The Scoble Link Machine pointed me to this Guardian article, where Bobby Johnson lists six start ups likely to be among the Next Big Things of 2008. It's a good list. He picked companies like Twitter, and Seesmic who are generally regarded as hot by early adopters and investors I speak with.
The catch is that history says both Bobby and I will be proven wrong on at least half of these. Why? Because technology always surprises and disrupts. On Dec. 25, 2006, who among you would have predicted that the iPhone and Facebook would be the two hottest techs of the year?
There is another problem, one that is plaguing Facebook and I fear is likely to plague bith Twitter and Seismic and that is the issue of monetization. My friends at both companies talk about all the possibilities they have, just like Facebook did. The trouble is so many of the loyal customers at all three of these rapidly emerging companies are conditioned to think every day is Christmas, and the benefits they provide are free.
Advertising, subscription, sponsorships, etc., are all customer losing propositions. I dion't know how they fix this. I think it is currently hurting the Facebook brand and I am hopeful that Seismic, Twitter and the other promising players on the Guardian list will fiond customer-embraceable solutions sometime next year.