Your Worst Internet Habit Actually Pre-Dates the Y2K Bug

Yes, really.

Unsplash / Clément H

Remember the year 2000? Britney Spears was topping the charts, Tiger Woods was racking up championships, experts were grappling with the Y2K bug, and a little-known startup called Seamless was getting a foothold. That’s right: New York’s largest takeout delivery site, with service in over 600 cities, is older than the PlayStation 2 and the fully-mapped human genome.

The site celebrated its 20th anniversary on Wednesday, leading to cries on social media of “wanna feel old?,” “that’s crazy” and “why is there a ‘20’ on your app pic?” The firm celebrated by revealing that, in its time, it’s enabled delivery drivers to collect over $1 billion in tips, covered enough miles to run the New York City Marathon three million times, and completed billions in food sales. Not bad for a service that many rank as a guilty pleasure.

The company is marking the occasion by offering one user 20 years of free Seamless, which means $100 in credit to spend each week for the next 20 years. A further 20 runners-up will receive one year’s worth of Seamless. The competition, which starts February 20 and ends February 27, is open to New York City residents over 18 that have an active individual account. To enter, users have to use the code “20YEARS” (without quotations) when ordering from a New York City restaurant. The winner is set to be announced on March 4.

“Seamless pioneered online ordering and delivery and we’ve been through it all — the good, the bad, the snowstorms, the heatwaves,” Matt Maloney, founder and chief executive officer of Grubhub, its parent firm since 2013, said in a statement.

In 20 years’ time, Seamless could find that deliveries have fundamentally changed again as robots make their way into everyday life. Starship Technologies is developing a small bot on wheels that can ferry packages to users. Amazon has also started experimenting in this space, patenting smart locks so the mailman can enter your home and drones that can drop packages straight to the buyer.

Seamless may have avoided the millennium bug, but there’s plenty more disruptive technologies on the way.

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