By Chris Blake
2014 has been a thrilling year for the business and technology community within Silicon Valley and the global technology market. From the Alibaba IPO to the wearable takeover, let’s face it, technology is hot! While some may argue the business model of journalism is broken, journalists and public relations professionals continue to play a vital role in telling Silicon Valley’s story to the masses.
Industry leading journalists and public relations professionals came together for the eighth annual PRSA Silicon Valley Media Predicts event on Dec. 3, 2014, and the energy in the banquet hall of the Four Seasons Palo Alto was dynamic.
Jessica Lessin, founder and editor-in-chief, of The Information opened the night discussing the current state of journalism and how the role of a journalist continues to evolve. Lessin emphasized how 2014 has been an opportune time to be an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, yet investor’s face many challenges. Lessin introduced a star-studded panel of high-ranking technology and business media to the stage including:
- Connie Guglielmo, Editor-in-Chief, CNET (@techledes)
- Ari Levy, Senior Tech Reporter, CNBC (@levynews)
- Sarah Frier, Technology Reporter, Bloomberg News (@sarahfrier)
- Matt Lynley, Business Reporter, BuzzFeed (@mattlynley)
- Vindu Goel, Technology Reporter, New York Times (@vindugoel)
Connie Guglielmo (formerly of Forbes) moderated the panel, and spoke about the huge level of excitement technology journalists are facing in today’s Silicon Valley.
So what surprised the panel in 2014? Here are some of the main topics discussed that jumped out for us:
- Following the social network’s successful IPO in 2013, media were surprised Twitter struggled as much as it did in 2014.
- The growth of Facebook and how Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm-room creation has established itself beyond being a social network. The company is turning into a conglomerate. Also, people underestimate the power of Facebook’s news feed.
- Microsoft is making a big comeback. Under Satya Nadella’s leadership Microsoft is growing its cloud business and working closely with developer talent.
- Will the smart watch and wearable category take of? They want to see a smart watch that can do everything! Also, wearables such as Google Glass are facing social barriers.
- Consumers are being faced with increased security issues, and education is needed to inform consumers of best practices they can use to decrease their chances of data breaches.
- In the mobile space, Android is gaining market share, but don’t bet against Apple and Apple Pay.
- As Jessica Lessin mentioned, in today’s Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs have so much room to leverage when meeting with investors.
- Diversity in the business and technology world needs to be more valued.
2015 is sure to be another huge year for the technology landscape…but is a tech bubble burst on the horizon? Here are the trends the panel covered:
- Vindu Goel is predicting the possibility of a tech bubble burst in 2015.
- Silicon Valley will see more headlines around harassment issues in Silicon Valley.
- There will be an eventual blood bath between Hadoop vendors.
- Payments will continue to take off in a big way, and will be a fun area to follow.
- Will Uber become more buttoned up in the company’s executive communication?
- Facebook will increase its spending on the acquisition side.
- Following Alibaba’s lead, Asian markets will see large growth.
- The mobile advertisement ecosystem will have interesting movement as it continues to play out.
- Will the television market unbundle as people continue to spend more time on the Internet?
At the end of the night, the journalists emphasized the delicate balance they continue to maneuver between covering news for eyeballs (page views) versus covering topics that should be written about and interest them.
The panel emphasized how good journalism will always find an audience on the Internet. Ari Levy said journalists must continue to become excited about the stories they are telling. Those articles will be the most talked about and will ultimately move the needle the furthest.
PRSA Silicon Valley would like to thank all of the event’s sponsors, participants and volunteers for yet another successful Media Predicts. 2015 is certain to be another thrilling year in Silicon Valley’s prestigious history of innovation.
Follow Chris Blake on Twitter @crblake
Want to see pictures from the Media Predicts event? Head over to the PRSA-SV Facebook Page.
In Conversation with Paul Bergevin 08.30.2014