Creepy Facebook, No More Wallets, and NYC Tech Rising: Predictions for the Internet in 2012

Predictions! What do New York techies think will happen to the internet-centric economy in 2012? We asked some smart founders,

Soon, there will be no results when we search "wallet" in Google images. (

Predictions! What do New York techies think will happen to the internet-centric economy in 2012? We asked some smart founders, VCs and members of the startup ecosystem where they think tech, the internet and the New York tech scene are headed in 2012 (assuming the world doesn’t end either due to the apocalypse or SOPA, that is). Without further ado!

The internet, united, will never be defeated

“SOPA and PIPA are both soundly defeated by bipartisan popular support and Congress realizes it shouldn’t tamper with one of the few American industries still creating jobs and out-innovating the world. We in the private sector will innovate solutions for piracy (people will pay for easy access—like Netflix!); the answer is not government intervention that ultimately doesn’t solve the problem and breaks the internet in the process.” -Alexis Ohanian, Reddit, Breadpig and Hipmunk

“2012! The tech community has not really seemed to care much about the upcoming election. SOPA and #Occupy pierced that head-down obliviousness during the last quarter. People will start to care, and not just because Ben Smith is going to Buzzfeed (though that was a signal that, folks, a new market is about to be unleashed). This is the first election year that is truly happening in the age of social media. Hopefully it won’t mean we have to pay attention to Santorum.

“Also! Something very big, or at least highly embarrassing, is going to be captured/disseminated/hive-mind-sleuthed-out/otherwise made horrifically public during this election season. And it will change the game. (Though if it’s that Newt likes to keep his socks on, I don’t want to know.)” -Rachel Sklar, Change the Ratio

New York City rises

“NYC will be recognized with the new distinction as being the world’s “Startup City Incubator”  for smart young people to come and build their new businesses with the proactive support of the world’s largest and easiest to connect to pool of talented mentors. Also looks like 2012 will be the year that the growing startup community begins to connect to the underserved NYC communities who needs support to help get their entrepreneurs up to speed. More syndication between angels, angel groups and VCs to fund more deals faster.” -Brian Cohen, New York Angels

The Facebook effect on NYC tech talent will be a 10 percent lift in compensation for top engineers. Gilt Groupe has a big/surprising exit. Under pressure of thin operating margins, Amazon takes them out (eBay also possible). Marketplaces prove to be superior ecommerce business since no overhead of warehousing inventory.

“$200B online retail market is growing 15 percent per year. 20 percent of that spent on ad tech. Something big is happening in NYC ad tech—maybe just another industry for which NYC is becoming the capital of the universe. Maybe more ad tech startups take root in NYC.” -Dave Carvajal,

“Deciding year for Foursquare, can it turn on a dime? IAC will continue a mild downward trend.  Barry Diller is done.  The building is still cool. The tide turns in my ongoing war against The New York Times Company (who no longer have courage).” -Josh Harris,

“SxSW Breakout App. Foursquare was the breakout app at SxSW 2009. GroupMe was the breakout app at SxSW 2011. Sonar will be the breakout app at SxSW 2012.

“Brett and team are hard at work on some killer features, with hopes to launch a blockbuster 2.0 in time for SxSW 2012. Their team has had an influx of bright, new talent recently and I’ve spent some time getting to know them. Since they haven’t formally announced anything yet, I won’t say any more than this: look for Sonar to crush it this year in Austin.” -David Kay, freelance mobile developer, Xoogler and Startup Bus veteran

Growing influence of women in tech

My prediction is that 2012 women will find their voice in a big way. They will find other women that they relate to and connect with. Women will become more powerful. The feminine approach and values will matter. The world needs the mind, perspective and strength of women. 2012 will be the time when those elements emerge as important and a force in our world.” -Deborah Jackson, JumpThru/My Tech Letter

I see the rise of something called the ’emotional web.’ And I see women at the forefront of this. Web 2.0 has been very much about laying down the ‘pipes’ of connections and relationships, more and better data and analytics. This is all critical but information is only half of the human equation. Think Maslow’s hierarchy. How do take this information and use it to make ourselves better, happier, more effective and more fulfilled? Because at the end of the day, that’s what people want.

“Here’s an example. Dating sites are a dime a dozen and all about algorithms to match people. But after that, what next? Don’t we really want to make our relationships *better*? There are proven techniques in the analog world. Emerging sites such as TheIceBreak are cracking the code—bringing these techniques to users in a scaled way.” -Tereza Nemessanyi, Honestly Now

“Hello, ladies: It never sounds un-creepy to say “Hello, ladies” like that but in any case, we’ll be saying that over and over again in 2012. Women control upwards of 80% of consumer spending, power social sites, and are identifying untapped markets,underserved constuencies, and new models in droves. It’s not to be polite, either – women are moving merch. They’re in the mix, they know the people who know the people, and they are getting it done – and getting noticed doing it. This, my friends, changes ratios. Those patterns? Less recognizable. Welcome to 2012.” -Rachel Sklar, Change the Ratio

Photo to Go

In terms of mobile photo- things get really interesting. The point and shoot camera is essentially dead as the quality of camera on your phone continues to improve. I think the big thing around photos this year is monetization. Companies are going to try to figure this out and I think it will come in many forms. I think that printing from your mobile phone is going to become more and more attractive as the quality of photos become more “print-ready.” I think that Instagram is by far the leader of the mobile photo sharing and will continue that way unless Twitter or the handset makers decide to bake effects into taking the photo. – Alex Taub – Biz Dev Wiz, Aviary

Apps for the 99 percent

“2012 will be the coming out year for entrepreneurs and their eco-system to champion lifestyle products that solve everyday problems… Real life, because people {especially women} outside the tech bubble are anxiously awaiting their own technical revolution.

“There is a direct correlation to the rise of women in technology. Because technical women deeply understand the value of practical problem solving in every aspect of their multi-faceted life and finally have the technology to do something about it.” -Erin Newkirk, Red Stamp

“I’m fixated on the phrase “Think globally, act locally.” What’s needed right now are big, visionary solutions which benefit not only the Silicon Alley e-commerce startup but also the citizen journalist in Syria. Open access, responsive platforms which expand the exchange of information.  And then we need ways to bring all that information really close to home to benefit and enrich the neighborhoods in which we live. Curated, accessible intuitive niche networks of discovery. Oh, and this all needs to be created for and delivered on a mobile device.” -Kelly Hoey, Women Innovate Mobile

“While the most insular focus on NYC vs Silicon Valley vs Boston statistics, increasingly, incredible startups from markets with college engineering talent like Pittsburgh (Carnegie Mellon) will produce new companies coastal VCs salivate over.” -Michael Duda, Consigliere

“The big gatekeepers won’t change—yet—but new ones will come up around the periphery. They’ll have money and they’ll get it and they’ll say yes when the usuals say no. And then things will happen.” -Rachel Sklar, Change the Ratio

“I’m eager to see smart entrepreneurs and teams working on melding the connection between our online and offline lives. The average person is striving to make sense of the noise from their composite online presence. In distilling meaningful bits from the multiple feeds, I see a lot of opportunity in bolstering an offline component to help solve this problem. You can see some of this happening today in communities like Reddit where social news is turning into social activism (ie. SOPA v. GoDaddy). It works both ways though, online can help augment our offline lives. One example (and shameless plug for Collaborative Fund portfolio co) is Simple, where our banking and finances (which have traditionally been relegated to brick and mortar venues) are being streamlined through a beautifully designed user experience online.” -Craig Shapiro, Collaborative Fund

The death of the wallet

“My prediction for 2012 is that there will be further manifestations of technology that allows us to more seamlessly make transactions and share personal data; for instance, our phones will get much closer to replacing our wallets. This trend will start to really permeate in our everyday lives, and the changing face of privacy will be on everyone’s minds.” –Maya Baratz, The Wall Street Journal

“In contrast to former CEO Eric Schmidt and in an effort to fortify its ‘no evil’ positioning, Google’s Larry Page will lash out publicly at Verizon and AT&T in the sector battle to lead mobile payments.” -Michael Duda, Consigliere

“Finally, after 15 years of waiting, I think 2012 will be the year that mobile payments finally takes hold. Where anyone will be able to pay anyone simply and safely regardless of location or cash on hand. Companies like Square will have huge years as they become the new (and preferred) method of payment of small businesses, artists, farmers, and consumers.” -Bo Fishback, Zaarly

“Square blows up. Square is THE startup to watch in the payments space. Moreover, with the launch (and success) of Square Card Case, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they start contesting Google Wallet on both sides of the POS. Especially since they have Visa’s blessing, it wouldn’t be too difficult for them to add NFC support and be off to the races.

“Speaking of NFC, iPhone 5 ships with it. Apple often likes to wait until technologies are ripe before jumping on board. In the case of NFC, they’ve put out some interesting patents in the past indicating their interest in doing NFC for ticket redemption, so don’t be surprised if we see iTunes start offering concert tickets, redeemable by iPhone.” -David Kay, freelance mobile developer, Xoogler and Startup Bus veteran

Mobile explosion, still but even more

“I think in 2012 we’ll see an explosion of mobile that is much bigger and carries broader implications than almost anyone is anticipating. Specifically, apps are going to quickly become much more important utilities and actually begin replacing existing systems that either live on the desktop or the web today. Basically what we saw the web/cloud do to desktop programs over the past 10 years will happen (and much more quickly) again, but this time fueled by mobile. With over 500,000 new Androids being activated everyday, the boom that mobile has seen in the last couple years will continue accelerating and become even more important.” -Bo Fishback, Zaarly

Big Facebook brother

“Personalization gets creepy. As websites and search alike begin to customize feeds for consumers based on personalization, a backlash will start to emerge in 2012 among individuals who worry we’re losing the collective experience which made the early internet so powerful. Strong criticism of the “filter bubble”—in which, for example, partisans see only pro-party news and individuals are rarely exposed to dissenting or un-‘like’d viewpoints—will lead to toggle options on some pages, meaning you can choose to see your personalized version of the Washington Post’s homepage OR the standard one.” -Kathryn Minshew, The Daily Muse

“There will be a growing movement to go private, and even dark. Old media will be fetishized (have you noticed it happening lately with typewriters?) The hyper-openness of Facebook, can’t escape-it-in-real-time firehose  of Twitter and I-know-where-you-are-that’s-a-nice-shirt Marauder’s Map of Foursquare will freak some people out and start a movement to ‘regain’ our privacy/sanctity/sanity or whatnot. We’ve already seen that begin with Path, and with things like the National Day of Unplugging (and yes, there’s an app for that).” -Rachel Sklar, Change the Ratio

“2012 will be a make-or-break year for Google Plus. 2011 has been lukewarm for Plus and they’ll need something just shy of a miracle to compete with Facebook. My bet is that a startup will find a killer use case revolving around API integrations, connecting Google Voice, Gmail, and Google Plus. I’m especially bullish on these opportunities for building a social/personal CRM.” -David Kay, freelance mobile developer, Xoogler and Startup Bus veteran


“Content companies will continue to push into the commerce space as the look to divest their revenue streams. However some companies who do this may experience a fatal blow when their inventory costs overwhelm their cash flow.

“Shopping by tablet, especially via aps will boom in 2012. It will become more of a leisure activity to do while your lying in bed watching Netflix with your Lot 18 Chardonnay.” -Michelle Madhok,

Live chat everywhere. I see live chat being a basic expectation for customer service on e-commerce sites, but going even further in 2012. Customers will start communicating with companies, friends, and strangers all via chat on their favorite sites.

“Growth of plug & play e-commerce. New plug & play e-commerce tools are being introduced every month. The result will mean 2012 is the year of developerless e-commerce businesses, where basic but highly functional sites can be built by non technical founders while they prove out an idea.” -Alexis Tryon, Artsicle

My prediction is that 2012 is the year of commerce. I believe social, mobile, in-store and online commerce will all converge into a unified, transparant and personalize shopping experience. Online shopping will evolve from interactive catalogs to simulated in-store experiences with virtual fittings, social interactions and personalized concierge recommendations. I believe a larger percentage of sales will happen online and stores will start evolving into showrooms rather than true retail venues. -Veronika Sonsev,

New heights of laziness

“On-demand lifestyle. AirBnb finds you a gorgeous apartment. Uber brings you an elegant ride at the touch of a button. TaskRabbit will fetch you a cup of coffee. We’re entering the era of the on-demand lifestyle, and 2012 will be the year that a host of new at-will lifestyle options pop up. Rent a dog for the day? Hire a friend? Step onto a private jet, boat, or island? Startups are realizing the value of bringing at-will luxury experiences to a broader population, and the demand for these types of services is only going to grow.” -Kathryn Minshew, The Daily Muse

Video killed the imagur star

“This one is both obvious and self-serving, but video is really going to take off in 2012. between the amazing (please, please, please be true) rumors about the ‘iTV’, to Google’s efforts with GoogleTV/YouTube, to all the new devices and apps popping up, it’s going to be a fun year for video.” -Reece Pacheco,


“In 2010, we saw “Apps for the Army,” which eventually led to the founding of the Army app store. In 2011, we’ve seen Android adopted by the Army as the basis for their “Joint Battle Command-Platform.” Also, Army Cpt. Jonathan Springer released Tactical Nav, an iPhone app for soldiers in the field. Moreover, the DISA has approved Android for use on DoD networks and released official security guidelines. As if that wasn’t enough, the Special Forces have already been requesting a suite of apps for use on non-sanctioned, off-the-shelf devices. Something like the phone you already have in your pocket. In 2012, now that Android has official Army, Special Forces, and DoD blessing, we’ll see serious RFPs for mobile military technology.” -David Kay, freelance mobile developer, Xoogler and Startup Bus veteran

“Android’s demise begins. This is ballsy, but here’s why: The fragmentation is just creating a horrible experience for users and they’re going to take notice that their phones are not getting updated or performing.  Now that the iPhone is on more than one carrier, they will switch at the end of 2 years.  Most of those contracts end in 2012 as Android’s uptake started 2 years ago.  As the feature phone market moves towards becoming low end/free smart phones, we will start to see dominance from the Microsoft Nokia alliance. Nokia is the clear leader in this sector with massive distribution abroad.” -Jason Baptiste, Onswipe


“Virtual Education. 2012 will be the year e-learning makes a comeback. From the Khan Academy to Code Academy, people are hungry to learn online. The digital economy requires an ever-changing array of skills, and a host of startups and products will begin to target the virtual student. Interactivity, relevance and cost will all be factors here. To offset the risks of charging individuals for training, education tech companies will start to partner with businesses (much like General Assembly does with its company-approved courses) to ensure graduates are instantly rewarded for participation.” -Kathryn Minshew, The Daily Muse

Nerding out on personal data

“The quantified self. Although the reception has been mixed with offerings such as the Jawbone UP, there are a few startups that have caught my eye—including Basis (tracking health and heart rate), Massive Health’s Eatery App (tracking eating habits, also a Collaborative Fund investment), and LumoBack (tracks posture and core). It is odd that I can rattle off how much cash is on hand (along with their P/E ratio, revenue-per-share, gross profit, EBITDA) and other vitals about Apple Inc—at the click of a button… yet I have no idea what my cholesterol, vitamin D, heart rate, blood sugar (etc) is… and have to go to great lengths to find out.” -Craig Shapiro, Collaborative Fund Creepy Facebook, No More Wallets, and NYC Tech Rising: Predictions for the Internet in 2012