Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Next 10 Years

I want to take a step back from my focus on Spain to talk about a few broad innovations I expect to see in the next few years. These are big ideas and whoever can execute them will make a ton of money.

1. Medical adherence: In developed countries, chronic lifestyle diseases (diabetes, hypertension, asthma) kill more people and cost more money than cancer. The reason? People simply can't take care of themselves. Even after diagnosis, the regime of diet, exercise, and medicine is overwhelming - particularly considering the correlation between these conditions and income/education. What's needed is some kind of system - with the right monetary incentives in place - so that physicians and health coaches actively manage a patient's recovery. All the players, from big pharma to insurance payers and governments, already know this, but it's a monster to operationalize.

2. Do-it-all device: I still carry too much in my pockets. Cell phone, car keys, wallet - it's a lot to keep track of and it's heavy. How about a device that does it all? Not just a phone, but also a virtual wallet and remote car starter. It requires a broad series of industry partnerships and vastly improved security standards but the technology basically exists.

3. Stop pirates: Not in Somalia, but in Asia. Software companies like Microsoft lose 3 revenue dollars to piracy for every revenue dollar earned. No matter your opinion of software prices, it's not fair for companies to earn nothing for their R&D. Computer use increases exponentially in China each year, almost all of it on Windows, and Microsoft sales grow at a snails pace.

4. Selling solar: Today, wind energy is far ahead of solar in market share due to its cost effeciency. Solar gets installed basically only when governments offer large subsidies or feed-in tariffs. But solar energy is far more available and reliable than wind, and easier to incorporate into urban design (you can put solar panels on top of any building; not so with windmills). So it's just a question of finding radically cheaper ways to produce the components in solar panels, and also continuing to increase the energy storage capacity of the panels.

More to come...

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