Discover more from Late Checkout - a Substack by Greg Isenberg
My predictions for 2023
We’ve officially landed in 2023. And I want to start 2023 by making predictions about how the internet, the rise of AI, ecommerce, social apps and platforms will look this year.
The goal? To bring you perspective you may not find anywhere else right now. Always with a lens on building community. That’s what I’m here for.
But first a little announcement. So many of you have asked to hear more from me more regularly, so I’m going to be sending this email weekly for 2023.
You’ll find profitable business ideas, frameworks that supercharge your community and get to crawl around in my brain.
You’ll also find my weekly podcast where I go deeper into these topics at the bottom of these emails. If you’re anything like me, listening/watching podcasts is what really makes my brain trigger in good ways.
Alright - it’s prediction time :)
AI will lead to a fast-food version of the internet
I’ve written about this in the past — how a culture of sameness will hold us back, and the businesses who create unique community experiences will win. There is a movement away from monolithic experiences like McDonalds that feel the same nearly everywhere you go to brands that we feel connected to and signal who we are.
In a world where artificial intelligence is creating the majority of content we consume (whether we realize it or not), the overall content quality will go down. It will be consistent, but mediocre.
The internet will look and feel very different due to the influx of AI content. Very fast-food like. Look and feel like real food, but not good for us.
The rise of extremely unique creators that AI can’t hope to contain
This fast-food version of the internet will also bring us a surge of extremely unique creators in 2023. These are the people that really understand sub-cultures deeply and speak uniquely to the in a way AI models won’t be able to.
I think there’s going to be a decrease in content synthesizers and copycats, or creators acting as the lite-version of an A-lister. These people are going to lose traction in 2023 as they will look and feel like AI.
If you’re thinking of creating content in 2023, the more far out yet deeply niche, the more you’ll get rewarded.
Ecommerce begins to converge with gaming
My friend owns Saintwoods, a fashion brand that everyone from Justin Bieber to Kaytranada rush to buy their stuff.. Most of the time, the website says it's closed and everything is sold out. You literally cannot buy from them.
They do limited drop releases where they open their store at a random time, or for certain hours of the day. To stay updated, you need to follow them on Instagram. This is a glimpse into the future of ecommerce using game-like tools to create demand.
Other ecommerce brands are using trivia, lottery, digital collectibles, mini-games, seasons or competitions to win access to their product. These are killer community builders and compounds quickly.
Rule of thumb: if it works for Fortnite, there is a good chance it can work for your ecommerce brand.
Time will be an added dimension to the internet
Adding onto the previous prediction, I believe there will be much more in the way of opening and closing hours for the internet. Certain apps, networks and brands will only be available at a certain time.
Instagram is a drug you can use 24/7, right? Some of these platforms feel like that. I think people in 2023 will look towards products and platforms that respect time and boundaries.
We’re already seeing this with Thursday, a dating app only available one day of the week.
The beauty is it builds hype and word-of-mouth.
Entertainment-first commerce will be the norm
If we think about commerce in the real world, it’s actually a very entertainment-driven business.
Most people don’t go to a bar because they love cocktails. They go to the bar because other people are there. They might meet a potential partner, or they like to sing karaoke. There’s a whole host of reasons — but the shot of Jameson isn’t the reason why you showed up.
On the internet, you look around, add to cart, check out, and leave. That’s not how the shopping experience is in real life. Even if the product itself isn’t mind-blowing, the way the in-person shopping experience makes us feel brings us enough dopamine. Otherwise, we’d buy every single thing we would ever need off Amazon.
The internet is going to catch up to the real world in 2023, and ecommerce will embrace entertainment and unique experiences like we’ve never seen.
It will feel like if TikTok and The Home Shopping network had a baby, but 100x more fun.
Major loyalty programs will adopt web3
It costs five times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing customers. In 2023 where the economy is not awesome (yet), loyalty is a massive driver of revenue, and more companies will take advantage.
I think we’ll see 1-2 major brands adopt a web3 loyalty program and see major results by Q3 2023. By Q4, I think many brands will start investigating reimagining their loyalty programs with web3 rails.
We’re already seeing it with Starbucks Odyssey which is a web3 loyalty program by Starbucks that’s in beta. You do things like play trivia challenges and mini-games, enter contest to win coffee for life, pledging to spread holiday cheer, taking a virtual tour of a Costa Rican coffee farm, and regularly visiting your local coffee drive-through in real life to earn stamps which are NFTs that give you free items in store.
Friend-to-friend social networking is back
Over the last two years we’ve seen BeReal take off as a pure friend-to-friend network with ~60M users.. Not about creators, or massive audiences, or short-form video (more on that in a second) — just interacting with people you know.
Another product like BeReal that incentivizes friend-to-friend experiences will take off in 2023 only it will be 5-10x bigger.
TikTok is eating the internet
In 2022, we saw the major platforms roll out their short-form video features to compete on their apps.
In 2023, we’ll see major and minor platforms roll out short form video.
The internet will become more video-based and feel more like TV than ever.
TikTok shows will produce billion dollar creators
In the late 2000s, the rise of YouTube and vlogging made money for a lot of people. The Jake Paul-types got super big during that era. Mr. Beast is worth close to a billion dollars.
You could go from zero to ten figures if you cashed in during that era.
Today, I think we’re going to see the same thing with TikTok shows. Unique concepts for particular communities that get them hooked to the characters, plot, setting, and conflict.
I’m deliberate in using the term shows for a reason. This is not your average person reading tweets to their camera. Think Quibi, the failed short-form video platform that raised $1.75B — but on TikTok.
(The truth is that Quibi might’ve worked, if it came out today and was filmed with iPhones by everyday people with compelling “shows”).
If attention is the new oil, TikTok shows are the cars.
Fortnite, the biggest social network you’ve never heard of
Gaming is going to become a huge social and commerce zone. We’ve seen the mainstream collaboration with Travis Scott, Ariana Grande, and the NFL all joining forces with multiplayer games like Fortnite.
In 2023, gaming will finally be treated like a major social network instead of a place for kids to knock each other’s heads off.
What’s your prediction for 2023?
Let me know how you think communities, experiences, platforms or people will evolve in 2023. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter.
On today’s episode of Where It Happens, I did a solo-episode reflecting on my 2022. I discuss my best/worst investments, share an acquisition offer that we got for our design agency/studio Late Checkout (and why I declined it) and more.
It’s only 23 minutes long, I think you’ll enjoy!