Monday, January 1, 2018

Saying good riddance to 2017

Would you invite these two over for dinner?
This image captures 2017 better than anything else I have seen.
I want to say good things about 2017; I really want to do it.  The sad reality is that the last year was the equivalent of inviting guests over for a dinner party and they allow their toddler to break your china and defecate on your tablecloth.  The world of politics, business, and agile felt like that disgusting and awkward dinner party.  This week, I take a look at last year’s predictions and look ahead to 2018. 

My first prediction came true in ways I did not expect. The new president and the Republican Party kicked off a wave of deregulation. It was not your garden-variety deregulation typical of GOP control of the White House; this was something radically different.  The Secretary of Education had no experience in educational administration.  The new Secretary of Energy on the campaign trail demanded that the department is dismantled and then used his position to promote the interests of the fossil fuel industry.  The head of the EPA is building a secure secret office and treating the organization he is leading as a security threat. 

By far, the most egregious in a colorful cast of characters is Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.  The Goldman Sachs alumni made a career exploiting financial regulations and staying one step ahead of regulators.  Now he is in charge of those rules, and it looks like a repeat of the events which led to the great recession of 2008.  Adding insult to injury is his spouse who has appeared in public with the personae of a Walt Disney villain blended with a trust fund sorority sister.  Her words about how she and her husband do more for the economy are going to live forever in history books written about this period. 

My second prediction was the brief life and death of Net-Neutrality.  Ajit Pai served on the FCC board and said net-neutrality was unnecessary in 2015 when the board supported it.  With the election, he and the Republican members became the majority on the FCC board, and the net neutrality rules were repealed.  In spite of 22-million comments supporting net-neutrality and opposition by 80% of the public, the repeal went through.  It is going to be a considerable give-a-way to companies like Comcast and Verizon.  It is going to hurt innovation and turn internet service providers into protection rackets charging businesses and organizations extra to have high-speed service.  I hate this turn of events and will work with my elected officials to reverse this decision. 

So that was last year, what trends are we going to see in 2018.  I forecast three events. 

Democrats Resurgent?

I made a political prediction in 2016, and the election threw it back into my face.  This time around I am going to say that Democrats have a credible chance of retaking the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Plenty of things can happen between now and November, but if Democrats are smart, they might have a chance.  Some credible polling and research are showing this might happen.  If it does happen, I hope the new Congress will attempt to unwind, the budget-busting tax cut and work on regulating the internet like a utility so that net-neutrality does not come and go with each regulatory change of power. 

The Battle of Home Assistants.

Google and Amazon began a pretty and bitter war last year, and it will get worse in 2018.  The competition between “Alexia” or “Google Home” will get more heated.  It should be good for consumers, but it is going to be a mess.  Home thermostats, lights, and even appliances are going to be affected by this conflict.  It is a battle for billions of dollars in revenue so grab some popcorn and enjoy the spectacle. 

I will own my brand.

For me professionally, 2017 was a tough year.  Thanks to the good folks at the Agile Coaching Symposium in Chicago, I realized that I am part of an elite group of professionals.  We are a caring, creative, and hard-working group of souls who just want to improve how people work.  I am going to embrace that community further.  I am going to put in for my Certified Team Coach credentials from the scrum alliance.  I will also try to become a presenter for the Agile Alliance in fall.  I hope to learn more about LeSS and how it might help my organization. 

So that is my take for 2018, I look forward to sharing it with you. 

Until next time.