Dan looks ahead

Some predictions:

Internet commerce will peak in 2000, but we'll see the slope start to level off in 1998. This is a long-shot, but it's based on our current trends in catalog shopping; we like the sensual experience of shopping, holding the objects we're buying in our hands reassures us. But the internet commerce that is happening will help small market publishers and similar businesses as ordering small run books and CDs becomes less of a hassle.

Urban sprawl will reach out further. It's going to take a few years, but as telecommuting becomes politically viable the flight from the cities to the rural areas will spread. Buy those houses close to the wilderness now, but more importantly buy up the farms around them and figure out a way to put deed restrictions on them to protect your privacy.

Microsoft will ship a product for Linux. Most likely a server of some sort, but it'll be the first crack in the facade and start to expose the number of Linux servers squirreled away by MIS departments in supposedly Microsoft shops.

Given the recent disco and swing resurgence, I've given up on predicting musical trends. I'm thinking maybe this year it'll go seriously retro and we'll see powdered wigs and waltzing to Strauss in the clubs.

Bill Clinton will weather the Senate trial, and we'll see something really dramatic from the Republicans as they gear up for the 2k elections, like Elizabeth Dole or some fairly liberal for a Republican as a candidate, in an attempt to become a viable party again. Of course there'll be no real substantive changes in politics; there never are.

I expect a recession. The Y2K hysteria and the overpricing of technology stocks will catch up with the poor sales this holiday season and make the next holiday season particularly slim. Perhaps there'll be a respite at the last moment, but look for a record low day after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, January 05th, 1999 danlyke@flutterby.com