Brief Timeline of Digital Decade, 2001-2010

Odopod started at the end of 2000. It was the dawn of the “Digital Decade.” Over the past ten years, we’ve grown from a small digital studio to a fifty-plus strategically-minded digital agency. Meanwhile, the Internet has evolved from being something people use – to how people live.  

People are boldly adopting new ways of using digital. We are empowered by our personal devices and social networks to try things that might have previously seemed too difficult, time-consuming or expensive. Cultural shifts are taking place at a massive scale to how we shop, communicate, read, consume media, play games, bank and work.

How and when did this happen?

Rewind to 2001.

The dot-com bubble had just burst. Still, there were high expectations and optimism for the Internet. The decadence and “get rich quick” schemes of the dot-com era gave way to innovation and “stuff that works.” With a glut of used furniture, office space and brilliant minds, it was a great time to start a new kind of company.

» 2001Odopod begins, Apple releases iPod and iTunes, Wikipedia launches, TiVo secures patent on Personal Video Recording (PVR) software, Bill Gates refers to this as the "Digital Decade" with launch of Windows XP

» 2002Friendster starts social network phenomenon, Xbox LIVE creates first major console-based gaming network

» 2003SecondLife launches as does LinkedIn, active soldiers blog as war in Iraq begins

» 2004Flickr launches, podcasts begin to take hold, Subservient Chicken sets a new bar for digital marketing, Zuck launches “The Facebook” at Harvard, Google releases Gmail as an invitation-only beta

» 2005YouTube launches, Yahoo! buys Flickr, broadband takes off, Adobe acquires Macromedia, Google equips developers with its Map API

» 2006MySpace ranks as top social network, Google buys YouTube and launches Google Docs, Nike+ connects shoes to iPods, Nintendo Wii pioneers motion-controlled gaming, Facebook goes public to 13+

» 2007 – Apple’s iPhone and Amazon’s Kindle launch, Twitter’s tipping point occurs at SxSW, Google and IBM invest in “Cloud Computing” Research

» 2008iPhone App Store launches, Android enters mobile race, Hulu brings TV online, Google Street View stirs up worldwide privacy concerns, Obama transforms politics using social media and mobile, Internet retail continues to grow amidst the Great Recession

» 2009Facebook ranks as #1 social network, Farmville takes off, Microsoft launches Bing, social media and SMS strengthen protests in Iran, U.S. joins much of Europe in switching to digital TV transmission

» 2010iPad launches, Facebook ranks as #1 website, social media and SMS enable public to help after Haiti earthquake, Kinect launches, the year of location-based services (Foursquare, Gowalla, SCVNGR), group buying (Groupon), flash sales (Gilt), HTML5 and Angry Birds

This timeline isn’t exhaustive. It’s meant to highlight some pivotal moments of the past ten years in order to understand the catalysts that have shaped our present-day digital world.

It's the Simple Things

In the debates as to why Google is winning the search engine contest, Facebook the social network battle, and Apple prevailing among personal media devices – a common assessment is this: simplicity, ease-of-use, and ingenious technology. We want technology to work for us, not the inverse.

Despite the often-held belief that stuff on the Internet should be free, Apple proved that people are willing to pay for media (iPod and iTunes). It has since proven that people are also willing to pay for interactive content (App Store for iOS). We pay for what works. For many of us, saving time and assuring better quality is worth a bit of money.

So What?

Since the Internet went mainstream in the mid-90‘s, visionaries have predicted a time when devices would connect to a central hub where you could access all of your data and share it with others. Here we are. Connected TVs, smartphones, netbooks, motion tracking game consoles, e-readers, and on – all connecting to the cloud via a growing network of high-speed and wireless transmitters.

The Internet’s essential value is that it’s instant. Its readiness becomes more profound as we discover access to it all around us – not just from our devices and computers but even our cereal boxes, running sneakers and refrigerators.

Opportunities to innovate abound. The Internet has passed its awkward adolescence and is ready for primetime. So, what’s next? What excites you about the future of the Internet – 2011 and beyond?


  • Guthrie says:
    Posted: 01.25.11

    Great post Jacquie. It is pretty amazing to consider how much has happened in the last 10 years. Funny enough, I find myself more excited then ever about our 'post-digital' decade – where everything and everyone is seamlessly interconnected. Can't wait for your 2011-2020 round up.

  • Tim says:
    Posted: 01.26.11

    I love this. I also want to go on the record stating that Odopod was fully operational before the iPod was launched. Steve Jobs stole our thunder!

  • JD Hooge says:
    Posted: 01.26.11

    Great thoughts Jacquie. I remember hanging at Odopod when there were four of you guys. :)

  • Simon says:
    Posted: 01.26.11

    Don't forget about Odopod's own legacy which started back in the mid 90s, now that was a wild time! I'm with Guthrie, I still feel like we're on the cusp of something big ...still holding my breath! Congrats on an exciting decade.

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