retail to home food conversion, though the market certainly is big enough for both to thrive. Wish I bought in early on either company, but didn’t. HNY! (Looks mighty cold in NYC).

          2. awaldstein

            Good point well said.So so cold. Forgoing traditional walk in the park as to bitter to handle and opting for a movie close by instead.Wishing you a great new year!

    2. Twain Twain

      Amazon continues to innovate and has good developer ecosystem and tools for voice AI. They’ll be just fine.

      1. bsoist

        Other companies have those things too. We’ll see how the market decides.I was once a big supporter of Amazon, but even then I am not sure I’d use the word _innovate_ to describe them – not since the very beginning, anyway.

      2. Richard

        Yes and the smart thing amazon should do is start to distant itself from TECH particularly crypto currencies, which is again proving Tech community is no more noble than the banking industry. As Fred has mentioned, there is a backlash (short) again software tech for many reasons.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      Amazon seems to be doing well, e.g., improving the collection of what they sell, polishing their Web excellent Web site, and doing a lot to reduce shipping times and costs. Wal-Mart would, could, and should be working hard to compete with Amazon, but they aren’t trying nearly hard enough. Amazon is a serious threat to Wal-Mart. Bezos is a bright guy tough to compete with.

      1. bsoist

        No doubt they are doing well, but I am not sure what they’ve done has been good for consumers in the end. I’d like to see the market realize this and react to it.My gut tells me they are going to be fine for some time – well past the end of 2018 – but I’d like to hope otherwise.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          > I am not sure what they’ve done has been good for consumers in the end.For a lot of stuff, the best place to shop for information, selection, price, return policies, the quality of the Web site programming, etc.

        2. Erin

          I hope someone takes them on for their labor standards violations.

        3. Salt Shaker

          Hard for me to see how AMZN isn’t good for consumers. It’s a competitive marketplace built on convenience. That said, if they get greedy w/ respect to private label and/or too strongly demonstrate preferential treatment for some products/services at the expense of others, they could bear the wrath of regulators. Like Comcast showing preferential treatment for company owned networks on your cable system ( e.g., stifling competition).

    4. falicon

      If I have to pick a major company that really starts to slide in 2018, it’s Apple.The loss of Jobs is finally catching up with them, and I don’t really see them fixing that any time soon (heck, I don’t even see most people acknowledging it as a reality; so hard to address if you don’t believe it’s a real thing in need of attention).Amazon has strong ideals and a cult-like culture (with the cult leader still strongly at the helm)…so I don’t think they’re in danger of fading any time soon.

      1. awaldstein

        Don’t know if those ideals translate to the perishable food biz which is the core of WF.If there is a vision here, we have yet to see it.

        1. falicon

          I think they translate pretty well actually – it’s all about the customer at scale, and they want to have the best possible customer experience possible across all their touch points (note: I don’t actually think they have this, but I do believe that is a big driving mission/ideal within the company).The thing about WF in regards to Amazon though is that it’s prob. not even a big play/part of the overall strategy or company. They can ‘miss’ on it and still play from a position of power.That being said, even if they ‘miss’ on it, they will likely have collected a lot of customer data, trends, and knowledge…as well as warehousing knowledge and access among other things…and prob. still have *very* limited bottom line losses. So, if that’s the worst possible ‘miss’, it ain’t so bad.

          1. awaldstein

            Maybe.I’ve been using them less.Foodkick (same day from Fresh Direct) and my new favorite Thrive make it possible with addition of Green Markets or course Amazon (which has a lot of the old obscure WF dry goods).You are not a New Yorker so you don’t remember when there were no real places to get anything except a series of high priced specialty places like Fairway uptown and Deane and Delucca’s downtown.WF was a celebration for neighborhoods when they showed up.

          2. falicon

            I would say New York is generally the exception, not the rule.Also – *you* are a magnificent, and unique, creature. A trend setter. Not the ‘average consumer’ that scales to what Amazon tries to target.IMHO grocery is really a big data business (though most are completely terrible at understanding or using that data).The Amazon retail stores were an experiment that I think gave Amazon a lot of insight and ideas into how physical retail (and by extension, grocery) can be approached going forward.I don’t know where it will really lead…but I think it’s going to be something a lot different than what we have (or most are even thinking about) today as it relates to WF.We’ll see…

          3. LE

            Also WF is probably going to be following a strategy similar to what happened in other industries before:a) Stereos (back in the day) which used to be niche and quite good then going mainstream to a larger market. So that high end stereo in the small specialty store (with clerks who talked a very good game) ended up in early big box stores because the market changed and got much larger. And the purists were aghast. But to your point ‘it’s not about Arnold and why he went there in the first place anymore’.b) Photography (Nikon, Canon). When I started doing photography they cameras weren’t sold everywhere.c) Cars (BMW quite a different company than back in the 70’s). Can anyone anyone around in the 70’s imagine suburban mom’s driving BMW’s?So the WF (and the way they operated) that got them into the game is no longer relevant anymore for what they want to become. Which may very well be simply ‘a better place to buy groceries’.

          4. awaldstein

            We shall all see together.The NE region, 85+% of it the in city stores is the top 2 in revenue in the country to my knowledge.Yup an exception but a huge market.And no (well 1) NYC store sells wine which accounts for a margin boost nationally on a horrible margin business.Happy New Year my friend!

        2. Susan Rubinsky

          WF is the current sandbox. The machine of Amazon will still run strong.

          1. awaldstein

            Yes, quite the machine.Packages were up 45% last year and expected to be up another 50% this year with a the lion’s share of that accountable to Amazon in NYC.

      2. bsoist

        If I have to pick a major company that really starts to slide in 2018, it’s Apple.I agree with that. Amazon is the one I’d like to see toppled first, but Apple is mostly likely, I think (and I won’t lose sleep over it).

      3. pointsnfigures

        Agree on Apple. Feel like shorting them.

      4. Salt Shaker

        I liquidated my AAPL holdings earlier this year and the stock continued to thrive. I thought they were done (or perhaps mature is a better way to express it) pre-iPhone X. My timing was off, but I think the tides are indeed now shifting. AMZN is a machine. Their biggest challenge is continuing to (efficiently) manage their unprecedented growth.

        1. falicon

          I think it will be a slow decline for Apple, they do have a network effect in place with most of their devices still…but, IMHO, they are close to where they were shortly after the first Mac craze started to fade (people that have them are starting to wish they had made other choices or could “get out”).

      5. LE

        If I have to pick a major company that really starts to slide in 2018, it’s Apple.The difference between thinking that a company like Apple will slide and say google will slide (you didn’t mention google but I am for example) is that Apple is filled with the following:a) Boatloads of money (to bet and take chances)b) Ton’s of creative people c) Creative culture d) Smart peoplea,d lot’s of companies have that. b,c not so much (combined with ‘a’ at least)Google has nowhere near the creativity that Apple has. You can see that in their products. (But sure google could do similar but I think the creativity is what matters most and that is really baked into Apple. Also quality in what they build at least until recently (oh shit)). Creativity means a great deal it’s re-invention basically.As such it is quite possible they can use all of the aboveto morph into something else. Possible. Or buy many other things. There is a great deal of momentum.Compare this to, say, a department store or Boeing or Ford Motor Company. Not as easy to reinvent and to me it starts at the people who are baked into the corporate structure.Anyway I am not saying Apple can’t slide it can. Just like nobody could predict the Apple comeback as a result of Jobs. But also for the Jobs strategy to work lots of pieces (luck) had to be in place for that to happen, and Jobs. Not one or the other. But the creativity is really the thing that gives them a fighting chance.Ask yourself this. If you were a startup would you be more likely to sell your company (all else equal money wise to):AppleGoogleFacebookAmazon.Oh yeah Facebook. I am not seeing that long term at all.

        1. falicon

          I love the question, “If I had to sell to one of them”…Personally I would pick Amazon because they are most in-line with what we do right now (and the most likely to let us continue with little intervention). My strong 2nd would actually be Google, because they also have a strong ‘techie’ culture that would agree with me personally (and most people I know that sold out to them enjoyed waiting the lock-in period out there).Apple would prob. be my 3rd choice, only because I think I would personally like the environment better than Facebook.But it’s all situational (and hypothetical) of course.Anyway – for your other points; I get your argument and it’s why I think it will be a long and slow decline…but I am basing my guess on my talks/interaction around Apple with my kids and their friends (all of which still have Apple devices, btw).Most of them aren’t nearly in love with the brand as they once were…many actually wish they could switch (but feel locked in because of the network effect of things like iMessage and the history/access of their apps).The little things, like the headphone jack, and the big things, like the slowing down of older hardware are starting to pile up as legit gripes…I don’t know what the tipping point will be, or how long it will be till we get there…but I do think we’re heading towards it…

          1. LE

            like the slowing down of older hardwareThat’s hacker news and techie whining. And news media repeating because it sells ads (because it’s a company that everyone knows about). Normals don’t care about that shit. If they did someone else other than a 17 year old would have noticed. And it was a choice that actually makes sense. Not being deceptive. Techie whining to feel important and make non-techies feel stupid.Besides Apple has been doing this for years and everyone BOGU’s to it with laptops and the OS. New OS comes out and slows down your old laptop. Never heard anything or much about that, right? And that was really really bad and slowing. My old Mac Book Pros are barely usable.My answer would be Apple. God knows I just can’t get by those stripes on the Yankees uniform (reference to “Catch me if you can”.I own an iphone and a Samsung Galaxy S8+ so I have diverse path routing for service (two os, two carriers, two pieces of hardware). No way the Android and Samsung hardware works as well as IOS is what I have found (I know Fred disagrees with this).

          2. JLM

            .I like the moniker “normals.” Well played.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. LE

            One of the first things I learned about the tech business vs. what I will call ‘traditional’ business is how, when around computers, people will put up with all sorts of things that they would never do in the regular world of business. It’s like a black box to them. And they always believe it’s them and not the company that makes the product etc. or the software. With computers they are trained to take it up the … This is what gave us an entire industry of people to help solve problems with the companies products. You know ‘my tech guy’ etc. (Thank Microsoft because before that the company supported the products and charge for it).Here is (circa roughly 30 years ago; shit!) a message I received on an invoice sent to a customer where they didn’t like the product that we delivered. The person writing it ran a restaurant that was very well known in the city I had a business in and didn’t mind expressing that displeasure. (Either White Dog Cafe or La Terrasse..)I am not showing the entire message either…. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

      6. Twain Twain

        As long as they have Sir Jony, they’ll still tick along nicely. Remember the hamburger emoji fun? Look at the superior aesthetics in Apple’s design of even an emoji! https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Plus they’re making interesting bets with AR and aren’t subject to any of the fallout of “fake news”, “damaging democracy” and discriminating adtech which is affecting other bigtech:* https://qz.com/1079284/anti

      7. Andu @ Widgetic.com

        You’re wrong. I don’t think you understand how big AR is, even in comparison with the PC and the Mobile eras, combined. AR will take the digital out of our computers and devices and lay it on top of the real world. Let me say this again – everything that surrounds us will be digitised. This is bigger than anything happening right now, but it works great in combination with everything (AI, Autonomous Cars, Crypto, IoT, etc).And Apple is betting on this. If they get it right (I have no doubt they will), I see them at 50x their current value in 20 years.

        1. falicon

          I’m wrong more often than I’m right…so history is on your side. 😉

        2. SubstrateUndertow

          Repost:Apple will indeed slide into all kinds of daily-utility mobile 3D scanning functions that most of us don’t yet visualize let alone recognize as practical solutions to problems we think we don’t have. Notice the subtle hint at this in their present iPhone X ads.People don’t seem to appreciate that when it comes to miniaturized mobile computing hardware/software/ecosystem integration evolution we have just begun scratching-the-iceberg here. There is still much room for companies like Apple to succeed in this under appreciated blue sky space.The Apple Watch efforts are under appreciated here. That effort is a long play that has not yet even begun to reach maturity. It represent a future wrist-base-monitoring-hub for your personal/private/secure intra-net of things. Most of which will take some time to emerge as they are complex/risky/expensive development cycles that required Apple to put the device into the field long before it was ready for prime time.The watch was a chicken or egg dilemma for Apple. Its complexity of hardware/software/ecosystem are of such complex integrative interplay they necessitated developing it in field in parallel. No one is going to invest in satellite medical or other costly sensors given the design/approval cost/complexity unless there was live hardware in field to develop against.I do agree that Apple will probable slide for some time before there lead in miniaturized mobile hardware/software/ecosystem integration 2.0 reasserts itself in the marketplace. Sell soon wait to reinvest?

      8. SubstrateUndertow

        Apple will indeed slide into all kinds of daily-utility mobile 3D scanning functions that most of us don’t yet visualize let alone recognize as practical solutions to problems we think we don’t have. Notice the subtle hint at this in their present iPhone X ads.People don’t seem to appreciate that when it comes to miniaturized mobile computing hardware/software/ecosystem integration evolution we have just begun scratching-the-iceberg here. There is still much room for companies like Apple to succeed in this under appreciated blue sky space.The Apple Watch efforts are under appreciated here. That effort is a long play that has not yet even begun to reach maturity. It represent a future wrist-base-monitoring-hub for your personal/private/secure intra-net of things. Most of which will take some time to emerge as they are complex/risky/expensive development cycles that required Apple to put the device into the field long before it was ready for prime time.The watch was a chicken or egg dilemma for Apple. Its complexity of hardware/software/ecosystem are of such complex integrative interplay they necessitated developing it in field in parallel. No one is going to invest in satellite medical or other costly sensors given the design/approval cost/complexity unless there was live hardware in field to develop against.I do agree that Apple will probable slide for some time before there lead in miniaturized mobile hardware/software/ecosystem integration 2.0 reasserts itself in the marketplace. Sell soon wait to reinvest?

    5. Erin

      I’m with you on Amazon faltering.

  10. sigmaalgebra

    Will the GOP lose control of Congress in the midterm elections. Yes. Well, the MSM will work to this end.But not a chance:(1) Trump is doing too well on the promises that got him elected. He will campaign for Republicans 2-3 months before the election and get more support than he did when he won in 11/2016.The Georgia Senate loss was due to McConnell being really stupid and silly, and Trump will straighten him out and not let anything like that happen again.(2) The two biggies for national politics are peace and prosperity, and Trump is doing comparatively well on both.(3) The Republicans are well funded and, by Trump, well led and will try hard. The Democrats are poorly funded, poorly led by Schumer, Pelosi, and the head of the DNC and not trying hard.Really, the Democrats have decided to have a civil war with the Republicans and the rest of the country by being “passive aggressive” — just refusing to participate. That’s no way to win an election.(4) The Republicans, with the RNC, Bannon, etc., will be looking for good candidates, and the Democrats in office are vulnerable just from being on the losing side in 11/2016.(5) The Republicans have some solid messages, e.g., just MAGA, and the Democrats have nothing at all or at all comparatively effective.Basically the Democrats were just convinced that they were so right, were so right with Obama, were so right with Hillary, were definitely going to win in 11/2016, refused to look at reality, and were fooling themselves all along.Net, unless Trump makes some huge mistakes and the Democrats find some strong points to run on, Trump will lead the Republicans in 11/2018, 11/2020, 11/2022. The Democrats won’t have a chance at all before 11/2024. And to be successful then the Democrats have a lot of improving to do. E.g., they have to get rid of the silly Chucky-Nancy show, the screaming of Fauxahontas, the hopeless socialism of Bernie, the occasional hysteria of Feinstein, get people to forget about the disaster of ObamaCare and about nasty, lying, crooked, national security disaster Hillary, generally forget about the Clintons, and get some new leadership with some messages that can compete with Trump’s eight years of solid successes in peace and prosperity.Besides, Hillary may be indicted.Those big changes the Democrats need won’t happen. Uh, the Republicans needed a lot of big changes, and Trump caused those. The Democrats need someone on their side as effective as Trump, and there’s no one even on the horizon.Trump is well in line to have the Republicans the dominant US political party well over the horizon — no real competition in sight.There’s no Article in the Constitution that says that the Democrats have to be the leading party. Sure, at times the GOPe has been brain-dead, but with Trump they are plenty bright enough now.Tough to know what the Democrats could do other than just try to be a better Trump than Trump, and that won’t work.

    1. Alex Murphy

      It will be interesting to see how this comment ages. Will come back on Nov 7th.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        I’m a registered Democrat and believe the US needs two strong parties. Before Trump, we had zero. Now we have one.Trump is not GOPe or “conservative”; so, he’s not making the mistakes of McCain, Romney, W, Bush 41, … Goldwater, …, Hoover.

        1. Alex Murphy

          Two strong(er) parties leads to greater polarization.

          1. SubstrateUndertow

            Not to go all christian on you but in my mind a three party trinity is the minimum price of entry into a functioning democracy. That and getting big money out of politics.

          2. Alex Murphy

            Trinity is three in one – what an ideal that is! Three political parties working together rather than in opposition to each other.We are in a dark period, lies, when told over and over win out over truth.On the other side of this will be more transparent, supportive, upstanding politics. Perhaps a third party, no majority, and a collegial outcome is possible.Here is to hoping!!

        2. SubstrateUndertow

          That you are a registered Democrat is surprising as is the fact that you believe that Trump is making the GOP into a stronger party?

          1. JLM

            .The only measure of any political collective is — can they win elections?On that score, Pres Trump has had a good run and has the potential to make an impact on the mid-terms.There is no GOP today. It is the French Resistance, an unlikely coalition of persons with a personal calling and interest coalescing around a charismatic leader who is keeping his campaign promises while spurring the economy.The parties are as crooked as Hell.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. SubstrateUndertow

            Hard to argue with your GOP is dead point.The rest is soon to be determined.

          3. Alex Murphy

            Or a lie.

          4. SubstrateUndertow


        3. Lawrence Brass

          You doctor sigma a registered Democrat? That is good story for a future post.Happy new year Dr Sigma.

  11. TeddyBeingTeddy

    Id like to see a little more “shall” and a little less “may” in here, but a good post as always. I’m going contrarian and loading up on defensive investments in 2018. Winter is coming.

    1. Alex Murphy

      When Winter comes, it is best to be in the business of selling to the fighters.

  12. Ryan

    Long time lurker here.Feel like I “missed” crypto by not buying any in 2017. However, I can’t get over the fact it’s still very early. Perhaps more like me will push it further north in 18 as we dips toes in.I am curious what app you were showing for savings… betterment?

    1. fredwilson


      1. Ryan

        Thank you. Have a great 2018!

  13. JamesHRH

    I don’t know separates intelligence from wisdom.The numbers stack against you on the GOP losing the house.I think 2018 sees President Trump gain momentum on foreign & domestic fronts, as he distances himself from campaign tactics that were so offensive, consolidates his leverage over the GOP and, as started in late 2017, finds Democrats who want to work with him on major policies.I hope people who despise the President – which is understandable – begin to re-engage with politics.Interesting to see you agree that Trump is not getting impeached. I agree. I think Mueller comes up with nothing.I think war with NK will not happen. Regime change will be a theme of 2018.I think crypto buyers dry up this year. Bubble bursts. I am seeing crypto derision memes in my FB feed., which is full of Normals.I think the big growth funds are a permanent option for Founders, but not as important as their current role.Health, Wealth & Happinesss in 2018 to all of he AVC Community.

    1. bsoist

      Minor nit – Unless I missed it, Fred didn’t mention impeachment at all. His prediction was that Trump would still be in office.

      1. Alex Murphy

        Turnover of congress in Nov will lead to impeachment in 2019. Conviction less likely. Probably stays all four years and our country will look very different. I think it is likely we will see what support our gov has provided over the last 70 years and we will enter into a very dark decade. As one person wrote, Winter is coming.

        1. rich caccappolo

          Right. Even if Democrats win control of congress and initiate impeachment proceedings, they will not be completed in the 7 remaining weeks of the year.

          1. JLM

            .The US 115th Congress — the current one — terminates on 3 Jan 2019. New Congressmen are not seated until thereafter.Nobody elected in Nov 2018 will be in power until that date.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. rich caccappolo


        2. JamesHRH

          Sitting Democrat Senators in N dakota & W Virginia need Roy Moore level GOP candidates to survive 2018.Only 2 sitting GOP Senators face peril from facing the voters in 2018.

          1. ErikSchwartz

            Their problem is that the Bannon wing has enough control over half of the GOP to nominate some really bad candidates.

          2. JLM

            .Bannon had a bit of a flavor-of-the-season national presence. The problem is that the nominating process for Senate and House is totally state driven.There is not enough Bannon to spread around during the next three months when the nominees will be fleshed out.The Senate states in play — Missouri, Indiana, N Dakota, Ohio, Montana, Wisconsin, Florida, W Virginia, Virginia (long shot), Pennsylvania (long shot) — have sitting Rep governors, a Trump track record (the majority by which he won a state), and a right leaning legislature.The Republicans will find a way to lose Nevada and there will be chaos in Arizona.Bannon doesn’t have deep enough connections, staff, and power to reach into the state party nominating processes.Bannon has outlived his usefulness. Pres Trump is the alpha dog party leader and he fired Bannon. Bannon’s firing left a suspicious stank on him.Bannon may have been useful to teach Candidate Trump the alphabet, but President Trump wised up and got rid of him when it came time to govern.Pres Trump made the right decision in putting McMaster and Kelly at his elbow and controlling the process and access. The WH is a well run operation since Kelly has been in charge. Kelly discharged all the campaign overhang and deadwood in short order.Bannon doesn’t have control over anything.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Ryan

            Don’t believe Mandel beats Brown in Ohio.

          4. SubstrateUndertow

            Here’s hoping that Trump wins a second term.That bombshell would finally resolve the trickle-down/supply-side economic-fantasy vs ideological-vision food fight thing for good.The question is whether even the GOP would want to go all in on that level of existential betting-the-farm risk by nominating him again?

          5. JLM

            .The only time in the history of the US when a sitting President was not re-nominated was in 1852 when Franklin Pierce, Dem, and pro-slavery guy was not re-nominated because of his pro-slavery views which gave rise to the founding of the Republican party.There is no longer a GOP. It is now the Trump Party.Not said to be provocative, but, rather, to acknowledge that the GOPe is dead and the President has unlimited swag bags to hand out to every state.If the economy continues to roll, there is ZERO chance of his failing to be re-nominated and re-elected.OTOH, there are a million years until 2020. North Korea could be a huge issue.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          6. SubstrateUndertow

            You may be right but lets wait and see if he can put enough candy into those swag bags.I not a Trump enthusiast but I am a keep your window-of-doubt open proponent so I’d be glad to be surprised by his success.

          7. Lawrence Brass

            I bet history will give Kelly the credit he deserves. Before him the WH was a sinking ship.Mantaining the WH and Trump within operational parameters is the greatest service he has done for the country.Happy new year Jeff.

          8. JamesHRH

            Who hired him? 😉

          9. Lawrence Brass

            I think that his network did in an effort to save him from himself and to bring back governance. I fail to see anything of real value in him as an individual.

          10. JLM

            .Haha, other than defeating the entire GOP establishment, whipping sixteen opponents, fronting up the political family dynasties, calling out the rigged system, winning the election in the face of massive, coordinated opposition from the media, the punditry, the pollsters, and the political Deep State.Before this guy decided to become a part time, amateur politician, he used to develop 100-story buildings as his day job.Donald Trump is the chemotherapy our sick nation desperately requires.He is a leader capable of moving the USA in a direction which its people have wanted to take, but which its politicians have frustrated for decades.He is the man in the pit making stuff happen. He is fearless, barely short of reckless.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          11. JamesHRH

            That’s an opinion. Its not one that I see any support for, but have at it.The President, IMO, is deeply flawed but deeply capable as well,

          12. Lawrence Brass

            Of course, it is just my humble opinion. Some tolerate his flaws others don’t depending on one’s particular sensibilities or priorities.Democracy is not perfect.

          13. JamesHRH

            Very well put.My worry is that democracy without participation or engagement it seems, must fail.As Churchill put it – its better than all other forms.

          14. JLM

            .Happy New Year, Lawrence.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          15. JLM

            .Haha, somebody was paying attention.Actually, there are 10 Republicans, but only 2 are vulnerable.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          16. JamesHRH

            Duly edited. Did drive 1000 miles today….

        3. LE

          Turnover of congress in Nov will lead to impeachment in 2019Presidents can dole out a great deal of favors to sway votes.

        4. JLM

          .I love to ski. Winter is a great season, particularly if the economy is growing at 5% and the market is at 30K.Crank up the hot tub.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. SubstrateUndertow

            Caution with that hot tub thermostat overheating can cause heart attacks.

          2. JLM

            .It’s 25F in the ATX today. The hot tub is operating at peak hot tub.Also, I have a secondary floating thermometer. My hot tub can’t get above 106F.It is really bad to drink in a hot tub.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. SubstrateUndertow

            🙂 Happy new year!

          4. JLM

            .Happy New Year to you SU.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. JamesHRH

        There’s only 2 ways he leaves – impeachment is one.

        1. bsoist

          One can be impeached and stay in office. That’s the point I was making.

          1. JamesHRH

            That is a nit!!!!I concede the point.

    2. SubstrateUndertow

      So on Trump you are past “The Hour between Dog and Wolf” and he is now a dog to you?On that decisiveness I think you may be in the minority stillOn the dog metaphor however you may well be with the majority 🙂

  14. Tom Labus

    I have very strong urges to exit the market and have started to pare back, a lot. This is a comfort level move and I guess to some degree politics too. It’s been a long run since march 2009 and the market gods can be very, very cruel when we least expect a pounding.I don’t see the tax bill providing any benefit to the economy. It was a donor pay off and not a thought went into it beyond that.Trump will be gone and hopefully we begin to recover from this embarrassment

    1. JamesHRH

      You don’t see the 21% corporate tax rate repatriating overseas monies?

      1. Tom Labus

        Actual Corp rate now 18

        1. JLM

          .I think the “one time repatriation tax rate” for cash settled out at 15.5% while non-cash is 8%.The US had a similar “tax holiday” in 2004 which allowed corporations to return money at 5%.The money, in 2004, had to be used for qualified expenditures.It was a huge non-starter.I don’t see the return of overseas monies having a big impact on the economy. One has to remember this money has already paid taxes somewhere (e.g. Ireland at 12.5%) and that a corporation can issue debt secured by the monies.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. JamesHRH

          Have done no real research. Media reports were ‘ wanted 20, got 21. ‘How do you get 18%?

    2. awaldstein

      I hope you are correct and doing what I can to make it so.

  15. Girish Mehta

    There is a French phrase “L’heure entre chien et loup” that translates to – “The Time/Hour between Dog and Wolf”. It refers to the time of day – twilight.I like the layers to the phrase. It captures the idea that in poor and changing light it is difficult to tell a domesticated animal from a possibly dangerous one.It is not about uncertainty – Uncertainty always exists, its nothing new. The phrase hints at a time when you have to ask yourself whether you can trust your eyes, if you can distinguish between what is real and what is not.The start of 2018 feels like “The Hour between Dog and Wolf”.It is a time to be circumspect, and to question more than to answer or to predict.This time too will resolve itself, just like dawn resolves itself into daylight and twilight resolves itself into darkness. Meanwhile, it is probably a good idea to be prepared for either direction that this time may resolve itself into. This is probably not a good time to be betting on a direction or outcome.

    1. fredwilson

      Great comment. A time to be hedged. Long but not over your skis. And multiple bets. Diversification. Balance

      1. Vasudev Ram

        I love that term “(leaning) over your skis”. First time I heard it was here, via a comment here by @LE a few months ago, IIRC. Brings to mind a vivid graphical image of a skier leaning too far forward, with possible consequences that I can guess (though I do not ski myself) … 🙂

      2. JamesHRH

        I love it when someone put words in your mouth, in a good way.Girish is a find.

        1. Vasudev Ram

          And a mind 🙂

    2. JLM

      .There is a book by that name. I recognized the phrase and went looking for it. I bought it in 2013 and still haven’t read it. It’s by a man named Coates.Now, I will have to read it.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Brilliant… and helpful. Thank you.

    4. PhilipSugar

      I say again! Two days in a row! Your quotes are stunning. Stunning. I know who is the best person at quoting here. It is not difficult to tell.

    5. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Wow, this captures how I’ve felt for all of 2017 and expect to feel for most of 2018. First time in my life I’ve written down a bulleted checklist of items in this format, “If this happens, then I’ll do that.”2017 also felt like the year that really brought home the fact that there is indeed a difference between dogs and wolves.

    6. JamesHRH

      I would strongly suggest a book for you – The 500 Year Delta, https://www.amazon.com/500-…. It is a treatise on the future, written 20 years ago (21 as of today).Here is a solid summary, right off the Amazon page:The future is already prologue. Were in the midst of a sea of change in human history “The Five-Hundred-Year Delta” is a point in time when the three great rivers of thought that have shaped our culture (Reason, Market Economy, and Social Organization) converge as they come to their ends. This watershed period heralds a time of change so swift, so massive, that by century’s end it will have swept away nearly the entire underpinnings of modern life. We will shift from a Reason-based mode of thought to a Chaos-based one; Producer-controlled markets will collapse into Demand-controlled ones; and our social, political, and economic organization will fracture.Watts Wacker is a gifted researcher, a second generation ad / consumer insight person and the process used to create the insights in the book was both longitudinally and qualitatively rigorous. It is the only futurist book I have ever recommended to anyone, anywhere, at any time in the past (and quite likely the future, TBH. The book is proof of the quality of work that CAN be done in this area, but the process also explains why such high quality work is incredibly rare ( over a decade of research ).The 500 Year Delta makes Don ‘ I watch my kids ‘ Tapscott a national embarrassment for CDNs ( sigh ).I will give Blockchain proponents this tip of the hat: Blockchain is absolutely a leading contender to be one of the 4 horseman who usher in the Chaos Age, should it come to pass ( which I fear is more likely than not ). The others our Narcissism, Identity Politics and Global Connectedness ( easy Communication & inexpensive Travel ).The Chaos Age will be a massive regression for the world, in my opinion, and a period of great peril for individuals. It is hard to read The 500 Year Delta and not feel that The Chaos Age would be incredibly dark.I started 2018 reading a tweet from an incredibly productive tech person and long term friend who has made Fred’s Trump Resolution from last year: he will not engage at all with negativity, he will work only where he is valued and he will only work with like minded people.That sounds great until you realize that he is isolating himself from irritation, aggravation and, you know, people that are not meeting his Goldilocks standard.Regardless of the actual details of your Goldilocks standard, the act of applying one to your life is a first step to the Chaos Age, as you refuse to make even the smallest concessions to be part of any community that you have not curated to your exact tastes.I fear the sun is going down Girish, it is dusk and the wolves are coming.Hedges don’t keep the wolves out.

    7. Donna Brewington White

      Once someone becomes convinced in the twilight, that conclusion becomes so real to them that it is hard to shake it in the broad daylight. Which makes the wisdom of your comment even more poignant. More than ever, this is a time to keep an open mind and to be a keen observer. Not easy to do once committed to a particular ideology or even political position.

      1. awaldstein

        As well Dona, every person needs to decide what is important and what is acceptable to them as a filter.Completely open is not necessarily a filter that works for me. I’ve had to narrow mine in order to function better. Maybe a matter of self preservation but done nonetheless.Touched on this a bit here. http://arnoldwaldstein.com/

        1. D Feuerbach

          Any unchanging systematic filter produces blind spots on our screen of consciousness.Not preventing this results in accelerated deterioration of social cohesion. Thus, it is of the essence to incorporate mechnisms in our routines of observation and information gathering which allow us to maintain a broader comprehension.We need to continue to expose ourselves to uncurated information and experience.For me what works best is a variety of linear newsflows. It would be interesting to know what works for others

          1. awaldstein

            Your comment indicates that you did not read my post–which is fine.There is nothing in there about unchanging filters or walled anything.It is about ethics. Hardly the same thing.

    8. Lawrence Brass

      “… just like dawn resolves itself into daylight and twilight resolves itself into darkness.” — poetic.Happy new year Girish.

      1. Girish Mehta

        Happy new year Lawrence.

    9. Chimpwithcans

      Super comment – rings true for me living in Africa. In Africa it sometimes feels like all we have is a perpetual “l’heure entre chien et loup”. Like you say, it is not about uncertainty. Curiously, Africa has a lot of people telling it how bad things are, while life itself is often fantastic on the dark continent. Perhaps this contrast between every day life and the sense of something coming is to blame for the dog/wolf feeling.

    10. Twain Twain

      I disagree. The direction is already clear if you know how to connect the dots. The single most important objective for the next 10 years is the same as it was for the last 10 years. MAKE THE MACHINES UNDERSTAND HUMAN LANGUAGE & VALUES.Unfortunately, investors missed it. @bfeld:disqus @philipsugar:disqus @JLM:disqus @le_on_avc:disqus @MsPseudolus:disqus @donnawhite:disqus @lawrencebrass:disqus* https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Meanwhile, I made a big bet on my system and time is proving exactly how spot on and right my vision+execution are.@jameshrh:disqus — The four Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse: Chaos, Narcissism, Identity Politics and Global Connectedness are already baked into the Facebooks, Twitters, Googles. There’s not much they can do because their code and business models all iterate and reinforce on those mechanics.Engineers make the argument that chaotic information can be classified with probability. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Well, if that was the case, Eric Schmidt wouldn’t be saying: “It can be ‘very difficult’ for Google’s search algorithm to understand truth.”https://www.cnbc.com/2017/1…Other engineers argue that network theory is all that matters: https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…Well, if that was the case, Facebook wouldn’t be associated with damaging democracy etc:* https://www.theatlantic.com…Most of the problem is that the folks at FB, Google, Blockchain et al don’t think through how Markov and network effects compound “echo chambers” and are poor mechanisms if language understanding and truth differentiation are the objectives.Language understanding also completely transforms AdTech, by the way.* https://www.fastcompany.com…Anyway, I agree with James: it’s dusk. FB, Google et al built and entered their own black boxes and it is DARK and not a unicorn but a one-trick pony:* https://www.technologyrevie…* https://www.technologyrevie…Meanwhile, I’m sticking with my system.

      1. Lawrence Brass

        I believe in your work. If I were an investor I would love to hear the pitch. Maybe I already have the concept about your work thanks to all your posts.But the reality is that am a humble entrepreneur, struggling to keep alive my projects and developments under the light of the moon.Stop, breathe, sleep, get you full of new energy.. move maybe.. but don’t quit.I wish this new year brings you love, health and prosperity.Happy new year Twain!

    11. jason wright

      …as every dog is descended from the wolf.you know, this was only day one and post one of 2018. have mercy 😉

    12. gregg

      Well said … interesting times when we don’t even if we’re headed for morning or night.

    13. Tom Labus

      You have a great talent and I hope it blossoms here more in 18 @girishmehta:disqus

    14. Debo Ajayi

      Makes perfect sense. Predictions will be thrown out the window. We cannot see in Twilight, but we can feel…

    15. Vasudev Ram

      +1Last para sounds a bit Kahlil Gibran-ish, as Lawrence also said (differently).

    16. dhdeans

      Natural-language processing is the big trend to watch in 2018. In a similar way that low-cost smartphones and mobile internet was impactful to the global economy, voice UI potentially extends the size of the worldwide addressable market.

    17. cavepainting

      Loved this comment and will repurpose shamelessly!

    18. Mark Essel

      Hmm Dawn or Twilight – finding out has me on the edge of my seat. Great metaphor for our ever uncertain future.

    19. mariapetrova

      well said!

  16. Frank W. Miller

    Good list of questions.o Have never touch crypto, will never touch cryptoo I’m betting on a major correction. I went about 60% cash four months ago. Ready to start buying…o Tax cuts will definitely cause the economy to improve but not as much as people hopeo I don’t think any of those will falter, but I don’t think the deck is stacked against startups like you seem to. There will be others…o Only if Softbank beats the IPO markets terms…o What is a backlash? Will the media keep using tech as a whipping boy? Sure they will, they always look for “bad” actors. As I referred to yesterday, its the smoke. Focus on the underlying flames.o If my CS classes are any indication, more diversity will happen, I see it before it gets to your companieso Trump will be president until Jan 2021 or more likely Jan 2025. He’s an incumbent that just cut taxes.o GOP will lose the Senate but not the House.o I just pray when it comes to North Korea.You forgot one question that goes with Trump. Will the media continue to hyperventilate and froth at the mouth about him? Of course! It sells papers!I wish everyone a full and successful 2018!

    1. creative group

      Frank W. Miller:” Trump will be president until Jan 2021 or more likely Jan 2025. He’s an incumbent that just cut taxes.” – Frank W. MillerOnly part we strongly disagree.Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

  17. jason wright

    it’s all unknowns. that’s the definition of ‘future’. in theory anything is possible, and that’s quite liberating (but scary to some). bring it on.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      Yes. This year I chose that attitude, tired of the new year resolutions tactic.Bring it on 2018.Happy new year jason and to all of AVC.

  18. jason wright

    the crypto market’s total cap is hogwash. i doubt that there’s more than 20% of realisable value in there. it’s all bots and fake volume. if everyone tried to cash out the majority of people would be underwater. I don’t think the space is anywhere near as big as it appears to be and can be in the future.In the top twenty tokens on CMC we can observe how utterly manipulated and fake the volume and price of some projects are. the exchanges they trade on are not big enough to generate the numbers claimed.

    1. fredwilson

      I agree with the first half of your last sentence and strongly disagree with the second half

      1. jason wright

        “I don’t think the space is anywhere near as big as it appears to be and can be in the future.” – this? I edited in a second paragraph, but I think that came after you wrote your reply.If the Numerai founder truly has the stated intention of managing all the world’s investment capital then I stand by the second half of my last sentence. the hubris of youthful ambition :)it can be bigger than it appears to be, but not in its present form. the present form has been built on values that contradict sustainability. almost every founder i observe is making decisions dictated by just one issue, how much money they can squeeze out of their project to increase their personal financial gain. the ‘success’ of their project is defined by that single metric.

    2. Vendita Auto

      Out of my comfort zone but China has the scale, control, leads D-Wave encryption systems to develop a state blockchain framework second to known ?

  19. Frank W. Miller

    This is off topic but I’m curious. How are the plays on Soundcloud actually tabulated? I’ve got more than 8000 plays on one of the songs I posted several years ago. What exactly does that mean? I find it hard to believe that people are playing this recording more than twice a day on the average…

    1. fredwilson

      Not certain. But I suspect that is all time

  20. Salt Shaker

    Mueller’s in a tough bind. Certainly there hasn’t been enough public evidence to date to justify impeachment proceedings to a GOP led Congress, hardly an objective, unbiased entity. So when does he reveal, if anything? Anything close to November will be viewed as politically motivated, while a non-reveal has the same outcome (see: Comey not acknowledging Russia inquiry while throwing HRC under the bus). Then there’s the hand that says the FBI and inquiry are already tainted.Unless there’s a smoking gun of Nixonian proportions this goes away, but regardless it will bring the cesspool and DC dysfunction to unprecedented levels, if that’s even remotely possible.

    1. ErikSchwartz

      I’m betting it is money laundering. Real estate is a time honored way of laundering dirty cash.

      1. Salt Shaker

        Didn’t Watergate’s Deep Throat say “follow the money?” Isn’t it always about the money? Trump will draw a hard red line there, plus he’s fundamentally in the licensing biz (not RE). We shall see. Would not bet against your theory.

        1. ErikSchwartz

          The hard red line of the tapes did not work well for Nixon. As for the public evidence? The investigation is not leaking. We have no idea what they know.

          1. JLM

            .I promise you there are multiple people watching every entrance, exit, and auto license of anyone going to see Mueller. Every lawyer who has gone to see Mueller is known.Same effort is being made at the grand jury building. Every individual who has ever testified before that grand jury is known.There seem to be a number of leaks, the most recent being the baloney about the Australian connection to the FISA warrant. If you believe that one, I have a bridge in Brooklyn with your name on it.The issue may simply be this — there is nothing to leak.The Trump campaign lasted for 3 months after he received the nomination. He was working his ass off. The Mueller bunch (and predecessors) has now been investigating that 3 months for almost 18 months.You have to believe they have every single letter, email, text, phone call, meeting record, internal document from that period. Every minute of Trump’s time was accounted for down to the second.Nobody has cited a statute which might have been broken.We are pretty deep into the weeds without a statute which alleges the commission of a crime.If there is a crime, let’s get it out, prove it, and punish the wrongdoers regardless of who they are.If one goes back to the Ken Starr investigation, the entire case devolved to Pres Clinton lying in the Paula Jones case under oath. They knew that pretty early in the scheme of things.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. LE

        Real estate is a time honored way of laundering dirty cash.I can see his father with his borough apartments doing this but not him. My dad was paid in cash for example on many apartments. That was the type of tenants that he had. (Ditto for his friends, all immigrants).Usually with real estate you would use actual cash to do the following:a) Buy or help buy somethingb) Do renovationsc) Pay for labor (part of ‘b’).d) Bribese) Not report the cash from rent.I am not seeing the potential for any of that given the scope of the projects that were done. Would be curious on your take if I am missing something.

      3. JLM

        .Money laundering in commercial real estate of that magnitude is an unlikely proposition. No developer puts his own money into a deal. When I was building 50-story high rises, I raised equity and debt. At the end, I used to get it all from a single lender.The market is segregated by risk. Construction risk is usually handled by commercial banks with a completion bond from the general contractor backing the loan up.As soon as the property is leased up, institutional mortgage lenders “take out” the construction lenders with lower cost money. Permanent lenders do not take construction risk.Since a developer doesn’t put his money into a deal, whose money would he be laundering?Money laundering requires an exit to make the money “clean.” The source of the money is dirty — product of arms trading, drug trafficking, some form of crime.The laundry is in session when you exit the property through sale or re-financing and return the now clean money to the bad guys.There are all kinds of withholding rules if you are dealing with foreign investors. It is very well policed.In real estate of that magnitude, there are enormous checks and balances. Cities have to approve construction contracts, inspect regularly, and tax jurisdictions are entitled to see progress payments to levy partial taxes during construction. Bonding companies have to have assurances of reliable funding.In the entire time I was in commercial real estate, I had a single incident of a shady person approaching me to invest in a deal. He was creepy and the day after I met with him, I got a call from the FBI and a drop-by to chat. It was drug money coming up from Panama.It was odd because the terms he was seeking were way too generous. It was an obvious thing.If there was any money laundering involved, that is a serious crime and everybody involved should go to jail. I just can’t imagine it is the case, but whatever the evidence shows, the evidence shows.Mueller is a bit afield from an investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election and the collusion of the Trump campaign with the Russians.I want to trust Mueller. He’s making it a little harder than it needs to be. He was a Marine Lt, plt cdr, in Vietnam and was wounded and awarded a Bronze Star. I want him to be a straight shooter. We shall see.I think the FBI is a sterling organization, but there appears to be something wrong at the top.Let the evidence inform us.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  21. Pete Griffiths

    Will we avoid war with North Korea?There appear to be no good military options. Indeed, even the bad ones are catastrophic.We avoided devastating conflict with the Soviet Union by virtue of MAD. (Mutually Asduref destruction). The Korean situation is not globally existential and hence not so MAD. But it would be a Conflict the would leave the peninsula in ruins with millions dead. Hopefully that prospect with lead to more fruitful policy. But N Korea does appear to be intransigent and should the intelligence community conclude they really do have deliverable nukes all bets are off the table.

    1. Andu @ Widgetic.com

      Why should you go to war with them? Honest question.1. They have nukes, so what? Others do too, including the US.2. They didn’t attack a NATO country.3. You have an idiot in the white house. Going to war with any country would be extreme.

      1. JLM

        .Intellectually, the fear is that, eventually, despots use their weapons. South Korea and Japan — US allies — worry about the neighborhood.We watched Germany re-arm after WWI and let Hitler re-invigorate in plain sight. When he went on a rampage, we waited too long to intervene.We watched the Arabs attack Israel for years beginning in 1948. Then, we sat idle while the Russians aided the Syrians and Egyptians in 1967 and 1973. The result was war and instability which continues to this day.We watched the Iraqis build the largest tank army in the Middle East and were surprised when they fought a war with Iran and then invaded Kuwait. We knew they were developing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.Russia took Georgia, the Crimea, and is nibbling the east side of the Ukraine. The world howled, but did nothing.The North Koreans invaded South Korea in 1950.Unchecked aggression leads to more aggression. The later in the continuum the good guys decide to intervene, the more costly it becomes.In the case of NK’s nuclear weapons, the CIA rightly believes that any nuke tech developed in NK catches the red eye to Iran. Soon, we have NK, Iran, Pakistan as nuclear powers in a very unstable neighborhood.OTOH, there is a pretty good track record of successful intervention as the Israelis demonstrated in their elimination of the Iraqi and Syrian nuke efforts and their wholesale assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists.If we could trade food for nukes and change the regime peacefully in NK, I would volunteer to live there. [As a young man, I served in the ROK. It is a country with a heartless, mean, wicked winter in those hard, cold, unforgiving mountains.]JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. Pete Griffiths

        I don’t want to go to war with them.I do however recognise that Hawks find a scenario where the N can strike the US with nukes and no clear equilibrium to be a deeply unsettling scenario at best.

    2. JLM

      .The military thinks they have come up with a military strategy which works. It is called the “bloody nose.”There are variations, but it goes something like this:1. The US takes out every real and potential nuclear launch site, launcher, power plant supplying a launch site, and all command & control facilities at launch sites. This eliminates the capability to launch a nuclear missile at anyone.Simultaneously, the US knocks out all missile storage, missile transport, and strategic bridges and roads.2. The US takes a deep breath and then makes a decision to decapitate the government, meaning kill Kim and all of the military commanders.3. The US destroys the communication net and power net nationwide as well as every naval port and airfield.4. The US waits for a heartbeat to see if NK’s surviving commanders fire at S Korea.If they do, the US takes out every ammo dump, every command & control center, every fire direction center, and every bit of artillery starting with the bigger guns and working toward the smallest.[Note that the elimination of any one of those four features — ammo dump, C & C, FDC, guns — makes the artillery impotent. They cannot hide all of them.]As a purely military exercise, this defangs NK and mitigates the potential damage to S Korea (primarily within 30 miles of the DMZ, the limit of conventional artillery).To execute this, the US requires a strike package consisting of three aircraft carrier strike groups (including organic cruise missile cruisers), three-four cruise missile equipped submarines, three squadrons of bombers, and the entire air component based in Japan and S Korea.All of the above could be accomplished without using nuclear weapons.I am not advocating for this, but this is what the Pentagon thinks can carry the day.Thereafter, the question, as it always is, Now that you have won the war, who is going to govern? I suspect the Chinese would want this assignment.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Interesting.The North’s artillery is indeed the key. I was however under the impression that the rate at which the enemy’s artillery could be degraded was too slow to prevents massive onslaught in the south. More specifically, whilst mist US forces have been ithdrawn, Seoul is in range and would be devastated with the likely loss of hundreds of thousands if not millions.I have never seen any analysis to the contrary. If you’ve seen some such gaming could you point me to something? That would indeed be important.

        1. JLM

          .As a young officer, in the early 1970s, I served in the ROK with 2nd Cbt En Bn of the 2nd Inf Div. The combat engineers blow stuff up, cross rivers, fight like infantry.I spent some time up at Collier and Oulette (two American combat outposts in the DMZ which overlooked NK) and used to study the deployment of NK units on the other side. We had huge maps showing every unit for twenty-five miles deep.Seoul is 38 miles from the Z.The stoutest NK artillery pieces and their mobile rocket launchers are questionable at that distance.The best intel says the NKs have 500 big guns (howitzers) capable of shelling the northern suburbs of Seoul. Bear in mind this threat has been there for years and the northern suburbs are not very well developed.These guns are capable of a sustained rate of fire of about 3 rounds per minute, but the real issue is ammo movement and re-supply.I spoke to an artillery Col (VMI grad) who had returned from Korea in the last six months and he said we continue to know exactly where every gun tube is located that is even remotely capable of getting anywhere near Seoul.We and the ROKs have extraordinary counter-battery radar guided fire capabilities. The second a NK gun fires, we can pinpoint the end of the tube it came out of. We can put steel on the target within a minute.I would imagine that there are massive amounts of misinformation and disinformation being disseminated by all involved. As an example, Seoul has a very extensive system of air raid shelters capable of protecting every single person in the danger zone.I personally stood in them in the 1970s, so they must be much more elaborate since then.The flight time from Osan Air Base to the Z is about 5 minutes.I would also imagine that if the central gov’t were decapitated there is a real chance that artillery commanders along the Z would not have authorization to fire. Might be wishful thinking.I don’t think this is bloodless, but I don’t think it is anywhere near the problem it is made out to be. The big issue is that they are civilians.Here is an older article which touches on it. I think they have the NK artillery nomenclature correct.http://nationalinterest.org…JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Pete Griffiths

            I read that piece a while ago but can’t fit the life of me find the one that went into the numbers wrt degradation rate of the north’s capability.”I would imagine that there are massive amounts of misinformation and disinformation being disseminated by all involved.”. Never a truer words – for damn good reason.I took quite an interest in the Korean war a while ago when researching the Chosin debacle. It appears that the North exotics with Us firepower is what informed their digging in and the kind of tunnels etc used in Vietnam. It is for sure the forgotten war but they learned some lessons from it.

          2. JLM

            .You would like Jeff Shaara’s recent novel on the 1st Mar Div going up to and back from the Chosin. The Frozen Hours.There is an ancient book, The River and the Gauntlet which focuses on the 8th Army which was on the west coast and which the Chinese almost destroyed.BG SLA Marshall wrote it when he was the Army Historian. It really shows the fight from the ground level.It is an interesting comparison to see how the Marine 1st Div (MG OP Smith) fought back from the Chosin v how the 2nd Inf Div got trapped.The battalion I served in in ROK in the early 1970s was, essentially, captured by the Chinese.I used to take my Jeep and tour the battlefields in the vicinity of the DMZ. It was a little hairy.Korea is tough terrain for a modern fight.Most of VN was very soft digging and the NVA and VC were good tunnelers.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          3. Pete Griffiths

            I think that the Chosin episode was one of the most ghastly failures of intelligence in military history. An interesting story of this was the impact of McCathy kicking the old China hands out of State. But that’s another story )

  22. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:Fred’s title would be more fitting to be “I don’t know” verses predictions for 2018.Fred can claim in 2019 he was right on most of his predictions because he answered on the majority he didn’t know.Captain Obvious!#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

  23. Susan Rubinsky

    Happy New Year, everyone!I rarely make predictions but here’s my one and only for the year; Amazon’s will continue to thrive and grow and it’s main challenge will be finding the right talent to lead and implement fast enough.

    1. SFG

      Very hard to envision the Amazon train slowing down. Amazing company!

  24. tyler briggs

    First-time post on AVC. The list is interesting but I feel like you’ve over-focused macro-market forces and not enough on people and how they’ll behave or what is driving those behaviors.Re:CryptoHypothesisPeople are irrationally investing in crypto markets. If my parents are asking me if they should do it, then you know it’s reached a group of people who are financially well off but not technically savvy. National media attention is complicit in driving this. Crypto is a story but coverage is on “how much money people are making” NOT the technology and what it enables. This is likely to cause irrational investing and drives prices artificially higher. And that brings in people who don’t really know why they are investing in it. They see it as a quick buck – this behavior “get rich quick” creates the bubble. The question we should ask is what domino is the tipping point for this bubble to burst? Find the domino, you find the answer. Develop a good “if then” statement and stick to it. I wonder if there was a domino or set of dominos from the tech bubble or the great depression?Fred – do you think the GOP will lose control of both houses of congress? That distinction has major implications for your other predictions IMO.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      I do wonder whether “people who are financially well off but not technically savvy” will have the appetite for the volatility of crypto.A lot of people I know outside of tech think crypto is interesting and a curiosity but are not ready to dive in, in any serious way. They see it as a form of gambling rather than true investing.

  25. JLM

    .The Republicans will hang onto the Senate and win at least half a dozen more seats.1. Missouri, Sen McCaskill D loses in a state Pres Trump took by 19 points. The sitting AG, Josh Hawley R, is a fierce candidate.2. Republicans take Indiana Sen seat from Joe Donnelly D, who squeaked in when Richard Lugar got Tea Partied in the primary. Trump won Indiana by 8% and VP Pence is a former Governor.3. West Va Joe Manchin D votes like a Republican if he wins. Trump won WV by 42%, but he likes Manchin who is a candidate to switch parties as the WV Gov did.4. Republicans take Sen Heitkamp D seat in N Dakota. Trump won ND by 36%. Trump likes Sen Heitkamp and she has traveled with him.5. Ohio Sen Sherrod Brown D loses to Republican. Rep Ohio Gov Kasich assists Rep candidate. Trump won Ohio by 8%. This is a close race as Brown is a populist like Trump.6. Montana Sen Tester D loses in a state Trump took by 20%. Republicans still don’t have a good candidate in Montana.7. Wisconsin Dem Sen Tammy Baldwin — the only Dem statewide office holder in Wisconsin — loses as Republicans own Wisconsin.8. Florida Dem Sen Bill Nelson loses if sitting Rep Gov Scott decides to run for the Senate. Scott has huge fundraising advantage. Florida is trending Republican. If Scott demurs, Nelson is re-elected.9. Pennsylvania Dem Sen Bob Casey — long shot pickup by Republicans, but possible.10. Virginia Sen Tim Kaine — long shot. The Commonwealth just elected a Dem Gov (VMI grad) and is trending Democrat.In the above lineup, the Republicans pick up a half dozen.There are two meaningful Republican vulnerabilities.1. Nevada Rep Sen Dean Heller won by a whisker in 2012. HRC won Nevada. The Republicans are likely to nominate Tarkanian again. Guy wins primaries and loses general elections.2. Arizona Rep Sen Jeff Flake is not running setting off a free for all with Kelli Ward the likely Rep nominee. Further impacted by the likely passing of Sen John McCain. The Republicans need to pay attention to their bench in Arizona.I think the Republicans lose Nevada.Senate is in firm Republican hands when the Fat Lady sings.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Ryan

      Mandel won’t beat Brown – Mandel’s not a popular R in Ohio. He might get closer than the last try, but he doesn’t win.

      1. JLM

        .Horses for courses. The second time may be the charm.The incumbent, Sherrod Brown, certainly has some substantial advantages, but he is the last statewide Democrat in Ohio and a lot has changed since 2012.Brown won v Mandel by 300K votes in 2012, a year in which Pres Obama had long coat tails. There was no Gov election on the ballot.This time around, you have a state Trump won, a state with a Republican Governor, every other statewide position held by a Republican, and some substantial issues.Mandel is a seasoned campaigner — House of Reps, Treasurer, Senate, Treasurer again, and, now, maybe the Senate again. I don’t think he’s a charming guy. Sherrod Brown, who is a populist, is a charming guy.Brown has about $8MM cash on hand. This is huge as he is not likely to get much help from the national Dems.Mandel has the issue of tax reform, which Brown voted against, with which to bludgeon Brown. Gov Kasich’s popularity has been driven by tax reform. It is a huge issue in Ohio.Gov Kasich and Pres Trump are both likely to campaign for Mandel as hard as they can given their own attachment to the state of Ohio and the importance of the seat.I don’t see Brown’s 300K victory standing up in the face of his tax bill vote, the changing presence of the Republicans in the state, and the energy of Kasich/Trump.The NRSCC will throw a lot of money at that election while the CNSCC and the DNC are broke.This will be an interesting one to watch. I call it for the Republicans.Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there is the technicality of Mandel actually being nominated, no?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Ryan

          True, he has to be nominated. I’m not so sure that R’s are a lock in Ohio, it’s a mess for the party right now. Take a look at what the Central Commitee (controlled by Kasich) recently did. They decided against endorsing his own Lt. Gov.I don’t see Kasich & Co. campaigning for Mandel at all – remember how vocal Mandel was against Kasich and his policies when Kasich ran for Pres.Now, throw all the Republican sex scandals in the mix, and I think 18 is a disaster for them and Mandel gets caught up in that.As an aside keep an eye on the blog 3rd rail politics if you want to see what a cluster it is in Ohio right now.Mandel will likely face a lot of democratic dollars flowing against them as they try to keep Brown in office.Tax cuts are big, but not big enough to cost Brown when it shakes out here locally.

          1. JLM

            .Kasich is an ambitious guy. If he were not to campaign for Mandel, he would be cutting his own Presidential throat from the perspective of fundraising.I think Mandel’s biggest liability is he just isn’t an inspiring guy, charisma shortage.I don’t see any Republican or Democrat sex scandals which impact anybody other than those directly involved. As they say in Abilene, TX — that kicks as hard as it shoots.I, personally, would not have voted for Roy Moore in Alabama, as an example, but I would otherwise vote for a Republican in most instances.I agree completely that Brown will have a funding advantage in the short term. He has $8MM cash on hand.I could be lured into a little wager on the race if anyone were so inclined?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Ryan

            Not a betting guy (thus my 2017 miss on crypto). Politics are an even bigger who knows – people are funny.When I was talking about the scandals here in Ohio, it’s about the House and Senate and the fact that leadership (R) knew abs did nothing – but let some (Goodman) get to election when it could have been stopped.Lots of coverage on this flipping the State as happened with other scandals (Coingate, etc…). Will it trickle to the Senate race – who knows.However, for me it plays a part in the overall fact that the party is playing fast and loose and willing to win at whatever cost.Brown may very well lose, but it would surprise me. As a Republican myself I would agree with your description of Mandel and I think it really hurts this time. Especially when character has become such a focus with the scandals here.It won’t be a landslide either way, but I’d be inclined to give the incumbent the nod here in what will be a tight race.Fair to say coin toss and razor thin margin.

          3. Ryan

            https://3rdrailpolitics.com…How much was that bet? Wife’s health issues are serious, but don’t think was polling well. Better to exit now…

          4. JLM

            .As soon as I heard that today, I immediately thought of you.The Republicans need to come up with a candidate with appeal and name recognition to have a chance.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  26. Hashim Warren

    “Will we see more gender and racial diversity in tech? Yes.”The 50 state Bar, and the CPA exam led to more gender diversity in the law and accounting fields.Nothing like that exists in Hollywood, so there’s very little diversity.I think tech will remain as un-diverse as Hollywood unless companies institute a standardized test.

  27. JLM

    .The Republicans will hang onto the House but may lose a few seats in the process.The Republicans will have something to run on — the economy, jobs, taxes — while the Dems will struggle to articulate a message and anoint a national leader. Schumer and Pelosi are poison. The DNC is even more poisonous and is lagging in the fundraising department.The Dems cannot profess to govern as they will never win a governing majority in the Congress. So, they cannot credibly advocate for change.The vulnerable Republicans will be those in predominantly Dem states (as an example NY, California, Illinois) and who represent affluent, high property value Districts wherein they won close elections. This is a very small number of Districts.There will be some residual anger about the impact of the SALT limitation in the Tax Bill. Dems can use this to their advantage.Otherwise, nationwide, the dialog will go something like this:Rep candidate: “I voted to reduce your taxes. This guy, my Dem opponent, voted to tax you at a vastly higher rate. Vote for your preferred level of taxation. The economy, y’all.”Mic drop.Dem candidate: “But, but, but, Trump.”We are a million years from the elections, but the Republicans clearly have a wealth of issues while the Democrats, essentially, have Trump. The economy trumps Trump.Republicans hold the House, but lose a few seats.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. SubstrateUndertow

      As long as you are running a deficit there is no such thing as a tax cut.It is in fact a deficit-increase passed onto your children and grandchildren as a deferred tax increase + interest.

    2. JamesHRH

      Isn’t this the flip side to the essential bet that Candidate Trump made?i.e., I will really anger a ton of people, but after the economy starts to hum, they will forget (maybe), forgive (hopefully) or pretend one or the other (likely)?

  28. Andu @ Widgetic.com

    It seems Facebook is the company that will probably start going down – with little to no innovation in 2017, with companies purchased instead of products built in-house, with ideas stolen from smaller (albeit unsuccessful) companies, with new users turning to better products and old users sticking to it. I say this also because I was looking into Google Trends on social networks and most are heading down. Instagram is heading up, it shouldn’t have sold to Facebook (nor implemented the stories idea from Snap).You’re pretty bearish on the economy and do expect the crash to come, that’s something every wise investor should consider. There’s so much bad happening around the world (even triggered by the fact that countries lost a powerful ally as the US), that it would be surprising for Putin, or North Korea, or someone else, to miss this opportunity. There’s more indices that show this is coming, like the rate between the GDP and the total market size (which should have been below 75% but it’s above 138%.I’ll say this – the brits and us people fucked up. The EU and US aren’t what they used to be and with so much support for the new leaders in charge, it’s hard not to put the people who voted for their support in the same category. It’s incredibly hard for the world to see the huge difference between Obama and Trump, because this wasn’t a transition – it’s the extremes.

  29. bfeld

    “There will be lots of moments in 2018. Be in them.” — Amy

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Wise woman. 🙂

  30. Donna Brewington White

    Happy New Year, Fred! Thank you for another year of provocative thought, education and hosting one of the best “places” on the internet.This post is not what I was expecting but I very much appreciate the direction you’ve taken. Sometimes questions are much smarter and more helpful than answers.Happy New Year, AVC! My heart is full as I think of what this community means to me.

    1. JamesHRH

      The best part of Fred’s post today is that his tone was such a surprise and, as a surprise, so revealing.Hope all is cooking for you now and through out the New Year.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Thank you, James. I love your candor and fearlessness in the comments.I hope all is well. Happy New Year!

        1. JamesHRH

          Settling in. Love Houston to be honest. Our kind of town.

  31. Adam Parish

    This is a good 2018 list. I personally think the economy will be fine as I don’t see the “roaming bubble.” The closest thing we have to a bubble is the crypto market. However, that’s not really relevant as the participation rate is so small. So, unless we see an external factor such as a war the economy seems on track to grow for a few more years.

  32. gbattle

    I’ll bite on predictions:1) Apple buys Netflix because they don’t have anywhere else to park cash, can’t grow a studio/media business natively, and are technologically stale2) Facebook buys Adyen, grows ecommerce abilities and customer intelligence connecting social and POS3) Volatility for crypto assets will increase, leader to wider swings that speculators accept as “normal”4) The fears invoked in 2016 and stoked in 2017 will become investable commodities in 20185) Online reputation management as a service will blossom in response to high profile celebrities dalliances/foibles6) A one-person future unicorn company will be born

    1. Donna Brewington White

      The fears invoked in 2016 and stoked in 2017 will become investable commodities in 2018How so?

      1. gbattle

        Fear becomes an asset class. I’m not sure how, but there will become a much more direct way to buy/short things like terrorism, liberal elites, tiki torch bros, globalism, white privilege, gentrification, police brutality, WW3, election tampering, trolls, etc. Someone will harness these things such that the fearful not only vote with their ire online/at the ballot box, but also their investment dollars. Fantasy football for fear? I’m not sure …

        1. JLM

          .Haha, a great comment. The problem with fear is everybody will be afraid to go out to vote. Maybe Internet voting?Fear futures?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          1. Chimpwithcans

            I’d link this trade in fear to media headlines… imagine media cos were somehow hacked to reveal what is true and what is not on their headlines…and when they were going to release each headline…trade on that info would be interesting.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Interesting thoughts, Greg.

    2. JamesHRH

      Love 1 & 6.

      1. gbattle

        1 is the most obvious, 6 is the biggest headline, but 2 is the most disruptive imho. To the extent that FB can continue to avoid becoming a media company (and the pursuant regulatory mess) and embrace/enable social ecommerce, something AMZN has **never** done successfully, FB can drink some of their milkshake. Buying Adyen, the global payment powerhouse behind Uber and AirBnB, they solve the nasty mess of local currencies, taxes, as well as deep connections into physical POS systems worldwide. If I can tie your online/offline purchasing to your social graph and media consumption habits at scale quickly, well, you can imagine. Add on Messenger w/AI bots for customer service on top of this and you begin to create a cohesive ecommerce+brick commerce+media+social platform rivaling anything out there.

        1. JamesHRH

          great rationale.

  33. Samujjal Purkayastha

    On Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google- Contraction: Facebook and Google: I think this year might be the one when we finally see both their presence contract in their core domains because of the same reason: too much dominance in their industries. The antitrust voices will finally be strong enough to push back on the both of them, starting with in Europe for Google (something we have seen already in the first large fine being imposed) and Facebook at home (thanks mostly to the election interference)- Expansion: Amazon: I think Amazon will continue to expand dramatically both in terms of regional footprint and verticals. I see Amazon pushing hard in middle-east and Southeast Asia being key markets for them, with potentially another attempt in China to in turn put some pushback to Alibaba and JD-Tencent in the proxy fights in India. This might be a great thing, or they might end up spreading themselves too thin. In terms of industries, Amazon will go deeper in their fight against traditional retail, and I would not be surprised if there’s another blockbuster acquisition in brick and mortar retail. On AWS, they will face some strong competition from Google and Microsoft, through both aggressive spending on marketing and sales and potential acquisition.- Stagnation: Apple. I think Apple will continue their secular creative stagnation. I don’t expect any dramatic changes to their strategy, products or numbers.

  34. DJL

    Just wishing everyone a Happy New Year! I have found that no matter how compelling Fred’s post may be, I can’t help but click into the comments and see what ya’ll are saying.Spent the last few hours of 2017 and the first few of 2018 playing with my kids. If I can say that every year, I will have most everything I need.

  35. Kirsten Lambertsen

    2018 will def be the year of the- woman- minority- cryptocoin/blockchain- activist/organizer- place where the above intersectThis is Blockstack’s year, along with some legit decentralized connectivity projects.Out on a limb predictions: – first cloned dinosaur- first real progress in mapping human consciousness

  36. Lawrence Brass

    Prediction for 2018: My phone will either get slow or explode. Exiting times. :)Happy new year!

  37. sigmaalgebra

    2018 PredictionsWe will not get definite evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life.For at least three of the quarters, the GDP of the US economy will grow at a real (not due to inflation) annual rate between 3.0% and 4.0%. Real GDP growth for the year will be between 3.0% and 4.0% annual rate.For one quarter, the US GDP will grow at a real annual rate of 4+%.Trump will announce some major new business openings in the US with thousands of new jobs in each.Trump will lose 10+ pounds of weight.Trump will get a health care bill passed that will (A) have some appropriate regulations, (B) let medical insurance companies sell across state lines, and (C) let people buy whatever medical insurance they want that is for sale and meets the regulations.In November, the Republicans will gain seats in the US House and Senate.A significant fraction of the mainstream news media will abandon their fake news attacks on Trump.Due to the role of fracking, the US price of crude oil will stay near $60 a barrel.Little Rocket Boy will lose his job, and the nukes and rockets will be on their way out of NK (North Korea). The US will not occupy NK.Mattis and Co. will win in Akrapistan; there will be some deals signed among the US, the Kabul government, and the Taliban. Pukistan will promise to leave Akrapistan alone. US spending in Akrapistan will be significantly reduced.Trump will get funding for the wall between the US and Mexico and significant construction will start.The SCOTUS will continue to back Trump’s immigration policies; the US will return to merit based immigration; there will be significant use of extreme vetting. Immigration, both legal and illegal will be severely compared with 2016 and 2017.At least one high member of the Hillary team will be indicted.The US will make significant progress on the opioid epidemic.Trump will get a significant infrastructure bill passed, and that will cause some significant hiring before the end of 2018.There will be new attention in the media for family formation with traditional family values and traditional motherhood.Assad will remain head of the government in Syria.African and Arab immigration to Europe will be severely reduced compared with 2017.There will be a DACA deal that will let the DACAs remain in the US with right to work but without a path to citizenship.Pelosi will cease being a leader of the Democrats in the House.Long Shots, Predict at Least OneIvanka will announce she is pregnant.There will be some astounding gravitational wave detections.There will be some major new particle physics results on some of neutrinos, the Higgs boson, or dark matter.From a planet outside our solar system, via one of the space telescopes molecular spectroscopy will discover evidence of at least primitive life chemically similar to primitive life on earth.In a largely peaceful revolution, Iran will get rid of its theocracy and return to a secular government.One or more new US nuclear electric generating plants will be announced.There will be good progress on a US hypersonic ram jet airplane.The Trump Administration will impose at least some new import tariffs.

  38. Debo Ajayi

    Very interesting but uncertain predictions…signs of the times we live in…Time for investors to begin to look not just at the numbers, but the people within the numbers…I have a gut feeling that the best deals in 2018 will come from gut-feelings…after researching the numbers thoroughly.

  39. Jeffrey Dobin

    Which app were you showing your daughter’s friend (to help people save and invest)?

  40. jason wright

    my prediction for Ethereum is that the log jam in its transaction layer will result in an extreme form of power law of distribution where one or two early dapps get a network effect going and lock out every other dapplication. great for the one or two but terrible for the rest. might result in developers looking to other platforms with better scaling architectures for the distribution of their products.

  41. Mixg16

    Thanks Girish, quite insightful.