Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

2020 Predictions Recap

Posted from Culver City, California at 8:16 pm, January 11th, 2021

The annual exercise of attempting to predict events for the coming year continued in 2020, and twelve months later it’s time to revisit how awful those prediction turned out. In an ironic twist, however, after the most unpredictable year that anyone has seen in decades, I managed to make way more correct predictions than normal; I still didn’t break fifty percent, but I’m notoriously bad at this game. Here’s the recap:

  1. Here are the election predictions for 2020:
    1. Either Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg will be the Democratic nominee… I suspect that South Carolina will probably be a turning point.

      CORRECT. This one may seem obvious in retrospect, but at the time it was made Biden hadn’t yet won a single primary, and I TOTALLY NAILED IT. Biden was the nominee, and South Carolina was what changed his fortunes.

    2. Democrats will end up gaining 3-4 seats in the Senate.

      CORRECT. After the November election when the Democrats underperformed in Maine and North Carolina this prediction was a clear loser, but with their shocking wins on January 5 in Georgia this prediction rose from the ashes like a phoenix; who would have expected Georgia to be more blue than Maine?

    3. Democrats will maintain control of the House but lose a few seats overall.

      HALF CORRECT. They lost more than a few seats – current counts have them on track to lose thirteen – so I’m only giving half credit.

    4. Trump will lose in the general election.

      CORRECT. Trump lost, but the election was much closer than expected based on the polls. I know a huge chunk of the country loves him, but it scares me that someone so willing to promote lies and viciously attack anyone who disagrees with him remains the face of the Republican party.

  2. Virgin Galactic will launch its first paying space tourists, and Richard Branson will finally take a ride on his new space plane.

    WRONG. When the company was founded they hoped to have their maiden flight by 2009. Space is hard, but even knowing the difficulty of taking something like a space plane from “it works” to “it’s safe for tourists”, I’m still surprised they are taking so long to achieve their goals.

  3. Coming off of a seventh-place finish in the 2019 World Championships, the US men’s basketball team will go undefeated in the Olympics, winning each game by no less than ten points.


  4. Tesla will announce major updates to its Model S and Model X vehicles.

    NOT EVEN CLOSE TO CORRECT. The Model S debuted in 2012, and while it has seen minor updates since its launch, Tesla hasn’t introduced any technology to its flagship vehicle that has made people want to rush out and buy it; instead sales have been steadily cannibalized by the less expensive models. I assume that 2021 has to be the year Tesla rolls out crazy new technology for its top-end models, but attempting to predict what Elon Musk will do next is a fool’s errand.

  5. Lebron James will win his fifth NBA MVP award and his fourth NBA championship.

    HALF CORRECT. I think he deserved MVP, but I’ll take half credit for getting the NBA championship prediction right.

  6. Boeing’s 737 MAX plane, grounded since March 2019, will not fly again in the US until the July-September timeframe.

    WRONG. Flights didn’t resume until December 2020. This engineering snafu cost several hundred lives and lost Boeing between $20-60 billion. Engineering is hard, but from most accounts this disaster was a preventable one that hopefully won’t ever occur again.

  7. The deployment of faster 5G wireless will be slow and problematic through 2020… Verizon will not have made usable 5G available at my house by the end of the year.

    HALF CORRECT. This prediction is a tough one to judge – Verizon has rolled out what it calls “Nationwide 5G” across much of the country, but if you read the fine print it’s mostly a marketing gimmick that means you get 4G speeds while a 5G icon is displayed on your phone. The much faster “ultra wideband” 5G is still only available in a tiny handful of locations, and not in my neighborhood. I’m claiming half credit.

  8. Wonder Woman 1984 will be the top-grossing comic book movie of the year… I’ll predict something in the $275-325 million range.

    SO WRONG. Remember back in the olden days of 2019 when people went to movie theaters?

  9. At least two of the following three things will happen: Drew Brees will return for one more year with the Saints but retire when the season ends, Tom Brady will return for one more year with the Patriots but retire when the season ends, or Andrew Luck will announce that he is ending his retirement and returning to the Colts.

    UNBELIEVABLY WRONG. I knew this one was a longshot when I wrote it, but wow, spectacularly wrong. Has anyone seen Andrew Luck in the past two years? He’s just… gone. And Brady to Tampa Bay… I assume no one saw that coming a year ago.

  10. Mobile phones with folding screens will be the next big idea in tech that turns out to not have a market.

    HALF CORRECT. This prediction is kind of hard to judge since the mobile phone companies are still pushing folding phones, but based on estimated sales figures of just 500,000 Galaxy Fold phones being sold worldwide, it sure doesn’t seem like consumers are rushing out to buy them. I’m going to take a half credit here for a prediction that looks right today, but could still prove wrong a few years from now.

  11. SpaceX will launch astronauts to the space station by the end of summer, but Boeing will not launch astronauts in 2020.

    CORRECT. The Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission carried astronauts Doug Hurley and Robert Behnken to the space station on May 30. Meanwhile Boeing has pushed their second, uncrewed test flight to no sooner than March 2021. Also, spaceships are awesome.

  12. Apple will either purchase an existing studio, partner with another streaming service, or in some other way significantly beef up the content library for its Apple TV service.

    WRONG. Completely and totally got this one wrong, but after the box office carnage of 2020, with studios in debt and theaters empty, I could suggest a great (and economical) way for Apple to vastly increase the amount of shows they offer in 2021.

The final tally for 2020: 6 out of 15 (40%). Shockingly, that ties with 2012 as the third-best showing ever, behind only 2010 (44%) and 2011 (50%). Granted, there were four half-points awarded this year, but after several years of getting most predictions completely wrong, I’ll take it.

Check back in a week or two as I return to making guesses about the coming year that we can all laugh about later.

2 responses to “2020 Predictions Recap”

  1. Hey Ryan

    Longtime reader, first time commentor. Nice job this year, it did seem like you were on track a little more this year. I think the Olympics bball prediction should just get rolled over since you maybe could not have predicted a global pandemic. Hard to remember what we know at this point in 2020.

    1. It’s tradition that predictions are scored as either correct or incorrect without excuse, so nothing gets rolled over. If I’d had enough foresight twelve months ago to predict that COVID would cause the Olympics being postponed, however, that might have been a prediction worthy of some extra credit 🙂

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