My search for answers had brought me a long way from home. Online expert and the subject of EMPIRE: How to Succeed with Nothing but Passion, Great Ideas and a Wealthy Family, (which I ghost wrote, but don’t let him know I said that) Dunlop Fantasia had sent me on this quest. “Find out what’s going to be big in 2012,” he said, bloodshot eyes staring over his Gucci sunglasses. “You’re going to Brazil, I hear great things are happening there”.
Great, I thought, as visions of the Copa Cabana and sun drenched sessions of beach volleyball flashed before my eyes. Oh how wrong I turned out to be. Straight from Rio, Dunlop had booked me on a dilapidated DC 3, destined for the central Amazon. One overland journey in a three wheel drive Suzuki and two boat rides later (Don’t let anyone fool you, Piranhas are scary dude) and I was on the path Dunlop had said I would find.
I hacked through one last curtain of overhanging vines and stood at the entrance to a simple hut.
“You have come seeking answers,” said a voice from within, “enter”. Thing is, it had a strangely Californian twang.
Inside, I was greeted by a man in a torn suit, tie wrapped around his head.
Silicon Valley burnout, I thought, recognising the symptoms immediately (A rum-soaked journo would later tell me that he’d heard the guy was part of a Google experiment gone wrong — something about creating the perfect engineer).
“Um, yeah…I’ve come to find what’s going to happen in tech in 2012,” I said.
“Cool man,” said the Amazonian mystic, whipping out an iPad 2.
“Wait, no peyote and mystical chanting leading to a three-day trance?” I asked.
“There’s an app for that,” came the reply.
Anyway, here’s what I learned from the dude:
1. LinkedIn will finally spend some of its money on a website designer.
2. Google will create a social media platform to challenge Facebook. (No, not Google+, another one.)
3. The American citizen with the most Twitter followers next November will become president of the USA (and the internet.)
4. Viral flashmob videos will become illegal in Russia… And “permanently deleted” by Emperor Ras-Putin.
5. Seth Godin will write 54 books in the next 12 months.
6. The only people still checking out QR code adverts will be advertising awards committees.
7. Geotagging: That’s enough of that.
8. Klout will develop a media influence rating for website trolls. High-scoring trolls will be shipped to Guantanamo Bay for making the world a sadder place.
9. Territory restrictions on digital products like eBooks and movies will remain a good idea to companies who’d rather lose money.
10. Siri’s voice will be changed to the voice of Steve Jobs. Siri (iSteve) will instruct us on how to live our lives, even when we don’t ask.