Today we spent most of the day trying to revise our 2-pager but eventually ended up mostly working on our vision and financials. At this point I am having trouble remembering what we did else that day but I will come back to it. I know we talked with Ben Boeser, Laura, and Shawn from Microsoft about sponsorship. But there must have been other fun stuff that happened on the ship.
DAY 77: Arrival
Today we arrived in South Africa. In the morning we went over the schedule of events. Then eventually we arrived and begun our journey.
There would be many goodbyes to mentors / learning partners as many people were getting off the ship: CAROLINE; COLMAN; BEN; KAMRAN; SHAWN; REHAN
We met Sean for lunch who runs Unknown Union, a design and fashion shop, or international collective. It’s pretty cool. We had lunch nearby and eating real food and vegetables was so nice.
We picked up a rental car from Avis, and although we asked for the cheapest available option, we ended up getting a nice yellow Fiat convertible. It was Easter week so I believe that most of the cars were taken.
The Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant, is currently the only commercial one in the country, and the sole commercial one in the entire African continent.
We drove to Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant but every road we tried to enter on, we got blocked off. But there is a Nature Reserve right next to the power plant, in essence, protecting the land around it. But the Nature Reserve was closed after 4 PM, so we would return in the following days. Instead, we went to the beach and tried to swim in the freezing cold water.
In the evening, we headed over to the house of NIKE Foundation, for a party near the beach, there.
CAMPS BAY ST. YVES BEACH CLUB, THE PROMENADE, VICTORIA ROAD
DAY 78: PROTEI WINS SAP PITCH EVENT
The event was really interesting, a great mix of people, including a number of SAP leaders, businessmen, environmentalists, activists, and creatives. We presented our pitch, in the operatic style that we had prepared, and although experimental, it went over really well.
Protei ended up winning the award for the best pitch, which was awarded with an amazing dinner a few nights later with superstars such as Prince Fahad of Saudi Arabia, KamRan, Matt Mullenweg (founder of Facebook)…
Then we had dinner at La Colombe, which I heard is the # 1 restaurant in South Africa. It was surely very fine food.
Day 79: Shuttleworth Foundation, Woodstock Studios, Moyo
We head to the Shuttleworth Foundation in the morning.
Then we head to Woodstock, to meet Ralph Borland. His studio is amazing and we met some guys working in the same studio complex, from Thingking. They’re doing super cool work:
And the hooked us up with some really great folks we met the next couple days.
Day 80: Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant, UTC Electrical Engineering,
Day 81: Joe from North Sails, RLabs, Dinner with Prince Fahad & Matt Mullenweg
Bridge Town & RLABS:
Day 82: Moving Sushi, mapping coral reefs & departure from Cape Town
We met with guys from Moving Sushi, who had just returned from a 5 month voyage called Marine Transect , where they sailed around the African coast lines mapping coral reefs and fish using stereoscopic video technology made by Sea GIS.
It was amazing hearing about their journeys and their research, and gave me much insight into using / developing stereoscopy for research and science.
Then we head back to the ship but on the way had one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had, award winning from Rwanda. And we ate an amazing feast of fruit, cheese, and bread from the NewTown Bakery where we took breakfast.
I hung out with Emma again, and showed her some of my work. It’s rare here I get to chat with anyone about conceptual work so it was nice.
The weather also has cooled immensely.
I’m still trying to download the adafruit Occidentalis disk image to begin using Raspberry Pi but 0.9 megabytes being downloaded on this ship is totally impossible
Workshop with Kamran and Caroline on leading and organizing companies
Caroline’s 10 top tips on Team Building
1.do what you do best: BE CLEAR WHAT YOU”RE GREAT AT
2. Only the best : always recruit people better than you
3. fIT OVER FUNCTION
4. keep the people that SHARE THE VSIOSN : also, get clear what is the vision
5. MIX IT UP: as in gender and other
6. Plan Dinner (you have to enjoy who you are spending time around people you work with)
7. Let them run (hard to do but have to let peole have their freed and give feedback and have checkins)
8. 1×1=4 – the concept of the multiplier – a multiplier of talent vs the opposite
9. laugh a lot
KamRan on startups:
How do you hire the definition of best? first you have to understand their environment – startup – change, inertia, layers of management -
- in astart up you’re immersed with others who are making decisions AS fast as you are, no time for analysis. It is full of highs, full of lows. Revenue is plotted in a jagged line, but if you plot it monthly, it is full of ups and downs; The higher resolution, the quicker are the spikes at rapid fire.
1. characteristics: highly intelligent – need smart people to solve hard problems
2. smart person will find a solution sooner or later
unfortunately finding a solution and having it become real, there is a huge gap , so PERSEVERENCE is key
3. problem – lots of ups and downs – if you find out when it is happening and start to look for solutions when it turns around quickly – if you don’t know about it , and no one talks about the problem, it take s awhile – so HONESTY is important
Moshe and I continued to work on Aprisi website idea (connecting artists with people’s homes to make curated works). Then Cesar and I chose some music for our pitch delivery in South Africa – we were basically writing an opera, not a pitch.
I spoke with Ivana and it was really great to do that.
Today we had a workshop on our pitches. We got some really good feedback. Cesar and I ended up redoing our slides. It is going to be epic. We composed an opera, not a slide deck…
We were also introduced to Ed Sobey who is going to act as our new mentor. He is the oceanography professor who can do 27+ pullups. He has written many books, “The way toys work” and 26 other books, and his life mantra is: Live Curious
Pitches, a workshop by Shawn Wright, from Microsoft Xbox Kinect Creative Director
1. name and co
2. driving idea – big vision, OLC – everything supports this (wholistic vision)
3. why do we need this? don’t get caught up in details; take audience on a journey -
4. how are we going to do this – yes, it’s possible i’ll show you how ; why is this important
5. FEATURE A:
6. FEATURE B.
7. Feature C: what is the magic, this is the KYEY difference between other things
8. GO BACK : to your holistic picture:
10. COMPETITION – why you are different; what is there opportunity in this space
11. BUSINESS MODEL
12. WHAT WE NEED: what is your ask? what do you want them to walk away with – keep it clean and simple, what do YOU need to make it successful (the seinfeld effect – take it around to people, see how they react)
In the evening, Moshe walked me through the website layout and we made a plan for the next couple days: write out the “transactions” that occur between the customer and client, and the entire web experience; in preparation for the next day to draw out a wireframe for the entire website. Cesar and I had a meeting with Bill from Dragon Innovations which was extremely helpful into the nuances and challenges we will have to deal with when it comes to manufacturing.
Then Cesar and I worked through a new slide deck, watched some Die Antwoorp do get into the mood for South Africa.
At 3:00 AM we were supposed to have a meeting with Bill from Dragon Innovations to talk about manufacturing in China. He had to postpone the meeting so I ended up going back to sleep in the Glazer Lounge for another few hours, although at about 4 AM the staff came and cleaned it up, but it didn’t last for too long. Then at 6 AM, Moshe and I had a meeting via Skype with Tom and Lucille to prototype the Art Commission website, called Aprisi, that we are working on together. It was a good meeting. I skyped with Jack about the possibility of applying to the Science Gallery show, Illusions, and it was super to chat with him. I went back to sleep for an hour, then woke up to have a meeting on deck 5. Little did I know that the pull up contest was happening now, and I wish I’d have been there to represent team Luna-Sea (ie the staff and faculty team).
Today was the Olympics. That means that lots of people, all day were participating in shipwide competitive events, including “frozen tee shirt contest”. It was an extremely nice day to remain in the classroom 1 and work quietly on a lot of work. At the end of the day, Cesar was displaying the movie WE ARE MANY in the Union for the students. After, I went to the toocan lounge and danced to K3$HA or whatever. It was good.
Here’s some of what I worked on besides Protei and a bit of grant writing and preparing work etc..
Basically just getting opencv working with Cinder and messing around with some of the cinder examples, OSC, etc.
In order to install OpenCV for Cinder, navigate to your /blocks directory:
gabriellas-MacBook-Air:~ gabriellalevine$ cd /Users/gabriellalevine/Documents/cinder_master/Cinder/blocks
Then do :
gabriellas-MacBook-Air:blocks gabriellalevine$ git clone git://github.com/cinder/Cinder-OpenCV.git opencv
Cloning into 'opencv'...
remote: Counting objects: 1217, done.
remote: Compressing objects: 100% (638/638), done.
remote: Total 1217 (delta 596), reused 1101 (delta 480)
Receiving objects: 100% (1217/1217), 175.04 MiB | 21 KiB/s, done.
Resolving deltas: 100% (596/596), done.
This took me 3 tries and 24 hours because of the slow internet, but finally I got it installed and can begin to work with Cinder OpenCV. I wonder if I will want to continue to use Kyle’s OpenFrameworks OFxCV rather than cinder’s opencv, but I’ll mess around with them both and figure out which platform will support what I am trying to do.
I also found out who is on our network, because they are deciding that students have been hijacking our internet (and we’re about the change the password).
To do this, I : 1. installed homebrew:
ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/mxcl/homebrew/go)"
2 installed nmap;
gabriellas-MacBook-Air:blocks gabriellalevine$ brew install nmap
3. sudo nmap -sn 10.200.10.0/24
In the morning, Cesar went to the Arch’s last-minute Fireside Chat in order to try to ask him some questions pertaining to the film,
At 11:30 we met with Kamran and chatted until workshop at 13:00.
two pager deep dive with Colman and Kamran: honing in on Protei’s identity
We have some feedback and things to work on, mainly too cluttered towards the second page, the images need to be sexier, the logo looks like a Mexican hat, etc.
The biggest takeaway : What is the BIG ONE LINE CLAIM? that is universal, powerful. Also, perhaps a 2 tiered approach to the business model: we are selling hobby / play / leisure market in order to eventually sell to corporate, gov’t, to have environmental impact, big data. So two tiered approach to reach our goal of environmental cleanup.
work in the glazer lounge
In the evening, most of the ship was preparing to get ready for the BIG OLYMPIC GAMES. I stayed in the Glazer Lounge working, and ended up staying there all night long, as it was an awesome spot to do work as well as have a beer.
There are some grants we are working on, and follow up from the 2-pager workshop.
Colman came for a while to brainstorm more about the big, one liner that is captivating and universal – Who is protei, what is the big claim: Virgin Oceanica: the HOOOVER of the ocean; thenext frontier; the ocean roomba; OLC: uncovering the undiscovered… etc
Then I slept there, but only for an hour or so because I had skype meetings all night long.
Today we are somewhere here, heading south west from Mauritius making our way south around Madagascar and towards Africa coast, through the Indian Ocean.
Their boats reminded me of a small robot boat I made (and taught guys to make at a workshop at the Science Gallery, Dublin, Trinity College) :
Also I published this on Instructables
We had a meeting with Rehan Hasan, the resident attorney on board.
We of course have many IP and legal questions, especially considering that we are in the midst of completing a Protei-specific Open Hardware Licence with Andrew Katz.
Open Hardware: build business to fail, build technology for the environment
We do not want anyone to put us out of business : as in, steal our tech and patent it so we cannot any longer make flexible hull sailboats with segmented bodies. We DO want people to copy and produce and distribute our technology. How do we protect ourselves for this. can we do it with a license
–>License : what does this protect – i.e. cern open source hardware license to protect documentation ownership and distribution of the “electronic / hardware” product
–is a license just a social framework / agreement or is this actually protecting you for the technology
–What are the implications of publishing documentation about the technology ?
–>does this make it impossible for others to NOT patent… does this protect us in any way?
Some IP questions from the past:
2 what are the implications of a patent on electronics? if it is open source
3 can we / should we file for provisional patents?
4 What does a patent do: protect against anyone else that tries to do what we’re doing? from taking our tech and putting us out of business?
5 How do we ensure we can monetize this technology before anyone else?
6 Shall we find a specific IP lawyer?
7 how do we stay true to open source, perhaps we cannot get a patent because then it is just free, but not open?
8 can you patent just one part of the technology and the rest is open source? will this help with funding?
9 if we publish our paper in a journal, does this suffice for protecting us against others who try to patent our technology?
4 types of protection: copyright, patent, trademark and tradesecret. Tradesecret is the only type of protection that you don’t apply for. For example, the recipe for coca cola, which is TRADESECRET, confidential. As soon as information is public info, it ceases to be proprietary because it’s in the public general knowledge. Open source means that it is published in general public knowledge, so that someone else cannot claim it as their own. So therefore, protection might come from publishing it, and making it accessible.
A LICENSE? what does it do?
It sets up general guidelines, but doesn’t force someone because we dont own it if the community makes it, it is their IP.
It sets up guidelines about : Liability issues and protections – how to get paid, warranty, limit damages, limit liability,
you can have a royalty or a license fee
Segmenting companies with different industries, geographies, assets, IP, and missions insulates liability and risk. For example, an investor can invest in one or many, or a holding company. Segmenting earlier is better. And you build in culture: control your branding strategically and thoughtfully.
workshop: intros and legal discussion
Chris from Microsoft;
Kamron – angry birds, ~5000 out of 29M users; only created technologies that brought humans closer. Now interested in : god 2.0 and self organized mesh networks using 2d technology, non regulated hi bandwidth networks, resolve power way from government pass it onto the masses.
Reyan Hassan – attorney in Denver; Entrepreneur himself, involved with venture community
Caroline from Nike.
George gives the brief of what we should prepare for the global design entrepreneurship class, but Protei opts not to be involved with the next brainstorming design challenge.
A simple framework to design good design challenges : usually people think we’re designing a thing (a lamp, a wallet) but what about service, policy etc… Try to just add the word “experience”.
REDEISTIGN BLANK experience BLANK.
Here are a couple of examples: redesign the solar cooking experience while camping. Redesign the school experience for a new students.
Redesign the investors experience for learning about prakti stoves.
IP MEETING / Workshop:
usually the answer is: it all depends.
The roadmap: the lifecylce of a business: with every company the timing changes – but by and large, it starts with:
1. the formation of the company, entry point (c corp, llc etc)
2. Doing business: form as an entity, start doing business: do contracts so you get paid through service you do, and widgets you sell
3. constructing the business – get IC and employees
5. incentivising and keeping the employees
4. scale up, take outside investment, bring it to the next level – funding from friends, family, private equity, consumer, bank loans
6. your exit: sales to third party, pass down to family, sell to employees…
There’s no such thing as a wasted experience if you learned.
We spent the rest of the day and night working a grant proposal for Think Beyond Plastic and developed our slide deck:
In the morning we had a “deep dive” with the mentors and learning partners about Protei short term next steps, but we dove deep into some tough questions about the business models, long term goals, funding strategies etc.
Some topics: how to increase durability of platform; focus our efforts so it has social value; What apps do customers go after so we can support those businesses? What does it mean that Protei is technologically superior? Self righting, communication system doesn’t break, weather resistant / water proof. Lateral lift , act like a wing in the water
Where is the payload? sensors above water, sensors below water, sensors that need to be reeled in / pulled up
-application attributes: ie, surveillance: 6 m boat, line of sight, 2 tons of payload; 1m boat, sensors in a shoebox, sensors below water
-do you want to put your foot on the gas now or not? no. why wait? not for leverage but for conviction. And by the way, you can never take out the gamble.
-how to get to a robust product, how to target 1st user base; so that that first user base can help us lead to the next customer base, so that they eventually lead to the next customer, so that our involvement with those people help get to the next platform, to get to a more robust platform. And where do we get capital? around step three – leading to the next customer. If we undercapitalize too long, we might never get to where you are going. How can you be fastest to iterate? And then, how do you manage capital to make sure you have the greatest impact? Look internally for core tech, and Incentivize community: but how?
IE: mozilla – non profit significantly profitable organization, delivers a product that works to scale. It sounds open source : for poetry and pragmatic sake: The phoilosphy is open but everything important comes in house
how does this open strategy help you to : maintain focus, advance the product, get customers to lead to other customers? The business dev/ loop: helps ID applications and advance the technology. How does this help you do this better?
Also here is Daniel Epstein’s cool photo from Cesar and I getting on the ship in India and later getting rejected from bring our glue, epoxy, and resin on board.
We had a 1 hour deep dive with the learning partners and mentors on the Protei financials. We brought them our projected inputs / outputs for the next years of Protei. We showed them our projected models of financial input and outputs. We got a lot of input and questions about transforming from scrappy moving forwards to putting the “gas pedal” down in order to raise capital to get big quick. It is interesting to hone in on which customers will help move our technology along the fastest for the next set of customers. For example, we must focus most on our core technology, then use the applications of the technology platform as the ASSETS of Protei Inc, and therefore, we will prosper from the community and must have a robust community website. Besides equity, what companies would be willing to be a corporate donor for big ocean data… Google? Shell? BP? We do not necessarily need a pilot because this will immediately put a limit around our technology. At first, most of the feedback was: more money, better team, make the market, create demand, focus, get 75% of your time back-have someone commercially out there creating demand / BD person; understand the market; give market feedback; commercially savvy expert; can create demand; give product feedback. So we got urged to change the customer: drop the hobbyist, recognize what you are doing is outside the value; push to do other markets for data and operations, and place value over advantages. the margin is HUGE because you’ve solved it at a big scale so the price point should come after (the price is MORE than the parts)
so for now:
everything is focused on small grants (scrappy), not big equity investors.
1. income statements; profit and loss;
2. balance sheet – shows your assets, specific point in time how much asset you have
3. cash flow statement – what cash do you have in the bank today and what’s it going to look like
Then we had a meeting with the ship captain about not disagreeing about bring stuff for building on the ship. How can SAS (semester at sea) and UAS (unreasonable at sea) work together?
ALso I am happy that Modi gave me some mango treats, thanks Abishek! I’m obsessed with salty Indian pickles. and I ate some fish from Heather, Thanks Heather!
In the afternoon, we had a meeting with Tom Clayton, and it was really helpful. One thing he said is that: if her were to do what we are, he’d think big, think fast: raise big capital, form a big team, move fast. If we want to change the world, you have to build it up big and move fast. It is ok to prioritize for a few years, and be scrappy and run a lower cost startup. Also, beware of “cultural attrition issues” with one person who might bring the entire team down.
Tom’s five rules to running business, especially in Singapore:
1. Be Positive
2. hire the ABSOLUTE BEST, always smarter than yourself
3. Be Scrappy – think of creative ways to do things.
4. Maniacal focus on the end user
5. take initiative, move fast, fail fast
Today was the day that the MV explorer crossed the equator. There is a festival that happens at 8 AM in the morning as we are crossing from the northern to the southern hemisphere. This is what happens:
Many people : 1 shaved their head, and 2. jumped into a pool of fish guts then kissed the fish. I dont know the history behind the tradition but I decided to do work during that time. So I caught up on some work while there were brown waters of fish guts floating around the seventh deck of the ship.
Desmond Tutu and George Kembel getting a haircut:
The rest of the day I spent in room 5021 doing work, did some deck of cards in the evening, and that’s about all I remember. In the evening I hung out with the Badgers in Jesse’s room.
We arrived into Mauritius Port, Port Louis, in the morning around 8. Cesar and I stayed on the ship working in the morning until around 12:30, then head off with Daniel for a run, straight up the mountain.
At first we got urged to take a cab to the base ($50 USD!!, super expensive here), but it turns out the base of the hill was about a 7 minute jog. So we jogged to the base then bushwacked our way directly uphill.
The brush was as high as me, and I was swimming through the grass to carve the path. I got nearly 1000 mosquito bites and later noticed some scratches on my shoulder that I hadn’t much noticed, but waiting online for reentering the ship, the students definitely noticed because they assumed it was an encounter with a coral reef (as mostly everyone from the MV Explorer / Semester at Sea fled to the beaches for our 8 hours in Mauritius.
Finally, we made it to the electric lines / satellite tower on the top, and sure enough, there was a paved road that leads directly up to the top. We had started to doubt that there was even a road up there.
It is quite a colorful city, and we could see our ship in the distance.
An interesting phenomena is all the “snail” shells that we were seeing as we walked upwards. We assumed they were from the ocean years prior, but as there were so many intact “seashells” it just made sense that actually, there are lots of giant land snails.
We head down the paved road, Daniel ran back to make it back to the ship on time, and Cesar and I walked through the town, passing through the “old city” along the way. I call it old city because it had many old stone buildings and churches.
It’s quite a colorful city.
And we passed by a radioactivity testing center, so we went inside to ask for more information, and it turns out that: xrays are a new technology for Mauritius Island, so they have just been open for 6 years, mostly aimed at hospitals and dentist offices. Not exactly the type of radioactivity from nuclear power plants that Protei is aimed at tackling with the Safecast Geiger counters, but perhaps something to consider in the future…
We grabbed a whole lot of fruit (apples, peaches, plums) as well as salt / pepper covered star fruit. This was so good. I saw some ripened starfruits on some trees in the town and in people’s backyards. Lucky.
Mauritius seems like a really interesting mix of Indian, Asian, African, and French / Caucasian. It seems quite touristy, like a resort town. I still do not know much about it, but I had a great few hours.
On the way back to the ship, we stopped at the “duty free center” thinking that hopefully we’d be able to grab some last minute alcohol and use up our Mauritius rupees, but instead, it was an extremely fancy, expensive shop selling rugs, precious stone jewelry, tapestries, and cashmere scarves for thousands of Euros. One of the sales guys was both looking at me questioningly – sweaty all over, mosquito-bitten, and bloody shoulder from brush scratches – yet he still kept persisting “don’t you want to try on some jewelry?”. As if I was ready to spend 10K Euros on some precious stone adornments.
Here is the hill we just ran up, and here are some guys fishing right at the drainage. I think.
We walked back to the ship, got into a slight encounter with a drunk guy right outside the port, walked through the restricted gates, waited online with the students to get on board. People were worried because, as the line was so long but the 6 o’clock deadline was approaching, they might both arrive late on board and get dock time, and miss the burgers being served on the 7th deck BBQ that ended at 6PM. It’s a nice ploy to get students on board by the deadline. Apparently, so many students returned to the ship drunk that they were overflowing the drunk tank (with 26 patients!).
In the evening, we had a Town Hall meeting, and most significantly, introduced many new folks:Julie: a global traveller, waiting to hear about being a fulbright scholar
Kamron: adventurer, charity, former VC
Reyan: IP lawyer
Caroline: from nike foundation; branding, GM , lived / worked in europe , s. america , canada, sailing enthusiast
Sean – creative director microsoft
Debrief about the 1 hour “deep dive” sessions with the mentors and the individual companies: people generally like the 1 hour sessions with the entrepreneurs. Colman mentioned that the guys who showed up with something on paper were able to get far help, so do your homework. So we will continue to work in these 1 hour sessions as they are: intense, get everyone together, effective, and allow for good feedback. Perhaps 90 minutes will be ideal.
We continued to head West through the Arabian Sea, along the coast of Somalia.
Here is our schedule for the rest of the voyage.
Deep Dive with Damascus Fortune
Cesar and I caught up : I filled him in on Bangalore and he filled me in on Kochi and showed me the equipment he bought. In the evening, we spent a bit of time trying to catch up on our budget / business model (money in, money out) for the short, medium and long term based on different financial scenarios.
Then we had another nice sunset:
Photo Credit to Pedro.
Here is some press that has come out about Protei at Startup Center Design Thinking workshop with Unreasonable Kochi:
Business Model Protei
We had a 1 hour “deep dive” session on the Protei Business Model.
Design Entrepreneurship class final
We got the final projects from each of the three groups working with Protei.
Recap of the stories:
* joe is a college student on stumbleUpon reviewing the hot topics and sees a new post of Protei.org. He thinks, “how can this contribute to my marine biology skills? i know science and marine bio, it’s cool but i’m hesitant” So he watches the intro video. The whole point of the video is empowerment : failure doesn’t exist, even an avg joe can do it and use the technology. The problem for protei is that people are scared to buy it, it is a significant $ burden for students; everyone is capable but we want them to be inspired enough to actually purchase it.
* Jerry is passionate about enviro issues ; he is smart and curious individual; jerry learned about protei; and loved the idea about open source tech; it felt daunting that he couldn’t use it but then he learned through the website by clicking on “scientist” that you do not have to be a protei expert to use a protei boat; jerry gains knowledge and success.
The idea is that we can empower and approach someone by taking a different approach for each demographic – get students and scientists to design boats themselves and have easy to use tutorials to get students to buy a boat.
* [This seems quite lonely to me and I love tech the most when I work socially]
* A lonely fisherman, Carter, buys Protei for him and his grand-daughter; play and share: both old and young, parent and child – work together. What people invest in and what people enjoy. Together in a social collaborative activity they feel that they can change the world – build data add ons mapp the ocean. The intersection between the old and the new, with the feeling that they’re making the wold a little bit better – a combination of both – like freeRice.com.
And we had another nice sunset again
Photo credit to Ben Gallagher
I worked out with Daniel and Evan pretty late, and we delved into the zip code system…a confidential game.
The next 6 days we are on the water from India to Mauritius: we will spend the next few days gaining clarity on our business model, financials, etc. The next three mornings mentors & learning partners will spent 1 hour with each company going over:
Day 1. Business model
Day 2. Off day
Day 3. Basic Financials
Day 4. Timeline:where aer you now, where are you pushing towards?
Deep Dive with Aquaphytex
Then we had a deep dive into Aquaphytex in the morning, 9:30-12:30. It was really interesting. Pedro discussed some of his issues and long term visions, and the biggest challenge is that they seem to differ with his partner’s long term visions. Profit versus worldwide impact, social benefit, and keeping his core team of employees. So we spent the first 1.5 hours understanding the issues, then spent the next 1.5 hours putting ourselves in Pedro’s position and trying to brainstorm together in three groups of 4 people, how to move ahead with Pedro’s company if we were him.
It is nice to have Tom Clayton back on board because he is super helpful, piercing at times, and asks amazing questions.
Design Thinking Class, student review
In the afternoon, we had the design thinking class session with George, and the students had prepared more work on Protei and our broad, open-ended question about engaging the open hardware community through a website and gamification platform.
The interesting things I took out of it:
Group 1: most people didn’t understand at first what Protei is, what the technology is, and a quicker way of explaining it to people will be beneficial. Most people do not feel comfortable with technology and therefore feel fearful to get one so an “empowerment video” would be the best next step in order to engage people to take the next step : from interest to actually purchasing one.
Group 2. They prototyped a game. Making a website as a hub for activity using gamified methods of technology to incentivize people to change the world is what will be useful. People didn’t necessarily love the game aspect but what is most important is the SOCIAL aspect.
That afternoon and evening I spent trying to catch up with work and documentation.
Finally I got the package from Heather from that had travelled from Brooklyn to LA (Laura’s house) to Bangalore (from Laura’s hotel to Taylor’s room in the service center) to Kerala Kochi with Taylore onto the MV explorer. I finally got it from Taylor’s room. The weird thing is it was opened completely, but I still ate the swedish gummi shoes, despite being mysteriously opened.
I went to Jaaga first thing in the morning and met Yashas who runs Hackteria.
I also met Ron who is an artist in residence at Shrishti funded by the goethe-institut, from Berlin.
Then I went to lunch at a Korean restaurant, tried to go to SP road but most of the electronics shops were closed, so I returned to Jaaga to meet up with Archana. Meanwhile, a start up festival / meetup was occurring at Jaaga, where there were a lot of guys who I had met at the start up festival.
Later on the way back to the hotel I passed by FABINDIA and then met Min and Minh at the hotel and together made our way to Punjabi by Nature where the rest of the Unreasonable team was meeting, and already eating.
After eating, we went back to the Service Center and caught a night bus headed to Kochi, at 10:30. We arrived at 7:30 in the morning back in Kochi, at the port. That day in Kochi I ate breakfast and then we went around Kochi by bike.
First we picked up the package of sweatshirts and tee shirts, sitting at the JM BAXI Post Center from ALMA MATER that we had ordered, then we went “shopping” in Fort Cochin, where we met Modi, Kashe, Shira and Taylor. We went back to Fabindia then another store. Then we ate a delicious lunch.
Then we took the ferry to the mainland and went to the store where Cesar had visited the first day in Kochi, where Cesar had later purchased resin and epoxy, catalyst and accelerator. But he was disallowed to bring it on board the MV explorer without proper documentation so we returned and got paper documentation of each chemical. It took a LONG while while to get print outs of the test reports from each chemical. Probably around 2 hours. We were getting angry and a bit impatient.
Then we head to purchase the remaining items, aluminum rods for the mast, tupperware containers for holding the nano-filler beads that were just packed in a cardboard box and would fly everywhere, etc.
We realized that we were running late and SPED across Kochi to the bike rental place, then head back in a TUkTUk to the port. We arrived in time but unfortunately, when we returned to the MV explorer, we were not allowed to bring ANY of these items on board, so the entire afternoon’s worth of equipment gathering was fruit-less.
We had dinner then had a town hall meeting, welcoming returning folks : tom clayton, ben from Nike Foundation, Laura Edwards back from TED LA, Modi from Damascus Fortune… and one new learning partner from Microsoft. Then we did some work and before sleeping, we tried on our sweatshirts and tee shirts.
We had a meeting via Skype with Scott from Dragon Innovations, and learned that they actually act as what represents the “manufacturing intermediary company” for us, and they work with companies from all over the world who are manufacturing, in China. They also provide a design review process, which I am specifically curious about learning more about what this entails for Protei.
And here are a few more photos from the Kerala start up village event from Cesar’s photo stream:
Here is a video that Matt and Oli made of Protei in Vietnam
And here is Bangalore’s famous SP ROAD ELECTRONICS MARKET:. This is a great post from Ron, who I met at Jaaga about the cool spots to get electronics in Bangalore, and here is a follow up post with some more info.
Here is SP Road:
In the morning, first thing, I went to Jaaga while the rest of the Unreasonable team went to a panel with about 200 Entrepreneurs in the audience, with Daniel, Catlin, Abbie, Ken.
Jaaga is a shared workspace / incubator / artist creative hack space, founded by Archana and Freeman, and it is made out of one of Freeman’s modular ikea-like structures. It is super cool to hang out, work, meet people, and drink a coffee or lime soda.
I met Anders Sandell, who graduated in 2002 from ITP, and has since moved to Bangalore, runs Tank and Bear, a creative design company in Bangalore, and he just released to the app store JORGITS.
“The Jörgit’s home planet, Jöerg, is becoming too cold for them. Fortunately, they’ve discovered a planet nearby which is rapidly heating up. They plan a mission to Earth and set out for the balmy Hawaiian Islands. During the expedition there is a mishap and they crash into the sea outside of Helsinki in themiddle of winter.”
This is the trailer for our upcoming children’s app: Jörgits and the End of Winter.
And here are some of the Jorgits characters:
Then I went to meet the rest of Unreasonable at the Start up Festival, Bangalore:
Later that evening we went to UB City for drinks and dinner.
We arrived in Bangalore in the morning, at the Service Center where we were staying. Many of us had our own rooms, and it was nice there. We grabbed some breakfast there as provided to us then I spent some time preparing for the next day’s pitch event, Bangalore start up festival.
We learned quickly that “Indian time” means generally 1.5 hours late, so instead of leaving the service center at 11:30 we left at 1:15, and by the time we arrived at 1:45 to the INKTalk offices where we were invited to lunch, I had to leave immediately for Srishti.
I had lots of cell phones and wifi hubs but I was not able to use any sim Card. In India it takes 24 hours before you can activate a sim card, then it takes a few hours after that, but additionally, you cannot activate a sim card from another state than the one you bought it in. So that was going to be problematic for me as I purchased it in Kerala and now was in Bangalore.
And you have to get a passport photo in order to get a sim card. Wow regulations. So I unexpectedly didnt have really a way to get in contact with anyone or the google maps I expected, nor were offline maps working but it was fine. Taking the rickshaw auto’s seems good enough. It is interesting that there are just areas of the city, but no real addresses – Karnataka, Koramangala, etc. So it took about 1 hour to get to Srishti from the inkTalk offices, in a dusty Auto ride.
I arrived at Srishti, first to the wrong campus (because there are three venues within a few kilometers from each other), but then arrived at the correct campus and met Shika. She introduced me to some folks then I gave a short talk to about 50 people, and people showed extreme interest in water-related issues, open source DIY hardware kits / sensors (for example, a bio sensor measuring arsenic in the waters), and community mapping projects. I got some suggestions about meeting people at NCBS and other environmental groups. I met Sharath from Hackteria / Dorkbot etc, who eventually gave me a ride to where Jaaga is. From there, I tried to find a store where they could help me with my sim card, and I actually ended up getting a ride from a nice girl on her motorcycle to the cell phone store, but unfortunately it was closed. So I went back to the main road to try to catch a bus to Shiva’s house for the party in Karnataka.
At that time, it was dark, and many auto’s wouldn’t take me, but then some guy helped me get an auto and gave Shiva a call. Although crazy traffic, I ended up getting there alright, although it took me about 1/2 hour to find the right place. I entered during the performances.
So there were performances for a few hours then eventually we ate a delicious feast dinner on a big plate with bread and lots of delicious yellow and green sauces and rice that was super sour and delicious and spiced.
We woke up, met Matt and Oli, took a rickshaw to rent a motor bike, went shopping, got lunch, found electronics, plastics, etc.
First we tried to rent a bicycle but could not find a decent one. Then we found a motorbike.
And we drove around and went to the markets; It is insanely colorful in the streets and in the markets and I love it.
We followed Matt and Oli in the Tuk Tuk, stopped to see an elephant, walked around in the market area to look for plastics and toys, and then went to get lunch.
We walked around in a food market a bit and saw so so much trash everywhere. My feeling was that it is just in the culture to discard waste in the waters and the streets. we also passed by a giant banana market. It smelled so putrid.
Then back to the ship, and I took the night bus from Kerala to Bangalore, leaving at 9 PM and arriving at around 9 AM.
Arrival to Kochi, Kerala
We arrived in the morning, went through customs, then finally got off the ship in Kochi, Kerala, and head via bus to Start up Village, on the outskirts of Kochi, in Kerala. We arrived to Startup Village and got a huge welcome, with delicious lunch with delicious coconuts cut open to drink out of straws.
We each gave a pitch but it was really informal, unlike the Pecha Kucha we expected because the slides were hard to see. So it was relaxed and quite comfortable, and we talked about our companies to the rest of the group.
Then Carly led the Design Thinking session.
And we broke into workshop groups, and then there were talks that continued the following few hours. We met some really cool people at Startup Village and saw the entire space and the structure that Freeman built of modular elements.
Afterwards, we went to the after party at the Dream Hotel for the afterparty:
Afterwards, Jessie and I ate some cup – of – noodles and met Loosy Goosy, the new lifelong learner who is a practicing clown who arrived on board. She talked to us for quite a long time, but unfortunately I haven’t seen her since.
Talk 2 with Abby
We talked again with Abby about some amazing resources in HK and getting involved with some Universities there.
Deep Dive with GURUGI
brainstorming for a name
Here’s some press about Protei, japan: Protei on wired japan.
Notes on Visual Thinking
I sat in on a meeting with Cesar, George and Daniel and this is what I took away from it:
1. How can we use that engine [creative design thinking and empathy, I think] to create the biggest impact?
2. how do you define change? change = change people’s lives for the better, or advance your practice; for lasting transformation
3. the unreasonable institute seems to be working as an experiment, but what if took a more portfolio approach to think about an evolution than trajectory
INSTITUTION – parallel to what VIRGIN has done, But think of: inc, fast co, CNN: They haven’t built anything they just have become powerful off of other’s work
4. Every question is around impact; But the first time we filmed the institute it was only about impact ; there was no bigger picture – but it got bigger if we realized that the BRAND was the asset
-is impact your greatest goal?
5. entrepreneurship is the force for change
6. nurturing the potential in the innovator
7. entrepreneurship: that word is bad because it leaves out teacher, politician; but if you can nurture creative potential of all of the people then you can unlock much more potential. Not everyone is a designer from a professional perspective – but other people can think like designers. Everone has the responsibility to be innovative. We try to identify the need.
8. Here we try to : nurture the creative potential of innovators who nurture the creative potential in innovators, so you can collaborate as a team. learning is the curve to be on.
[INTERRUPTED FOR A EMERGENCY DRILL]
Brainstorming with Abby on Protei in Hong Kong, and Philanthropic investment
Protei in Hong Kong as a foreign company, as a HK based co., or as a subsidiary. We can get help, as a”social business”, such as a company secretary, to set up the company and taxes for a few thousand HK dollars per year.
How do we find the right partner for manufacturing? finding the right partner can be challenging; Ideally you have someone who speaks chinese to go with you.
On the Funding side:
-HK government grants are starting to change the requirements so we don’t have to be set up as a HK charity. Protei is eligible for HK government funding and it is open to foreign entrepreneurs. You can set up a HK company without staff right away but you have to say that you plan to create jobs and map out the next year and financials.
More on visas and work permits…
Big suggestion: Don’t set up as a for profit if you aren’t looking for investors – if you plan to reinvest the profits into R&D, then set up as a company limited by guarantee. You can’t have shareholders, or take investors, and you apply for tax free status. This tax exempt status will make you eligible for lots of diff types of funding.
Protei is a good fit for venture philanthropy.
Brainstorming with Catlin
We talked for a long while on HK, loans from the government, HK Science and Tech park, structuring the companies and HK for profit / not for profit setups; We learned about how Catlin structures OED and all of the companies within, in US and HK. It was extremely interesting and informative and I really look forward to learning more from her. It was super useful to learn from her how she structures OED.
1. r&d, grants from govt or competitions, ie in HK serap – 2 years, 1.2 million : [most companies die here at the end]
2. then manufacturing – they’ll pay 50% up front, revenue and loans; loans from hsbc and local banks: [most companies then die at the end here]
3. third stage – growth and payback; profit or investment leads to growth (this is where investors make good partners)
DEEP DIVE with SOLAR EAR and TENDEKAYI
HOW DO I CHANGE THE WORLD?
KEN: Maybe we cannot change the world. Maybe that is too broad of an idea. It’s easier to do BAD stuff and change the world, but trying to fix education across africa is beyond the UN, us, etc. Let’s frame it for more achievable goals that we can actually do.
TUTU disagrees – Slavery was a fairly universal practice and abraham lincoln succeeded: for reason, justice and oppression in south africa, reflected almost everywhere in the world; rosa parks, mother teresa
KEN: do you think they’ve changed the world for EVERYbody?
TUTU: YES i actually believe yes but I did cover my back by saying.. [i missed it]. one of the reason i came on this voyage was meeting you [addressing the students], knowing you are fantastic. Students help get rid of apartheid, young people – have you heard of karl kilberger from canada…
TORI: did you think rosa parks and others went out with the INTENTION to change the world?
TUTU: do a little bit where you are, it is those little bits that overwhelm the world; that is true but i want you to be able to maintain the dream to affect the whole world; dream about that; dream about poverty as history; do it in your little corner and it will ripple ripple ripple…
TORI: there were many people in that apartheid, you were not the only one; it is important to remember there are many people.
TUTU: when you are in a crowd you have been carried on the shoulders of others; I went to west point with my wife and on my visit they gave me a cap and i tried the cap and it wouldn’t fit; a nice wife would have said it is too small but my wife said your head is too big
TORI: what is the doable stuff right now for these students?
KEN: question what i am seeing; don’t accept that it is normal; as Natural Geographic said: LIVE CURIOUS, don’t stop asking why; many people do see things, accept then and move on; famine: usually caused by dams etc; poor people don’t spend their money on healthcare; there is a lot we assume; often end up solving a different problem than they thought they saw; because the problem is a lot deeper and complex – you can try to fix the system that caused the problem in the first place; – finding where your niche might be and getting out and seeing the world will help you understand where you are best placed
TUTU: I think it is important that we affirm what is happening to you; if we are people that didn’t care, the fantastic thing is that you DO get churned up inside and then do say “what the heck is this”; I think you guys will keep affirming that the unease that you have is a fantastic testament to the kind of people you are who can actually begin to want to change the world and you can change it; our english brother is right… [tutu makes fun of ken then cackles]; he is quite right but you should DREAM and say I DREAM that this world is going to be different and THEN the reality; i’ve frequently said to the media: i’m very angry because you love nothing better than telling the story of a young person who has gone off the rails and you express it ; i have visited many countries; in accessible places you find kids like you from opulent homes;
Go dream dream dream and the realities might make you come down a little bit but dream;
KEN: when i started my journey in 1993 and was deeply affected with what i saw and the 14 people weren’t and could go back to their dayhjobs and forget what they’ve seen but i realized it was hard to make a difference; I used to get out to african countries, be an observer, not ever thinking i’d make a contribution, but making observations I never thought I’d make a different one; I must still keep the spirit going to drop and travel; keep free and nimble – then I am more able to take opportunities – you’ll find things you aren’t slooking for – if you go look for a gf or bf you won’t find one?
[TUTU: HOW DO YOU KNOW? , laughter cackling]
KEN: most people i know running non profits were found by the problem
TUTU: learn how to express your compassion, caring-ness. I want to be a little more like those i want to help; How about if all of us said to ISE: i don’t want to eat a particular meal and the cost of it should be incorporated into donations from all of us
KEN: all sorts of things I would NEVER have imagined phones were used for because i didn’t dictate what it would be used for ; you can teach how to fish or you can send the spades so they can learn on their own; go out with an open mind; look to try to understand and experience; dont go and think we can fix things; local people and knowledge is usually more efficient than what we [i imagine he is talking about white middle class people] can ever do.
TUTU: UBUNTU – a person is a person to other persons: i am because we are; i need you to be all you can be; so that I can be all I can be; I keep reminding you that we are all africans. its’ not a figure of speech to say “we’re family”. if you deny this truth then we are in the problem we are in today; you spend billions on instruments on death and destruction and you see children dying who don’t have clean water; we have enough resources for our world for be the paradise god wanted it to be;we have enough money to ensure that we site here and a billion people are hungry. there are people who go to bed hungry and get up in the morning and have no food and their children have to go to school and haven’t eaten. Because we forgot that they are family; in family, the law is: you don’t get what you invest; you don’t say “baby what is your contribution to the family budget; baby contributes nothing but a few smells; but have you seen how much love is poured out on this one; you don’t say to granny “money talks”. in the health of family you know that it is from each according to their ability; to each according to their need; until that gets through into our numskulls we are constantly going to be wondering how much is the US spending on nuclear stuff; russia, iran
KEN: the system is broken ; most people benefit from the infrastructure on the planet
TORI: we have to keep “that heart” and sometimes our desire to change the world does more harm than good. what i’ve learned is that we need to really understand what it feels like to be on the receiving end; 1 key question : WHAT DO YOU WANT? a lot of assumption about what the world needs but that needs to be the first question that gets asked. You never know when you’ve changed someone’s life – sometimes you do but most of the time you don’t -
KEN: everyone wants scale, big numbers – but quite often if you’ve helped only one family you have given them opportunities that others haven’t had; Humility is really in these people. the characteristic that is on the ground with people, brave or other
TUTU: on closing: i have seen young people – and the most touching thing is that they care ; and i just want to be sure that they care, and they do
TORI: it is heartwarming, realize you’ll all be part of thee solution in little and big ways, and you can at least make a difference even if it isn’t on the entire world
Cynthia’s diction on Gabriella inspiring confidence
Cynthia informed me that she is leaving the ship, in India. Before she left she gave some words of wisdom on inspiring confidence in myself:
1. look people in the eyes when they talk to me
2. don’t say “um” ; as in don’t say anything when you aren’t saying words; compose your thoughts first and then speak
3. trust your gut feeling
I miss you on the MV Explorer.