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Along with 500,000 other people (and counting) I took a few minutes to view Mary Meeker’s most recent Internet Trends presentation.  She does a fantastic job of outlining technology trends, but also tying them in with broader trends in society.  In this case, she notes some of the challenges we face with workforce skills, healthcare costs, immigration, changing demographics and international competition (most notably from China).

Here are some of the things that jumped out at me:

  1. China is 2x US for total internet users and growing rapidly
  2. Ad spending is out of sync with where people spend time.  Meeker sees this as likely to shift dollars to mobile and web, but I see it as indication of unhappiness with current ad options and performance.
  3. People prefer rich communication – photos, sound, and videos; ephemeral interaction (Snapchat) is surprisingly popular
  4. Mobile usage is at 15% and continuing to climb rapidly
  5. Smartphone users check their phones 150x per day!
  6. Maybe QR codes will actually catch on.  Use is significant in China
  7. 60% of top public tech companies founded by 1st or 2nd generation Americans.  Immigrants have dramatically changed US economy.
  8. Online education is at break-out point.  77% of academic leaders perceive online courses as the same or superior to face-to-face.
  9. US spends 18% of GDP on healthcare.  Up from 5% in 1960.
  10. 59% of tax dollars go to entitlements (defense is only 19%)