Report from Seoul, Korea

Stanton Chase is now recognized as one of the Top Ten Global retained executive search firms.  To keep us there, and better able to serve our clients, we have two global partner meetings annually. We meet in teams to discuss industry trends, practice-group market dynamics, meet other search consultants in our fields. We invite expert speakers, and learn best practices from each other.

Our office team in Seoul, South Korea, put in much preparation over the last 6 months to get ready for partners from over 30 countries to visit, meet, and learn. We worked on industry and functional practice areas by day, and socialized and experienced Seoul by night. Our local office introduced us to many restaurants, theaters, and venues.

My wife and I added a day on each side of the 4-day meeting, and visited Seoul’s many, hilly, yet manicured parks. I enjoyed morning runs along the Han River, and through their beautifully maintained city. We also were fortunate enough to tour the DMZ, and the new 123-story Seoul Sky office tower, the 4th tallest building in the world. We navigated their efficient train/bus/subway system, and sample many kimchis.

Teamwork, comradery, learning, and building trust. It was a busy, productive, and enjoyable trip to Seoul, one of the most modern cities of the world.

Top Ten Technology Predictions for 2017

From G.P. Bullhound, Dealmakers in Technology.

If you are like me, you enjoy reading predictions from prognosticators.  Recently I was impressed with a presentation of such predictions by Alec Dafferner, Partner, and his team at GP Bullhound, global technology investment bankers.

G.P. Bullhound should know, as they do more investment banking deals in the technology space than any other banker in the world.  They also are research intensive, so they are constantly doing their homework on the marketplace.  Their 2016 predictions fared well, so I was keen on hearing their predictions for 2017. 

Here are the headlines from their top predictions.  (Click here to view the report)  How strongly do you agree? Are you willing to invest in these trends? Is your business benefiting from one of these emerging trends today?

Here you go:

1.  The next generation of Artificial Intelligence. Heavy investment in 2016…here to stay.  Both consumers and businesses begin to adopt cutting-edge AI for real-world applications. Disruptive AI developers raised $500m last year. More to come in 2017. AI-Powered Virtual Personal Assistants (“VPA”) will increase in sophistication (think Siri, Cortana, and Alexa).

 

2.  Cordless Content: Anywhere and Everywhere. Millennials move away from cable networks…TV industry disruption continues.  Networks will respond with new services for mobile consumers. Mobile continues to dominate headlines and investments.  Over-the-Top (OTT) services include fast broadband, large premium content, multiple device access, all at attractive pricing.  Scramble for content, delivery, and consumers.

 

3.  E-Sport Takes Center Stage. E-Sports is the fastest growing component of the entertainment industry, will hit $1B in revenue in 2017, with over 250 million fans.  More viewers for 2015 League of Legends Final than for game 7 of the 2016 NBA Final. 50% growth rate of industry.

 

4.  The Dawn of VR/AR content. VR/AR hardware has outpaced content.  Software will become available for the newest platform.  Head mounted gear taking off…sold 16.5 mm headsets in 2016. Wireless headsets next push.  Content to catch up due to heavy investments by media giants.  Augment reality boasts Pokemon Go’s 500 million downloads…peaks at 50mm users in one day.

 

5.  Driverless Cars…still require Human Direction. Heavy investment recently in this dream, creating more customized cars thanks to Google, Baidu, Apple, and Uber.  Samsung paid $8B for Harman, testament to interest by electronics firms to be part of future “connected” automobile.   More investment this year. Fully autonomous cars have a long way to go before widespread adoption.

 

6.  Fintech: Shifting Tectonic Plates. Traditional Financial Institutions will fight back this year, as “Banks 2.0” continue to steal their business. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platforms intend to create an optimal lending process.  Widespread adoption of blockchain technology is unlikely to happen in 2017

 

7.  Social Media Transformation. Though Western players dominate in technical innovation, Asian players excel at user retention and monetization.  Executive recruitment and M&A transactions will focus on the converging of these two forces in Social Media in 2017.

 

8.  SaaS Software Reigning Supreme. With $61B worth of M&A in the rear view mirror, both PE firms and Tech giants are looking to buy more SaaS companies in 2017.  EU companies may present the best economics and valuations for purchasers.

 

9.  TECH IPOs are set for take off. As Asian markets heat up, particularly in China, and U.S. Unicorns looking to IPO in 2017, combined with modest increases in IPOs in Europe, 2017 should be a strong year for TECH IPOs.   China wants to bring in more foreign capital, and increase valuations for their tech companies.

 

10.  Year of the European Decacorn. With U.S. Unicorns all the buzz, keep your eyes on the European behemoths, the E.U. Decacorns.  These private firms are more capital efficient, have more rational valuations, enjoy greater financial stability, and are most likely to see a significant increase in value in 2017.

 

Note: Alec Dafferner has made the full report available on his web site:  http://www.gpbullhound.com/news/gp-bullhound-identifies-top-10-tech-trends-2017/

More on Alec:  http://www.gpbullhound.com/people/alec-dafferner/

 

SVB Annual Wine Report Reflects Need for Investment in Good People

WineReport1Silicon Valley Bank released its annual State of the Wine Industry Report 2016 this week with a live Webcast featuring a panel of wine industry experts.  The presentation highlighted key operating trends that wineries might expect in 2016 which again highlighted the Direct-To-Consumer (DtC) segment, which has significantly grown in importance for wineries over the last 15 years.

Paul Mabray, founder of VinTank and expert in wine business development, commented that investment in people will continue to be a critical factor in a winery’s success in the current economic environment.  Rob McMillan of SVB also emphasized the importance of having good people representing your wine brand.  With other competitive advantages including complex distribution decisions and price-pinching competition, it has been underscored that hiring and retaining the right people for your winery remains one of the most important keys to success in the coming year and beyond.

Visit SVB’s website for more information or view the full report here:

State of Industry – Wine Report – 2016