Predicting the future can be a fool’s errand.
Need proof? Just look at our previous post showing a timeline of failed tech predictions by some of the biggest names in business, academia, and technology over the last two centuries.
Experts not only get it wrong – they get it embarrassingly wrong.
The Earth 100 Years in the Future
So why predict the future? Because it’s fun and it helps us critically think about how to take advantage of future investment and business opportunities.
In the case of today’s infographic from Futurism, the predictions are courtesy of a team of “futurists, architects, technological forecasters, and sociological soothsayers” that were hired by Samsung to look at what life may be like in the year 2116.
We’re happy that we’re not on the hook for any of these.
The full publication containing all predictions can be found here.
The types of predictions fall into three main categories:
The report predicts that homes of the future will be be 3D-printed by swarms of drones, and that cities will take completely different shapes than what we are used to. Cities in the future will use stronger materials such as carbon nanotubes that will allow us to build skyscrapers that are unlike anything we’ve seen. On land they will be taller and stronger, but we will also be able to build cities underwater and underground, or in arcologies (architectural ecologies) that will dwarf today’s tallest structures.
Science and Research
The fusion of humans and machines will blur the lines of what is human and what is not.
(As a side note: Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that we have no option but to do this. He says that by 2045 “the pace of change will be so astonishingly quick that we won’t be able to keep up, unless we enhance our own intelligence by merging with the intelligent machines we are creating”.)
Medicine and Aging
In 100 years, much of healthcare will take place in our own homes. Walk-in medical capsules or pods capable of multispectral scanning will constantly assess our bodies for disease or damage.
Leisure and Travel
There will be a rise of a “nomadic and rootless” culture as private sub-orbital spaceflight blurs the lines between nations. 3D-printed homes may be folded up and moved to new locations.
Humans will become an multiplanetary species, using new propulsion technology to explore the solar system with manned flight.
A Visual History of the Largest Companies by Market Cap (1999-Today)
See how the world’s largest companies have changed over time, and how this helps tell a broader story about what the market is thinking.
A Visual History of the Largest Companies by Market Cap
The macro narrative that underlies the market is constantly under revision.
While this is partially a function of shifts in investor sentiment, it’s also driven by game-changing events as well as much more structural market forces.
For example, how does the macro narrative change after a commodity price crash? What about when the unprecedented scale of technology is truly understood by the market?
An Evolving Narrative
In this week’s chart, we look at how the big picture narrative has changed over time by using a very simple approach.
We have visualized the market capitalizations of the 10 largest public companies in the world over five-year intervals from 1999 until today, and it gives us a series of snapshots of what the market was “thinking” during these specific periods.
Not only is it evident as certain industries rise to prominence, but there are also some interesting individual stories to follow. We can see iconic companies – such as Apple – ascend into the public consciousness, while others fall off the radar completely.
|Year||Description||Top Company||Who Dominates Top 10?|
|1999||Dotcom Bubble||Microsoft ($583B)||Five tech companies in the mix|
|2004||Post-Bubble||GE ($319B)||Diverse mix of companies by industry|
|2009||Financial Crisis||PetroChina ($367B)||Six non-U.S. companies make list|
|2014||$100 Oil||Apple ($560B)||Last year for oil companies, tech starts ascending|
|2019||Big Tech Era||Microsoft ($1,050B)||Seven companies are tech|
The composition of the top 10 changes in each of the snapshots above, and this simple approach helps capture the market narrative for each timeframe.
During the Dotcom Bubble, you can see that half of the list was dominated by tech companies. This was short-lived, and the years 2004, 2009, and 2014 have much more diverse lists.
You can also see the impact of the financial crisis on U.S. company valuations. In 2009, there is an equal distribution of Chinese and American companies. Royal Dutch Shell (UK/Netherlands) and Petrobras (Brazil) help round out the top 10.
Finally, over the last five years, you can see the impact of lower oil prices and the growing scale of tech. Back in 2014, Exxon Mobil was the second largest company in the world by a solid margin, but today it’s been displaced by companies like Facebook, Amazon, Tencent, and Alibaba.
The Big Tech Era
Here is the current top 10 list of the world’s largest companies by market cap:
|#1||🇺🇸 Microsoft||Tech||$1,050 billion|
|#2||🇺🇸 Amazon||Tech||$943 billion|
|#3||🇺🇸 Apple||Tech||$920 billion|
|#4||🇺🇸 Alphabet||Tech||$778 billion|
|#6||🇺🇸 Berkshire Hathaway||Diversified||$507 billion|
|#7||🇨🇳 Alibaba||Tech||$435 billion|
|#8||🇨🇳 Tencent||Tech||$431 billion|
|#9||🇺🇸 Visa||Financial||$379 billion|
|#10||🇺🇸 Johnson & Johnson||Consumer Goods||$376 billion|
In total, the five biggest tech giants brought in a combined $801.5 billion in revenue last year, and $139 billion in net income.
The Staying Power of Microsoft
With a valuation today of just over $1 trillion, Microsoft is again the world’s largest company by market capitalization.
In this way, the above lists come full circle, since Microsoft was also the biggest company in 1999.
While the software giant experienced short periods where it did drop out of favor, Microsoft was the only company to make the list in our five snapshots above.
The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019
Technology brands account for 20 of the world’s 100 most valuable brands in 2019, combining for a whopping 43% of total brand value.
The World’s 100 Most Valuable Brands in 2019
Brand equity can be a challenging thing to build.
Even with access to deep pockets and an innovative product, it can take decades of grit to scrape your way into the mainstream consciousness of consumers.
On the path to becoming established as a globally significant brand, companies must fight through fierce competition, publicity scandals, changing regulations, and rapidly-evolving consumer tastes – all to take a bite from the same piece of pie.
Cream of the Crop
Today’s visualization comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it showcases the 100 most valuable brands in the world, according to Forbes.
Here are the powerful brands that sit at the very top of the list:
|Rank||Brand||Brand Value ($B)||1-Yr Value Change||Industry|
It should be noted that the list is ordered by brand value, a measure that tries to calculate each brand’s ultimate contribution in financial terms to the parent company. You can see that full methodology here.
Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that brands with only a token representation in the United States have been excluded from the rankings. This means companies like Alibaba or Vodafone are not represented in this particular visualization.
Tech Rules Again in 2019
For another straight year, technology dominates the list of the 100 most valuable brands in 2019 – this time, with six of the top seven entries.
Most of these brands saw double-digit growth in value from the previous year, including Apple (12%), Google (27%), Amazon (37%), Microsoft (20%), and Samsung (11%). The one notable exception here is Facebook, which experienced a 6% drop in value attributed to various struggles around the company’s reputation.
Here’s a look at how industries break down more generally on the list:
|Industry||# of Brands||Brand Value ($B)|
As you can see, technology brands make up 20% of the list in terms of the number of entries – and a whopping 43% of the list’s cumulative valuation.
In total, technologies brands combined for $957.6 billion in value. Even when including Facebook’s recent drop, this is an impressive 9.7% increase on last year’s numbers.
Will the double-digit increases for the world’s largest tech giants continue into 2020, or are brands such as Amazon and Google going to start seeing the same type of pushback that Facebook has grappled with among consumers and regulators?
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