COVID-19 will Kill a Ton of Startups (or So it Will Seem)

Yes, I’m still predicting-away, though the pandemic is having some impact on the direction in which this narrative is going. Today’s column on startups and venture capital, for example, wasn’t even on my original list of predictions. Just as the financial markets will use this catastrophe for a reset, so, too, will Sand Hill Road, which has pretty much stopped investing and is now deciding, instead, who to kill?

The psychology of venture capital doesn’t work the way most people think. That’s because it is an industry based on failure: most startups — the vast majority — fail. That means most VC investment decisions are wrong. There is simply no way of […]

What an Epidemic is Really Like

Downton Abbey, episode 2.8.  

Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham : “Wasn’t there a masked ball in Paris when cholera broke out? Half the guests were dead before they left the ballroom.”

Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham :   “Thank you, Mama. That’s cheered us up no end.”

A few decades ago I covered a cholera epidemic in Bangladesh. Forty thousand dead. The last time I thought about that trip was while watching the Downton Abbey episode quoted above.

Downton writer Julian Fellowes clearly knows nothing about cholera. 

Nobody dies of cholera at masked balls because people shit themselves […]

2020 Prediction: COVID-19 will suck like 9/11

This is the first of two 2020 predictions concerning COVID-19, the so-called coronavirus. This column will cover short-term impacts while my next column will cover longer-term changes that were probably going to happen anyway but are already being accelerated by the current health crisis.

NOT business as usual…

No, I’m not a doctor or an epidemiologist, but I’m also not an idiot. And as a non-idiot, I can confidently predict the significant short-term economic, social, and political impacts of COVID-19 on my global readership. The far more significant longer-term effects will be covered in my next column. Short-term, COVID-19 feels remarkably like 9/11, which wasn’t a health crisis in any sense, but it […]

How to save 400,000 lives per year (four million in the world)

When I wrote recently that my predictions for 2020 would include some things I hoped would happen, this was the column I had in mind. What follows is a prediction that will definitely not happen unless someone decides to make a change.

Everybody dies.

But not everybody has to die young or in middle age from many of the diseases that afflict our society. In the United States, our single leading cause of death is heart disease with 650,000 deaths per year. Heart attacks cause more than 400,000 deaths alone. With approximately 800,000 heart attacks per year in the U.S., 50 percent of heart attacks lead directly to death. […]

My first two predictions for 2020 — IBM and Trump

For 20+ years I’ve been writing predictions every January and I guess I’m doing another set now. But this time will be different for several reasons. For one, January is almost over, so it will slough over into February. For another, I always start by going back to the year before and grading my previous year’s predictions. I’m the only guy in this business who does that. But this year I am going to bury the score a bit because I need to start with a prediction or two simply because both are immediate and really can’t wait.  So I’ll do the scoring on Monday, but today I have two 2020 predictions to […]