Fast Five

So much has happened in the past five years – and we’re not just talking about the debut of Extol


It’s now 2020 and the world is looking back at the past decade, but here at Extol, we’re celebrating the past five years. So here’s a look back at some of the biggest changes in the past half-decade.


The fastest changes in any era are usually in technology, and the past five years did not disappoint. Computers are getting bigger, faster, smaller and more efficient. The same can be said of our smartphones, smartwatches and smart homes and offices, which are now heading toward 5G, the first upgrade since 4G game on the scene in 2010.

Now, the technology world is regularly using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computing. Drones are used in myriad ways, and experts predict autonomous vehicles will soon be on the road more often than not. Cloud computing has become commonplace, and those pesky, easily lost flash drives have nearly become obsolete. We no longer use CDs to listen to music or DVDs to watch movies because it’s all easily accessible with streaming services.


While meatless burgers have been commonplace for years, it’s only recently that they’ve become real substitutes for meat – and meat lovers – like the Impossible Burger, which is made of soy and tastes exactly like the burgers we crave.

The company that created it, Impossible Foods, just released Impossible Pork, allowing pork lovers to enjoy their faves without the environmental and animal consequences. More people than ever are vegetarian and vegan, a designation that in the past was considered strange and only for so-called “granola types” and self-professed hippies. Whatever your diet designation, we’re lucky to live in a time with so many options.


It seems like everything we do is governed by apps in ways many of us couldn’t have imagined before. We can get an affordable ride at our doorsteps within minutes with ridesharing apps. We can get nearly anything delivered from restaurant food to groceries with the help of an app. We do our banking at our fingertips, send money to our friends, buy nearly anything imaginable and have it at our doors within a day or so.

We can find a date, check the weather, text a friend overseas and get near realtime driving directions with the touch of a finger or question to a virtual assistant. The cost of travel has come down with the advent of home sharing apps like AirB&B, VRBO and more. We can order plane tickets, book a train trip and video chat with our families and pets. New apps are being created all the time, and there’s no limit to what the future holds.


Over the past five years, climate scientists have increasingly issued dire warnings about the state of our planet and the consequences of our actions, causing teenagers – and supporters of all ages – around the world, led by then-15-year-old Greta Thunburg, to begin school strikes to draw attention to the issue.

While not everyone has gotten on board with climate change activism, many of us have at least become more aware of the issues that face our world. That means companies, cities and individuals, even, are more likely to participate in recycling programs, eco-friendly infrastructure changes and the general health of the planet.


The overwhelming majority of Americans – 96% according to Pew Research Center – own a smartphone. While the constant connectivity can be an asset, it also can mean more alone-together time with loved ones. (Alone-together time = the periods when you’re with others but don’t interact because everyone’s noses are in their phones and it’s as if you’re each alone.) While many of us can’t and don’t want to step away from our devices for too long, there’s also a growing push to dial in to your most important relationships by dialing back on your phone use and focusing on faces, not devices. At least for a bit.

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