By Brian Lucas
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” – Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra
Don’t look for sources here! My predictions, after all, are my predictions. Follow them and either praise or vilify me at the year’s end. During the last 6 months, I have been encouraged by some editors to become more controversial – so here goes. In the last five years, there has been an enormous amount of doomsayers filling the airways with a constant barrage of eschatological phenomenon. Despite these doom and gloom prognostications, including the supposed Mayan calendar end, we all know the world did not end on December 21st. Well most of us do anyway. I have a neighbor who is not too sure it didn’t end. Her friend “knows“ about these things and was predicting the end. Of course, she is always right, even though she can’t successfully program the remote control on her TV. Sigh…
Actually, the Mayans weren’t the originators of the hoax. The calendar nonsense was propagated by mindless minions who parroted belief in the end-of-days phenomenon. Even the Mesoamerican long count calendar was probably actually invented by a preceding Olmec civilization. The fact is that the end of the baktun of the Mayan calendar is just like the end of our calendar, nothing more. I blame the start of the furor on Maud Makemson and Michael Coe. This has been twisted and added to since then achieving nonsensical proportions. So also, has much of the doom and gloom that has been passed on by word-of-mouth. More people should really think for themselves!
The fact is, I am optimistic about 2013’s business outcome, despite all the government dysfunction from both parties. I believe that the year’s economic results will surprise most economists. I am less optimistic about some of our physical environment aspects based on the scientific data on climate change, but that is another story. The strength of America’s business revival will rest in people. The weakness of our environment will be the result of poor government and irresponsible businesses.
2013 will be known from a historical perspective as a Galdwell “Tipping Point” year. It will mark the beginning of a shift from the bloated corporation to the efficient entrepreneurial enterprise with virtual workforces. The foundations for this shift actually began at the start of this decade. Unfortunately, the real strategic strength of the year’s economic gains will actually be hidden by tactical losses experienced throughout the year. These losses will be expressed as economic elements move from traditionally measured criteria to conditions that are more difficult to determine.
It is notable that consumer psychology has changed considerably. Consumers have had their expectations reset by the economic disasters of the last decade. People are now being satisfied with a lower standard of living, as far as material aspects are concerned; if their livelihood is more securely based. Consumers are in fact optimistic in certain respects. They do not anticipate additional downturns or worsening finances. Even though most do not expect to gain financially in 2013 and furthermore view the decline in their real incomes to be long lasting; they are finding optimism in their employment and income stability.
In 2013, the workforce will realize this confidence in the job availability and security emerging from the new economy. A very significant number of workers will leave the full time employment of the Fortune 500 world to work freelance. Companies that showed little loyalty to employees during the recession will suffer a considerable amount of attrition due to this effect. More people will start pursuing careers doing what they like, for whom they like; rather than working in jobs they are unhappy with.
So here is my short list of my specific predictions:
- GDP will be up 3.2%.
- Unemployment will be below 7.1% in December.
- The Index of Consumer Sentiment will dip during the 2nd and 3rd quarters to return to a high at just under 88% by year end.
- SBA lending will increase at least 5% over last year’s $30B.
- The Stock market will go up over 4%.
- Brick and mortar offices will take a hit as more businesses, particularly small ones, will allow workers to work from home.
- Consumer empowerment will begin to have the strongest impact on business via social media adding over a trillion dollars to the economy. Social media will enable knowledge worker productivity to increase by over 20%.
- Mobile computing will continue to be strong even reaching an explosion point with more and more development focused on mobile as the primary platform.
- Microtime and Hypertasking will become common buzz words in business.
- 25% more small businesses (those that have survived the turmoil of recession or are new businesses run by savvy businesspersons) will see an increase in profits in 2013 over 2012.
- There will be at least one very serious power grid impact due to increase in sun spot activity.
- There will be another hurricane first; either the largest storm ever seen in the gulf or a second consecutive storm that threatens the east coast.
- In physics, the second dimension of time that has been postulated will be hypothesized as planar as opposed to linear in nature.
Well that makes lucky number 13 (see end of footnote #4 for the lucky reference). What will happen in 2013 is up to each and every one of us. To all of you, who have committed or will commit to making 2013 a year of success and agility, my best wishes. Whether you are taking the brave step in starting your own small business or freelancing to be agile; you are becoming a part of the new America in a time that I believe history will show to mark a new beginning in business. Remember to keep agile!
 Hey if I gave you my sources you could make your own predictions.
 This means you Richard Wood!
 The theology and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events or the ultimate destiny of humanity. Colloquially referred to as the “end of the world” or “end time”.
 A baktun is 20 katun cycles in the ancient Maya Long Count Calendar. It contains 144,000 days, equal to 394.26 tropical years. The current baktun started on 126.96.36.199.0 — December 21, 2012 using the GMT correlation. Sunday January 6, 2013 (UTC), in the Long Count is 188.8.131.52.16 (based on the GMT correlation). Oh and 13 is a lucky number in Chinese gambling. Take THAT doomsayers!
 In 1957, Mayanist and astronomer Maud Worcester Makemson wrote that “the completion of a Great Period of 13 b’ak’tuns would have been of the utmost significance to the Maya.”
 In 1966, Michael D. Coe wrote in The Maya that “there is a suggestion … that Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the 13th [b’ak’tun]. Thus … our present universe [would] be annihilated [in December 2012] when the Great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion.”
 My sincerest wish is that all my blog readers question everything that they hear and read. Yes, that also means what they read in my blog. See Is Agile a Return to Common Sense?
 This has really moved beyond argument, with all due respect to my good friends who don’t believe that human beings are having a serious and detrimental effect on the global environment, including climate.
 I still have faith in Yankee ingenuity. Actually, I have faith in mankind’s ingenuity and ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
 The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is a book by Malcolm Gladwell.
 Yes, I know that’s a bit wimpy of a statement, but I just did not want to put a number on it because it was too hard to derive. All the estimating formulas I used generated far too wide a range. Even the low number was significant though.
 There are really two versions of mobile deployment designs those that are really dumbed down to a lowest common denominator of cheapest SmartPhones with small screens and those that are richer in design and intended more for tablets, but are still usable on better SmartPhones. I prefer the latter over the former.
 Microtime refers to small windows of availability generally under 15 minutes where a specific task can be accomplished, like checking email, texting someone, ordering a prescription refill, programming a movie to record. All are generally accomplished through the use of a smart phone or tablet PC.
 Hypertasking is multitasking that has moved beyond the business desktop and ferociously invading all aspects of daily life. People are consuming more than one medium at a time. They listen to music, browse online, read news feeds, scan email and perform a primary work function almost simultaneously.
 I find buzz words unavoidable at times.
It is a nice change to see someone be positive about 2013. I am the owner of a small business and I am fed up with all the complaining and negative speak. The business environment is what it is. If you are going to succeed in business, you need to find areas of opportunity and leverage them. There are always possibilities. Thank you Mr. Lucas for being a voice of reason and encouragement.
Thank you Martin! If you can’t muster a positive attitude you should not be in business, especially not as an owner. I wish you all the best in 2013. Please let me know how you are doing.
I agree with Martin completely. Yes I have to think more about my business and be smarter. Some of the dumb things I got away with years ago won’t fly now, but I am making more money than ever before. I believe Brian is right this is a time where knowledge is critical to business success. It is admittedly a challenging business environment. The opportunity is definitely there though. I believe Brian’s predictions are good ones. I for one will not only be watching, but working to make this year a success. I invite you all to join me in that endeavor.
Well said Martin and I will join you Charles in working to make 2013 a success. It’s about time we get out of this funk that has been pervading the news shows and stop listening to why we have to fail because of the government or liberal politics or any damn politics for that matter and go about being successful. This post caught my eye and I am glad I read it. Kudos to the author…….. even with the Mayan references and that last prediction. Brian sounds like a businessman at heart! I will have to read the rest of his blog.
As the previous reply states it is nice to see a positive outlook on the near future. There is alot of gloom and doom predictions. As said
“Positive thoughts and attitude bring positive results”!!..
Listen up people – and I don’t say this often or lightly… Anthony is a model for success with morality, hard work and positive thinking. He is one of the people I always shut up and listen to when he speaks. He is also one of the most entertaining people because he an incredible storyteller and a master of colorful language. Most of all, he has a wonderfully incorruptible moral compass which so many others lack. If you ever get the opportunity to know him – do so; your life will be enriched many-fold!
Anthony, that is an impressive and very serious recommendation from someone I am very impressed with and take very seriously. I unfortunately only know Mr. Lucas though his brilliant and witty writing. You have me at a disadvantage since it appears you know him personally and he looks upon you as a friend and with great respect. I have two questions: The first is do you agree with the predictions here? You don’t make that clear. I felt the GDP and small business profitability predictions were a bit optimistic. Second, Would you mind my asking if you are in the finance industry? I am curious as to know who Mr. Lucas listens to since he appears to be such an original thinker to me.
To answer your questions. I do agree with Brian’s predictions for the future of the economy and country. His ideas are optimistic but not far fetched or unattainable. Small business expansion is the best catalyst to get us up and running again.
And yes I was in the financial industry until 2008 now I am just an avid trader and student of the markets.
Brain and I speak about a number of topics at any given time but I had nothing to add or contribute to his predictions..
Anthony, I agree with Joseph that is one heck of a recommendation from Brian. Since Brian is so obviously intelligent and knowledgeable it carries considerable influence, at least with me it does. Obviously if Brian knows you this well you must know him just as well. So I also would like to know your opinion on the specific predictions. Like Joe I don’t think you actually commented on them. Since I am in the advertising industry, I know (or at least feel sure) he is right about the consumer sentiment index. This is something we have been puzzling about for a while now. It is higher than we anticipated. I believe Brian’s explanation is as lucid as any I have ever heard. I hope his optimism is not misplaced on his other predictions (at least the positive ones). I guess I should say something about his lead in on the Mayan calendar. He says, ”In the last five years, there has been an enormous amount of doomsayers filling the airways with a constant barrage of eschatological phenomenon.” Is he a walking encyclopedia or what? I had to read the footnote to find out what eschatological meant. Is this what he is like in day to day conversations? Is he really this knowledgeable off the cuff? And what the heck is multidimensional time? Cheers
Brian, first let me say I read your blog regularly and I am both educated and entertained by it. You do throw me for a loop every now and again. These are a very eclectic set of predictions. The business ones, like GDP and unemployment projections, made sense to me, even if they seemed a bit optimistic. I cannot fault you for that perhaps you are trying for self-fulfilling prophecies. So much of our economy runs on confidence whether it is consumer or business based. The social ones, like hyper tasking and micro, time were new terms I had not heard of, but still made sense. The weather predictions were scary, but they seemed logical. The last prediction was a science one and threw me altogether. What were you thinking of? It could take me the rest of my life to figure this one out. What does it mean to me if time has another dimension? Help me to understand this one!
Nice positive predictions Brian, but what the heck is up with #13????
I find myself thinking if there predictions prove true, I will be sorry I did not invest in American business. Forgive my poor attempt at humor Brian. Your blog has given me much enjoyment. I pray you continue to write.
Makes sense to me except the last 3 which I don’t know about.
I like these predictions Brian they are solid and what I would call moderately positive. I for one am sick and tired of all the talking heads trying to talk us into another recession with all their doom and gloom.
Hey Brian quite a nice set of predictions. You have finally educated me about the Mayan calendar nonsense. This is the third post of yours on this blog that I have read and I really appreciate your many footnotes. Some are really a comedy blast, but most provide a either a solid reference or more perspective. I like the fact that you take the time to write a quality and well researched blog instead of just blowing something at us off the top of your head. I do have a question however. How are you measuring the 20% increase in knowledge worker productivity? I am not disputing it, I just want to know how your calculate their productivity.
Not bold, but apparently well reasoned predictions by someone with their head screwed on right! I will definitely track these and pop Mr. Lucas a comment in January of 2014. I can’t wait to see how these turn out and what he plans to say about next year.
Hi Brian: This is a pretty darn cool 2013 prediction post. Thanks for putting the Mayan babble straight. I take it you are very pro small business in 2013 and I hope 2014. That’s good because I am starting one. Hope you don’t mind the occasional question about being agile…
Now that we are approaching the half way mark are you still on target with your predictions?
Nifty predictions Brian! You were right about the Mayan Calendar at least and I hop you are right about the other positive ones as well. I’m a west coast gal so I am not worried about another hurricane. I hope it doesn’t happen though. I read your piece on Sandy and it was a riot. I can’t wait to see you recap this year and what next years predictions will be.
Well thought and solid predictions that are positive, yet not unrealistic. I believe they are achievable if consumer confidence holds.
Brian – how about a mid-point recap of where we are based on your year end goals. Just a thought!
Being a small businessman has been a serious challenge this last decade. I hope Mr. Lucas’s somewhat positive predictions come true and that there is light at the end of this tunnel. Mr. Lucas is obviously a very smart individual and writes in a compelling manner. Let’s all try to make the positive aspects of these predictions come true.
Brian I am so in love with your blog! You are so smart and yet so modest. You always shine the spotlight on others. Only someone who is very comfortable with themselves and their place in the world can be as zen as you are. I love all these interviews that you do. They are all with different and interesting people and yet you teach common threads with each one. I hope you can post more often. I know someone like you must be very busy with many things. Please try to find time for us well.
Hope your right about the business predictions and wrong about the weather ones. You are without doubt a brilliant thinker and writer. So you have me scared about the weather. Glad to see you poke a big hole in all the calendar poppycock!
Hope these predictions come true Brian. I am really down with all the bad news lately.
Well Brian half a year is gone. Do you feel your predictions are still on track.
Being an investor and a regular reader of your blog, I would appreciate if you would share your opinion an article on why the economy has remained sluggish despite all the effort from the Federal Reserve. Why aren’t things picking up faster. It seems to be a different recovery than previous recessions.
As an investor you should realize that the gains in the market are not from the retail investor buying into it. All these gains are from institutional firms buying in. The retail investor is scared. Being that the market is at all time highs they are afraid of it dropping as soon as they buy in. Most articles from
market makers and institutional traders feel once the retail investor comes in Its time to get out. As for the Fed. they are creating a bubble of the likes we have never seen and will take many years to recover from. As for a prediction,, as soon as the Fed. slows down buying there OWN products. you will see a 5-10 pct drop in equities. If not more. It will not be a slow bleed..
Thanks for the reply Anthony! I notice that you have commented several times in the past in Keeping Agile posts. I also recall that Mr. Lucas really listens to your opinion and treats you with great deference. I believe you are a fellow investor and appreciate your weighing in on my question. It is my feeling that the recovery is slow because the business sector is being too cautious, but I am not sure. I have developed an enormous respect for Mr. Lucas as an original, clear minded thinker with an inexhaustible knowledge base.. He has a rare brilliance that can shine a light on seemingly any subject. I was hoping to get him to post more in the business and economy vein which is what is most useful to me as an investor. I do enjoy reading all his articles though, since he is such an entertaining and informative writer!
You are correct about the business sector. How can they not be? Most of all you are correct about Brian .I think your hopes may come through about his future posts,,
Hey Brian Hint Hint!!!
Nothing like added pressure to an already overloaded schedule to bring out the best – right??? After all pressure makes diamonds!!! I have a webinar coming up at the end of the month that is absorbing my free time, but I promise that I will post an article on the need for businesses to be less cautious in investing.
Anthony – love your comments!!! They’re always to the point and make sense and NO bs EVER!!! How’d you ever run into an egghead like Brian!!! That’s gotta be an interesting story!!! HA! HA! No seriously I really admire Keeping Agile although when Brian starts throwing around Mayan calender terms and physics predictions my brain explodes!!! How’d Brian get his financial knowledge??? Its not in his background. I love his business posts they really focus on the crux of the matter. And since you made the hint, Brian hasn’t posted since the middle of May. Do you know what’s going on here??? Heck he should post every day!!! – a fellow Anthony
Are you going to post 2014 predictions?