Y2k Did Have an Impact – Just Not What You Thought (Part 1)


Y2k Did Have an Impact – Just Not What You Thought (Part 1)

Y2k did have an impact on our lives, not in the way we thought but on technology and small business over the last twenty years.

It was a Friday afternoon in my Sydney apartment. I’d stocked up on some bottled water and essentials ‘just in case’ the world’s computer systems couldn’t cope with the change from 1999 to 2000. I’m not sure what I thought 20L of bottled water and a few bags of potato chips would do if the world did end, but I’m guessing I was at least planning on being well hydrated and snacking my way through the initial hysteria.

The Millennium Bug or Y2K did have an impact and reportedly cost the US Government $100 Billion. And it led to the initial outcrop of ‘Doomsday Preppers’ across the country.

Now, twenty years on with the dust well and truly settled we can review with a sense of nostalgia the real impact the last two decades have had on business and society at large.

2000 – Google AdWords.

Hard to believe this advertising tap is twenty years old. The impact on business has been game changing. The adage of spending $1 on advertising but never knowing which 50c worked went out the window (kind of) with business owners bidding on a ‘click’ of a word.

Still one of the single biggest changes we’ve ever seen in paid marketing, in 2018, it was reported that the revenue earned through AdWords was close to USD 116 Billion.

2001 – Apple iPod brings you 1000 songs in your pocket.

Having been a devotee of the Sony ‘Walkman,’ I was blown away with the concept of the iPod. Creating playlists at the click of a mouse and that dial!

I don’t know that anyone could have foreseen the short-lived, life-changing experience was the iPod, the only downside was the downfall of the ‘mix tape’ and all the love that went into creating them.

2003 – The Blackberry.

Working in Telco in the late 90’s I’d actually had the Nokia 9000, but it was the release of the Blackberry that changed us as a society forever.

The Blackberry meant we were no longer ever out of the office. With email in our pocket, far too many of us saw the convenience of answering a few messages over dinner as a win only to realise 15+ years later it was possibly the chain that bound us to constant connectivity.

In saying that, I really did love my Blackberry – and I wasn’t alone!

2004 – The Facebook.

I’ll admit, I was a late adopter of this one (though not as late as my hubby who only succumbed this weekend).

None of us knew the privacy concerns Facebook would raise years later, but the lessons in this launch continue to ripple through every part of society. I’ve even read an article outlining why we will never have untainted elections again thanks to the power of this one platform.

But that’s a whole different article…

2005 – Launch of YouTube

Until YouTube trying to distribute or host videos was out of the reach of the average business owner. Today though (according to Google in 2015) more 18 – 49 year old’s watch YouTube than any other broadcast network, with their TV time dropping by around 4% while increasing their YouTube viewing time by close to 75%

2006 – Twitter shows us just how much you can say in 140 characters.

Having a global stream of consciousness on your screen day and night can be in equal parts amusing and horrifying (anyone else read any of POTUS tweets??)

Though for business owners, we were now 140 characters away from reaching a journalist about a PR story or sharing any manner of updates regarding traffic conditions.

2007 – iPhone hits our shores.

Working for Telstra at the time, I will never forget the mayhem that came with the launch of the iPhone. Lines of people camping overnight, people crying when they had their very first out-of-box experience. And even more crying when they arrived to ‘sold out’ signs.

A piece of marketing genius, there’s no denying the iPhone changed the way we interact with our phones. When you couple it with the introduction of ‘Apps’ and ‘Podcasts’, well, let’s just say that 2007 was a watershed moment in our relationship to technology.

This was when the Millenium bug had truly settled in, and we began to experience the way Y2K did have an impact on our lives.

2008 – Introducing Air BNB.

A company that sells accommodation but doesn’t own a piece of real estate. It took us a while to get our heads around that idea.

What Airbnb did was introduce the shared economy for everyday people. I have a house; my house has a spare room. You need a place to stay, why don’t you rent my room… Brilliant!

Today Airbnb is used by folks around the world for weekends away or months at a time. Who knew you could make good money by letting people riffle through your stuff?

Y2k Did Have an Impact – Just Not What You Thought.

There’s no denying that the Millennium Bug or Y2K did have an impact on our lives. Over the past two decades, our lives have been filled with technology we never knew we needed. And yet now we cannot do without. Looking through the list above has made me appreciate just how significant the ’00s has been to our society.

So much so I’ve decided to pause here and allow us all a moment to reflect on the changes and impacts each of the above pieces of technology have had on our own lives, before moving on to the next decade.

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