There’s a famous scene in American Psycho when Patrick Bateman and his colleagues compare business cards. The scene is humorous because business cards are seen as old fashioned in the digital age, but the truth of the matter is that a good one can still make a brand or client memorable. The Kokopelli hostel in Peru recently embedded its business cards with altitude sickness-curing medicine to help backpackers remember it’s name. Now the Russian arm of Greenpeace has created EcoCard, a business card that’s getting more people to use public transport by combining contact details with free train rides.
The environmental charity wanted to make the paper cards — which are often simply thrown away if they’re not of use, or the details have been digitized — more green. In order to provide an incentive for people to keep the cards, the organization gave them another purpose. Although the front of the card offers the individual’s contact information, the back lets the recipient know that inside is a metro card that works with the Moscow Metro System. The EcoCard doubles as a case they can keep the train ticket in, and lets them know how many rides are pre-loaded onto it. Those ordering the cards can choose to give 20, 40 or 60 free rides to their recipients.
Watch the video below to learn more about the initiative:
As well as making business cards less disposable, the scheme also gives businesspeople an incentive to take the train instead of driving the office, potentially reducing their carbon footprint by up to 85kg. Are there other ways to make business cards more useful?
Regular readers of Springwise may remember our recent coverage of Gaolhouse Denim, the social scheme that provides prison inmates with tailoring skills by getting them to create premium jeans for consumers. Now another charitable cause has developed Zoo Jeans, created with fabric that’s pre-ripped and chewed by dangerous animals before being fashioned into a pair of trousers.
Conceived by Japan-based I&S BBDO for the Kamine Zoo in Hitachi City, the raw denim used to create the jeans is first wrapped around the favorite toys of the lions, tigers and bears that live at the facility. The animals are then set free on the material — clawing, ripping and chewing it to shreds. According to the team behind the project, denim provides a way for the carnivorous animals to keep their teeth strong. The ‘customizations’ created by the animals form part of the distressed design of the final pieces.
The Mineko Club of volunteer supporters at the zoo auctioned off the creations through Yahoo! Auctions, with its L1, L2 (designed by lions) and T1 (designed by tigers) models going for up to JPY 152,000. The money is being used to benefit the zoo, as well as the World Wildlife Fund.
Watch the video below to see how the jeans were made:
Although the auction winners might perhaps end up looking like they’ve just been mauled by a wild animal, the idea certainly offers consumers a unique product while also benefiting the animals by raising money to improve their habitat. Are there other ways to give fashion pieces exotic histories to imbue them with special meaning?
I originally wrote today's post for Intradiem. It appeared on their blog on March 17, 2014.
What is big data? and how is it used to deliver a great customer experience?Tags: customer experiencesbig dataAnnette Franz Gleneickidata analysiscustomer feedback
I thought I’d provide a bit of history since this was an interesting investment for us.
Back when Apple was launching its app platform in the winter of 2008, we met with Greg Yardley who had teamed up with Jesse Rohland to build an analytics service for app developers. We had known Greg from his work with Seth Goldstein at Root and we were fans. And it seemed to be a smart idea to give developers the ability to see what people were doing in their mobile apps. So we provided seed financing to Greg and Jesse along with our friends at First Round.
Pinch launched the first iOS analytics service and got rapid adoption. But they ran into some challenges, the two primary ones were monetization and getting onto Android and Blackberry (which was relevant back then). And that’s where Flurry entered the picture.
Flurry was a pivot into the same business as Pinch was in. They were already on Android and Blackberry but were far behind Pinch on iOS. They were led by a hard charging CEO named Simon Khalaf who had big ideas for monetization. It was a match made in heaven. So the two companies merged and Flurry became the surviving company.
Flurry continues to lead the mobile app analytics business. According to Simon’s blog post yesterday, there are 170,000 developers with 542,000 mobile apps using the Flurry service.
And now Flurry becomes a Yahoo! branded offering. There is no question that the Flurry data and its advertising products (powered by Flurry’s data) will be a great fit for Yahoo!’s mobile ambitions.
So we have a happy ending to a startup story with a few twists and turns. This is an example of where 1+1 equaled a lot more than two. I’ve been involved in a number of “startup mergers”. Some work. Some don’t. This one worked beautifully.
According to a recent study, 85 million Americas are employed in jobs that primarily involve sitting. When compared with the growing rates of obesity, it’s easy to see the correlation.
Sitting Disease is gaining more public attention- it’s being linked to health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, cognitive decline, heart disease, and stroke. The technology age is contributing to such risks. At the workplace, people resort to instant messaging and e-mails to communicate with co-workers down the hall. In cities affected by urban sprawl, these works hours sitting in their cars to and from work on the daily commute.
Cubii is an ergonomic trainer that is making sitting healthier. The sleek, compact, and Bluetooth-compatible elliptical fits right under one’s desk and facilitates continuous leg movements throughout the day.
At 24 inches long, 15 inches wide, and 10 inches high, the convenient machine is designed so that one’s knees never touch the desk during movement. There is also a resistance adjuster to establish a comfortable level of activity.
The trainer is not intended to make one sweat. Instead Cubii promotes unconscious revolutions that help combat restlessness and increase work performance.
One of Cubii’s key selling points is its low cost and sleek design. At $279, the trainer is much more attractive than the other $1,000 – $4,000 stand up desks and treadmill set-ups. The Cubii can be seamlessly integrated into an already established office space with little hassle.
Cubii’s Bluetooth integration allows users to keep track of daily activity through it’s mobile app. The machine can also sync up to wearable fitness trackers. Activity data can be shared with other users- creating a support network of active sitters.
A study conducted by Stanford University researchers has shown that walking boosts creative inspiration, whether on an indoor machine or outdoors. If you’re an employee looking for a job promotion, or a manager looking to improve creative output, the Cubii may be an effective tool for accomplishing both.
Cubii is reinventing the way we approach sitting, and has the potential to transform the modern day workplace. While pedaling the machine may not make up for your missed workout session, it’s something that will put your health-conscious mind at ease.
The founders are seeking funding through their Kickstarter campaign, and plan to begin packaging and shipping in December.
Some months ago, I downloaded the Kodable app for my 4 year-old, which boasts that it can teach toddlers how to code before they can read. My programming skills are pretty basic, but I like the idea of giving my child a head start.Tags: Greg Satelldigital livingdigital literacychangeprogress
The boots worn by Neil Armstrong when he walked on the moon back in 1969, leaving man’s first footprint is a monumental symbolization for the human race as well as the brands that were affiliated with making it happen (if you want to think of it that way).
The astronaut boots that were worn were made from GE silicon rubber, designed for extreme weather and conditions. The company’s scientists also developed industrial-strength plastic found in the visors of the space helmets.
Paying homage to the 45th anniversary of mans first moonwalk, 100 limited-edition Mission sneakers just went on sale. Reinvented by GE and made from from “super materials” typically used in jet engines and wind turbines, the footwear was created not only to celebrate a great moment in history but also to relate the power of advanced materials and technologies, according to GE’s global director of innovation, Sam Olstein.
Stabilized carbon fiber was placed on the side of the shoe because it is lighter than steel and aluminum alloy yet can withstand the challenging conditions of a jet engine’s belly. Thermoplastic rubber, on the top collar of the sneaker, is more resistant and flexible than the standard variety. To prevent water damage, the shoe is covered in a hydrophobic coating that is more commonly used to prevent ice from adhering to machines. Finally, 3M (MMM) Scotchlite reflective material around the laces’ eye rows increase visibility.
Multigenerational households continue to grow, a trend we termed More Under One Roof in our Things to Watch in 2009, as the recession was getting well under way. New research from the Pew Research Center shows that 18 percent of the U.S. population lived in a multigenerational household as of 2012, up 50 percent from 1980. That translates into 57 million Americans in these households, almost twice as many as was the case in 1980.
A key driver of the trend is Millennials, who are continuing to grapple with the effects of the recession but also tend to regard parents as friends (“peerents”). According to Pew, almost 24 percent of adults 25 to 34 live with multiple generations, up from 11 percent in 1980, and more Millennials than seniors (ages 85 and older) now live in multigenerational households. This trend has significant ripple effects in the economy as so many members of this generation delay adulthood and the traditional milestones of getting married, buying a house and having children, as USA Today notes. As they do so, we’re seeing the social normalization of living with one’s parents into adulthood.
Facial recognition isn’t solely capable of identifying humans, as proved by ideas such as PiP — the database that uses the technology to reunite lost pets with their owners. Now Taiwan’s Bistro is a feeding device that uses facial recognition to track the unique health metrics of individual cats.
Cats are individuals just like people, and they each have their own dietary needs according to their personal health. Bistro is a smart food hopper that is capable of holding water and feed, as well as tracking exactly how much cats take each time they use it. The device features a scale, which weighs the cat when they take food, as well as a camera that detects exactly which cat is using it. With the Bistro smartphone app, owners can accurately track what each of their cats is taking from the machine, even if they’re away from the house. They can create profiles for each of their cats and track monitor their weight over time, letting them catch diet abnormalities early or ensure their pets don’t get overweight. The camera also enables owners to watch their cats while they’re out.
Watch the video below to see Bistro in action:
Cat owners are obsessed with their animals and Bistro helps them to connect with the cats intimately at all times. The device is available to pre-order through Indiegogo for the special price of USD 179 until 14 August. Are there other human technologies that could benefit pets?
This is part of a series of articles that looks at entrepreneurs hoping to get their ideas off the ground through crowdfunding. At the time of writing, each of these innovations is currently seeking funding.
New devices — such as Mellow, the water cooker that can be operated through a smartphone — are making food preparation much easier for those without the skills or time to cook a meal to perfection. For those not planning to trade in their oven or grill anytime soon, however, Range OI is a device that turns any existing cooker into a smart one.
Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, the system comprises a Bluetooth-enabled thermometer that can be used with any oven, alongside an app for smartphones and smartwatches. The thermometer rests in a dock that’s connected to any oven, and can detect if the oven is off, pre-heating, on, or cooling down. The app can be used to get notifications based on the oven’s status, ensure that meals are cooked at the perfect temperature, or remind them if they’ve left the cooker on if they leave the house. When taken out of its dock, the thermometer can also be used similarly to Supermechanical’s original Range device, which was initially developed for accurately testing food temperature in the kitchen.
Watch the video below for more information about the Range OI system:
Many consumers aren’t going to want to buy the latest smart ovens straight away if they already have working appliances at home, and Range OI fills the gap by bringing smart features into the home at a lower cost. The Kickstarter campaign runs until tomorrow (22 July), and backers can get the kit from USD 98. Are there other ways to bring smart features to existing devices?
In large cities with crowded public transport and expensive taxi fares, cycling is one of the best ways for tourists to get around. Travelers heading to Berlin can already use services such as Dynamic Connections‘ crowdsourced cycling route maps, but what about other cities? A2B bikes has now launched a package holiday that offers one couple a guided tour around 12 global destinations by e-bike, for just USD 135,000.
Developed to coincide with the launch of A2B’s Obree and Orsted electric bikes, the unique holiday is only available to one couple and is designed to take in the sights of the 12 most fashionable cities in the world, as picked by members of luxury website VeryFirstTo. At each stop in Paris, Milan, London, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, and 6 other cities, the pair will be able explore the surroundings traveling via the new A2B models. They will also be joined by an experienced tour guide. At a cost of GBP 80,100 for the couple who takes up the offer, the trip isn’t cheap, but travelers get to keep the bikes and a GBP 1,000 donation is also made in their behalf to the Prince’s Trust charity in the UK.
The package tour essentially serves as a unique, immersive advertisement for A2B bikes, which enables the guests to trial the bike with the backdrop of some of the world’s most fashionable cities. Are there other luxury goods makers that could borrow the romanticism of beautiful locations with experiences such as this?