m-Reality bites

Going through an old hard drive backup over the weekend (a spot of well-overdue housekeeping), I ran across a Word document showing how someone could – potentially – pay for a newspaper using their mobile phone.

This, of course, doesn’t sound particularly revolutionary today – mobile banking is one of the hottest topics around. But what does make it particularly interesting is the date.

1st September, 2003.

I remember talking to a few people about it back then, and showing them my ridiculously simple diagram. Of course, it wasn’t possible four years ago, and it’s only just beginning to happen now. Was this a missed opportunity? Maybe, but I’ve always maintained that “mobile for development” shouldn’t be a race, and the fact is that big guys like Vodafone were always going to have a better chance of actually executing something like this than I ever could.

m-pesa is testament to that.

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