In Focus the 2020s
Updated: Jul 30, 2020
As we come to the close of the year and the decade, I'd like to share my thoughts on what I'll be keeping an eye on in the next decade.
For the next decade I have my eye on several technologies and industries. These technologies and industries aren't new, they've been around for a while now, but I see the 2020s as the time when a company(s) figures out how these technologies can be put to use in a way that benefits companies, consumers, and shareholders.
If you say to yourself, "Yeah right, I've read this story before," I wouldn't blame you. Earlier in the decade crypto enthusiasts tried to tell the world how special Blockchain technology is and how great it could be, and many people ignored them. By the end of the decade even the biggest Bitcoin haters have had to acknowledge the potential of the blockchain.
It's still a fairly young technology, and while there are over a dozen industries that could be turned upside down by blockchain tech, it hasn't done much yet. It's something to keep an eye on as we enter a new decade. I can easily see myself writing this letter 10 years from now and discussing how Blockchain ruled the decade.
Voice Automation / Voice Assistants
When Amazon turned the consumer electronics industry on its ear with it's Alexa devices, I heard people much smarter than myself discuss the growth of voice, and how it could impact retail. I'm starting to come around on voice technology. If you haven't seen what Google has been working on you can witness it here.
Apple introduced Siri in 2011, but other companies have done so much more with the technology during the decade. There's a lot of room for improvement in the area of voice assistants, and so many places it could work. While I'm not going to put machine learning and artificial intelligence on the list, they are important to the growth of voice automation technology and voice assistants. As machine learning and AI tech get better, so will voice automation software.
I've discussed my thoughts on space earlier in the year and you can read that here. There is a lot to be explored on earth, yet three of the richest men on earth, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos are putting their money towards space. There are billions of dollars to be made in the space industry. Companies are getting paid billions to make satellites, and other companies are making billions taking these satellites into space.
It's been reported 4 billion people in the world are still without reliable internet. Satellites could solve this problem, and companies like Facebook and Google for instance have discussed providing internet to places without it in the past. These companies would be doing a great service for the world by providing underdeveloped countries with internet access, and they would be doing a great service to their bank accounts. What would Facebook's stock be worth with 500 million to 1 billion more monthly active users?
There aren't many industries that we know of going into 2020 that has the growth potential of the marijuana industry. Of the ideas we've discussed so far, it's the marijuana industry that reminds me most of the internet in the mid 90s. The industry is jumbled and unorganized right now but that's going to change soon.
In the next decade we'll see the industry consolidate. We'll also see the weak companies disappear or be acquired. The strong companies, those that are properly funded, and are showing trends of becoming cash flow positive, and most importantly the companies with leadership that have managed big enterprises in the past will be the companies that succeed.
I think the dried flower, edible, CBD oil markets are over saturated at the moment. My focus will be on the companies spending money on medically related marijuana research. Because marijuana was labeled a schedule one drug, it was almost impossible to research. Now, in the greatest time of information sharing, science and technology, and legal weed, who knows what medicinal remedies maybe discovered in a sativa plant.
New Decade, No Bias
You may have noticed that I haven't provided any company names that you should watch out for, and that is by design. If you're investing on your own, and you want to see big gains in your portfolio come 2029, you can't enter the new decade with any bias.
As I pointed out earlier, Apple debuted the Siri voice assistant in 2011, but Amazon and Google were the companies that truly pushed the technology to the next level. If I told you in 2011 voice automated smart speakers would be big sellers during the back half of the decade, you would've likely invested in Apple because of Siri. If I had told you in 2009 electric vehicles were going to be a big deal by 2019, would you have guessed Tesla would lead the charge, or would you have picked an established automaker to be at the forefront of electric vehicles?
The thing for any investor is to just pay attention to their surroundings. I had a management professor who used to remind the class that no matter what's in the textbook, management by walking around is the best thing we could do as managers of people. For investors I think investment by walking around is a pretty good strategy. Any investor who wants to experience big wins over the next decade needs to be aware of what's going on, what's shifting culture, what are people talking about, what are people excited about, or what are people outraged about? The answer to those questions have investment profits attached to them.
During the last decade I remember feeling shift in culture that Facebook made. I remember the conversations of people Netflix binging, and at the same time cutting the cord, and I remember when Bitcoin was trading at less than $1. If your bias made you faithful to MySpace, Blockbuster, and fiat money, then you missed out on tons of stock market gains.