Remember free-to-air TV? With adverts? And guides? And fixed air times? With the boom in streaming services over the past five or so years, appointment viewing like that almost seems quaint. Today, millions of us pay modest monthly fees for access to on-demand digital libraries stuffed with thousands of movies and series available to stream at will.
Netflix alone, which launched in Australia in 2012, has 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries and is responsible for 15 per cent of global internet traffic. It’s also responsible for new terms in our everyday vernacular, like ‘binge-watching’. Without it (and it’s financial success) we would likely be living in a world without big-budget series like The Crown or House of Cards.
A taxi, but with the ability to track how soon it will come, rate your driver and not handle any money/credit cards. Revolutionary. So much so that the taxi industry has successfully lobbied to have Uber banned in a number of countries. Here in the UK, it’s alive and relatively well since being introduced in 2017. Staffed by ordinary people using their own car wherever and whenever they choose, it’s become a popular side-hustle (and even full-time gig) for tens of thousands of British workers, much to the disappointment of overly-expensive and chatter happy cabbies all over the country.
What to find out more about Uber? Theres a great new book about the founding of Uber and its devil-like founder & CEO Travis Kalanick called Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac who is a technology reporter at the New York Times and whose Uber coverage won the Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business reporting.
Re-usable coffee cups
This is the decade we finally woke up to the fact that the world and environment need help and we, as a society, need to be more conscious about how much waste we produce. One big one, takeaway coffee cups. Turns out they are pretty bad for the environment, by virtue of being single-use and non-recyclable. Reusable coffee-cup brands, like KeepCup and Frank Green, enjoyed a huge boom as a result of our sudden waste-consciousness. Also, most cafes now offer a BYOC (Bring your own cup) discount.
It’s hard to imagine that prior to 2010, we lived in a world without filters, #blessed, sponsored posts and social media professionals and, of course, influencers. What a beautiful world it was *sighs*. Now we’re bombarded by everything and everyone showing off their best lives (all most all of the time highly curated – unless you’re Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) and making us all feel a little bit, well, depressed. Never the less its here to stay and with the average person spending almost 1 hour + a day on it, looks like we’ll all continue to walk around like mindless zombies for a little while yet.
Food delivery apps
For decades, home delivery meant dialling for a pizza or calling the local Chinese, reciting numbers like you were trying to work out the secret to life and then some half-wit teenager with a bicycle or hideous, barely road legal car turning up and handing you your food. Even then you had to have a copy of the takeaway menu, remember that top draw in every kitchen? You also had to have something like the correct amount of cash to hand over to the delivery driver.
Then in 2013 came Deliveroo. The app collated local restaurants and their menus, facilitated the ordering and payment (using a credit card, if you’d like), and then sent its army of kamikaze, scooter driving delivery riders to pick up your food and deliver it to your door. You don’t even have to get up off the couch (until it arrives) and can, within reason, get anything and any meal you like. Marvellous.