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It’s been the Age of Unicorns for a hot minute now, with some of our everyday go-to services coming from the minds of creative unicorns that saw an opportunity to fulfill a need, and deliver immediately. They’re disrupting conventional industries as we once knew them, riding the momentum of new technology, smartphones, and users like me who wouldn’t be able to hail a cab if their life depended on it. They have us meeting strangers off the Internet and getting into cars them and sleeping in their treehouses all over the world. When I asked around the office, some of my coworkers were unaware that a lot of their favorite apps, companies, and services began as a startup.  It wasn’t really a shocker that old faithfuls like free instant messagingUber, Air BnB, Waze, and Tinder made the top ranks. Whereas technological big ideas risk being flashes in pans, failures, or just weird, as the technology that made them possible advances and grows outdated, good ideas (ideas that matter) have a tendency to transcend.

The bottom line: Disruption is in, distraction is out. The survey has spoken and it’s safe to say we no longer want to be glued to our smartphones. The apps we use the most have some common top qualities and goals: Efficiency, User Control, and Community. Their endgame is to get us to the present real life moment as efficiently as possible, even if we are just endlessly swiping right (left?) to find that perfect someone to experience that aforementioned moment with. They’re putting the user in control; letting us “rate” our meal, our driver, our host. The best ideas are disrupting old ways of doing things, making life better, taking the hiccups out of everyday inconveniences, and connecting us easier and faster.

After all, there’s always US in USER.

Below is a list of our favorite startups of all time. Give us a tweet if you think we’ve missed some gold ones.

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