Throughout 2001, the internet buzzed with rumors of “Ginger” or simply “it,” the revolutionary future of personal transportation. It would change everything. Jeff Bezos was into it. Bono was into it. Tens of millions of dollars in venture investment had been poured into it.
Finally, in December of that year, it arrived—and the Segway debuted with a counterrevolutionary thud.
These days, Segways seldom appear outside of warehouse corridors except as a novelty, miracles of engineering conveying awkward gaggles of tourists as they hum serenely by. It’s as though the finest minds of the late 20th century envisioned a brave new world ushered in by amphibious duck tour.
Transportation is a complicated system with very strong conventions. ...