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On November 20, 2016, Viktoria commented on Digitizing the globe one pixel at a time – Google Maps :

The amount of information Google maps hold is impressive. I use it regularly and I can’t imagine traveling without Google maps anymore. One think I like about Google map is that even though Google is making a lot of profit on advertising, they don’t advertise through Google maps. Do you think this is something we should expect in the future?

Another thing that impressed me is how Google map is linked to all my other information that pass it through my Gmail. When I was traveling to New York I zoomed on Manhattan and I could see a dot on the map with my hotel reservation, my restaurant reservation and another dot on the airport showing the time of my flight. I think it is scary that Google owns all this information and can track our daily lives. I feel safe as long as it is in Google’s hands, but why might happened when all this data leaks out? I think this article raises a lot of important questions that Google is constantly trying to answer and work on.

Thanks God for the UAE e-gate card! I agree with you that biometric scanning can reduce bottlenecks at the airport. Many times the UAE e-gate card proved to be a great asset to me. The regular price one needs to pay for the e-gate card is around 200-300 dirhams which is around $50. I got mine through the airline with my Skywards status. The staff at the airport was always around the gates and was willing to help me whenever I had an issue to get through the e-gate.

The e-gate system is very safe. First, one needs to register with the UAE authorities to obtain the card. My finger prints and eyes were scanned, I spent about 15 minutes at the airport getting my card. Second, my e-gate was swiped every time I passed the airport. This data is interconnected with the UAE police department and any other government organization that needs this information to track the passengers. Therefore, the UAE government monitors the movement at the airports and in the country very well. I believe many countries should follow this example and invest in the technology.

On November 20, 2016, Viktoria commented on Is TAG Heuer Out of Time? :

Hi Hugo, I think TAG Heuer is playing a role in an unique space which can in fact play to its disadvantage. TAG Heuer is priced as a semi-premium watch, around $1000-$2000 which is above the fashion Fossil/Micheal Kors but it is a lot cheaper than the luxury brands , Rolex, IWC, Breitling, etc. TAG Heuer is an accessible luxury for those who want to spend slightly more.

I think TAG Heuer can suffer in sales when the luxury brands introduce their version of smartwatches and price them in the $1000-$2000 range. Wouldn’t you want to have a smart watch from Rolex priced at the same price as TAG Heuer regular price?

Another challenge comes from the smart watches as an accessory. Consumers are still not fully convinced smart watches are a necessity. In Q2’15 smart wearables ( including smart watches) declined by 27.2% year over year. (Source IDC: ) Transition from regular watch to smart watches seems to be slow, and I agree with you that the brands still need to find a way to improve the battery life and some other features.

I really like the topic your article is addressing. In February this year I visited 5 different elementary schools in Nairobi, Kenya. I went there to visit a school we raised money for. This charity sponsored school was in one of the Nairobi slums where families live for less than $1 per day. I wanted to meet the children, see how they learn and understand the conditions they live in. Besides the charity school, I visited a public-state school and a private school. The private schools in Nairobi are well equipped, the teachers are educated, some of them are international, and the children come from middle to high income families.

I believe Bridge is targeting the public schools. The public schools in Kenya are in very poor conditions compared to the developed world, many times there are 50 children per class, the teachers are untrained and there is no standard curriculum across the schools. The school I visited there was one computer room with 20 donated computers for 500 children. Because the access to high quality teachers and equipment is limited, companies like Bridge can have an enormous impact on educating the youth. I think it is a great idea that Bridge is preparing a script abroad and then sending it to the teachers who can access it from their notebook. One advice I would give to Bridge is to leave some flexibility to the teachers as students in one school can learn slower than in another school.

Tracking students attendance via the nootebook is a great help to the teachers and the school. But I wouldn’t hold the teacher accountable for low attendance. In one case I have seen that children didn’t show up in school because their parents sent them to make money instead. In another case a girl didn’t come to school because her mom took her to a hairdresser to get her braids done. Having a nice long hair is a social status in Kenya, and some parents value that more than education. For these reasons the teachers must go often beyond teaching, the teacher has to be a good psychologist as well. Bridge needs to understand the dynamics in order to create an efficient learning tool.

I believe charging the parents $6 or less per month creates a good incentive to send the child to school. But if Bridge charges too much many families will not be able to provide eduction for their children. Even if education is for free some families will not be able to afford it. Sending their children to school means they don’t get money the children could bring home if they went to work instead.

Bridge could add to their offering classes for adults, and design scripts that can be presented to the parents. This classes would be offered for free and they would be provided after the school hours. The purpose of the free classes is to increase the knowledge of the adults and also pass a message that education contributes to the welfare of the society.

On November 19, 2016, Viktoria commented on Wag! The Uber of Dog-Walking :

Tom, this is the first time I hear about WAG and I’m surprised that someone came up with the dog-walking idea. I’m not sure if I view WAG as a company that is trying to solve a problem or as another company that is trying to create an app just for the sake of going online. The mobile apps should be making our lives easier but because there are so many out there I feel that they are adding to the complexity of our lives.

First, WAG is definitely a though provoking idea. I don’t have a pet exactly for the reason you described above. I’m rarely at home and I couldn’t give my dog the attention that it needs. However,I can’t imagine leaving my keys in a mail box and trusting a stranger to enter my apartment. I I just can’t believe people are ( will be) comfortable with that.

Another issue I see with WAG’s business model is the pricing. I think $20 for a 30 minute walk is reasonable charge for the dog owner. If I were comfortable with letting strangers entering my place I would be willing to pay this price any time. But I don’t see an incentive for the person who will walk my dog. After 40% commission that WAG keeps the walker receives receives around $12. Let’s imagine a neighbor who was going for a walk anyway. The cost for this person might be $0 so he/she is gaining $12. But if there is no neighbor using the app, the walker needs to travel to pick up the dog. The time of pick up and drop off will add to the initial 30minutes. What happens if the weather is bad? Uber is managing the issue of low supply by increasing the prices to 2x-5x. Will WAG apply the same strategy to get more walkers into the streets?

Finally, the loss of the dog can be prevented by a small GPS device that will be attached on the dog. Your post suggests the investment should come from the dog owner. I think WAG could support this by providing the device compatible with their app and charging the dog owners $5 more for the first x walks. This would be similar to Uber renting an iphone to its drivers. So I’m not concerned about the dog running away. I’m more concerned about the dog attacking someone. Who should be liable in that situation?

It will be interesting to watch what happens with WAG in the future.

On November 7, 2016, Viktoria commented on Cashmere Crisis: How Climate Change Threatens Luxury Products :

Grace, this is a good post that gave me an insight into a strategy of a luxury brand that tries to fight the scarcity of a raw material. Like my classmates I don’t agree that introducing EP&L as the only measure is sufficient. I would also argue that Kering should look into using a new alternative raw material. I like Maria’s comment and the link she posted that suggest Alpacha could be the next big hit. But what happens when after a few years of stripping of Alpacha there is not enough of this animal out there? I believe luxury brands are responsible for educating the customer that climate change is a real threat. They could do that by launching a campaign that promotes clothes, shoes and bags made out of alternative non-animal materials as fashionable.

On November 7, 2016, Viktoria commented on The Anti-Organic: Super Salmon for Dinner :

This is a very interesting article. I’m skeptical about synthetic biology altering the genetic code of living organism. At the end of the day this will end up on our plates and I ask myself if I would buy this AquaAdvantage salmon. I know that the engineered salmon had to go through a long testing and approval process before FDA finally approved it. My concern is that we don’t know the side effects we can develop by consuming genetically modified food for many years. Our grandparents used to eat anything they had access to without being concerned about their health. We live in a different era, where we have to pay premium for organic, non-GMO food. In the time when climate change is a real threat and the population is growing it will be inevitable to think about alternative sources of food. I’m still not sure if the companies that try to fight these issues by producing genetically modified food are the saviors or the threat.

On November 7, 2016, Viktoria commented on Science Fiction Will Save the World :

Jordan, I slightly disagree with you. I think Avatar 2 can have a negative impact on our environment.

My concern is that sci-fi movies are fully digital and to produce a movie the movie makers use highly innovative technology which often requires a lot of electricity.
When James Cameron started producing the movie Avatar he didn’t have all the technology he needed. He partnered with different technology companies to make the movie come to life. One of the partners was EMC, the company I was working before. The Avatar movie was stored on EMC’s storage. When the team was shooting digital motion they created a huge amount of digital data that needed to be stored (180 terabytes of storage)1. Originally the data was so large that a cinema or Netflix would not be able to play it. With the help of EMC’s technology Cameron’s team was able to compress the pictures and store them in a smaller size with an equally good quality. Compressing the pictures helped to get to movie in front of the viewers but the movie company and the digital effects company stored it in the original size.

In my article “How Dirty is Your Data” I write about the enormous amount of energy that is used to store the big data. Powering the data storage machines requires a lot of electricity (2.5% of global electricity is consumed by the world’s data centers).Therefore, I believe producing sci-fi movies can also have a negative effect on our environment. It would be interesting to compare how much electricity is used on traditional movies versus sci-fi movies.


On November 7, 2016, Viktoria commented on Are hang tags causing global warming? :

This is a great example of something that has no functional value add for the end customer (the brand tag)but has an emotional value for the end customer ( the brand name). I think Avery Dennison will have a hard time producing more environment friendly hang tags. It will be difficult because the brands who have these tags made require that the tags look appealing to the customer. Also businesses tend to be selfish and only take care of their own social responsibility. As far as the brands are paying to Avery Dennison for the service they will require the tags to look the way they ordered them. If Avery Dennison is not able to deliver the service at a given price the brands will look for a cheaper supplier.

Avery Dennison has two options either to convince the brands ( the clothes makers) or the end customer that a shift towards more sustainable labels is needed. In order to be successful, I believe they should focus on changing the mindset of the end customer. You mention as your first action point that Avery Dennison should educate the consumer about the underlying risk of the climate change. My question to you would be: How do you think they should do that? Should they spend money on campaigns? Should they pass the message through the brands ( clothes makers)? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

On November 7, 2016, Viktoria commented on HOW DIRTY IS YOUR DATA? :

This is a great question, I haven’t thought about the costs of an online store versus a physical store before. I would like to see some cost analysis on this. My assumption would be a few flagship stores have a lower utility cost than a an online shop. Once the brand grows and more stores open up around the country the energy bill will go up so the online shop might be a less harmful option for the environment. A lot of IT companies argue that having a shared data center is more efficient than letting each company to have their own in-house data center. I agree with that. Their example is similar to an department store which keeps many brands under one house and pays one combined utility bill.

On November 7, 2016, Viktoria commented on HOW DIRTY IS YOUR DATA? :

I think in the future more and more companies will open their data centers in developing countries which will not solve the situation, it will shift the pollution to another region. Because IT is a relatively new industry and “cloud” is a new concept the companies are starting to realize only now how much damage they are causing to the environment. Amazon has been silent for a very long time about their operating process in their data centers. Once the process becomes more transparent there will be more pressure on Amazon to follow the trend of Facebook, Google etc to become a more eco-friendly, sustainable company.

This topic has always amazed me. I lived for 7 years in Austria, a country which ranks number 5 in the world in top countries with the best tap water (Ranking source and yet the demand for bottled water was massive. Austrian tap water comes either from the ground or from springs and it tastes just the same (many times better) than water that was sitting for days in a bottle. Because the water is such high quality many Austrian brands ( Romerquelle, Volsaluer) use the quality component as a marketing tool to sell bottled water to the consumers. And it surprises me how high the demand for the bottled water is. People go to stores and carry home heavy bottles instead of drinking from the tab. I often ask myself what is going to come next. Are the big brands going to tell as to buy an oxygen in a bag because it is “cleaner” than the polluted air we breath today? I think it is responsibility of the governments to interfere to some extend. Some countries in Europe have started a trend where governments sponsor TV and radio ads that advise people to drink more tab water. I have seen these ads in my home country, Slovakia. I believe more countries with a good tap water should follow this trend.