On 21 January 2019 we penned our first Future Trends Blog piece entitled “Day one; winds of change”, which referenced both the famous mantra of Jeff Bezos and the huge growth potential within the wind industry. Just under two years’ later, we are now at our 100th Blog post, with our readers well into the hundreds and our content available not just via email, but also present on Heptagon Capital’s website and via LinkedIn and Twitter.
Coincidentally, this Blog post also comes at the end of what can only be described as a turbulent and unpredictable this year. Certainly no one 12 months ago could have foreseen how 2020 would pan out. In our work, however, we do try and adopt a Janus-like perspective, which is particularly pertinent at turning points. We referenced Janus in our last Blog of 2019 and for those unfamiliar, he is the Roman God of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks both to the future and to the past. It seems only appropriate to reflect on where we’ve come from and also where we may be headed.
Looking back, it would be impossible not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic when thinking about 2020. However, the topic and its related impacts featured explicitly in only 6 of the 50 Blog posts we authored during the year. Data was our most addressed topic (perhaps unsurprisingly, since it underpins almost all else) followed closely by alternative energy (reflecting its growing importance) and food innovation (perhaps since we all think about what we eat daily). While the world clearly started locking down in March, we were lucky enough to travel to the US just prior to this and our visit to Mastercard’s New York Research Hub was one of our most commented-on pieces, beaten only just by our trial of Chegg’s online learning tools, demonstrating that readers associate with more personal stories. Probably your author’s favourite Blog piece related to his September 2019 trip to Silicon Valley entitled “hype springs eternal.”
Looking forward, the virus remains with us even if vaccinations are commencing. Its legacy will be enduring, not just for the biotech industry, as we referenced in a recent Blog post, but for the world as a whole. We have truly crossed the digital Rubicon (a term we coined in May 2020), yet there is still a long way to go. Whether it be online retail, digital payment or workloads in the cloud, we are probably at no more than 25% penetration in any of these areas. Another key trend which we expect only to grow in importance (and, arguably, a positive pandemic legacy) is that we have become more conscious of our carbon footprints. Travel, whether for work or pleasure, may never go back to previous levels. The case for renewables will only likely continue to grow. Finally, we should remain mindful that there are still many areas where the brightest minds will need to continue to apply themselves. Consider that over 2bn people still do not have access to safe drinking water, while more than 250m continue to face food insecurity (per the United Nations). Today remains truly ‘day one.’
Thank you all for your interest and support over the year. The Blog will return in early January.
The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.
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