Everything You Need to Know for Holiday Tech Buying 2018: Guest Blogger John Mannes

Hello everyone 🙂

Today is my second featured Guest Blogger! Be sure to check out my earlier ones as well! Yesterday I talked a lot about change, but I think my next blogger, John, has undergone the greatest change of all. These past three months have been, crazy hectic, to say the least!

I met John through my friend Vyshakh, even though I’ve heard of them many years before. He was the Montgomery County Public School System’s Student Member of the Board during my senior year, and he’s been creating waves ever since. This past summer he took an internship at TechCrunch  that recently turned into a full time job. He likes to dabble in a lot of things, which you can all read about here! My favorite accomplishment of his is being verified on Twitter, hehe. I’m friends with a verified person! My day is slowly coming up 😉 He always gives sound advice and he’s probably the only person I can geek out about Econ, Finance, Law, etc etc with! Lucky kid gets to go to TechCrunch Disrupt later this week,  and even though he’s probably intending to go meet some big shots to network with, I’m sure there will be some people who bought tickets just to meet him. Here he is!


As the holiday season approaches, most of us can be pacified by Black Friday sales, Macy’s ads, and new iPhones. For the truly tech obsessed however, presents in the present are never enough. Our eyes are squarely on the future, waiting for a world with artificially intelligent personal assistants, more efficient messaging, leaner computers, and phones we don’t have to share. Without further ado, here’s a glimpse into holiday shopping circa 2018 through the lens of four crystal ball predictions.

  1. SMS and Messaging will become used more in commerce, advertising, and professional communication

Traditionally email was the tool we used to communicate with the outside world. While many millennials see email as a strictly professional method of communication, it was once the center of personal banter with friends as well. Replaced by instant messaging, more efficient SMS, and mobile messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and GroupMe, email became subjugated to spam and interactions with co-workers, suppliers, and clients. Slack and Atlassian upset the status quo a bit by offering a professional communication platform inspired by the simplicity of personal platforms, but the transformation is far from complete. Companies like HeyMarket and Meesho offer a glance into the future of communication. Both are platforms that enable users to communicate with business owners via informal messaging. HeyMarket integrates directly with SMS to offer templates to business owners that let them coordinate logistics and set up meetings over text message. Meanwhile, Meesho, a startup out of India, actually leverages WeChat to enable shoppers to interact directly with e-commerce shop owners to establish rapport. Extrapolating this trend out into the future, we could see a sort of app store for messaging clients similar to what Facebook offers with Gifs in Messenger. Rather than only serving a single platform, the store would be device and platform agnostic and allow for CRM like features such as integrations with other productivity applications.

  1. Artificially intelligent personal assistants will become pervasive alongside systems like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana

x.ai made waves when it launched out of beta. While the idea of an artificially intelligent personal assistant sounds complicated, the initial idea has a beautiful element of simplicity to it. All a user has to is copy x.ai on an email message and the service will pull availability information directly from Google Calendar and offer up free times to people the user wants to meet with. Sure the gears of x.ai involve sophisticated natural language processing, but ultimately the baby step of integrating AI into scheduling shows us that there is far more to come. Siri, Alexa, and Cortana gave us someone to talk to who could take commands and execute, but the AI personal assistant is going to become a greater part of our lives than we imagine it today. APIs will eventually connect the entire ecosystem to a central assistant that could also have packages of add-on features for various tasks. The so-called internet of things has yet to truly catch on because it hasn’t yet made life dramatically easier. When tasks become fully automated and integrated behind a central system that knows our schedule and can act on it, the benefits will become a lot more convincing.

  1. The smartphone will cement itself as a uniquely personal device.

The smartphone has been having a bit of an identity crisis over the last decade. By this I mean that it has constantly pressured to fill both a personal device niche and a universal device niche. Take for example the the vastly different tasks of controlling a television set and unlocking an office door. Today, our phones can do both but that doesn’t mean they should. Ultimately the phone will solidify itself as a personal device that can unlock our homes, watch our children for us, and access private files. This means that companies looking to leverage the phone for universal use will eventually fall out of favor. The phone doesn’t need to do everything for us, it just needs to handle our most personal tasks. It can be our mobile wallet but it doesn’t also need to be the way we set lighting at a party, the device we show our friends photos on, or even necessarily the device we use to power VR headsets we share.

  1. The operating system will fundamentally change to become cloud and internet first.

Moore’s law is coming to an end but most of us don’t care. Why? Because for the average person, their computer is fast enough. While it is true that new VR technologies will tax our computers like never before, I am not sold that we are going to need powerful computers simply to power new forms of media consumption like 360 video. Apple irritated a lot of people with its release of the MacBook – a device with a single USB-C port and a headphone port. The ideal MacBook user has a terabyte of iCloud storage, a wireless Apple TV, and a collection of Bluetooth gadgets. The extra ports aren’t needed because the data isn’t coming from the computer. Data is increasingly being consumed from the internet and more specifically our own personal clouds. Google took a stab at making an internet-first laptop with the ChromeBook but wasn’t able to get widespread adoption. It was too early and poorly designed. The next-generation computer operating system will prioritize cloud consumption and maybe even completely do away with the solid state hard drive for everything but the OS itself and a small amount of core critical data. This means someday you might open your computer to something that resembles iCloud more than the traditional desktop.

Although this is different than the usual style of my blog posts, it was still quire interesting! If you enjoyed this blog post and want to stay up to date on John’s life, then follow him on Twitter at @johnmannes 🙂

If you are interested in guest blogging or would like to contact me, feel free to email me at tumblah28@gmail.com. Also, follow me on twittertumblr, and pinterest!




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