Executive Predictions

Last year we asked a few people in our network to anticipate, with absolutely nothing on the line, what 2013 would bring. There is always, of course, something on the line–we dug up some of their responses in order to evaluate their performance with the benefit of hindsight. We have also roped a few more CEOs into a 2014 version of this ritual for our collective enlightenment.

Doug Cobb - Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Chrysalis

2013 Prediction (General Economy): “Difficult.”

In retrospect: “It was much easier than I thought, but I would repeat the prediction for next year.  The economy is like a meth addict, hooked on the Fed’s purchases of government bonds, and the withdrawal from that will not be pleasant.

[However,] I’m optimistic about the businesses I’m involved with.  Even in uncertain times there is plenty of opportunity for the quick and the agile.”

Ben Weinberger – CEO, DigitalSmiths

2013 Prediction (Venture Capital): “Thirsty, drenched.”

In retrospect: “Did I really use the word Thirsty and Drenched?  Regardless, yes- the VC world wants good deals, and there are a lot of options for entrepreneurs.  Value is being created.  I believe founders, employees and investors are finding each other and building momentum-this will continue in 2014, and we will see consolidation on a large scale.”

David Bartholomew – HCCA

2013 Prediction (Healthcare): “Focus, expansion.”

In retrospect: “Yes and had good growth and built back office infrastructure to support it! [2014 will bring] more opportunity for healthcare outsourcing.”

Gary Facente - Chairman of EMC Publishing Co. (Board Member, HealthTeacher)

2013 Prediction (Education/Education Publishing): “Greater clarity.”

In retrospect: “I was right that we got more clarity in the education space, namely around Common Core curriculum and the eviscerating budget cuts at the state level. This coming year suppliers in the education space will adapt to these two trends.”

As for our new recruits, we asked them to put 2013 in review before diving in with their predictions for 2014:

Jim Murrell – Principal, Continuum

On Wireless Spectrum: 

2013: Duopoly became stronger and will continue to do so unless coverage footprint parity is realized.

2014: Low-band spectrum secondary market value will rise because of 600 MHz Auction Rules uncertainty and potential additional FCC delays.

Jon Vice – Senior Advisor, HealthTeacher

On Healthcare: 

2013: Healthcare delivery systems were in a “hunker down” mode. Cutting costs and squeezing revenue while trying to figure out the right strategy to use when Obamacare was implemented.

2014: I personally believe the systems will do well. If Obamacare does not do what it was intended to do (provide coverage for all at affordable cost) I predict that future years will lead to more federal control.

Burck Smith – CEO, StraighterLine

On Postsecondary Online Education: 

2013: Higher education saw public acceptance and recognition of the potential for massive price disruption due to much lower priced alternatives.

2014: Continued discussion around the potential for price disruption and how it can be managed, if at all, by existing colleges.

Larry Mattingly –Co-Founder, American pain Solutions; Board Memeber, NextImage Medical

On Workers Comp Provider Networks

2013: A lot of equity interest and consolidation.

2014: The mergers and acquisitions by large PE firms will drive a “feeding frenzy” on mid-sized profitable WC firms. particularly competitors for One Call and Align.

Doug Schneider – CEO, Connecture

On Health Insurance Distribution: 

2013: A year of the beginnings of a disruptive industry transformation (the implementation of the Affordable Care Act). More interest in our industry, by far, than ever before. The stakes of “making it work” have never been higher.


  • Healthcare.gov website and state exchanges will stabilize and become production ready – on the front-end

  • Back-end transaction capabilities will still be choppy, making it difficult for the plans to understand the population-risk of who has enrolled

  • Private exchanges will move into rapid-growth phase and in all forms – plan-sponsored, broker-sponsored, direct-to-consumer, etc.  Differentiation in private exchanges will focus on user experience and consumer tools

  • As ACA implementation stabilizes, focus will start to shift from coverage challenges to cost containment (provider network development, bundled pricing, ACOs, etc.)