How James Bond, an abusive Parisian cabbie and one man’s frustration with going out in San Francisco led to a transport revolution

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The whole thing might not have happened without Bond – James Bond. It was mid-2008, the Canadian entrepreneur Garrett Camp had just sold his first company, the website discovery engine StumbleUpon, to eBay for $75m. Now he was living large, enjoying San Francisco’s nightlife, and when relaxing at his apartment in the city’s South Park neighbourhood, he occasionally popped in the DVD of Daniel Craig’s first Bond movie, Casino Royale.

Camp loved the movie, but something specific in it got him thinking. Thirty minutes into the film, Bond is driving his silver Ford Mondeo in the Bahamas on the trail of his adversary, Le Chiffre, when he glances down at his Sony Ericsson phone. It’s brazen product placement and by today’s standards the phone seems comically outdated. But at the time, what Bond saw on his phone startled Camp: a graphical icon of the Mondeo moving on a map toward his destination. The image stuck in his head and to understand why, you need to know more about the restless, inventive mind of Garrett Camp.

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