2022 Predictions Review
Audio Recording by George Hahn
Every year we make predictions for the coming year. We try to get them right, but the real objective is to catalyze a conversation. As I am not the Dark Prince or an alien (either would be fun to roll with in Vegas) I get some right/wrong.
Anway, we’ll be publishing our 2023 predictions in a couple weeks. But first: accountability. Let’s review our 2022 predictions to see what we got right, sort of right, wrong, and … completely wrong. Keep in mind, these auguries were expectorated pre-Ukraine, pre-Elon/Twitter, pre-inflation, pre-a mess of things. Our review below. TL;DR: It was another strong year of predictions.
Fundamentals and Valuations Reunite
Champagne and cocaine for the dawg. We posited that the lofty valuations of growth-y tech stocks and meme stocks, or “story stocks,” would be taken down dramatically (i.e. rationalized). In particular: EV stocks Tesla, Lucid, and Rivian would get cut in half (correct), and AMC and Gamestop would trade below $10 (correct, incorrect). Big Tech gave back the GDP of India. I wrote that 2021 was “the year of the bubble.” 2022, we predicted, would be “the year of the pop.” OK, that’s it for our review … enjoy 2023.
Anyway, this correction is healthy. A pre-revenue car company that commands a market capitalization greater than BMW and General Motors (combined) is just plain farfegnügen. My biggest holding, ABNB, is off 48%. I did eat my own cooking (sort of) and have been writing covered calls for the past 18 months, which cut my losses in half. Note: I’m always in the market, as nobody can consistently predict the market. Anyway.
The Zuckerverse Fails
This was a layup. A basic truth: The cosmos doesn’t want any one organization or person to consolidate all power. There has never been a president of the world, and the richest man controls just 0.04% of the planet’s wealth. The safety mechanism is that power corrupts and makes you stupid. You begin believing that you should spend $45 billion on a micro-blogging platform to spread conspiracy theories, or that people want to spend time in a legless universe. The notion of attaching 3 pounds of plastic to your head to get nausea and a face rash in exchange for a low-resolution, boring, shittier version of reality is just plain stupid. We predicted Zuckerberg’s metaverse would be “the biggest tech flop of the decade.” Meta continues to spend/lose $1 billion a month on Reality Labs.
My idea: Instead, spend the money on employee retention, and every workday at HQ raffle off an Airbus A380 (resale value: $50 million) to a lucky employee. Same cost. Think about that.
Or: Give $5,000 a month to each active user.
Or: Pay the entire cost of attendance for every undergrad in the University of Texas and California systems.
Or: Give away 500 Porsches, 500 Ferraris, 600 racehorses, 700 Harleys, 10 Gulfstreams, an Airbus A380 each month and then roll/ride/gallop/fly to Burning Man, where you set ablaze a stack of benjamins the height of the Statue of Liberty. (No, really, I did the math.)
The places Meta employees could go … on this awesome place called Earth. Instead of venturing to a fucked-up alternative reality brought to you by a man-child with aspirations of being a scientific god who pelts you with Nissan ads and now needs security stationed on each end of his block. Too much?
Meta’s Horizon Worlds is garnering roughly 200,000 monthly active users, which is 300,000 short of its end-of-year target and 2.5 million short of social media relic MySpace. Meanwhile, only 9% of the worlds created by users are visited by more than 50 people, and more than half the headsets aren’t in use six months post-purchase. Anyway, the metaverse as a topic of interest has gone stale. As measured by Google search volume, people are six times more interested in Crocs.
Twitter Gets Acquired
OK, we know what happened … sick of talking about it.
Frances Haugen Is Time’s Person of the Year
I predicted (hoped) that the world would give Frances Haugen the credit she deserved for blowing the whistle on the rage machine that is Facebook — and that this might be reflected in the form of a Time Person of the Year award. Instead, 72 hours later, the award went to Elon Musk. Confirmation that our idolatry of innovators is worsening, as we increasingly treat billionaire tech founders not as influencers or even heroes, but gods whose bigotry and idiocy are just more genius waiting to be revealed.
Web3 Is the New Yogababble
Yogababble is the word I use to describe platitudinal, pseudo-intellectual techno-drivel — saying and promising a lot without actually saying or promising anything. This was Adam Neumann and SBF’s superpower. Several scandals and $1.5 trillion in value destruction later, Web3 has cemented itself as the official yogababble of 2022. In Silicon Valley (birthplace of the term), Web3 is now synonymous with Ponzi schemes and fraud. Despite massive capital inflows and relentless hype, the concept has yet to deliver a single use case that isn’t dependent on the pumping and dumping of “tokens,” i.e., fake stocks. Can Web3 deliver a fraction of its vision? Dunno, but Cathie Wood just (no joke) reiterated her Bitcoin price target of $1 million by 2030. Her reasoning? “Bitcoin hash rate is at an all-time high. And that is a real indication of the security of the network.” You can’t make this shit up.
OpenSea Valuation Doubles
In November 2021 it was reported that NFT trading platform OpenSea had raised funding at a $10 billion valuation. Soon after, I predicted the valuation would double in 2022. My thesis? NFTs were hot, and they’d continue to be hot by leveraging scarcity, credibility, and passion properties in an increasingly digital world — and OpenSea would monopolize the sector. A couple months later, OpenSea received a $13.3 billion valuation. However, the NFT market has since collapsed, with trading activity down 90% since the beginning of the year. That $13.3 billion valuation was a step toward our prediction, but at this point it’s likely shed enormous value. I still believe an emerging generation of investors will buy and trade digital assets.
Luxe Coins Emerge
Sort of … I’m being generous with myself here. An example: Coachella launched an NFT “key” which granted the holder lifetime access to the music festival. And high-end restaurants have been exploring reservations on the blockchain. The wrinkle? Further development stalled with the onset of crypto winter. Even the Coachella NFT has been caught up in the FTX meltdown. But if there’s a new crypto spring (note: not a prediction), expect to see more of this. A better prediction is that luxury brands and venues will begin securitizing scarcity/access — crypto let the genie out of the Chanel bottle, and the brands won’t look back.
Mexico City Is the Next Austin/Miami
I was focused on the upside for Mexico City, a wonderful, cosmopolitan global capital with low costs and spectacular weather, just a few hours’ flight from U.S. hubs. What I didn’t see was that the crypto meltdown would send a chill across Southern Florida (FTX Arena?), or that Austin would wilt under its own weight. Flight data shows that more than 10 million Americans visited Mexico in the first nine months of 2022, 24% more than in 2019. According to Tripadvisor, 4 of the 5 most-desirable vacation locations for Americans are in Mexico. And the number of U.S. citizens seeking residence permits in Mexico is up 85% since 2019.
The Business Word of 2022 Is Super App
The world’s third (and dropping) richest man bought an influential social network with the stated intent of turning it into a super app. Then, just this month, The Information reported Microsoft is contemplating turning its suite of products into a super app for business. As mobile is the key touchpoint for trillions of dollars in services, every company on Earth except two is looking to exit the iOS/Android stranglehold. Building a super app, similar to Tencent’s WeChat, is a play for the Iron Throne.
Zooming out, this has been a great year for the West and the U.S. The largest democracy in Latin America, Brazil, is (so far) enjoying a peaceful transfer of power. The EU is a Union, and NATO has stirred from its impending brain death. In the past two months, Ukraine has recaptured more territory than Russia seized in the previous six, without a single U.S. boot on the ground. At home, the stain that is Trump is being cleansed from the American fabric; the candidates he endorsed shit the bed, and election deniers were denied office. We are energy and food independent, and we made strides toward reducing our carbon emissions and renewing our infrastructure. We also took a giant step back re womens’ rights. However, our vaccines reign supreme, and last week we took a major step toward replicating the sun, here on Earth … at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab.
Two Hundred Something
I’m sitting at the bar (alone), eating dinner at the Cipriani in Doha and writing a newsletter for 297,000 people. The wealth here is staggering — the annual income of the average Qatari household is $228,000. But for expats, usually migrant workers, the minimum wage is $250 a month. There are few women out, and no mixed-gender tables anywhere. Prosperity is difficult, human rights harder. We (America) have both.
Life is so rich,
P.S. I’m running the Business Strategy Sprint again this January. Want a preview before you pull the trigger on membership? You can watch the first lesson here.
Recently saw what you charge for your lectures. Salude Don Corleone!
Might be interesting to see how you determine your fees.
Do you look at others and reason if Hillary charges “X “I can get “ Y”, or do you figure these rich f**kers can and will pay anything.
Might be instructive to see how that part of your business works.
I’m very grateful for your content. however I can’t “like” this post giving “ We also took a giant step back re womens’ rights” acknowledgement, and not providing another sentence or adjective sharply noting its anguish.
I’m cheerful about your uplifting optimism, but unfortunately women in the US are not enjoying full human rights these days. Addressing your post sum up – no, America doesn’t have both.
I grew up in Qatar and spent 18 years there. While I agree on your comment about hte wealth disparity between the local and the immigrant, I can easily challenge your observaation of “few women out, and no mixed-gender tables anywhere.” Was this observation specific to Cirpani? It can be that if you did get a chance to perhaps go into any shopping mall, Souq Waqif or any other populated place – this observation would prove itself to be untrue. As a non Qatari buy an immigrant having grown up in Qatar, I find such narratives skewed and most times with an agenda. I;ve been seeing a lot of these skewed narrative seen across western media expecially during this World Cup. The consquences of such skewed narratives is the unfair bent of empathy from the world away form such regions such as this. I understand that most residents of the USA may not understand the arab culture, but i think, to say a story from an outsiders lens and to not convey the local sentiment is incomplete. Enjoy your travels, friend. May it enrich your perspective. Life is indeed rich, in more ways than just money.
Found this newsletter to be a W for the G. One thing I would say is ‘no mixed-gender tables anywhere’ is a far reach. Albeit it has its fair share of social problems that are exemplary of a theocratic government, for the most part they let it be when it comes to Westerners. I assume you had fairly limited exposure to the social dynamics there, but that won’t matter now I guess since the World Cup is over!
Great feedback, 100% subscribing to plans are useless, planification is indispensable.
Just a side note: you are very market value oriented, it would help to get to the bottom of various technologies you mentioned. Blockchain being one of them.
Great post and appreciate that you keep score. One note, because it makes me feel better about the world: Elon Musk was Time’s Person of the Year in 2021. This year, it’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
it’s great reading the horoscope at the end of the day! (Thinking about moving to London)
We (America) have both… (also I moved to London) LOL
Well done. Thanks for the predictions. I am looking forward to seeing what you think will happen in 2023. Keep up the fascinating insights.
Thank you Scott – always look forward to all your content-so insightful and share-worthy!. All the best in 2023!
Super cool read 🔥🔥🔥
You’re totally nuts! Everything position you take is wrong. You think China obsesses about us as we obsess about them. You think Russia started the war. You think the DCC is great. You think workers’ voices in production is wrong. You think cryptocurrency is real. How do you live with such lack of perspective?
Love your vibe. As usual MOST EXCELLENT perspective. Like getting shot out of the barrel of a 100 foot wave, feels right!
You are my super hero and I read every word.
Good job, Scott. Can’t remember if those were ALL of your predictions, or if you made any comments about the real economy and recession, but that’s okay because the media is doing everything it can to tamp down the consumers’ expectations and drive us into one. It’s too bad you’ve only got 237K people reading this, because my guess is, you could deliver enough meaningful data and spin it in a way that might head off what always drives recessions – fear of a recession as the predominate consumer expectation.
Love ya, but I think its time to retire Yogababble, and simply use bombast. As I’m sure you and your data crunchers are aware, yoga has provided statistically significant returns on its practitioners. It’s not the 90s big dog. Let the yogis yoga in peace. Also, thanks for all your efforts this year, love the content.
I think the point is that it just sounds like the name of a woo-woo, pie in the sky tech start up. Also, it’s funny.
Agreed Tom. I was being overly sensitive to the language due to the boon yoga has brought to my life this past couple years. Happy Holidays everyone!
In a world of talking heads, it is refreshing (nay, revolutionary) to have someone actually willing to make a prediction and stand by it – HUZZAH ! But, I seem to remember a prediction of BitCoin reaching $100k… did I imagine it?
I love the Dawg! With his foibles and all! As a fellow Bruin, one of my bucket list items is to spend an evening with Scott enjoying a nice cigar, a bottle of Zacapa, and some white while having a deep discussion 🤝💪
Well done Professor!
Very informative and very interesting! Thank you!
Keep trying nave know what GOD IS Planning for tommorow