Amit Ashkenazi is VP Business Strategy at Fiverr, and also formerly a Partner at Viola Growth. This post was written during his tenure at Viola.

At certain points in our lives, we encounter things or experiences that profoundly impact – and even completely alter – the way we act, the way we think and even our tastes and preferences. Whether we see them coming in advance or are taken by surprise, in hindsight we realize that these pivotal changes led us to a way of thinking that might have otherwise passed us by, and without them we’d be going about our lives very differently today.

The simplest example of this from my own life was how certain bands changed my taste in music. As a young boy I thought I knew what kind of music I liked, but watching video clips of Guns N’ Roses on MTV one day “opened my eyes” unexpectedly and led me to explore Rock music and eventually to become a guitar player. Guns N’ Roses were Pop/Rock enough for me to slowly shift my taste in music and to be more amenable to exploring new genres. Other bands like Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers led to a truly unanticipated exploration of Grunge and Funk music, etc. You get the point. And I’m sure that if you think about it, you could identify unanticipated influences in your own life – like songs, movies or even foods you tried – that led you to change your tastes as well.

These “Change Agents” could also be people you met along way who influenced you just enough to explore new things and develop brand new habits, and even pursue areas of study and career paths you might not have considered before.

“Change Agent” is a term mostly used in Human Resources and Organizational Behavior in reference to “an individual or group that undertakes the task of initiating and managing change in an organization.” But I believe that Change Agents exist beyond the world of HR, and are more ubiquitous in our day-to-day lives than we may realize.

In fact, I believe that these change agents also apply to the way that new technologies are adopted and developed. Here are a few examples that come to mind:

Could ICQ and Waze be responsible for the soaring number of startups created in Israel in recent years (1,400 new startups in 2015 alone, for example)?

ICQ was probably the first popular messaging app – ever. It was developed by Israeli company Mirabilis in 1996 and acquired by AOL in 1998 for approximately $400 million (an exit amount that was unheard of by Israeli standards at the time). Waze had also achieved worldwide adoption before Google acquired it in 2013 for around $1B.

The astonishing success of these two B2C companies – whose products were known and used by a huge chunk of the Israeli population – may have been just the thing that changed the mindset of Israeli entrepreneurs and encouraged them to believe that it is in fact possible to develop technologies that can lead their creators to phenomenal exits. I’m not suggesting that these two companies alone are responsible for the “change” in the mindset of our little (but mighty) Startup Nation, but their success proved that it was not only plausible but actually possible to build tech companies that can achieve success on a global scale.

Could WhatsApp be responsible for the emergence of enterprise productivity tools like Slack (rumored to be valued at $2.4B)?

For those of you who are not familiar with Slack, it’s a cloud based messaging and collaboration tool that enables teams to work on projects and communicate. Slack’s search capabilities, together with its ability to integrate with many third-party software, has allowed companies that have adopted the platform to replace email as the intra-office communication tool of choice.

Could it be that the meteoric rise of WhatsApp’s popularity led to the acceptance of ‘chatting’ (or instant messaging) also in a professional capacity, to the point where many companies now prefer it to good ‘ol email (emphasis on ‘old’) as a new, more modern communication tool?

Could Facebook be responsible for the emergence of Twitter and Instagram?

Since its launch in 2004, people have used Facebook as a platform for sharing anything, from photos, movies, links and thoughts. When it was first launched, the ability to share these types of things with a group of connections was still pretty revolutionary (LinkedIn being only 2 years old and still a budding platform itself). But Facebook’s enablement of people to become ‘social’ online, literally changed the way that people now act on a daily basis (over a billion people, in fact).

Could it be that the rise of not only Facebook’s popularity, but also of the habit of sharing content online to a group of followers, led to the development and adoption of Twitter (launched in July 2006) and Instagram (launched in October 2010)? Could it be that even Facebook itself wouldn’t have been adopted as easily, if it hadn’t been for its less popular predecessor (and eventual flop) MySpace?

Could the global economic crisis of 2008 be responsible for the rise of modern FinTech companies?

The financial crisis of 2008 caused people everywhere to lose faith in financial institutions and systems that had previously been taken for granted as “safe”. Could this be the push they needed to look for financial service alternatives that were more innovative and also cheaper? Quite possibly, if you consider the growth of FinTech investments since then:

five-year growth in fintech investment

Maybe some of these examples ring true to you, and maybe they don’t, but the point is that brand new technologies begat secondary technologies and even entire industries. There’s nothing wrong with riding the wave of something novel, many great businesses have been built on the back of existing technologies. But it’s the original, disruptive technologies, products and platforms that are the true Change Agents from which all new trends are born, influencing global mindsets and creating brand new habits. The better we get at learning to spot these Change Agents early, the better able we’ll be to predict what “next big thing” will take the tech world by storm.

More posts by Amit Ashkenazi:
From Don Draper to Sheldon Cooper: The Transformation of CMOs
Why spending big to grow a company that’s based on shaky unit economics is a lousy idea
Everything as a Service (EaaS): Why eventually we might not need to “own” anything
Raising money for your startup? Why you need to beware of inflated valuations
Love thy Competitor: Why competition can be a good thing for startups
What your approach to recruiting top talent says about you and your company (and why it really matters)
Seeking a strategic investor for your company? Here’s what you need to know