1. Personal data management matures into an industry. I’ll admit the prediction was largely a fail. Ambitious startups like Singly + The Locker Project got off the ground, but did not pick up steam. Many new, related startups are in the works, but none have even come close to the goal of managing one’s data the way he manages his health or wealth, for instance. An end-to-end platform may emerge, but it will take time.
2. The flood gates of corporate data open widely. This prediction has come close to being true. It certainly has become important to mine, parse and manifest corporate data for internal and external uses alike. The predominant question has indeed shifted from “Should I make my data open and available?” to “How can I do it best?” But at the same time, a lot of people are still sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see how things develop.
3. Big data gets regulated. Facebook agreed to submit to independent privacy audits as part of its long-gestating FTC settlement. I’d argue that we’ll see more regulation in 2012. Congress has taken an active role, and the big Internet companies have only further increased their lobbying spend. Controversies surrounding Carrier IQ, Apple and SOPA have accelerated public interest.
Of course there’s good regulation and bad regulation. Anyone doing business in or with data is going to have to understand how government works, and play an active role.
4. The trend itself gets old and tired. Another outright fail. It is certainly true that everything is becoming, or has already become, data-driven, but we haven’t yet had the hangover I predicted. If anything, we’re full-steam ahead, and as ebullient and ambitious as ever.
This is good and bad — escalating investment of both human and real capital will spur innovation and speed up the inevitable. But the pace also makes us more vulnerable. Data for data’s sake, or data for self-justification is an ongoing risk.
5. Data scientists become the new community managers. I think it’s fair to say that this happened, by a large margin. Check out this chart from Indeed that chronicles the explosion of data scientist jobs. CMSWire explores the particulars in more detail.