Below is Mary Meeker’s presentation at Stanford on Internet Trends. If you are not familiar with Meeker, she is a partner at A-list VC firm Kleiner Perkins and previously was one of the top Wall Street analysts for the tech sector. At Morgan Stanley, she co-authored the “bible of the Internet,” which was the roadmap for the dot-com boom. She has since published landmark reports on online advertising, e-commerce, search, the Internet in China and the mobile Internet. She is probably one of the best resources for understanding how technology will evolve.
While I recommend you read the entire presentation, I realize you might not have time for 88 slides. With that in mind, I wanted to highlight what I felt were the most interesting points, particularly those with potential value for social media companies:
- There are now 2.4 billion Internet users—8.8 percent more than last year—with most of the growth coming from emerging markets.
- There are 1.1 billion Smartphone subscribers, led by China (270 million) and the United States (172 million). Both countries experience 50 percent year-on-year growth.
- iPad growth has left the growth rate of iPods and iPhones in the dust.
- Android phone expansion has been even greater, growing at six times the rate of iPhone’s expansion.
- There is still tremendous room for Smartphone adoption to increase, from the current 1.1 billion to over 5 billion (which represents total mobile phone usage).
- 29 percent of American adults own a tablet or eReader, while only 2 percent owned one three years ago.
- One of the most interesting slides showed 48 percent of American kids want an iPad for Christmas, 36 percent want an iPad Mini, 36 percent want an iPod Touch and 33 percent want an iPhone. This appeal of iOS devices contrasts favorably with traditional gaming systems (previously the wish of choice of kids), where 39 percent of children want a Wii U, 31 percent a Kinect Xbox, 29 percent a 3DS and 14 percent a Playstation Vita.
- In India, mobile Internet traffic has surpassed desktop Internet traffic, and Meeker expects other countries to follow
- Mobile monetization has grown from $0.7 billion in 2008 to an estimated $19 billion in 2012.
- Not long ago, people thought of computing devices as PCs and laptops; now computing devices are tablets and smartphones.
- User interfaces used to be keyboards and mice; now they are touchscreens, voice and gestures
- Operating systems used to be synonymous with Microsoft, and now iOS and Android combine to hold 45 percent of the market and Windows has shrunk to 35 percent.
- The worldwide installed base of tablets plus smartphones will exceed PCs in Q2 2013.
- Knowledge used to be stored in books. Now it is accessible everywhere, updated in real-time and everyone can contribute.
- Note-taking has transformed from a pen and paper to apps (like Evernote) that are always synced and available on multiple devices.
- Files have gone from print copies hanging in cabinets to always synced, always accessible, multi-device files using products like Dropbox, iCloud, Amazon CloudDrive and Box.net.
- Cash registers are moving from big machines to simple and elegant solutions (think Square) using tablets that provide email receipts.
- (One of my favorites) Idea building and funding is shifting from flyers, loudspeakers and dinner to online social distribution platforms like Kickstarter that show real-time progress.
- Recruiting has gone from job fairs, paper resumes and campus recruiting events to online resumes, social relevancy, searchable skill sets and endorsements/recommendations.
- (Another favorite) Product design has evolved from a secretive, in-house process to open, crowd-sourced, collaborative solutions.
- Even the selling of digital goods (not exactly a dinosaur industry) is evolving from dedicated shopping sites to leveraged distribution platforms, e.g., Gumroad.
- Signatures of important documents has gone from scanning or sending overnight to e-signatures and electronic documents.
- Thermostats are evolving from simple on-off devices based on temperature to wi-fi enabled, auto-learning, auto-sensing, remote control energy efficient devices like Nest.
- One trend I feel is huge and just blossoming: The re-imagination of education, from classrooms and structured programs to anyone-anywhere-anytime services like Coursera and Udemy.
- Meeker also points to the reimagining of data and increasingly large data sets. She notes that in less than 10 years, Facebook garnered massive amounts of volunteered (and shared) big data from its billion-plus users to include 300 million images uploaded daily and 125 billion friend connections. More remarkably, the amount of digital information shared has grown ninefold in five years to nearly two zettabytes (and even better, the first time I could use the word zettabyte in a blog post)!
- She also points out that if Facebook can create a front-end to massive amounts of largely new and personal big data, in spite of huge initial resistance to sharing, imagine what can come to pass with front ends plus connections to most types of data over the next ten years.
Meeker sees the magnitude of upcoming changes nothing short of stunning, leading to many opportunities for tech entrepreneurs. Meeker points to the transition for what she describes as asset heavy ways of doing things to asset light, some of her thought provoking ideas include:
- From hand to cloud and back: Apps create more efficiency. For example, you can use your smartphone to select a car wash service, find it, pay for the car wash, then leave a review that lets others enjoy the same loop.
- Asset light generation – music: For example, in the past you bought an album, retailers had to store the inventory, you had to find room for it at home and then play it on a dedicated device. Now you pay for access on services like Spotify or Pandora and can listen instantly on an Internet-enabled device.
- Asset light generation – video: A similar example is video, where we have gone from having to buy video tapes at retailers to on-demand video that you can access anywhere through services like YouTube and Amazon Prime.
- Asset light generation – light housing: Even the housing/hospitality industry is being disrupted by the move to lighter assets. While in the past you had to rely on hotels, with dedicated buildings and uniform looking rooms, now services like Airbnb and Onefinestay turn any privately owned house or room into a unique, local hospitality experience.
- Asset light generation – getting around: Meeker points to the change in the ways people ride and get around, from taxis roaming the street to huge rental car locations with heavy inventory. Now people can use services like Uber that optimize the distance between cars and customers, or Zipcar where people have access to cars when they need them.
- Asset light generation – wallet: Another example is the wallet, where we have moved from a big mess with cash, coins, credit and reward cards (anyone remember the Seinfeld episode with George’s enormous wallet?) to a new paradigm in which your smartphone is your wallet with payment capability, cards (rewards and credit), boarding passes, etc.
The above represent only a fraction of the ideas and thoughts presented by Meeker. I strongly recommend you take a look at her whole presentation below.