The timeline for Blockchain technology that led to the creation of Ethereum looks something like this:
This was the first iteration of blockchain technology. Bitcoin is a great example of a single-purpose blockchain. The Bitcoin ecosystem was designed to do one thing very well - to facilitate the movement of Bitcoins.
Vitalik (the founder of Ethereum - El Jefe) coined the term "Swiss army knife" protocols to describe the next evolution in blockchain networks.
"Basically, come up with a list of ten or twenty features he wants to have. Make a little, tiny thing for each one of them. Stick them together into a knife. And there you go - that's your product. In this case - that's your blockchain."
The problem with this approach was that if you found another feature or use case you wanted to support after building your blockchain, there was no way to shoehorn it in.