As an early stage investor, I inevitably wind up in conversations about the future. And given that my team sees hundreds of startups each month, we're in the perfect position to spot trends -- and even make a few predictions. So what's around the corner in startups? Here's my forecast from the technological edge:
Heed the Erosive Impact of Technological Change. In tech revolutions, transformation comes slowly. Transformation doesn't occur along a line. It is a curve and in the early days the slope of the curve is shallow, then, all at once it soars upward. Tech change is Darwinian. It is apocalyptic. It is like waves eroding beneath a beach. Everything is fine, everything is as it was and then: Wham! The dinosaurs are gone. Slam! The beach collapses. Today, we are in the shallow slope part of the social/mobile transformational curve. The change that is coming will utterly dwarf what we have experienced to date. Fundamentals everywhere, in every market, in every country and in every culture are under stress and will transform.
Visual Vocabulary Taking Hold. Pinterest ushered in an era where images are increasingly at the heart of communication. Images hit humans at deep emotional levels text cannot reach. Images are fundamentally borderless. Images work on screens of any size, where text cannot. So, beyond the pinboards of Pinterest, we are now noticing emoticons and emojis coming to the fore on mobile. We are seeing startups focused on emoji storytelling. Others are providing full mobile keyboards of brand symbols. We think this may be the presenting edge for a new form of universal communication.