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Business Planning, Innovation, and Execution here on a monthly basis.


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First of all, I want to wish anyone reading this column a Very Happy New Year and Success in 2020!

​I have been thinking about some of the successful (and failed) predictions of 2019.  It seems that everyone has a list of these at the beginning of each year and, yet, no one usually revisits them at year's end.

I did some research and found the following predictions of respected, leading business publications in January of 2019 for what they expected to happen this past year:

1.  BREXIT GETS MESSIER (Fortune) - This was a very good prediction, although the election of Brian Johnson changed the equation in the past few weeks and cleared up the "mess.".

2.  TRADE WAR GETS WORSE, THEN GETS BETTER (Fortune) - This prediction was also spot-on.  As we have seen in the past few weeks, China and the U.S. have gone back to the negotiating table, easing the concern of tech companies like Apple and Midwest farmers, who expected more tariffs as of January 1st, 2020.

3.  ROBERT MUELLER WOULD FIND NO EVIDENCE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP COMMITTING A CRIME (Bloomberg) - To the dismay of Democrats and many others. this turned out to be true, as evidenced by the Mueller Report and the fact that President Trump is still running the country.

4.  THE $69 BILLION ACQUISITION OF AETNA BY CVS HEALTH WOULD BE FINALIZED (Bloomberg) - This one is also correct.  Although this acquisition began in 2017, there were legal challenges from the Department of Justice and some divestments needed to be done by the combined companies.  These were finalized by the end of 2018 and the acquisition was completed in 2019.

5.  E-MAIL WILL MOVE PAST ITS PEAK AND DECLINE (Washington Post) - This prediction was wrong, and we will have to wait a few years to see if it happens, since e-mail is still the predominant communication tool in most companies.

6.  TESLA SURVIVES BUT GETS REAL COMPETITION (Washington Post) - Like the previous one, this one will also have to wait, since Tesla still dominates the EV market.  However, this prediction should start becoming reality in 2020, as Volvo, Jaguar, Nissan, VW, and others accelerate their efforts in this area.  Many will launch new EVs in 2020.

The following are MY predictions for 2020.  I will revisit these twelve months from now to see how many of these are proven true (and how many are not):

1.  THE U.S.  ECONOMY WILL CONTINUE GROWING THROUGH SEPTEMBER AND THEN WILL PAUSE IN THE FALL BEFORE RESUMING - The reason I believe this is that all economic indicators are near their records and the unemployment rate is at a historic all-time low for everyone, including all economic/ethnic groups.  Additionally, many of the problems occurring over the past few months, including tariff wars, are being solved as I write this column.  The only reason for the pause will be the uncertainty of the 2020 elections.

2.  AMAZON, FACEBOOK, AND OTHER INTERNET/WEB COMPANIES WILL FACE INCREASED OVERSIGHT BY CONGRESS AND GOVERNMENTS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD - All of these companies have been accused of abusing the privacy of their users.  Unfortunately, their business model is predicated on being able to scale up by monetizing customer data.  However, global governments, especially in the European Union, are becoming increasingly concerned, and will pass legislation and laws that will limit these companies' abilities to continue this pattern.

3.  PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL BE RE-ELECTED UNLESS DEMOCRATS CAN BRING OTHER CRIMINAL CHARGES BESIDES THE ONES THAT THEY HAVE BROUGHT FORTH TO IMPEACH HIM (AND PROVE THEM) - The reason I believe this is because the Republican-dominated Senate will not convict him for the current charges.  Although his management and presidential style might not be to everyone's liking, he has led the largest economic growth in the past 60 years.  Additionally, as I mentioned to a few colleagues before the last election, people underestimate how many "closet Trumpers" exist.  These are people who publicly disavow him, but who realize that the economy and country have improved tremendously in the last three years - and who will pull the lever for him in the privacy of the voting booth.

4.  ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL CONTINUE GROWING (AND DOMINATING THE CONVERSATION) - When I see the changes it has created in every business area, particularly in market research and decision-making, I cannot help but believe that AI will continue to grow rapidly and eventually will be utilized by every company - regardless of size.

5.  THE NISSAN AND RENAULT PARTNERSHIP WILL DISSOLVE OR AT LEAST DIMINISH AND IMPACT THE QUALITY OF THE VEHICLES BEING MANUFACTURED - When Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the partnership, was arrested in Japan on charges of corporate misconduct, there were rumors that the real reason for his arrest was the fact that he was trying to force a merger of both companies.  Now that he has escaped Japan and fled to Lebanon, the chances of him being reinstated are nil.  Unfortunately, he was the only one who was able to bring order to the chaos in this partnership through his authoritative style.  Without him, there are already fissures in the partnership with each party accusing the other of trying to force a takeover.  I have a Nissan car, but at this point, will never buy another one (or a Renault) since I believe their quality and innovation will decrease over the next few years.

6.  BOEING WILL DECLARE BANKRUPTCY - A few years ago, I consulted extensively with Boeing at their Leadership Center in Missouri.  One of the axioms the executives repeated every day is that the "company always bets the farm on the next plane."  This was a succinct way of explaining that each generation of airplanes the company developed and manufactured was crucial to the company's survival, since it takes ten to fifteen years to develop the next generation.  The 737 Max, its flagship plane, has now been grounded around the world due to safety concerns and, without it, Boeing is vulnerable to the competitive offerings from Airbus.  It will take a few years for the next product to come out of the factory assembly line.  Additionally, the lawsuits surrounding the two crashes means Boeing will have to pay billions of dollars in the near future to settle these.  It is impossible to believe that Boeing will be able to survive these events and remain financially viable.

Those are my six predictions for 2020.  Please come back here in one year when I revisit them and to find out if I am correct or, if like most pundits, I miss at least 50% of the time.


If you would like help with using scenario and business planning in your company,  please do not hesitate to contact me at any time at mariocastaneda@bluesailconsulting.com


Please do not hesitate to call me at 1 (617) 391-0347 or e-mail me at mariocastaneda@bluesailconsulting.com to talk about this or any other subject.  I always like to hear from clients and readers.  


Also, please feel free to read my interview with BostonVoyager magazine.  To read it, click here.


Finally, please do not hesitate to contact us if you are facing strategic or business execution issues ranging from launching a product to improving your business effectiveness  We can help you to do this.


I look forward to seeing you here again in February.

In the meantime, I wish you a Very Happy and Successful 2020!



Mario's Corner - January 2020.

Reflecting on the Predictions of 2019 - 

and What I expect in 2020.