Technology

6 Predictions: Tech in 2018

Inspired by Fred Wilson’s annual What is Going to Happen post, I wanted to share my predictions for tech in 2018.

TL;DR: 2018 feels like it’ll be a slower year in terms of progress as society works through the tech backlash, Weinstein and tax reform. The fact that there is skepticism about a crash leads me to believe the economy will continue to expand.

#1. Crypto.

Crypto prices will be volatile, but will generally keep moving up as we march towards a global payment network and blockchain rails for smart contracts. The SEC will provide more guidance on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and we’ll see some solid blockchain use cases raise money through ICOs.

#2. Streaming services.

With Fox, Marvel, Star Wars and ESPN, Disney will come to market with strong streaming services. They will undercut Netflix on price and steal marketshare.

Likely won’t happen in 2018, but managing all these streaming services will become unwieldily and consumers won’t want to pay $10/month for each of their 5 streaming services. So the natural solution is to bundle them together. I think Amazon is best poised to do this because they have distribution and can monetize through Amazon Prime subscriptions.

#3. ISP alternatives.

With net neutrality changes, investment will flow into alternatives for Internet service providers (ISPs). We won’t see mass market adoption of an alternative, but there will be several good options that get traction with early adopters.

#4. VR.

After a quiet 2017, VR will explode in the fall as the gaming platforms figure out how to incorporate it into the most popular games.

#5. Quiet improvements for emerging tech.

Autonomous vehicles, chat bots and security tech will quietly get better without much attention from the media.

#6. Health care.

Now for the moonshot: an early-stage startup in the genomics/life sciences space will capture the media’s attention. The media has recovered from the Theranos implosion and is looking for the next big thing in health care.

More to come!

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Technology

What Happened: Millennial Usage of Tech in 2017

A year ago I posted my 7 predictions for millennial usage of tech in 2017. Now it’s time to see how I did.

TL;DR: I was completely wrong about 3, sort of right about 2 and was really, really, really right about 2 (Bitcoin and security hacks). So I’d give myself a .300 batting average for the year.

Here’s the breakdown of my predictions:

#1. AI

Amazon Prime + echo/dot is best poised to take this market and I think millennials obsessed with the latest gadgets will be buying these devices in 2017.

  • Recent reports suggest Amazon owns ~70% of the smart speaker market

I also believe 2017 is the year AI assistants go mainstream. This time next year, I fully expect an AI assistant will automate many of the menial tasks in my life (ex. scheduling haircut appointments, basic research, etc).

  • I (and many of my millennial friends) haven’t used AI assistants in 2017

Rating: SORT OF RIGHT

  • Gartner puts machine learning at the peak of inflated expecations and AI early in the innovation phase
  • This feels about right so clearly AI is still very early

#2. AR/VR.

I think AR/VR will be a major category in 2017. Pokemon Go demonstrated just how big the market is and I think we’ll see more apps using the same playbook.

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Rating: WRONG

  • Gartner puts AR/VR in the trough of disillusionment/slope of enlightenment so we actually saw less attention paid to AR/VR in 2017 than in 2015 and 2016
  • The Google Trends chart above confirms this by suggesting that AR/VR peaked at the end of 2016
  • Side note regarding the Pokemon Go playbook: HQ Trivia (although not AR/VR tech) is using this playbook to get 1 million daily active users 

#3. Devices.

I think many millennials will move away from Apple and experiment with devices from Google or Microsoft in 2017.

Rating: WRONG

  • This was just flat out wrong
  • However, reports do suggest that iPhone X sales have been poor
  • What we’re seeing is consumers sticking with their current devices

#4. Security.

I think hacking of personal devices/web services will become more common in 2017 and millennials will start paying attention to steps they can take to be more secure.

Rating: RIGHT

  • Security turned out to be a MAJOR topic of 2017 with Equifax, Uber, Yahoo and even Fred Wilson (my favorite VC blogger) getting hacked

#5. Social media.

The majority of social media usage will move away from Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and into SnapChat and the mobile messaging services. This is driven by fatigue from the fake news/click bait epidemic.

Rating: SORT OF RIGHT

  • Facebook and Instagram usage were very strong in 2017
  • SnapChat has stumbled due to Facebook copying features
  • WeChat (China mobile messaging app) is nearing 1 billion users
  • The big 2017 topic here (and I’ll give myself partial credit) is the tech backlash with Facebook/Twitter in the cross hairs for their involvement in the 2016 election

#6. Chat bots.

Millennials expect information instantaneously via the Internet. Many traditional offline services (legal, financial advisors, real estate, home improvement, etc) will launch chat bots as a way to engage millennials who are hungry for information about a particular vertical/topic.

Rating: WRONG

  • As I said in the first prediction, AI technology is just too early
  • Chat bot tech is too primitive and still requires a lot of manual human support to make it usable

#7. Bitcoin/blockchain.

This is more of a moon shot in 2017 that bitcoin/blockchain awareness and usage goes mainstream with millennials.

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Rating: RIGHT

  • I underestimated just how big crypto would be in 2017
  • Bitcoin price grew from $1,000 to $14,000
  • $3.7 billion was raised in initial coin offerings

What I missed:

Check out my predictions post for what I think will happen in 2018.

Technology

7 Predictions: Millennial Usage of Tech in 2017

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Inspired by Fred Wilson’s annual What is Going to Happen post, I wanted to share my predictions for millennial usage of tech in 2017.

#1. AI. As Benedict Evans pointed out in his Mobile is Eating the World post, AI represents the next computing platform.

Amazon Prime + echo/dot is best poised to take this market and I think millennials obsessed with the latest gadgets will be buying these devices in 2017.

I also believe 2017 is the year AI assistants go mainstream. This time next year, I fully expect an AI assistant will automate many of the menial tasks in my life (ex. scheduling haircut appointments, basic research, etc).

#2. AR/VR. In Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends report, she talked about how explosive millennial spending power will be over the next 10-20 years.

We have good jobs, no major expenses like houses or kids and have a lot of free time. Therefore we are able to direct our disposable income and attention to entertainment and travel.

Which is why I think AR/VR will be a major category in 2017. Pokemon Go demonstrated just how big the market is and I think we’ll see more apps using the same playbook.

If I were running Airbnb, who already has a strong brand with millennials, I’d be investing heavily in AR/VR. Beyond using VR as a better way to evaluate and experience whether you should pull the trigger and book two nights at that London flat, Airbnb has an opportunity to be THE global travel company. Imagine if you can’t afford to go on a vacation, but can be transported via an Airbnb VR headset to your dream location. Millennials would gobble this type of offering up.

#3. Devices. I think many millennials will move away from Apple and experiment with devices from Google or Microsoft in 2017.

#4. Security. My email was hacked in 2015 and since then I’ve been using two-factor and a password manager. I think hacking of personal devices/web services will become more common in 2017 and millennials will start paying attention to steps they can take to be more secure.

#5. Social media. The majority of social media usage will move away from Facebook/Instagram/Twitter and into SnapChat and the mobile messaging services. This is driven by fatigue from the fake news/click bait epidemic.

#6. Chat bots. Millennials expect information instantaneously via the Internet. Many traditional offline services (legal, financial advisors, real estate, home improvement, etc) will launch  chat bots as a way to engage millennials who are hungry for information about a particular vertical/topic. I believe this is a mega-trend over the next 5-10 years and will be looking for ways to get involved.

#7. Bitcoin/blockchain. This is more of a moon shot in 2017 that bitcoin/blockchain awareness and usage goes mainstream with millennials.

There are many use cases and benefits of Bitcoin/blockchain for millennials, but I believe the technology is not being marketed properly. I’ll be looking for ways to get involved in this topic as well.

More to come!

Technology

7 Observations: Millennial Usage of Tech in 2016

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To follow up my post from last year, I wanted to reflect on millennial usage of tech in 2016.

#1. The macro theme in 2016 wasn’t the emergence of new apps or technologies, but more time directed to the most popular apps: SnapChat, Facebook/Instagram, Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Netflix, HBO Go, Venmo and the messaging services.

#2. I’d rank SnapChat as the most popular app for millennials. Very excited for the Snap IPO in 2017.

#3. Binge watching. So much binge watching. If you aren’t staying up to date with Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Westworld, etc good luck having a conversation with your friends. Netflix and HBO Go are providing the best content.

#4. AI entered our lives. I got an echo as a wedding gift and use it daily. More friends got echo/dots as presents over the holidays.

#5. Venmo is the preferred digital payments service. Its so pervasive, it’s become an interesting social network to watch. Public transactions on Venmo are more insightful than Facebook or Instagram.

#6. This couldn’t be a 2016 reflection post without talking about the election. Regardless of your political views, I think the 2016 election was a wake up call for most millennials. I know many friends took some time off from Facebook following the election.

#7. The flash in the pan that was Pokemon Go demonstrated (a) how big mobile is and (b) how efficiently you can tap into this market if you get the product right.

Check out my predictions post for what I think will happen in 2017.

 

My Life

Top Ten Experiences of 2016

2016 brought many life-changing moments, making it one of the best years of my life. So check your bandwidth because this post is going to take some time to load. Without further ado, here are the top 10 highlights:

10. Traditions Continued and New Ones Forged

Broatmeal

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Weekly Broatmeal (bros eating oatmeal) continued albeit with poor attendance from me due to travel. Broatmeal did have a huge impact on me in 2016 as it introduced me to the world of coffee. Let’s just say I’m hooked and there’s no turning back. Also, shoutout to SIMPLS for opening a second store!

Hunting

Made the annual pilgrimage to Wadena for hunting. I personally came up empty, but our stand did very well with a nice eight pointer shot by Derek.

Torchlight 5K 

The 2016 Torchlight 5K saw excruciating race conditions of 93 degrees/high humidity and a dramatic ending where Andrew Ives and I finished with the same time, which sets the stage for a 2017 showdown. No pictures will be provided due to description of conditions above.

Unfortunately, because the 2016 summer was overflowing with activities, we didn’t renew the buoy on Lake Harriet.

New Traditions:

Fly fishing

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I developed my fly fishing skills with Nick Kurtz this summer. Let’s just say I caught more trees and rocks than fish so hopefully more progress in 2017.

Skeet shooting

My first time skeet shooting came more naturally than fly fishing evidenced by earning the highest marks out of a foursome of buddies.

TC 10K

In October, I ran the TC 10K and achieved my goal of finishing under an hour. Planning to turn up the dial in 2017 and run the TC 10 miler.

9. Weddings

Karla and I went to five weddings in 2016 where we whip nae nae’d and poured some sugar all over the dance floor. Highlights included being part of the Passer’s #WeddingMania (pic below).

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8. Zipnosis 2016 Best Places to Work and Sponsor of American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Conference

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Zipnosis had a coming out party (we literally sponsored a party) in May at the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) conference in Minneapolis. Zipnosis was also named as a 2016 Best Places to Work by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

7. Ben’s Bachelor Party

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Action packed bachelor party in Kansas City. TopGolf was definitely the highlight.

6. Mexico

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Karla and I spent a week in Cancun, Mexico with a fantastic group of friends. We also met THE Canadian Drinking team on our catamaran excursion, who were almost decimated by a sketchy “parasailing” experience.

5. The Ryder Cup

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Cheered on Team USA at Hazeltine on Wednesday for a practice round with my dad and the Friday matches with friend Riley.

USA! USA! USA!

4. My Bachelor Party

The Canadian Drinking Team (Mexico trip served as the muse for the bachelor party theme) descended on Madison, WI in April. We had perfect weather for golf, a single family home in a quiet residential neighborhood to ourselves (most of the time) and belted the Canadian national anthem at all the local establishments. One of the discoveries of the trip was Riley has no clue how to hold a puppy:

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3. Honeymoon: Italy

Karla and I spent two weeks in Europe (Italy and Croatia) for our honeymoon.

Rome

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Florence

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Cinque Terre

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2. Honeymoon: Croatia

Croatia was by far our favorite part of the trip.

Split

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Hvar

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Plitvice Lakes

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Dubrovnik

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1. Wedding Weekend

And the most exciting moment of 2016 [drum roll] was Karla and I got married! We tied the knot in Two Harbors, MN on Lake Superior over Memorial Day weekend. Here were the highlights:

Golf

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Went golfing with my dad and groomsman (Riley and Nick) on the wedding day. We were blessed with my favorite weather: dense fog. It was awesome and a great way to start the day.

Wedding

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Karla looked beautiful and I cleaned up pretty well.

Hiking Carlton Peak

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Our first achievement as Mr. and Mrs. Schneider was summiting Carlton Peak (1,526′ elevation), which had incredible views of Lake Superior.

Bonus:

Dubrovnik is the filming location for King’s Landing scenes in the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. Since I’m a big fan, we had to check out all the famous spots.

Click here for the full list of filming locations.

King’s Landing

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There is a reason Dubrovnik is called “The Pearl of the Adriatic.”

Walls

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Dubrovik is known for the stone walls that surround the city, which are frequently used throughout the Game of Thrones series.

Red Keep

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Finding out Fort Lovrijenac is the Red Keep – I’m pretty excited.

Inside the Red Keep

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Can you picture the Mountain walking the halls?

Blackwater Bay

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Pile Harbor is where Marcela departs for Dorne in Season 2. This spot was also used for many other scenes throughout the series. Knightfall was actually filming here when we took the picture.

Season 2 Riot

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Pile gate is the entrance to Dubrovnik and is where Joffrey was attacked in Season 2.

House of the Undying

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Minčeta Tower serves as the House of the Undying in Season 2.

While we were in Split, we saw Diocletian’s Palace where Daenerys locks her dragons in Season 4 and the Klis Fortress, which is the city of Meereen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Life

Top Ten Experiences of 2015

Wow, time goes by fast. Five years ago, I was inspired to start an annual tradition where I post my top ten experiences of the past year. Here’s the list from 2015:

10. Broatmeal

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A new tradition was started in the summer of 2015: Broatmeal. Its simple. Six guys eat oatmeal every Wednesday morning at Simpls (broatmeal = “bros” eating oatmeal).

What if Whole Foods and 7Eleven had a baby? Simpls offers high-quality grab and go food options and was started by two of our good friends Ryan and Mike, who won the food division of the Minnesota Cup in 2015. Make sure to check it out if you haven’t!

9. Making Traditions

Two first time experiences in 2014 became 2015 mainstays:

Sailing on Lake Harriet

Happy to report the 2015 sailing season saw less turtling and we were able to get a buoy only a short row from the dock. Much improved over 2014.

Hunting

Made the trip back to Wadena for some hunting. Although I came up empty handed, it ended up being a record year for our hunting party with three 8-point bucks.

Torchlight 5K

Ran the Torchlight 5K again…albeit much slower than in 2014. Hopefully it was just a down year and this won’t become a trend.

8. Weddings

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We spent six weekends lighting up the dance floor…well maybe it was just Karla.

7. Bash Bros Dominate 2015

Overcoming insurmountable odds and one shoulder surgery (note Riley’s sling in the picture for #6), the Bash Bros took down the Good ‘Ol Boys late in the golf season. I smell more trouble for the Boys in 2016.

6. Neil Diamond

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In the same vein as 2014’s trip to see Jerry Seinfeld, I was able to scratch another lifelong dream off the list by seeing Neil Diamond at the Xcel Energy Center. Despite the average age in attendance being 70, I felt right at home signing along to “The Neil.” He still has it.

5. Big News from Zipnosis

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We raised a Series A from Safeguard and Ascension Ventures which means game on in 2016!

4. Trip to Seattle

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In May, Karla and I spent a weekend in Seattle. We loved the clam chowder at Pike’s Place, seeing the Mariners win and the view from the ferry on its way to Bainbridge Island (which you can see in the picture above).

3. Trip to Boston/Maine/Cape Cod

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Speaking of clam chowder…Karla and I spent a week in New England in June. Maine was by far our favorite destination where amongst the tranquility I took down a giant lobster fresh off the boat.

2. Karla Graduated and Started Her Job!

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2015 was a big year for Karla or should I say…Dr. Wallner. She graduated from PT school and started her dream job as a pediatric physical therapist!

1. We Got Engaged!

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But she won’t be Dr. Wallner for long! After seven years, I finally pulled the trigger at the U of M golf course. I’m so thankful she said yes after I nervously pulled my tee shot into the bunker…

Cheers to a great 2015 and for what is sure to be an exciting 2016!

Technology

8 Observations: Millennial Usage of Tech in 2015

#1 Digital payments took off. We’ve had Paypal since 1998, but it was the emergence of mobile-focused digital payment services like Venmo and Square Cash that really caused the category to take off.

#2. SnapChat is a force. By adding filters, geotagging and lenses, SnapChat has become the most used social media app of my friends. Instagram and Facebook are still used, but the disappearing nature of SnapChat generates more usage.

#3 Fitbit is trending. Fitbits are being given away for free or can be purchased at reduced prices through employers.

#4 Airbnb is catching fire. 2015 was the year we tried Airbnb for the first time. Many of us had great experiences so I expect to see a lot more usage in 2016.

#5 Uber or Lyft? We have both apps downloaded on our phones and choose the cheaper option. No brand loyalty here.

#6 A large percentage of our social media interactions moved into messaging services. I have two groups of friends on iChat. Another just moved from Whatsapp to GroupMe because we wanted more gif/meme functionality. No clear category winner.

#7 We have multiple streaming services – sometimes up to 5 accounts across Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go and ShowTime. Cable is still paid for, but no one watches live TV except for sports. We stream the latest shows through apps on our SmartTVs or Chromecast.

#8 Music? One word: Spotify. It’s pervasive.