The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going. Epictetus’ words still ring true today. Since humanity began developing apps, the world has been turning like a revolving door. Apps have embedded themselves into our everyday lives. Need to make a restroom run? Well, there’s an app that will help you find the nearest John. Want to share that location? Unfortunately, there’s an app for that as well. On the bright side, some of these apps have actually changed the world.
Here are 5 apps that have revved up our big blue planet.
Many startups love to anoint themselves as “disruptors.” It’s the Valley’s darling phrase and thus shares a room with unicorn. However, not many disruptors can claim that they sparked a national protest against their product. Uber can. This ride-hailing company revolutionized travel, and angered a lot of taxi drivers in the process. The talk when traveling these days sounds something like, “Hey, what’s your rating? I’m trying to keep mine at four point two.”
“Hey, Venmo me five bucks real quick for that sweater? ”
“Seriously? You still didn’t Venmo me back for last night.”
If your company becomes a verb, you’ve certainly impacted culture. Though Venmo has made it easier for Millenials to swap cash for booze and drugs, as many criticize, there is no denying that the app has modernized tab-splitting. Scrolling through a feed of money-sharing couples and groups socializes money exchange in a way that is only rivaled by WeChat’s money sharing feature.
Before 2013, if someone told you that they were going to make tons of money delivering food to strangers, you’d have thought they were crazy. After Grubhub’s successful IPO, food delivery services have been tripping over themselves to get fresh food to your door. Grubhub earns this spot above the long list of other services because it proved the concept of food delivery. Right now, they serve over 267, 000 daily diners.
Once upon a time, if you wanted to travel to Hawaii with a contingent of friends/coworkers/etc, your only option was to book a few rooms at a hotel and deal with the ups and downs of hotel service, not to mention the cost. Nowadays, thanks to Airbnb, travelers can upgrade their experience by “booking” a house instead for a sweet price. The whole shebang is a win, win for vacationers and renters. Not so much for the hotels.
At the end of the day, technology should impact the world in a meaningful way. Ushahidi, which translates to “testimony” in Swahili, allowed Kenyans facing persecution after the 2008 election to report acts of violence in their region. Now, the app continues to serve those whose voices are drowned out by terror.