Every year Mary Meeker publishes a slideshow describing her team’s trends analysis. The focus is technology, especially in a business context. Impressed by their detail and depth, I’ve covered them frequently (in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013), and am eager to carry on with this post.
If you’re new to Meeker, know that this is a very business-oriented presentations. There’s plenty of analysis about prices, marketing, market share, start-ups, etc., and not so much on culture. Politically, this research is nearly the direct opposite of Zuboff’s work. It’s pro-immigrant for business reasons (slides 259ff) and anti-social programs (263). Digital tech, not Medicare for all, will improve health care (273). Think Wall Street Journal.
Let me pull out some findings which seem especially relevant to the future of education:
More than one half of the human race is online now, which is a momentous milestone (170). I’ve heard versions of this stat over the past decade, and am not sure why this datapoint is new, or how it was derived, but it’s a useful datapoint.
Mobile continues to conquer the world. We access the internet through mobile devices more than through desktop and laptop computers (41). We also spend more time on mobile devices than on tv, for the first time in history (46).
Social media: it’s very interesting to see which platforms are rising and which falling.
Once again, video is leading. Messaging services are still going. Twitter is growing slightly.
Other media: podcasting keeps booming, going from 22 million listeners in 2008 to 70 in 2018 (50). Video also keeps rising, from videoconferencing to livestreaming and recorded gameplay.
Meeker is very bullish on images. She mentions the technical bases for modern image capture, editing (nice Canva note on 111), and sharing, adding filters, AI interaction, and some light storytelling. (I disagree with the setting aside of text on 86, but expect to hear others share this sentiment)
Meeker is also bullish on gaming, citing enormous growth in Fortnite, Twitch, and Discord.
Data plays a key role in this report, linked to just about every human enterprise and technology. Meeker does address rising anxiety over privacy and business models, but seems to see corporations handling it, and civilization evolving. She calls on us to embrace the open internet, and not so much regulation: “Open Internet = Can Be Messy, But Effective” (201). The report offers this interesting model for how organizations can integrate data operations:
Economically, the report covers a lot of ground. I’ll just remind readers that it establishes a lot of development happening around the world, beyond the US. All kinds of services are popping up and building rapidly. China is the subject of particular attention. (293ff)
The report does address education (233ff). It argues that online education is growing, citing public universities, MOOCs, and 2U. Income share agreements appear (slide 245), as do various technologies (Chegg, Quizlet, Remind, gaming (312)). Meanwhile, in line with my research, Meeker finds face to face enrollment to be dropping:
The report also finds that online learning can be less expensive than offline (258), suggesting the former may supplant the latter.
To sum up: nothing shocking, especially for my readers. But it’s useful data for a range of trends.