yellow cab new yorkThe controversy Uber is causing right now prompted me to delve into the archives. Way back. Back to March 2000 when I was pitching a proposition called Peoplestaxi to the likes of 3i and Avis. It got selected for First Tuesday's "Wireless Matchmaking" events too. Here's a quick extract:

Peoplestaxi leverages the latest technologies and customer-centric e-business philosophy to deliver the ubiquitous, convenient and intelligent taxi management service for business and consumers.

... Bookings are accurate and quality is assured. Punctuality, customer relationship management, personal safety, event critical booking, full account management, multi-payment methods and community grouping are all delivered automatically, seamlessly and brilliantly.

... As Peoplestaxi restructures the taxi market, existing taxi firms will have to affiliate, find some niche or eventually die.

I'm chuffed that I managed to reference the future collaborative / sharing economy in there – "community grouping" – but perhaps that last sentence was the choicest bit of crystal ball gazing.

So how come this didn't become Uber? In short order:

  1. Smartphones hadn't been invented
  2. GPS units still cost a thousand US
  3. Oh, and the dotcom bubble burst just then, spectacularly.

I learned that the first aren't always first. The timing of disruption is a function of the disruption.