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!


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



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!


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


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).


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


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


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

6. Mexico


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.


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:


3. Honeymoon: Italy

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





Cinque Terre


2. Honeymoon: Croatia

Croatia was by far our favorite part of the trip.





Plitvice Lakes




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:



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.



Karla looked beautiful and I cleaned up pretty well.

Hiking Carlton Peak


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


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




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



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

Red Keep


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

Inside the Red Keep



Can you picture the Mountain walking the halls?

Blackwater Bay


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


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

House of the Undying


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


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.


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


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


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

4. Trip to Seattle


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


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!


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!


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!


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.


My Reaction to Fred Wilson’s 2015 Healthcare Predictions

My blog post ticker has me sitting at three YTD so I will need to start cranking out more posts to hit my goal of 52 this year.

One post I have had on my list since January was to provide my thoughts on Fred Wilson‘s post about What is Going to Happen in 2015 and, more specifically, his healthcare predictions:

11/ the health care sector will start to feel the pressure of real patient centered healthcare brought on by the trifecta of the smartphone becoming the EMR, patients treating patients (p2p medicine), and real market economies entering health care (people paying for their own healthcare). this is a megatrend that will take decades to fully play out but we will see the start of it in 2015.

Let’s unpack this:

the health care sector will start to feel the pressure of real patient centered healthcare

According to a FICO survey, 80% of smartphone users want to interact with their provider online. I certainty agree with Fred’s prediction here and  believe we are already seeing the entire healthcare industry react to increased patient demand for digital health services.

brought on by the trifecta of the smartphone becoming the EMR

I see the trend of the EMR moving into patients’ hands playing out over the next 10 years as new ways to verify identity over the Internet become more mainstream, such as block chain. Patients will come to expect to own their online profiles and the data associated with them.

patients treating patients (p2p medicine)

Fred mentions these are megatrends that will take years to play out. I think this one is the farthest off (10+ years) because clinical judgement is deeply engrained in our healthcare system in order to ensure clinical quality and patient safety. Over the next five years, I think it is more likely that we will see software tools that will make clinical judgement more accessible to patients. With that said, I have seen examples of patients with rare conditions diagnosing and treating themselves because clinical judgement is lacking.

and real market economies entering health care (people paying for their own healthcare)

We have seen direct-to-consumer markets (where providers accept payment outside of insurance directly from patients) forming over the last decade with retail care and more recently with virtual care and concierge services. I imagine Bitcoin and other peer-to-peer payment models will also drive down the cost for providers to offer these services. This is definitely a megatrend driven by patients taking on the burden of their healthcare costs and reimbursement models shifting from fee-for-service to value-based.

Overall, I think Fred is on track with his predictions. The two megatrends I am most excited about over the next 3-5 years are patient centered care (brought on by patient demand for digital health services) and new market economies forming (brought on by patients taking on the burden of their healthcare costs and the transition from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement).


Collaboration = Innovation

I just finished listening to Walter Isaacson’s book The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution on Audible. The book walks the reader (or listener) through the many innovations of the digital revolution.

Isaacson’s theme and my major takeaway from the book is that the digital revolution cannot be traced to one person. From Steve Jobs to Robert Noyce to Alan Turing to Ada Lovelace, the digital age came about and continues to grow by building on the innovations that came before it.

Isaacson points to collaborative environments with a diversity of people and skill sets like Bell Labs and MIT as models that fostered key innovative breakthroughs during the infrastructure period of the digital age.

Over the last 40 years, I believe Silicon Valley has served as the collaborative environment that has fueled the latest innovations (chips, e-commerce, web 2.0, mobile devices/apps, social, sharing economy, etc).

Today, you can see how the ecosystem is using Facebook and mobile devices/app stores to push new innovations forward. There also appears to be a renaissance of the lab concept with app development shops popping up such as Kevin Rose’s North.

So what’s next? My guess is the next set of innovations (5+ years) will be built on top of today’s innovations: Uber, wearables, drones, Oculus and Bitcoin. Regardless, Isaacson would argue they will come from collaborative environments that feature diversity of people and skill sets. I tend to agree with him.