Ear­li­er in Octo­ber, Michael Wolf and his firm Acti­vate pub­lished an insane­ly com­pre­hen­sive and insight­ful look at behav­ior and trends in tech and media, mak­ing some inter­est­ing pro­jec­tions for 2016.

I’m embed­ding the whole pre­sen­ta­tion below, or you can down­load the PDF.

Here are my top six take­aways:


1. We spend more time on tech & media than work or sleep.

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This shouldn’t be shock­ing con­sid­er­ing I can look at my own life and see the truth of it. But it’s a lit­tle star­tling to see as a sta­tis­tic aver­aged out over the pop­u­la­tion. When you con­sume and inter­act with life through screens more than life unmedi­at­ed, the phrase “you are what you eat” starts to car­ry a lot more weight. Bet­ter curat­ing, fil­ter­ing, and dis­till­ing of infor­ma­tion, whether human- or AI-pow­ered, will be in ever high­er demand, and could almost become a mat­ter of pub­lic health.


2. Message threads are the new apps

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Or you might say, mes­sages ARE the medi­umPeo­ple have been say­ing for awhile that mes­sag­ing is the next major plat­form. And I was maybe only half on board w/ that state­ment until now. Maybe I was hung up on mes­sages, because it’s real­ly more about con­ver­sa­tions.

Because sure, it’s about com­mu­ni­cat­ing with oth­er peo­ple, which is cer­tain­ly the dri­ving use case. But it’s also very much about com­mu­ni­cat­ing with machines: Siri, Google Now, etc. What’s a voice com­mand but a tran­scribed mes­sage? Right now these ser­vices can only inter­act with select apps on your phone. But that rela­tion­ship won’t be exclu­sive for long. If more of my com­mon­ly used apps and ser­vices found their way on to, let’s say, Face­book Mes­sen­ger, and I could inter­act w/ them as freely as I do with Siri or Google Now, then Face­book leapfrogs your phone’s home­screen as your new start­ing point. Makes the case for Facebook’s M assis­tant all the more more com­pelling.


3. Speaking of Facebook, they basically own non-SMS messaging

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The What­sApp acqui­si­tion doesn’t seem so crazy now does it? Face­book is the Google of mes­sag­ing.


4. Podcasts are a growth opportunity

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And they’re attract­ing a top-shelf audi­ence, which is grow­ing but nowhere close to top­ping out.

The play­ing field is wide open to start a pod­cast, no mat­ter what your niche. As blog­ger and tech-per­son­al­i­ty-at-large Mer­lin Mann recent­ly tweet­ed:

Now, cer­tain­ly hits like Ser­i­al affect­ed pop­u­lar­i­ty, but the upward trend is much larg­er. In many ways, audi­ence growth seems to keep pace along­side our adop­tion of anoth­er time-delayed, binge-able medi­um: stream­ing TV, or more specif­i­cal­ly, Net­flix. I’m not sure if there’s a casu­al rela­tion­ship here, but con­sid­er­ing pod­cast lis­ten­ers like­ly dis­place pub­lic radio lis­ten­ers, it could give Video Killed the Radio Star a whole new lay­er of cul­tur­al sig­nif­i­cance.


5. Most streaming TV isn’t through a TV

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This might be obvi­ous to you, espe­cial­ly if you have kids, but for me, as some­one who exclu­sive­ly watch­es stream­ing TV and movies, I do near­ly every­thing through a stream­ing device hooked to a TV, and couldn’t imag­ine it any oth­er way.

I won­der if this will shift as more mil­len­ni­als grad­u­ate col­lege, move into big­ger homes, etc.


6. All the big players are solving the same problems

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And if they aren’t now, they will be soon, which like­ly means acqui­si­tions are on the hori­zon:

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Any­way, check out the full deck below. Def­i­nite­ly worth read­ing through when you get a chance.

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