Gabriella Levine

ongoing and past work

Unreasonable at Sea day 61: Jaaga, Start up Festival, UB City

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:

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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.

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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.

Jörgits and the End of Winter Trailer from Tank & Bear on Vimeo.


And here are some of the Jorgits characters:

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Then I went to meet the rest of Unreasonable at the Start up Festival, Bangalore:

Bangalore, India,
The Unreasonable presentations were received well, and Protei was an exciting topic for many gamers, software developers, and engineers.

Later that evening we went to UB City for drinks and dinner.

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Unreasonable at Sea day 60: Srishti school of design, Bangalore, and Shiva’s party

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.

This is a nice passport photo example from the place where I got the passport photo the day before in Kerala: Kochi by bike

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.

The guys from ink were super helpful and gave me a sandwich and got me into an Auto headed to Srishti.  Thanks. Bangalore, India, Bangalore, India,

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.
Bangalore, India, Bangalore, India,

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.

Bangalore, India, Bangalore, India, Bangalore, India,

Unreasonable at Sea day 59: bikes in Kerala

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.

Kochi by bike Kochi by bike Kochi by bike Kochi by bike Kochi by bike Kochi by bike

And we drove around and went to the markets; It is insanely colorful in the streets and in the markets and I love it.

Protei in Kochi Kerala India Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike


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.

Kochi with a bike Protei a Kochi, India Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike

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.

Market, Kochi, Kerala, India Market, Kochi, Kerala, India Market, Kochi, Kerala, India Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike

The traffic is crazy:
Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike Kochi with a bike

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.

Unreasonable at Sea day 58: Hello India


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.
Protei a Kochi, India

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.


Kerala, Start up village,

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.
Kerala, Start up village,

Afterwards, we went to the after party at the Dream Hotel for the afterparty:

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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.

Unreasonable at Sea day 57: a new name

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

amruth deep dive gurugi

brainstorming for a name

protei website Then we spent time brainstorming for a name, I said goodbye to Cynthia with a “girls goodbye party” then brainstormed some more. We finalized on SCOUTBOTS.

Here’s some press about Protei, japan: Protei on wired japan.

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Unreasonable at Sea day 56: How to change the world

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. 





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)


unreasonable at sea Myanmar to India unreasonable at sea Myanmar to India


unreasonable at sea Myanmar to India
a talk with Arch bishop desmond tutu – resident nobel peace prize winner working to inspire global change; & tori hogan, ken banks (frontline sms)

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. 

Unreasonable at Sea day 55: The Big Dance

Workshop with Cheryl, from Microsoft, on Marketing

cheryl on marketing cheryl on marketing cheryl on marketing

  • who’s is our MARKETING audience?
  • for cereals we often think the mom, but NO, the kids bug the mom for the cereal so they are the audience.
  • who does Protei have as our target audience for marketing?–>tech college crowd, scientists
  • What are the key emotional drivers that you are going to use for your campaign? and how can you gather customer data? what are the emotional reasons that people have connected to Protei? engage lots of people?
  • There are ways to get Data (Facebook, survey monkey)
  • what are you trying to do with your product? change perceptions? drive awareness? Then figure out what are your tactics – use coupons , use online etc, and figure out the END ACTION
  • advertising with social media is more effective and cheap compared to banners and stuff
  • how are you going to measure to prove to investors?

ABBY from SYNERGY on Sources of Funding, within Asia

  • what is the best source of funding for your company? What is possible and what is the goal? and what stage of development are you?
  • A lot of people are interested in giving money but very few deals actually being made. For seed stage when you still need money for r&d: awards , competitions, r and d grants, initial money from corporate competitions; [ie SOE]
  • Sometimes it is worse to get a social investor than a regular investor – they might have high unreasonable expectations – they want you to save the world and make a ton of money. if you don’t need investor funding now, don’t go for it – they might have expectations that will change what you are going to do – they think they know better and will come in and try to shape the corporation
  • The smile program – business advisor for 2 days / week
  • ANDE, GSBI, SEA, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network, SOCAP
  • Synergy: virtual incubator; philanthropic investment to fill the gap before the commercial impact investors are willing to come in
  • Investors are often concerned about exit strategy if it isn’t debt so there is a gap between helping one investment get to the next level: quasi equity, rev share, debt is good and clean
  • To help us find funding – get a good advisory board & board of directors.

Design Thinking Class with George and critique for the students empathy research


  • Clarification between : intellectual knowledge and embodied knowledge
  • Nurture the fact that you are your own independent thinkers; going to university was a path on which maybe you didn’t have to blaze so many trails, but now you do have to be your own trailblazer
  • Ideation2.0: techniques to get ideas out
  • goal: come up with ideas
    • 1. tom chi: rapid ideation – work visually to get 4 starting points out; quiet time to draw out ideas
    • 2. braindstorm
      • defer judgement
      • wild ideas
      • build on ideas
      • lots of ideas
      • be visual
      • headline ideas
      • one person speaks at a time
      • put yourself at a vantage point you have never been at before
      • idea: to design the luggage compartments: let’s BE the luggage – at IDEO: mock up an airplane, put chairs out, laid on the floor as if they’re luggage to see what it’s like for the luggage to experience the flight
  • Prototyping 2.0: create quick prototypes; manifest ideas in an experiential way
    • 1. low res Experiments- quick and dirty – create a new website using post it notes; try it out; test quickly what the interface / experience should be like before you code anything;
    • 2. LOTS of them: every night, do it on the fly
    • 3. NEW: ENACT THE SCENARIO” more like a skit / scenario – enact the scenario – by enacting it you will discover new insights you wouldn’t do otherwise
  • TEST THE IDEAS & get feedback
      • John Hockenberry from the Takeaway WNYC – trying to launch a whole new morning show to take on morning edition
      • The Takeaway – things were unfolding so quickly that there was inaccurate stuff on air
      • enact the scenario in the studio – he got his entire crew in a conference room, explained the experiment, got three signals from AP wire from News ON AIR
      • through this enactment john noticed that the reporters are standing doing nothing : why not?!? because they are out in the field so have no idea what’s going on
      • so they do cross checking and within a week there is a news situation and the reporters know what to do as they did from enacting the scenario in the newsroom
      • So when you enact the experiment so you see things you wouldn’t, just by thinking about it
    • 1. set the scene, create props, create roles, and run the scenarios –
    • 2. to test: leave a told empty for the USER to then participate with you

the rules of brainstorming how to push someone a bit further in the empathy process

We were now told to be teacher / coach, rather than client – we would like to push the students to go a bit more profoundly into the user / need / insight; The students’ work was awesome; we got some nice wireframes and insights: We are working with three different groups of students, each with three members working on Protei. They each had very different set of insights.

Emily Kathe's web layout for Protei emily's wireframe Here are some of Emily Kathe’s diagram’s of “buy your own customizable protei” website

My insights from the students’ insights:

1. Group 1; Emily Kathe talked mostly; The biggest insight is that people need to feel comfort inspired onto them that they would be able to use this boat well and wouldn’t be too “novice” because they don’t know “technology” supra well. So have layers or stacks that are easy to peel away, but also allow people to still know that they are buying a working product, and allow them to understand what it can do, not only how to modify it.

2. Asa mostly talked, as well as Romaine: It’s even more important to get people to RETURN to a website and to do this it requires rapidly evolving site; so then there will be newly generated content, user generated content that is organized programmatically

3. GF talked mostlyPeople return to a social website for two reasons : 1. to build a repertoire of comments on their OWN wall; to build their own ego; personal comments towards them 2. to have tags / customizable information flowing their way based on their interests;


After that, Cesar and I brainstormed about a name some more, I worked out (deck of cards) with Daniel and Coleman, brainstormed some more about the name, then went to the “dance party”.

unreasonable at sea Myanmar to India unreasonable at sea Myanmar to India unreasonable at sea Myanmar to India

Unreasonable at Sea, day 54: Deep Dive into Protei

I did some work in the glazier lounge, then went for a 1/2 hour interview with the media crew about what Cesar and I did in Vietnam. Today we didn’t have a typical workshop from 10-12:30 because we are having a “deep dive” session into the heart of the problems of Protei and Prakki.

PROTEI deep dive PROTEI deep dive PROTEI deep dive PROTEI deep dive PROTEI deep dive PROTEI deep dive

I ended up working pretty late, with Daniel & Cesar & Amruth, then getting a bit of sleep. 

Unreasonable at Sea day 53: leaving Yangon, Myanmar

Today I woke up, did work in the Glazer Lounge, and as we pulled off tons of people were waving from our ship down to the locals below bidding us farewell.

leaving yangon, myanmar, unreasonable at sea leaving yangon, myanmar, unreasonable at sea leaving yangon, myanmar, unreasonable at sea leaving yangon, myanmar, unreasonable at sea leaving yangon, myanmar, unreasonable at sea leaving yangon, myanmar, unreasonable at sea

I continued to do work and then we had town hall where we discussed our reflections and feedback on Myanmar and the past few days. The takeaways were:
1. we are not engaging with the community and making the professors on board feel quite isolated, so we should individually try to reach out and extend our own community by saying hello and engaging the others on baord
2. The dinner event worked quite well and we can try to do a dinner again (as in the Unreasonable Dinner at Bangkok Kitchen)
3. Unreasonable should have a “brand” (as in not just a hand written sign saying “unreasonable event” but more effort towards branding itself.
4. we should hand out a pamphlet with a short description on each company so that every guest can know a bit about our companies and have our contact info to take away

Unreasonable at Sea day 52: Yangon, Myanmar

In the morning I did some work.

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Then we got on the bus at 14:00 to head into town for the dinner event. But before doing so we stopped at the Schwedagon Pagoda:

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Then we went to the Chatrion Hotel CHRY_home1 as we had the day before, to do about 1 hour of work, then we crossed the street to Bangkok Kitchen for the “Unreasonable Event” 409469_4734356848528_694927686_n Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 11.32.29 AM

Afterwards we went to Inya, a bar where there were lots of people who are from US / Europe living in Myanmar. The interesting thing I noticed were that at this event compared to the other events in other port cities were that most people were here in order to “spread democracy” and mostly, were going to try to remain here until 2015. It seems like a place that is changing rapidly, which is quite exciting.

Unreasonable At Sea day 51: Yangon, Myanmar

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On the morning of the 51st day, we went into Yangon. We took a 1.2 hour bus ride from the port into Yangon, then walked from the town center to the north side of lake Kendagyi, where Chatrion Hotel is, where Tom, Mara (from Nike Foundation) and Daniel are staying. We did work with Daniel & Cynthia.


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On the way from the hotel we had a small adventure. It was about a 45 minute walk, at a slow pace. There was interesting street food of tons of meet or duck parts but unfortunately I didnt get to try this.

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Cinema seems pretty big here (especially Korean Horror films): I am dying to see these:
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All the guys kept spitting this deep red colored liquid and we wondered what it was? So we tried some:
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Things I noticed: Lots of pagodas and temples, and the street chickens looked a bit funny to me: IMG_8269smfx IMG_8267smfx

And we spent the day brainstorming about new names for a manufacturing company that takes into account the entire scope of what it is that we are trying to achieve, and the philosophy behind it.

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Unreasonable at Sea day 50: Yangon, Myanmar

At the end of the day of arrival to Myanmar day 49), I stayed on ship and did work late into the evening. I slept at night and woke up and did work the next day. Day 50 I mostly tried to catch up on documentation, some electronics, and a bit of admin catch up. It wasn’t super fun but was super necessary. That evening Cesar and Sebastian spoke about Protei and Open H2O. We eventually went out for a walk in the late evening at around midnight in order to finally get outside. We walked around the port but there wasn’t really too much to see. There are piles of wood all over and big cranes moving around the wood. There are a lot of Korean buses parked all over the port here, and a few big cargo ships with big cranes and people working all night.DSCN0764 DSCN0763




Unreasonable at Sea day 47, 48, 49

Day 47

was an “off day” as in, we had no workshop or any plans. I did a lot of work in the morning, I worked out (deck of cards) with Daniel, I tried to do some coding and other work in the afternoon & through the evening.

Day 48

was full of meetings and work: During the workshop, we finalized our list of “people we would like to contact” because we believe here at Unreasonable at Sea we are 2-degrees of separation away from pretty much everyone in the world. protei possible connections IMG_8117smfx

Cesar presented the first version of Tom Chi’s book. Workshop Yangon IMG_8118smfx

Design Thinking Class

observe for empathy
For example, redesign the diner experience – watch, see, look – usually interpretation is wrong, so we want to give you a layered way to think about what you see
1. what
2. how
3. why

DONT jump to why before what.

Meeting with Daniel

We had a meeting with Daniel in the evening because he wanted to touch base with each group of founders, because Myanmar is the halfway point in the trip, where founders decide if they want to stay or leave Unreasonable at Sea.

Day 49

Today we met in the morning to discuss the plan for Myanmar. We are unclear of when we can disembark the ship but we will find out more info later. I spent some time talking with Tom Chi about the electronics layout of Protei and he had some super helpful stuff to say about designing for a modular system: Mechanical stacks; hardware stacks (low level- robustness; high level – flexibility); Application stack: Software…)

PROTEI deep dive Workshop Yangon IMG_8119smfx

We pulled into port finally after going North along the river
arrival in Yangon IMG_8122smfx arrival in Yangon IMG_8123smfx


I stayed on ship that afternoon and evening doing work. Cesar and I talked with Etienne in Norway about Protei / Open H2O and his work for DNV that is related & inspired by Protei. We had a few more skype calls and chatted with Cynthia later that evening.

Unreasonable at Sea day 46

Workshop 19

The beginning of April there will be an event in Washington DC – It will be called Unreasonable at State. This is epic. So we will fly from Barcelona to US. Soon we will go into : how to GENERATE buzz – there is a NEW way; social media. That’s good. I’m curious to brainstorm on this.

Then what we did was brainstorm companies that we should make contacts to.Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 2.43.02 PM

Prototyping book of Tom Chi

Prototyping Tom Chi's book together Camera Roll-127
1. what he desired
2. what the user desires
3. how those overlap
4. main media, 1 is a book, 1 is a website; first version of the book which will feed into the website, share with each other, the output tells us how to improve the book; machine learning mechanism: web 4.0 -against singularity to counter human intelligence
-smartclass – html5 objects get pumped into what looks like a graphic novel


Later in the evening, we had a brainstorm session with Cynthia, diving into how we could develop our business plan.

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Unreasonable at Sea day 45

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This is the route we took for the day. First we went to the Real Food Cafe to have a meeting with Vivian Liu, founder of Philanthropy Works. Then we head to IIX, Impact Investment Exchange & Shujog, the founder of whom is Cesar’s friend.


From there we head to the WWF offices IMG_8061smfx to pick up a package from David Lim, that Cesar had delivered to his house.
And then we rushed over to the mall at dhoby ghaut MRT (Although quickly stopped at the SingPost to mail packages we’d been to meet Sim Kai, from Control WOrks, a Singapore based startup developing telepresence platform. Sim Kai is a friend of Tom Clayton (CEO of Singapore based Bubble Motion, a super awesome mentor on the ship).



We ate dinner and had a “townhall”. Then I worked out and went to sleep.

Unreasonable at Sea day 44

On the way out to the pitch, after we had gotten through customs with equipment for testing, the r/c sailboat, etc, Laura told us that we had to return to the ship to work with the Press who wanted to film Protei.

So we put Protei in the pool. With Opflex



Finally we got outside and head to the INSEAD .

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Cesar and I pitched:



The questions we god from the 4 judges: What are your competitors? How much is your boat selling for?
–>Protei offers : affordability, replicability, and scalability compared to other ocean drones, such as Liquid Robotics. It is open-source, it is 200 times cheaper, and can carry more payload.

The “winner” of the pitch event (competition) as deemed by the judges was Aquaphytex. We got the award for being the best “social” platform. or something like that…

Then we head to the after party






<h1>La Pau Sat</h1>

And got some late night snacks
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<h1>the next day</h1>



Unreasonable at Sea day 43

WORKSHOP 18; Tom Clayton (and Megan Smith) advice on Fund Raisng

This was a really cool session. Firstly, it was technical and from experience. So I learned a lot of new terms and details. He also went around the room and briefly found out where each company was in the scheme of things (fund-raising-wise). It was very good to hear some technical details about fundraising, along with some advice on what works / what doesn’t, as well as hear where each company was. The engagement heightens when we all go around the room briefly and address the real issues of each company individually.


Some notes:
99% of investors in the early stage want to invest within driving distance where they are located
You are competing against old established brands. When going to private institional investors and you mention social entrepreneurship, it usually means they will tone out. all they care about is returns, not doing good.
Laura’s question –>how do you talk credibly if your company doesn’t yet have numbers; so that you can tell a story and aren’t measured by the numbers

Grants: tax efficient grants are available in china and elsewhere, those are the types of startups attracted to singapore – clean bio / clean water

-become a darling in singapore: get unlimited visas, import your talent; 19 companies from all over the world; best developers – from china philipines, cost of living is high but tax is SUPER low; 2% taxes; housing, schools and alcohol and cars;
-make less in terms of net income; But he said that prototyping costs are the same anywhere… huh? prototyping the same as anywhere?
Singapore is se asia hub for financing; sub 1 mil dollar; great for early stage companies
–>you are never raising financing: i.e. play hard to get
–DONT say I NEED money – don’t say that you are in a strapped position
-being domicile in the us is important for us investors; early stage; ton of angel investors there
-dont do a joint venture – getting a sales and marketing partner, good
you have to do one in china to operate

DONT take any loans, which will be like a big anchor you are carrying – cause you have to service this debt
EQUITY means believeing in your vision
loan says: you are all alone
grant says: you’ve convinced me that i’m humanitarian and i should give you this money rather than school because you will affect more people that someone else

–how you capitalize becomes strategic – we need help because we are still figuring out our product – put money into THAT phase
–Even if you don’t get funding from the people you meet, definitely continue to send them a NEWSLETTER or something to keep up potential investors

How much you ask for: how much money do i actually need: what is the absolute, scrappiest; then ask for .3 more
Google made a mistake : They didn’t hire or build fast enough; They didn’t build data set fast enough; There was very well used money but it didn’t grow enough
–if you are deeply undercapitalized and starving, you don’t have margin. if you really think about scaling and impact you cannot be starving

meeting with Andrea from SAP on developing a business model



how are you going to go to market, how are you going to sell it / pitch it
—who is the money giver and who is the end user
-what is the unmet need; where does the big money come from
KEY METRICS – how will you evaluate success? What is your goal
–>unique value proposition; new technology and open source; cheap; THAT is our unfair advantage
CHANNELS – how are you going to get the message out, take to market? Much harder at the consumer level
–sell units; sell kits / accessories; sell data; consulting; contracts
call it something instead of hobbyists – design challenge – inventors; software / hardware innovators

meeting with Tom Clayton

Unreasonable at Sea day 42


Our room was very messy (classroom 1). If our ship got an inspection, we would fail because of our room. It is interesting what happens if people have 1 place to work but the function of the work space expands into more of a living space so Shira iterated the rule: NO food in this room ever

in 2 days we arrive to singapore, and at 11 AM we take the bus to the event, which begins roughly at 2 PM; It is a pitch event; practice your slides. get the timing right. This should be the biggest, coolest event with good people. PRACTICE :) Pecha Kucha style
Then VIP dinner 7-9 PM; exact location TBD; bus after dinner arranged to take you back to ship; The 2nd day is free. day 1 fancy

Today Cesar is working mostly with BBC.


ANDREA from SAP: she was a rock and roll tour manager, working with credit management, calling people for money. Now she works on the Deisgn services team to teach the team design thinking
BIG QUESTION: can we provide people with case studies and to show them this “design thinking” actually works?


used to work in the automotive restoration business, buying and selling classic cars. He met his wife on SAS, and so did his brother.
He grew up in oakland, started an online dvd business. Now he works with Bubble Motion, an online social media engine, and now there are offices in tokyo, vietnam, thailand, seoul, manilla.

–>In the classroom, for the students in George’s design entrepreneurship class –
PROTEI:design an online catalog experience for scientist / hackers to participate in the open source movement – three rounds = go to one, rotate and interact with three groups of students

-help hackers understand the potential of protein
-help discvoer kits hackers want to build their own
-help them understand how the sailing robots work
-help build a user scenario for engaging communities and inventors to build their own boats

–what are the components; who are the scientist / hackers? ex of websites -seeed, arduino; diy drones; adafruit; sparkfun; github; littleBits

these are insights we might get:
-who and how would use them
-how do you talk about what you do?
-components / sensitivities for pricing
-what do people want
-help discover kits for people who want to build their own
-how to kitify a product like ours?



Andrea from SAS:
we all like to solve problems, whether you’re coding / designing – but you must hone in on your user
–>Actually have the audience engaged; having a good focus is a good starting point – don’t build everything for everyone
->who it is for?
->what they will use it for?

1 . engineer who likes to hack things together outside of work,; he has built little artsy projects on the side and played with remote control helicopters likes flying UAV’s and has built his own helicopter like the DIY drones helicopter using tutorials from; he has played with remote control boats only a little bit but the idea of having one that has modular electronics so that he could update them and upgrade them to sail autonomously, that is exciting; He is also excited by the fact that this boat is developed into a larger concept that takes into account that it might be able to actually clean up the oceans eventually; He would be most excited about putting a camera on the boat and making it operable from his computer so he can see a real time camera feed and direct / drive the boat using the camera feed
-he has slight interest in ocean preservation but not really all that much;
-more excited in video games, and he does happen to be a vegetarian; He has a wife who works in education / government; he lives in california, bay area;

-Defer judgement; Encourage wild ideas (perhaps post its); if you have an active group and everyone starts yelling – BUILD on the ideas of others
-be a moderator “collect” all of the post its ? Stay focused on the topic – one voice at a time; Be Visual; go for quantity
-doodling, misinterpretation is good
-build consensus beforehand so people don’t just build their own little prototype
-story boarding is helpful

Tom Chi prototyping session

known knowns, knowns unknowns, unknown unknowns
how you process internally, how you communicate it to others; find a logical way to organize it but the right way? How you arrange projects based on passion and energy
–Project management allowing : pick something you’re excited about, exponential build up (1 day, 4 day, 16 day)



Protei’s challenge to the class:
Protei can do things like clean up the oceans; can use the power of proliferation to grow the product from the bottom up; Protei is outreaching to an open source communities of hackers; What are the ways to engage collective action?
–>design an online catalog experience so the open source community of inventors can understand what the kitified version is, what is Protei, develop some user scenarios, and think about the interaction of a good website that sells an interesting product; Open source call to action to hackers, kids, sailing enthusiasts, gov’t agencies, scientists: for example: NIKEID customizable Nike shoes
Screen Shot 2013-02-23 at 4.03.38 PM

Fireside Chat with Megan Smith from GoogleX

networks – ideas become adjacent , through the internet things become adjacent
FARC; alliance of youth movements; only 30% of the world is mapped; soon, all world knowledge will be available for free
Then she mentioned some other stuff:
KHAN; FIRST ROBOTICS; mobile payment markets; Talent inclusion; women,, a new series – women represent 17 percent of leadership; Ada lovelace – 1940’s mechanical computer
And finished with: what are you really good at what can you bring, what are you passionate about?

Unreasonable at Sea day 39-41


Today we woke up and we went to grab a bunch of stuff that we needed. We first went to the electronics store which is a whole “warehouse” area with a bunch of electronics and other stuff mixed in, like hardware stores and stuff. Although it is perhaps really cheap, it is somewhat difficult to find specific items. Bargaining is important.

As we returned and approached the ship, I realized how much dirt had drifted down with the current! And it grew over the course of the day, so much.




And then we built / redid the boat in preparation for tomorrow, testing Protei in the water in Vietnam. I fixed the battery packs that have corroded IMG_7809smfx IMG_7802smfx

and finally, we were able to integrate the arduino microcontroller motor shield with the electronics and the winches. IMG_5767

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Then we realized the sun was coming up:





We head out with boat and bike and equipment and media team. And yay to the year of the dragon.

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First we walked to a “lake” as per the “offline maps”. But we saw no lake, only this: IMG_7852smfx

We met lymai, a very kind generous woman from this small village who had moved to Australia. Now she was home for the holidays, but she was so kind to help us find some water body.


Her daughter was here also, as was her sister.


Then we found the water: IMG_7858smfx IMG_7859smfx

and we met some kids IMG_7862smfx We took a water sample, then head off the lake ho tri anh.

We drove two hours north to the lake. The roads got emptier, but the biking was a bit faster.

View Larger Map


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So we arrived and got the boat ready for testing.

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IMG_7917smfx Protei lake ho tri anh IMG_7930smfx Protei lake ho tri anh IMG_7933smfx Cesar Protei lake ho tri anh IMG_7934smfx

And here we took some water samples with the opflex IMG_7929smfx

And then we started sailing:

Protei lake ho tri anh IMG_7945smfx

Protei lake ho tri anh IMG_7938smfx

Protei in Vietnam
Then we head back, and grabbed some pho after we returned the bikes. Then we went back to the ship, went to sleep, and overslept a little bit until the next day.


We each gave our pitches and Tom Chi gave a workshop. The workshop was somewhat interesting, People seemed to have a bit of trouble adhering to the time boundaries during the 26 minute prototyping session, and were asking lots of questions rather than beginning to prototype. But we got some information that was helpful : it is difficult to start a company, takes a long time in Vietnam, lots of legal overhead, and you have to find a Vietnamese partner; Penetrating the government in order to get permission to market and implement our technology is also slow and not so easy; There are a lot of companies including NGO’s that are trying to implement preventative techniques around spaces where industries are causing water pollution due to runoff;

tom chi slideshow IMG_7987smfx

Then we went out to lunch at Phong Tra Khong Ten with Milton Hagler & Anh-Tuan Le from Living Simple, Nicolas Griffon from Godet Antarctica Icy Cognac…

anhtuan & milton &

Finally we returned to the ship, bought some weird crackers before doing so, had a “bbq” on the ship, and then in the morning, worked a little bit to wrap up Vietnam, then took off in the morning for Singapore.

ALSO just some reminiscent stuff from Japan:

Unreasonable at Sea day 37

We stayed up most of the night after having a few meetings.

That evening, we went out to dinner with … at Xu

We stopped into the boat store: IMG_7736smfx boats in saigon

People love boats and people love remote control cars. Good place for protei…

Then we went back to the boat


Unreasonable at Sea day 38

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Today was fun. It is nice to stay on ship, super empty and quiet. I caught up on a little bit of work, uploaded all the safecast data, took care of some other stuff, dealt with some of the legal / admin meetings for Protei Inc with NY .

Work with f palette: IMG_7790smfxalt=”IMG_7789smfx”> IMG_7792smfx IMG_7793smfx IMG_7796_smfx
The most exciting: We rented a motorbike for us to travel with. WOO.

IMG_7741smfx the bike

We rode around just to get used to it first. It is super fun to drive. THen we went to the gallery where Truc-anh exhibits and we saw so many of his paintings.

We god some yummy pho then ended up getting lots of teas and we ate some expensive street squid (dried and grilled and dipped in sauce)
IMG_7752smfx tea in saigon IMG_7746smfx matt & truc-anh IMG_7744smfx ho chi minh

We parked our bikes in True-anh’s garage for the night




Unreasonable at Sea day 36

I woke up, worked out, did some work, and then it started to feel as if we were approaching Vietnam. Here’s why:



Minh gave a small presentation on Vietnam and Cambodia IMG_7688_smfx citing Angelina Jolie as the new Cambodian citizen because of her generous gifts to the country and citizens there.

Then Cesar and I walked around the city in attempt to find:
1. cheap electronics
2. tee shirts (I’m running super low on clothing)
3. The shared workspace, called The Start Network

There are tons of motor bikes, packed with 3,4 and 5 people. Generally, the entire family.

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We went into a temple where there were many people who seemed to be praying and we lit some incense. IMG_7702smfx IMG_7700smfx

We took out 2 million Dong from the ATM, and felt rich. That’s about 100 USD? IMG_7712smfx

Cute items at the stores: IMG_7716smfx

And Cesar made a mistake of calling the MV Explorer SAS SHIP a BOAT which earns you 5 pushups. IMG_7718smfx
Cesar vs. Gabriella IMG_7720smfx

In the evening we went out into the insanely crowded center of city, and met some friends for dinner. Friends included Cesar’s friend from Paris, Trucanh, who is an artist, and coincidentally, Michel from V2_ , who we know from V2_ in Rotterdam summer 2011.

It is insanely crowded in the streets, and there are an insane amount of motor bikes. Basically, hold your breath and cross the street, and walk at a steady pace.
ANd, The entire city is super colorful

Unreasonable at Sea day 35



Most of this workshop was dedicated to working on a set of questions to ask students that they will engage with as part of their design thinking course, with George Kembal. Each entrepreneur will design a project challenge to put in front of the class. So we discussed how we think about and identify project challenges that we put in front of others. So a challenge for us is: how do we think about and identify project challenges that we can put in front of others?

Basically, we are commissioning the project from the students, as if we were the client, and the students are working on it for a grade. There will be a project critique and final presentation which we will have to present at, but the rest is the work of the students. So for us, this will be practice for what it is like to frame projects: usually you’ll get insight, and we will see the benefits of having others work on your projects.

THE PARAMETERS for the creative design challenge:
1. it should be human centric and broad
2. the scope should not be too big
3. leave room for “need finding
4. Give some significance for the challenge (ie make it real)



Prototyping Tom Chi's book


The rest of the day we spent prepping our slides for Singapore (pecha kucha style) and Vietnam (10 slides, 20 seconds each). We had the typical pre-port reception in the Glazer lounge with “vietnamese” food, and I did the deck of cards workout with Evan and Daniel.


Unreasonable at Sea day 33

Today we had workshop 15.  We were introduced to the new mentors on board, including Z Holly, an engineer and Tech Entrepreneur, Abi from Nike Foundation UK, Ken Banks from Frontline SMS, and Bernard, from Microsoft XBox Kinect.

Then we moved into our “huddle” teams, and discussed: how did you take advantage of our time in china, how was it beneficial? how will you iterate for Vietnam? What are the things that worked? What are the things that didn’t work? What are the new questions? What are the insights that were raised?

Our team huddle is composed of Daniel, Gurugi, EvoTech, and AquaPhytex.

Protei’s main goals for Vietnam include: stay near port in Ho Chi Minh, catch up on work. Here is our near future work expectations:

Due to the holidays in Vietnam, most everything will be closed, but if we could connect with manufacturers to learn the manufacturing landscape / price, scientists / environmentalists involved / knowledgeable about water related issues in Vietnam that would be helpful

Then we had the first book co-writing / brainstorming session with Tom Chi to produce a book all about him and his work, with the ultimate goal of helping others to the maximum potential.

Later that evening, a student from SAS who is good at making shapes out of balloons came by to Classroom one and started a balloon session.


DP – Wi-Fi from gabriella levine on Vimeo.

From there a dance party started. Many students joined in.


From there, a kinect / xbox dance revolution dance-off began.


kinect – Wi-Fi from gabriella levine on Vimeo.