Where are we and where are we going?

As promised, a deeper look at KPCB’s much-awaited annual survey of Internet trends. Every year partner Mary Meeker produces a summary and analysis of Internet usage, development and impact, with interesting insights and good graphics. Virtually all the tech publications summarize and synthesize, reproducing the slides that they thought were more important. Here’s mine:

Opportunities in healthcare and education

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There has been a considerable amount of innovation in the healthcare sector: wearables, virtual clinics, crowdsourcing… But this chart shows that it’s just getting started. That’s exciting.

I was surprised at the impact of the Internet on education, I would have expected it to be much higher. Everywhere I look schools are talking about iPad adoption, flipped classrooms, virtual learning, etc. But, it seems that so far it’s mainly talk, not as much implementation as you might think.

Reading on mobile

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Again, I’m surprised to see that the proportion of us that read digital media on our mobiles is only just over half. With so much “mobile first” hype out there, I would have expected it to be more. I still maintain that reading news on the phone is frustrating, I usually read on my iPad, if I’m travelling or I feel like curling up in an armchair. Otherwise, I prefer the laptop, which lets me have a ton of windows open simultaneously. So all of those tempting hyperlinks don’t make me lose my original place, and I can bring my train of curiosity back to its origin.

The force of habit

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This slide shows the power of inertia. Why are businesses spending so much on print advertising when that’s not where the readers are? Because it’s what they’re used to doing. Check out the imbalance in mobile advertising, which has a much lower portion of advertising spend than it should, given its pull as a media source. Personally, I love that my phone is relatively ad-free. But realistically, those days are numbered. We’re all still figuring out how to push ads onto mobile, but I expect the creativity here to be surprising.

New ad formats

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Such as, carrousels… Video clips… Geotargetting…

Connecting people

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This powerful slide shows with simplicity and poetry the mind-blowing concept of targeted communication and access. Messaging is something we all take for granted. But imagine travelling back in time 20 years and trying to explain this interactive real-time reach to someone from back then.

Would they even be able to imagine a service being both personal and mainstream? How can something be both instant and secure? Casual and professional? That these apparent contradictions seem so normal to us now shows how profoundly the new connection technologies have changed our understanding of service and culture.

Why do we work?

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My favourite: here we see how motivations have changed over one generation. Managers think that what motivates millennials is money. It’s not, what motivates them is meaningful work. Fortunately, technology-generated efficiencies make meaningful work more prevalent, by eliminating or transforming basic and menial functions. It also, however, reduces the number of non-tech jobs available, while at the same time broadening the opportunities for flexible, market-based work.

In the short-term…

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Which brings us to the overall theme of the presentation this year: the empowerment of consumers and workers, and the spread of freelance or on-demand economic activity. Carrying mini-computers around with us in our pockets gives us access to online platforms that are changing the way that we think about work. That, combined with a cultural shift in values, means that more young professionals and/or craftsmen (or craftswomen, of course) are not as worried about lifetime earnings progression as their parents are. What matters more to them is flexibility, independence and meaning. These motivations lead to more questioning, more creative thinking and more risk-taking. The flow of innovative ideas is becoming a torrent, and will accelerate the transformation of commerce, education, culture, even policy. Which will, in turn, encourage even more creativity and innovation. It’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

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