“Whoever checks to see if these are right?” – Tom Merritt, 2014 / DTNS 2396
End of year tech podcasts are full of tech forecasts for the coming year. Looking back at six years of podcasts involving DTNS host Tom Merritt, I listened to a little less than 4 hours of podcasts covering the years from 2010 – 2015. I started the work following the ‘value-for-value’ ethos of the show; I like tech forecasting and wanted to help make it easy to do a year end wrap-up for 2015. However, curiosity led me to listen to past shows. My goal here was to; (1) think of frameworks that could be useful in tech forecasting, (2) see what trends emerge in these specific forecasts and (3) review how much technology has moved since the start of this decade.
- Listen. This was easy enough – all of the source shows were available on line.
- Listening to an Outlook (Forward) Show. The first episode I listened to was DTNS 2397, which was recorded in 2014 and forecasting what would occur in 2015. My notes for this are in a previous blog post.
- Listening to a Recap Show. Recap shows are made at the end of a year and discuss how well past forecasts did to anticipate the year’s major events. For example, DTNS 2396 was broadcast in 2014 and was a recap of forecasts made during Tech News Today 911, which was broadcast originally on December 26, 2013. DTNS 2396 (2014), TNT 910 (2013), TNT 658 (2012), TNT 401 (2011), and TNT 147 (2010) are all Recap shows. These shows were easier, as at that point the hosts had done some degree of quantification of their past forecast. (A Google Sheets summary is here.)
- Document claims (aka forecasts). I used the same methods that I’d done in DTNS 2396. Claims were made in a big bucket list, and if sub-claims were verbalized, I would add them too.
- Document sub-claims. On the tab ‘Claims 2010 – 2015’, I listed everything I could decipher going back to 2010 claims. For example in 2010 Becky Worley made the very early observation that the megapixel race on cameras was dead – but that it was alive and real for your phone. Those two claims are separate sub-claims in this document (row 257 and 258).
- Who? Over the years there have been multiple participants – I attempted to document the original source of the claim wherever possible.
- Result. I am by no means capable of quantifying the current state of technology. However, I did my best to state if a claim was true or not in the current year of 2015.
What can we learn?
There were several categories of lessons to take from this review:
- Claim Structure Matters.
- Accuracy of Claims.
- What is not covered?
- Disruptive Claims.