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  • Writer's pictureYannick Oswald

Will I ever have to scroll much again?

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

How much does a person scroll on average on their phone during her or his lifetime? What do you think?

Well... a bit more than 480 km! This is the equivalent of a trip from 🇬🇧 London to 🇫🇷 Paris... I based this estimation on the assumption that we scroll a bit more than 8 km per year and use a mobile phone for about 60 years... Obviously, nobody has done this, yet, as mobile phones have only started to go mainstream about 20 years ago.

I bet most of you still remember the Nokia 3210, the fifth most sold phone of all time and launched in 1999. While phones have evolved a lot since then (touchscreen, geolocalisation, the app ecosystem, battery life, etc.), the keyboard is still used for all of our interactions.

Keyboards will disappear for most of our interactions w phones

Because just nobody wants to scroll from London to Paris...

One year ago, we predicted that the keyboard will be gone in five years and published a report on why voice tech is 'the opportunity of a decade'. Three weeks ago, I argued that it is time for us to finally get sober and build a healthy internet.

Since then, two significant announcements happened:

(1) Android's improved Voice Access

One week ago, Google released Android 11 as a beta. One feature is the improved Voice Access, which now understands screen context and content. I think this is amazing. Check it out for yourself.

(2) Snap, the Alexa for AR

Snap is preparing to roll out a new method of sorting through Lenses, via Voice. Snap’s Lens carousel was sufficient for swiping between filters when there were only a couple dozen to piece through, but with one million Lenses and counting, it’s been clear that discoverability has become an issue. This new feature will be a lot of fun:

  • 'Hey Snapchat, make my hair pink'

  • 'Hey Snapchat, give me a hug'

  • 'Hey Snapchat, take me to the moon'

It will be interesting to see whether users access this functionality. I think that they will do so quickly... This is the very reason why I got excited about the voice-first interface in the first place. About two years ago, I met the first entrepreneurs who were playing around with voice-first commands. Adoption was close to 50% already back then, and the positive impact these commands had on engagement was impressive...

Also, when you look at the Snap’s partnerships for visual search with Amazon and audio search with Shazam, it’s not hard to imagine asking the app to let you try on makeup from a specific company or ask it to show you what a TV would look like on your wall. This might be the beginning of a shift of an entertainment-only AR to a platform based around utility. #LongSnap

More to come...

I think that many more companies will make great strides in the voice-first world. We are still early days, but I am an optimist. Once people got introduced to some strong use cases, interface shifts can happen very fast...


Recent content that I have found useful:

- A powerful post by my good friend Michael Lints: 'I am exhausted and want you to know why'. Please DO read this. I hope that the recent events were a wake-up call for us all and that no more are needed to act.

- Congrats to our entrepreneur Allon Bloch and our friends at PICO for the amazingly successful IPO of Vroom.

- My friend Joel has launched Pale Blue Dot, a new early-stage fund backing 'climate-focused' startups in Europe. I am very excited about this: what an amazing team and mission.

- Have a look at the Top 50 Venture Capital Blogs To Follow in 2020. Thanks for featuring this blog Anuj! 🙏 Opportunities Everywhere community, let's climb that ladder!

- Huge congrats to our healthcare company K Health for being named to the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 companies.

- Thought-provoking essay on Apple's healthcare ambitions. This is how Tim Cook put it in a conversation with Jim Cramer: 'If you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and ask the question: What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind? It will be about health...'

- Do you have Product COVID fit or Product MARKET fit? A very relevant question by Tom. How much of your growth that is driven by the lockdown will remain in the coming months? In a previous post, I talked about event-driven growth. An insight that I share with my entrepreneurs: 'Each situation is different but a framework I like is to take your pre-event baseline, your event-driven peak, and assume you will give up half of the delta when things return to normal and that will be your new baseline'.

- 22 years ago, Netflix revolutionized the subscription business model. Last week, they did it again: Netflix just announced that if you sign up for their service, but then for some reason decline to watch it for a year straight, they will now automatically cancel your membership upon the next billing cycle... This is a very smart move. Trust is everything. I hope that the best B2C SaaS business out there will follow shortly.

- Ahead of the Great Re-Opening by Damir. SMBs are the engine of the economy. Unfortunately, over the past three months, a majority of SMBs have temporarily closed their doors. A brilliant essay outlining ways how SMBs can become more resilient going forward and how technology can play a part: Build a Digital Revenue Stream, Maximize Margins, Unlock Cost Savings Via Data, Minimize Fixed Costs.

- An interesting post on brand building by Franck, the CMO of our awesome company Sybel: 'Solid metrics are a very good sign you are on to reach your north star goal. But then what? In my sense to go beyond, you need to have your values that are connected to a #society / #culture where you understand where it's going, not only in 1 year, but in 5 years, 10 years...'. I couldn't agree more.

- Check out and subscribe to Capital Call, a weekly newsletter highlighting what investors in European startups are thinking - in their own words. The content is excellent and gives you a full picture of all you need to know about European VCs. As Vincent put it: 'We think an ongoing conversation among investors and operators is a critical contribution to building a healthy startup ecosystem.'

- A great post by Lenny on what good and great retention look like, for all types of businesses, with concrete recommendations from 20 of the world's top growth experts. This is a good complement to my recent post on why investors are so obsessed with churn.

- Excellent read about influencers by the New York Post: 'Kylie Jenner and the end of the Instagram influencer business model.'

- What is the density of bicycle paths in Europe? Have a look at this pic. My guess is that this map will be much redder in 5 years' time. Many of my friends across Europe have started to bike more over the last months.

- What % did these founders own of their companies at the time of their IPO? Some interesting data points here.


I can't help but think that we are entering one of the most exciting decades for tech entrepreneurs. I am ready 🏃 and I hope you are so too 🙌.

Life is awesome,



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