It’s January 10 and we should be safe from the “Ten predictions for 2012” or “5 things you should know about 2012” bombs. I have been hiding from these mind-numbing weapons of mass intelligence destruction, avoided punditry masked as superficial insights shrapnel and decided to come out of hiding to declare: “All predictions are useless.”


A) We base most of our predictions on the past and things we know now. That’s why you see so much talk about mobile, Facebook, more Facebook, sprinkle in some Twitter, Google+ and even more mobile.

B) We try to predict behavior based on gazillions of complex interactions between unpredictable social animals we commonly call human beings. Who predicted the Arab Spring? Nobody. Who predicted the financial crisis? Maybe three people and they made billions. Who predicted the success of the iPhone? Not many.

C) We tend to predict the obvious: Sure, the ongoing depression recession tends to keep people scared of the future and their wallets closed. The oil price and peak oil predictions will end the flight to suburbia and lead to more lively urban lifestyle. With all its advantages and problems. The ongoing crisis of institutions (too big to fail, Congress gridlock) will lead more people to look for solutions outside of the usual path and way of thinking. The digitization of relationships and splintering of media channels will lead more people to flock to events where we can feel as one again. This can be as superficial as the Superbowl, spiritual and out there as Burning Man or personal in a local event.

But you knew that already. These are not predictions. These are just observations.

This is an ancient commercial created by my old agency, Springer & Jacoby. You see a lot of the car but the only thing really moving is a bicycle. We didn’t follow anyone. We took a risk. Based on the insight that Mercedes-Benz owners want to feel good about owning a green car. Because there’s more to life than a car. Things like fresh air and clean water. That’s not new in 2012. It was in the 90’s.

My prediction for 2012? If you ignore all predictions, you might have enough time to provide new answers.