Innovation is everywhere. Well, almost. It’s not exactly a piece of cake to conjure up the next big thing, but without innovative and disruptive technologies, we’d live in a much different world. Just think: what if we still traveled by horse and buggy, paid for everything in cash, or actually *gasp* had to use pay phones?

Thanks to groundbreaking, industry-shattering new technology, our world has been driven to change as a result of innovate ideas and products that we never knew we needed. That’s why our world looks nothing like the one we just described!

Even just looking back to 1985 in our Past, Present, and Future of the Internet infographic, it’s clear that a LOT has changed. And with 2014 in the rearview mirror, we thought now would be a great time to reflect on just how different things are, and what it has taken to get us to 2015.

What do you think have been the most radical and greatest disruptors in history? Read along to find out what inventions, products, brands, or innovative concepts were deemed worthy to be included in our History of Innovation:

The History of Innovation

1885 – Benz automobile

Before Mercedes-Benz was the luxury brand it is today, Benz and Daimler changed how we traveled forever by inventing the first automobile. How did people get around before that? The train if they were lucky, otherwise there was always the good ol’ horse and buggy.1

1958 – Bank of America credit card

Remember when coin purses were stylish and balancing your checkbook was a thing? Us neither. Thank Bank of America for modernizing the transaction process with the first-ever statewide credit card, which opened even more doors to ways we transfer money, regardless of currency.2

1983 – Motorola cell phone

It’s the one thing you can’t live without and chances are you didn’t even grow up with it. The cell phone, first introduced by Motorola, has been one of the most disruptive technologies for over three decades now. Rotary phones? Aren’t those, like, ironic paperweights?3

1992 – Amazon online shopping

The Dewey Decimal Classification – that’s how we used to search for books. Not sure if the novel was up your alley? Tough luck. As one of the first ever online stores, Amazon revolutionized the way we buy books (and just about everything else), by making it easier to search, read reviews, and get the best pricing from the comfort of our homes.4

1997 – Netflix online videos

Ah, America’s favorite past time. The average customer watches Netflix for 93 minutes per day and consumes 45 gigabytes of footage per month – all for less than eight bucks. Before that, we were begging Blockbuster employees to take our $20 just so we could be the first to rent some movies for a couple days. Times really have changed.5

2001 – iTunes media player

The 8-track, cassette tape, CD, and MP3. Each one was disruptive for being smaller and better than its predecessor, while also being cheaper. In fact, the MP3 was SO cheap that some people were illegally downloading them for free. iTunes changed all that by conveniently offering huge collections of music for just $1 a pop, and people couldn’t get enough of it.6

2001 – Wikipedia internet encyclopedia

Quick – what year did Evan Spiegel found Snapchat? You probably didn’t know the answer, but Wikipedia sure did. Imagine if you had to wait until next year’s encyclopedia to be published to find out. And would it be under “Spiegel” or “Snapchat” anyway? Good thing you don’t have to worry about that with Wikipedia just a free click away.7

2008 – Airbnb social vacation rentals

Booking a family vacation? Hopefully you don’t get sick of each other when you’re cramped in one room and sharing the same bathroom for a week. But what if you could rent a real home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a driveway for the same price as the hotel across the street? Enter Airbnb, the disruptive service that allows anyone to rent out their place without the exorbitant valet rates.8

2009 – Uber transportation network

If there was ever a modern technology that was universally loved and hated at the same time, it would be Uber. This ingenious service has changed how people get around town by hiring certified drivers using their own cars. Not only is it cheaper and more reliable than the average cab, but your personal driver is always just a tap away. No wonder taxi companies hate them.9

2011 – Google Fiber internet service

It never feels like our internet is fast enough, even when we’re dropping some major coin for the service. Google must’ve felt the same way because they started their own internet service that’s up to 10x faster than even the best broadband today, but at a fraction of the cost. It looks like the incumbents noticed, because they’re doing everything they can to slow Google down now.10

2014 – .xyz domain names

We’ve all heard of .com, .net, and .org. Why? Because they’ve been just about everywhere since 1985. And that’s great if you got the domain you wanted back then, but what about the new businesses of the 21st century? Everyone deserves a fair shake at a short and memorable domain, and that’s where .xyz comes in. It’s the ending of the alphabet and the new ending for domains. Best of all, you can pick one up now and still have lunch money to spare.

Was your favorite innovation included? For your sharing ease, check-out the full infographic of the History of Innovation here. We hoped you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!


  1. Daimler AG. (n.d.). Tradition. Retrieved from
  2. Visa Inc. (n.d.). History of Visa. Retrieved from
  3. Motorola Solutions, Inc. (n.d.). Cell Phone Development. Retrieved from
  4., Inc. (n.d). About Amazon. Retrieved from
  5. Roettgers, J. (2014, September 25). Binge alert: Subscribers now watch more than 90 minutes of Netflix every single day. Gigacom, Inc. Retrieved from
  6. Apple, Inc. (2001, January 9). Apple Introduces iTunes – World’s Best and Easiest To Use Jukebox Software [Press Release]. Retrieved from
  7. Wikimedia Foundation. (2015, January 9). Wikipedia:About. Retrieved from
  8. Airbnb, Inc. (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved from
  9. Uber, Inc. (n.d.). The Company. Retrieved from
  10. Google, Inc. (n.d.). About. Retrieved from
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