It is the time of the year to reflect on what happened this past year. What is trending? What did we do right? What did we do wrong? What can we expect next year?
Tweeting is in. Now the challenge is to figure out a way to monetize it as opposed to just joking with my kids. In fact, the whole social media thing is trendy. But to what end? Notwithstanding this Blog, until someone way smarter than I can figure out some new way to utilize it, I am writing it out of my business plan. (It may stay in my social plan for a while because there is funny interesting stuff out there. You can follow me on Twitter and decide for yourself though whether anything I say is interesting or funny. My kids would probably say NOT.)
Apple – computers, tablets, phones – is in. All the way in. Even law firms who as an industry are ultra-concerned about security have made the switch. I resisted as long as I could in fear of my fingers being too fat to work the touch screen. People told me I’d get used to it – they were right. Not sure how I ever lived without my Apple phone, I-Pod, I-Pad and PC.
Urban life is in. In Cincinnati, it’s Over The Rhine. Washington Park being completely upgraded, several new restaurants, bars, shops and apartments, really cool old world architectural features, and Findlay Market. Gives local business owners a real chance. New Urbanism and Walkability are in.
3-D is in. New movies, remakes of old movies – all 3-D. I like the 3-D effect, but do I really need to see Beauty and the Beast all over again just to see a candle stick hover over my head?
Electric cars? Why isn’t that a done deal yet. I mean a real car you would actually like to own and drive. Why aren’t they everywhere?
Is it me or is the list of impressive politicians shrinking? We need to fix the system so that we are attracting the best and brightest to help govern.
Another thing broken is college sports. Division 1 football needs a playoff. The whole conference alignment makes no sense (San Diego State is in the Big East?). Title 9 does not work anymore. It has led to the elimination of whole sports programs at some schools, the reduction of baseball scholarships at all schools and other inequitable consequences. We need to support gender equity – I just don’t think Title 9 is the way to do that anymore. And the NCAA has lost its way. The purpose of the NCAA should be to protect the student athlete. It seems instead that it exists solely to protect the income streams of the largest universities.
Real estate lending has changed. Lenders are much more involved in the entire deal structure – not just the terms of the loan but the terms of the underlying deal. Much less willing to take risks. Leases, acquisitions, redevelopment – all tougher to do. Lenders may be right to take this approach. But it places increased level of importance on the experience, intellect and service attitude of the lender and its attorneys.
I am concerned about business prospects for 2012. But I was concerned going into 2011, and 2011 ended up pretty good. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous 2012.