School of Business and Law

Inspiring journeys to work

Lecturer Asher Rospigliosi and BBC presenter Hannah Fry

Principal lecturer interviewed on BBC’s The Secret Genius of Modern Life

Principal lecturer in the School of Business and Law, Asher Rospigliosi, appeared on BBC Two’s The Secret Genius of Modern Life last night.

In this episode of The Secret Genius of Modern Life (series one, episode two), BBC presenter Hannah Fry explored the technology behind food delivery apps such as Deliveroo and Just Eat.

E-commerce expert Asher was interviewed about Michael Aldrich, an important technology entrepreneur who Asher knew.

In 1984 Videotex existed on television sets. Similar to Ceefax and Teletext, but allowing for two-way communication, Aldrich thought Videotex could be used as a way to order food and shopping by sending instructions via a phone line directly to the retailer. 

Presenter Hannah questioned Asher about how the idea came about. 

“As he told it to me, he was out walking his dog in the Sussex countryside with his wide and she said ‘we need to allow time to go to the supermarket to pick up the weekend food shop’ and he said ‘that’s a bit of a bore, wouldn’t it be nice if it was here’,” said Asher. 

“At the same time there was work going on in Newcastle about the impact of out-of-town superstores and how that was disadvantaging some people.” 

Aldrich enlisted the help of Gateshead Council to test the technology with three retailers – Tesco, Lloyds Pharmacy and Greggs. 

“What was different was the TV was connected by telephone line to the computer in the supermarket. It was two-way, that was the vital difference that let people place orders for their food,” explained Asher. 

Hannah went on to explore how food delivery has changed throughout the years, particularly after the world wide web was invented. 

Aldrich’s idea was revolutionary, but the order screen was slow and not very user friendly. When the world wide web came along, Videotex became a thing of the past.

Asher Rospigliosi is a principal lecturer, specialising in e-commerce, digital marketing and the digital economy. Find out more about his academic interests over on his research profile. 

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BBCBBC TwobroadcastDeliveroodigital economydigital marketingecommerceentrepreneurEntrepreneurshipfood deliveryJust EatMichael AldrichretailretailerstechnologyThe Secret Genius of Modern Lifetv appearanceVideotex

Zoe Cassell • November 18, 2022

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