How my 2019 predictions worked out

I made the following predictions in January 2019. As I describe in the linked post, it’s a blunt instrument for me to refine my understanding of the world, and reveal all the gaps in my knowledge. (It’s not meant to be punditry, or using serious issues as entertainment.) After publishing them quietly, I didn’t look at them for 11 months.

I was fairly conservative in my non-personal predictions, only writing down things I was fairly sure would happen, and not wondering about wildcard situations like who would succeed May as PM. I also avoided making predictions about topics I knew little about—foreign elections, econ, etc.—but what use is this exercise if I only stick to predicting what I know more about? I’ll work on expanding my scope in 2020.

I’m surprised—but should I be?—about having a much better track record for the non-personal predictions than for the personal ones. I also didn’t foresee just how much freelance work I’d end up taking on, thereby abandoning previous plans.

One final note—I wish I made more of those not-easily-measurable predictions at the bottom of this post. Even if I can’t measure or verify it, I still like reflecting on my outlook at different points in life.

False predictions marked with strikethroughs; true predictions left as-is.

Politics — U.S. & World

  1. House of Reps begins impeachment proceedings against Trump: 70% chance
    • I didn’t really know what the impeachment process entailed at this time last year, so this was all I could say. Surprised it all moved so fast.
  2. Mueller indicts Trump: 10%
  3. Trump leaves office: 5%
  4. RBG retires from Supreme Court: 30%
  5. Beto O’Rourke announces Dem presidential candidacy: 60%
  6. Biden announces Dem candidacy: 90%
  7. Hillary announces Dem candidacy: 5%
  8. US-China trade wars reach a truce: 50%
    • Not sure if 50% counts as right or wrong. I had basically no idea what would come of the trade wars in 2019.
  9. “Hard” Brexit occurs: 60%
  10. Theresa May out as UK PM: 80%
  11. MbS still in power: 95%
  12. Xi Jinping still in power: 99%

Climate change

  1. 2019 is hottest year on record: 90% chance
    • As of October 2019, the Earth was having its second-hottest year on record. Official results will probably be tallied later this month.
    • July 2019 was the hottest month on record for the planet.

Tech companies

Though I partially work in tech, I don’t have any inside information here. I get my tech news through Twitter and news outlets/blogs.

  1. Slack IPOs: 70% chance*
    • Technically, they did a direct listing when going public. But at this time last year, I didn’t realize that IPO and going public were slightly different things. I’m going to count this one as a true prediction because I meant “going public.”
  2. Workers of one major tech company (e.g. Amazon warehouse workers) unionize: 30%
    • At this time last year, I didn’t know much about the different stages of forming a union and didn’t specify what “unionize” meant. I also didn’t consider the distinctions between contractors and full-time employees here. I think some Google contractors voting to join United Steelworkers makes the spirit of my prediction false, so I’ll mark it as such.
  3. Netflix launches another interactive movie: 90%
  4. Snapchat gets acquired: 10%
  5. Amazon abandons LIC HQ2: 1% (Feb 2019: LOL)
    • Amazon already abandoned LIC HQ2 when I published this in February (after making the prediction in January).
  6. A Bytedance app introduces payment/wallet functionality: 80%
    • Douyin and TikTok have in-app shopping features. But the spirit of my prediction was more about a WeChat Pay killer, or a native payments system in Toutiao or Tiktok (paying creators, paid subscriptions, etc.) In retrospect, in-app shopping makes a lot more strategic sense.
  7. Bytedance IPOs: 10%

Crypto

At the end of 2019…

  1. BTC > $1000 (current price ~ $3600): 90% chance
  2. BTC > $3000: 80%
  3. BTC > $5000: 20%
    • BTC ~$7300!
  4. ETH > $100: 80%
  5. ETH > $500: 20%
    • ETH ~$130

Economy / stocks

  1. U.S. enters recession: 60% chance
  2. S&P ends above today (2,596): 20%

This is why I only had 2 predictions. I just don’t know enough.

Culture

It’s pretty hard to make cultural predictions, since culture is so much about narrative and reaction…

  1. World Record Egg gets dethroned as most-liked post on IG: 10% chance
  2. Despacito gets dethroned as most-viewed video on youtube: 20%
  3. Beyonce releases a new album: 80%
    • I’m only counting solo albums of new music
  4. Rihanna releases a new album: 60%
    • Ughhhhhh

Personal

2019 me said: I’m torn on the idea of personal predictions. How does the very act of making predictions about things I have control over, impact the outcome?

2020 me says: I wonder if making these predictions made me, at some subconscious level, want to defy them.

  1. I meet > 300 people this year as part of 2019 goal: 90% chance
  2. I take singing lessons: 80%
  3. I take guitar lessons: 50%
    • I didn’t.
  4. I go to physical therapy: 90% chance
    • I started working with a personal trainer instead, which fixed my injury.
  5. I can run 1x/wk again: 60% chance
    • I can do this again. But I don’t 🙃
  6. I travel abroad (excluding family China trip) at least once this year: 40% chance
    • Went to Seoul for a friend’s wedding.
  7. I visit San Francisco at least once this year: 80% chance
    • Yup, went twice.
  8. I get > 5000 Twitter followers: 80%
    • Happened sometime in November, I think.
  9. I get > 1000 Instagram followers: 40%
    • In the 600s right now.

Bonus: Predictions I can’t easily measure

  1. Figma becomes the design industry’s primary tool of choice
    • Hard to define “primary” but anecdotally it seems like most designers I know are using it.
  2. Instagram remains the leading social app among The Youths
    • Twas the Year of TikTok, but what does it mean to be “leading” anyway? I didn’t have a good metric and still don’t. Daily Active Users under 25? (Hard to get this info anyway.)
  3. Stories become primary mode of sharing on IG/FB
    • Hm, can’t find metrics on this
  4. More of my SF friends move to NY than NY friends move to SF (unmeasurable because it’s hard to define friendship 😅)
    • Hah, no, none of my SF friends moved to NY. 💔And while plenty of my NY friends left the city, they went elsewhere in the world.

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