Successful technology innovations are often the final step in a chain of trials and errors stretching back years - a history littered not just with the wrong ideas but also the right ideas attempted too early. When the iPhone came along, mobile web adoption was so rapid it made the previous ten years of WAP services look irrelevant. However in 2002 it certainly didn't seem that way.
Cellectivity back then had the nicest office. An airy space, a big kitchen table, an outlook over leafy Hampstead. A family-run deli made incredible sandwiches, the son doling out double portions while his mum was out. It was a small and highly-skilled team, assembled by the ebullient founder Eithan Ephrati, and we were turning existing ecommerce sites into mobile services, WAP and SMS, using a fast flexible parsing and action framework architected by Amir.
Our customers were the mobile operators, and the first was O2. We'd promised them a fully transactional betting service, on mobile, comparing odds among four bookmakers, by the time the 2002 World Cup started at the end of May. In two weeks time. Gulp. Bit of a scramble but we made it, and the service has been running ever since (with many changes and improvements over the years).