Twenty BIG Trends That Will Dominate America’s Future – Part I

Article By: Eric Platt, Matthew Boesler and Max Nisen at Business Insider
Part I Blogger Comment by David Repka

As election day nears, the conversation in offices, homes, and pulpits across the country has focused almost exclusively on one thing: The Economy. And that’s for good reason. The economic climate will dictate how the country shapes policy on a number of issues including taxes, healthcare, and trading. We have identified the biggest trends that will dominate headlines over the next decade.

1. The End Of The Big Box Retailer – Retailers have finally emerged from the doldrums of the 2008 recession, but look surprisingly different than they did just a few years earlier…..
[BLOGGER COMMENT: When was the last time you went to a physical store to buy something other than groceries? You are not alone as more folks shop from the comfort and convenience of their homes on their own schedule with clicks of their mouse. The trick for retailers and shopping center investors is going to be the creation of places that are so special that they need to be experienced in the flesh. Has there been a retailer over the last 20 years that has done a better job than Apple? It is a showroom where touching the merchandise is encouraged and is the polar opposite of the “stack it high and let it fly” mentality of  big box discount retailers. Watch for this concept to be copied in order to get people re-engaged in the buying process.]

2. America is Aging – The U.S. is getting older and a sea of baby boomers are setting their sites on retirement…..
[BLOGGER Comment: 10,000 people a day turn 65 every day over the next 18 years. This is the demographic group responsible for every major trend in American life since the 1940s (growth of suburbs, public schools, universities, real estate boom, financial services boom, etc.). What will this group need as they push into their 70s and 80s? I for one believe now is the time to invest in purpose built senior housing, Assisted Living and Memory Care Centers. We are working with a private equity fund previously profiled in the pages of this blog that will co-invest 80-90% of the equity required to build state-of-the art housing for seniors. Searching for operating partners that “get it”.]

3. The Mobile Revolution – Mobile phones have become the most ubiquitous personal-computing technology in the world…..
[BLOGGER Comment: have a smartphone? If you give yours a workout close to how intensely I use my iPhone you will see that the days of being chained to your desk are over. This means more and more business will be done from the road from smartphones, tablets and laptop computers. Massive office towers with lots of space for each employee will be replaced by “hoteling” arrangements where employees only report to the office on certain days and at certain times for very specific meetings and when they do report, they do not have a specific office location to call their own. If you own boring, vanilla office space you should be shaking in your boots. Why will people rent from you in the future? As businesses require less and less square footage there will be a rise in creating cool public and gathering spaces where people can freely collaborate. The new Facebook corporate HQ is being designed by “Starchitect” Frank Gehry without any walls or doors and lots of creative gathering places.]

4. A Weakening Infrastructure – Underinvestment in major infrastructure projects has weakened the backbone of the U.S……
[BLOGGER Comment: in addition to our highway system the US needs to take a look at our electrical grid. The Midwest of the USA has been called the “Saudi Arabia of Wind” with the ability to power the USA many times over, but there is no current infrastructure to get the electricity from where the wind blows the locations of the greatest need, the cities where people live. The day is coming soon that the abundant sunshine of the desert Southwest will power solar power plants at parity or at a cost advantage to natural gas (the current cost standard). The acceleration of this plan relies on the replacement of the antiquated power distribution grid.] 

5. The Epic Rise of Student Loan Debt – Student loan debt recently topped $1 trillion, making it the largest category of consumer debt other than mortgages in the United States…..
[BLOGGER Comment: Blasphemy of Blasphemies… according to Billionaire Investor Peter Thiel, college may not be worth the investment!  Thiel’s Foundation gives $100,000 grants on one condition: recipient must be under the age of 20 and agree to drop out of college to pursue their entrepreneurial dream.]

6. The US Energy Boom – The need to import energy is expected to decline over the next 20 years….
[BLOGGER Comment: As more natural gas can be found within the borders of the USA and the more renewable energy sources can be created, the less likely we will be to be drawn into international conflict. The peace dividend can be used at home to accelerate biofuel and battery development lessening our dependence on foreign energy dependence. Exciting scientific advances have been made over the last 24 months in non-food source biofuels indicating that we will be growing our own “oil on trees”.] 

View the entire article in Business Insider