Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Second Gretzky

Last year Nestlé won SMARTKETING’s first Gretzky award for skating to where the puck is going to be. This year’s winner of the Gretzky award is Russian technology guru Yuri Milner.

Read On:
Yuri Milner is not a household name despite the fact that this year he made the Forbes Rich List, thanks to an estimated net worth of $1 billion. He has orchestrated his tech spotting from Moscow which is not exactly Silicon Valley when it comes to innovative economic ideas. Mr. Milner was an early investor in Facebook, sinking $200 million into the company for less than a two percent share back in 2009 when everyone thought he was crazy. He also predicted that both Zynga the gaming company and Groupon the daily deals site had great potential.

Recently at an economic conference conducted in Ukraine attended by the “best and brightest” in business discussing global economics and political malpractice, Yuri Milner provided a totally different, optimistic spin about the most pressing issue on Planet Earth – the technology revolution which in his view is just at the starting gate. Detailed below are the most significant changes he predicts we will witness:

The Internet revolution is the fastest, most accelerated economic change humans have experienced. Today two billion people are online; Mr. Milner predicts the number will double over the next decade.

Mr. Milner emphasizes that more information is being created than ever before. Specifically more information was created every 48 hours in 2010 as was created between the dawn of time and 2003. By 2020 the same volume of information will be generated every 60 minutes.

People are sharing this information more frequently. In 2006, 50 billion emails were sent; 300 billion by 2010. Shared content on Facebook will increase from 140 million messages in 2009 to over four billion this year. Mr. Milner points out that the largest newspaper in the United States only reaches 1 percent of the population compared to Internet media platforms being used by 25 percent of the population daily and growing.

Mr. Milner envisions the “Internet of Things” and the emergence of the global brain. “The Internet is not just about connecting people, it is also about connecting machines. Five billion devices are now connected, by 2020, 20 billion will be connected. The future connectivity/interaction between humans and machines will create an intelligence that will not belong to any single human being or computer.”

Yuri Milner has lived through and experienced major changes in the “offline” world. The collapse of his home country the Soviet Union, the “Great Recession”, the Arab Spring and now the potential for the collapse of the euro. However, based on his cyberspace track record and future predictions, he is continuing to demonstrate that he is skating to where the puck is going to be, the technology revolution. Yuri Milner, congratulations, you are SMARTKETING’s choice for its 2011 Gretzky award.


  1. That is an interesting choice. Milner has not been on many radar screens, but I have read some things about him over the years. You know those Russians...they like to take big risks. Looks like his will pay off handsomely.

  2. Interesting choice, Jimmy, and thank you for the introduction to Yuri Milner. Will pay attention to what he's doing from now on.

  3. When is the award ceremony? Will this be televised this year?

    Has anyone asked how beneficial or relevant this newly created information is?

    Great article, thought provoking and informative!

    Thanks Jimmy.

  4. You left me wanting to read more. I know of Yuri and of approaching singularity. But to have Yuri, as you put it - the winner of your Gretzky award (aka ability to predict) makes things hit home.

  5. Jim, this was a very interesting and well written post (like always). Thanks for bringing Yuri to the "masses" through your award

  6. Thank you everyone for weighing in. I personally am bullish about the technology revolution. A more optimistic picture than all the failing economic talk lately.