1999/2000 Bill Gates predictions & impact on inbound marketing

Here’s a great Throwback Thursday for you. In honor of Bill Gates’s 60th birthday, Entertainment Weekly re-released the interview they did with Gates that appeared in their January 2000 issue. The interview took place after his presentation at the Streaming Media West ‘99 conference where he discussed technologies Microsoft had on the horizon.

In the interview, Gates was asked how he thought certain technologies would be different in the future. The common thread of his predictions was that personalization would be the future of technology. Many of the predictions that Gates made have become reality, shaping today’s inbound marketing landscape.

Here are 3 predictions from 1999 that have come to pass:

Prediction 1 | Video editing software will be accessible to the average PC user

Gates predicted that by the year 2005, video editing software would be a standard feature on all PC’s; making video a tool that could widely be used by anyone, not just people who have millions of dollars to spend on software.

Because this came true, videos have transformed into a cost-effective asset to inbound marketing strategies.

Prediction 2 | The “TV” experience will become portable & personalized

Gates said that as technology changed, so would the way we watched TV. He hypothesized that PC’s would be able to record TV shows, making it possible to watch whenever and wherever you want.

In this same vein, he talked about set-top boxes that would connect to the Internet and allow the user to purchase and stream movies. He talked about a software, or a personalized TV guide, that would keep track of the things you watched and suggest other things that may interest you.

And while you may be thinking of Netflix or any number of streaming sources, think about how this experience has transcended the PC into mobile devices. Personalized media, based on what you’ve viewed, is served up each time you get on your phone and check Facebook, browse YouTube, or search Google. As an inbound marketer, this personalization creates opportunities to provide value to users seeking what you have to offer.

Prediction 3 | Internet content will be personalized

Gates predicted that the ability to personalize web content would change the way we interact with the Internet. He predicted that by tracking online activity and purchases, advertisers could create ads specifically tailored to the user, which is now a key element of online marketing.

He also predicted that personalization would change the world of eCommerce, with people starting to make wish lists that they share with family and friends.

The ability to personalize online content in this way is the foundation of inbound marketing.

In conclusion…

Ok, ok. It’s not really all that surprising Bill Gates was able to accurately predict the future of technology. Few people in the world were in as good of a position in 1999 to do so, but we’re appreciative of his vision and the landscape he helped shape for inbound marketing.

No prediction needed | Inbound marketing today

Today’s inbound marketing landscape is all documented in HubSpot’s 7th Annual State of Inbound report. You can download it here.