Gabriella Levine

ongoing and past work
Posts Tagged ‘unreasonable at sea’

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

IMG_7815smfx IMG_7820smfx IMG_7827smfx

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


Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 10.00.15 PM

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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

558133_10151466955395272_84889985_n (1)

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.

Unreasonable at Sea day 34

Today was Lucille’s (tom chi’s wife) birthday and we gave her a Protei Sweatshirt. Tom yesterday had made a nice card for her with a drawing of her face.



We formed a quick Huddle about “what are your goals in port of Ho Chi Minh”?
For Protei: catch up on work: china / japan report, license, website, logistics / admin / accountancy
-find out about activism around water related issues, coastal issues about chemicals in the water; people who know about chemical runoff etc (academics? )
-find out about manufacturing landscape in vietnam, including cost and accessibility

Abi from Nike Foundation led a session about Branding. IMG_7626smfx IMG_7625smfx

Some of her messages:
you are keepers of your own brand; use your intuition; have a bit of a brief;

1. what is your brand’s genetic code: it’s DNA – think Values?
2. Who is your core audience, how do you resonate with them?
3. Who are you – what are your human attributes: good, bad AND the ugly, ie what is your “personality”
4. What do you stand for: be clear, stay true
5. Do you have a mantra? or a mission?
–>starting with your audience helps
-how will your brand affect the values of your company?
6. hat are you good at? not everything – promise and deliver one thing only
7. Who are your friends, that define you or connect you;
8. Be your own guardian, truest your intuition

Then we had the 2nd Tom Chi Brainstorming session for the book. Here Cesar has started the documentation.



kidsboat – Wi-Fi from gabriella levine on Vimeo.



Later in the evening was a reception upstairs to welcome new folks on the ship, with some “vietnamese” food and drink.