Top 10 Tech Trends in the past 20 years, according to my cat Tia

My 20-year-old cat Tia passed away recently, and during her lifespan, she witnessed a lot of changes in technology. As a tribute to my cat Tia, I have put together the top 10 changes in technology during her lifetime. This is not based on scientific information, but rather my opinion with input from my cat.

1999 – Birth of Tia

In 1999, we rented VHS movies from Blockbuster, played music from CDs, and paid by the minute for long distance calls. The ‘cool kids’ illegally downloaded songs from Napster. In 1999, we were still using Windows98, and IBM sold computers and mainframes.

2001 – iPod

On October 23, 2001, Apple released their first iPod, a portable MP3 music player with 5GB storage and support for MP3, AIFF, and WAV format music files. MP3 players existed prior to Apple’s launch of the iPod, but Apple’s user interface and simplicity were keys to their success. I purchased my first iPod in 2005 after my co-worker Art Bueno showed me his iPod. I was almost mesmerized by the way Apple organized all of the songs by artist and album.

2002 – Birth of LinkedIn

In October 2002, a small team was recruited to work on a new idea, and in 2003, LinkedIn was launched. I joined LinkedIn in 2006 after receiving an invitation from Jodi Keeter (now Henson), my mentor and former boss at BellSouth.

2004 – Birth of TheFacebook

February 4, 2004, ‘Thefacebook’ was launched by 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, for Harvard students. In 2005, the site was renamed simply ‘Facebook.’ In 2008, RIM (Research in Motion, now BlackBerry) agreed to preload the Facebook app onto their devices. As senior mobile product manager, I joined Facebook in 2008 under a pseudonym just to understand the user experience on the smartphone.

2005 – Debut of YouTube

3 Ex-employees from PayPal debuted YouTube February 2005, and sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion in November 2006. Google struggled to monetize YouTube for years until a few YouTube stars including Jenna Marbles started to emerge and partnerships with mainstream content owners were signed. While Google doesn’t report profitability of YouTube explicitly, in 2016, YouTube was noted as driving revenue for the parent company, Alphabet Inc.

I watched my first YouTube video in 2007, when a homeowner recorded a Comcast employee sleeping on his couch while on hold with Comcast’s customer service department. Comcast allegedly offered the homeowner 3 years of free service to take down the video, Allegedly, the homeowner refused.

I created my YouTube account in 2008, simply for ‘competitive-analysis’ as Director of Product Management for Internap’s CDN product. Today I have about 18,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel.

2006 – Twitter Created

Twitter was created on March 21, 2006 and launched in July of the same year as a pivot from podcasting company ‘Odeo’. According to Business Insider, there are actually 2 differing stories about the creation and initial launch of Twitter, centered around the participation of co-founder, Noah Glass.

I created my Twitter account in December 2008 as @carolinemdunn and later changed it to @thecarolinedunn. According to Twitter, I have 14.7K tweets since 2008.

2007 – 1st iPhone

On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world, and by June, the first batch of iPhones were sold on AT&T’s network. AT&T and Apple agreed to a 5-year exclusivity agreement, a move highly criticized by tech experts far and wide. It was a huge gamble that would change the landscape of telecommunications as we knew it. My friend who worked at Microsoft (not an official spokesperson), honestly observed that smartphones existed before the iPhone, but the simplicity and design of the user interface and design was the game changer. I was leader of mobile products at an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) in 2007 (outside of the AT&T exclusive agreement), and realized it would be hard to compete. I decided to parlay my mobile expertise into mobile video for Internap in 2008.

2008 – Launch of the app store

In 2008, the iOS app store was launched around the same time as the release of the 2nd Gen iPhone. I remember the 1st day I had my iPhone, I went to the app store and viewed EVERY app available. It took me less than an hour to view EVERY app on my iPhone. According to Statista, there are over 2 million apps in the Google Play store, and 1.83 million mobile apps in the Apple app store as of Q1 2019.

2012 – Raspberry Pi released

The 1st Raspberry Pi single board computer immediately sold out on launch day, February 29, 2012. By February 17, 2015, over 5 million Raspberry Pis were sold making it the best selling British computer ever. The Raspberry Pi was created as a low-cost computer for STEM programs and hobbyists.

I purchased my first Raspberry Pi in 2016, to complete the Amazon Alexa DIY project with Steve Youngblood as a team building exercise at work. I now own about 10 Raspberry Pis of various models RPi Zero, 3A, 3B, 3B+, and 4. I’ve made everything from gaming consoles, motion detection cameras, robots, Alexa, Google Home, to photobooths with these little single board computers. I’ve also taught STEM workshops for middle school and high school girls building projects with Raspberry Pis.

2014 – Alexa and Amazon Echo Launched

On November 6, 2014, Amazon launched their smart speaker, Amazon Echo, along with virtual voice assistant, Alexa.  As of January 2019, Amazon boasts over 100 million devices with Alexa have been sold.

My first interaction with Alexa came in April 2016, when I ordered a $200 monitor on Steve Youngblood’s Amazon Echo account. #TrueStory Watch, learn, and always add a passcode to prevent unauthorized orders on your Amazon account.

2016 – Google Home Launched

Google Home (competitor to Amazon Echo) started selling on November 4, 2016, and quickly moved to 24% marketshare to Amazon’s 61% share of the smart speaker market by early 2019. In 2017, Google created a kit to make your own Google Home (called Google AIY Projects Kit) and offered the kit for free with purchase of the Raspberry Pi magazine, issue 57. The magazine with the free kit sold out in minutes at every retail location in Atlanta. I found a workaround with the parts I had on hand (without the kit) and published my project here.

What was the biggest Tech failure during Tia’s lifetime? Microsoft Vista

Microsoft released Windows Vista on January 30, 2007 and stopped selling Vista on October 22, 2010.

Up until 2007, I was a Windows user. Vista was so bad, that when my PC was on its last leg, I purchased a Macbook just to avoid buying a computer with Vista as the operating system. I am now primarily a Mac user. Thanks Vista!

Thank you for accompanying me down memory lane of 20 years of technology as inspired by my cat, Tia. Thank you Tia for the love, cuddles, inspiration, antics, and joy you brought into my life. Below is Tia’s real tribute video.

Caroline Dunn is an experienced marketing executive combining her natural leadership ability and engineering education in marketing communications, content marketing, social media, and product management. She has a proven track record in exceeding sales objectives, leading execution teams, and campaign management.

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