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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Sustain#39: What a street vendor taught me in 3 weeks

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Sustain Weekly — What a street vendor taught me in 3 weeks.

“We forget that water cycle and life cycle are one” — Jacques Cousteau

What water are you drinking?
1) Mineral Water
2) Tap Water
3) Spring Water
4) Detox Water
5) Birch Water
6) Maple Water
7) Cactus Water
8) Coconut Water
9) Artichoke Water
10) Watermelon Water

Tap water here sucks! But 5 through 10 are all plant and tree based beverages. All of them are available in supermarkets and stores already. An interesting passing fad or a consumer trend that is here to stay? We’re working to see if which one this is. Last week. I wrote about the several varieties of tea and how one in its pure form is as expensive as gold. Then during the week, I met a street vendor that changed the way I look at tender coconuts, sales and customer satisfaction.

But, you’re still thinking how disgusting Artichoke water will taste right?

Apparently, it’s not bad at all. It’s light on the calories but heavy on the wallet. But, before we discuss the new types of water, let me start with one and explain the street vendor part of the story. Three weeks back on a Saturday, a friend of mine introduced me to a new tender coconut vendor in my area.

 coconuts

The first week, he advised me to ditch the straw and drink it directly from the small hole he made on the top. He said the use of the straw diverts the water from cleansing any mouth ulcers and treating dry and chapped lips, a problem in our highly tropical city.

I went back and checked the logic and he turned out to be right! Many cosmetic products and facial creams contain coconut extracts that helps to fix acne, cuts and blemishes.

The second week, he told me that we have this compelling need to try things that are not native to our place and then complain of how things have gotten very hard in these times. He said

there is a reason a cuisine is native to a region.

 turmeric

It’s not built for the taste, but for the conditions and people in the region. He told me drinking coconut water in the tropics is more impactful than in the mountains. During the week. I read about all the brouhaha of the wonder drink called turmeric latte! and we and other South Asians have been using turmeric extensively in our everyday cooking for millenniums.The more we start validating ancient wisdom, the more fascinating it is going to get. Soon, we’ll start to hear the same thing about ginger, curry leaves etc. Basically, western research will prove what your grandmother taught you when you were younger. The timing of this realization is not bad. Any later and we won’t know that all this was part of our south Asian history.

Last week, we discussed his roots and where he was from. He said his roots are intrinsic to this region just like his coconuts. Not only have we started to get more tender coconuts from this vendor, we discuss some local trends as well. I started to realize that the conversations with the coconut seller is also my sales training at the grass root. I learnt that pull works stronger than push. Better engagement leads to better trust. Evangelism helps convert moderates.Oh, about the rest of the water, I’ll cover them in the part 2 of this weekly! I’m sure, like me, you’re wondering how cactus water tastes like. More in the next week.

Some other things I found interesting from last week’s news

 Phryganistria-Genus-Stick-Insect-Largest-in-China-889x638

News @Arcluster

Arcluster announces the early launch of its market tracker for plant-based beverages and trends from around the world. Market trackers provide a more seamless and continuous coverage of trends, market size, pricing, shipments, bids, vendor shares for the markets we cover. The tracker is available for pre-booking as well with exclusive rights. Watch the news space to see the launch of these studies. For the latest news from the company, follow us on Twitter here, LinkedIn here and Like us on Facebook here.

Also, I love feedback. Please email me your views and suggestions. Cheers.

About me
I manage market research and consulting at Arcluster, an innovation design and market consulting company that does research and consulting on micro emerging markets and sustainable solutions. You can reach me on twitter at @anirmal or via email arun@anirmal.com

Sustain#38: Sir, would you like some tea?

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Sustain Weekly — Sir, would you like some tea?

“Where there’s tea, there is hope” — Sir Arthur Wing Pinero (1855–1934)

What tea should you drink? and what do you want to drink?

  1. Oolong Tea
  2. Green Tea
  3. Black Tea
  4. Earl Grey Tea
  5. Rooibos Tea
  6. Pu’erh Tea
  7. White Tea
  8. Yerba Mate
  9. I’m a coffee drinker. Bugger off.

Tea3

What about Masala Chai? That’s a solid 10. Enough for me!

Last week. I wrote about how artificial skin and how it might get to market for consumer applications. But, its most valuable application is for the treatment of burns. Commercial feasible skin treatment of injuries from fire is a critical area that will be positively affected by artificial skin. Then during the week, I read about an emerging international market for a niche tea.

But, you’re still thinking what’s a Rooibos tea or Yerba Mate right?

Rooibos is made from the leaves of a red bush plant from South Africa. It is non-caffeinated and is a cure for headaches, sleeplessness, tension, and allergies. Yerba Mate is a South American Holly tree leaf based stimulant. It is highly caffeinated and flavor-rich and closest to the coffee. Early Grey is a 1800s concoction of a tea that is built for a sharp taste and is still popular among a certain group.

But, to clarify, the purists only use the term tea for leaves that come from the Camellia Sinensis plant, a shrub native to China and India that contain unique antioxidants called flavonoids.

This restricts the tea group to white, black, green, oolong, and puerh.Green tea and Black tea are popular and is now drunk by many! If you hate the bitter taste from them, it’s because you’re using hot water and that quickly exacerbates the leaves. Try it with cold water and it’ll taste differently. Oolong has anti-cancer properties and is good for your skin, it is caffeinated and should be limited to single cup consumption to leverage its advantages. Overuse of Oolong can cause anxiety, headaches, heartburns, and higher BP. Oolong is a good alternative to your Green tea if you’re looking for a change. Here is the latest article on its health benefits.

Compare-Tea-Types

But, the spotlight is on Pu-erh. A tea that is gaining international popularity.

Pu-erh is a variety of fermented and aged dark tea produced in the Yunan province of China where the ethnic minorities made it for their own consumption. It was later exported to Tibet, Mongolia and SE-Asia where the tea was an important commodity trade along the ancient tea route, also considered the second Silk Road. Tea was stocked at a town called Pu-erh and over time became the hub for trading and logistics of the tea made by the minorities.

puerh-tea

It’s moderately caffeinated and today, according to purists, it is a class apart. Well, because it’s aged and thought of like a bottle of old scotch. Drinking it has become fashionable among elite in the last decade.

The tea boom for Pu-erh hit its peak around 2007 and is at a normal again. It’s becoming the tea where amateurs are buying, drinking and gifting it to gain a status among elite in China.

The market for Pu-erh is like the market for Scotch Whiskey 30 years back.

The primary characteristics for quality are the same:

  • Intensity: After taste that is felt in the throat and lingers. Basically the depth of taste
  • Body: Fullness, roundness, mouth-feel, and the concentration of the flavor and how it spreads in the mouth.
  • Flavor: Flavor has to do with the character not with the quality. Basically, quality of fermentation.
  • Process: Effects on the product from the making: smokiness. The perfectly processed product is always priced the highest. Therefore, the moderates have natural defects in the process that normalizes the price.
  • Freshness: Oxidation; Comes from storage and aging.
Tea-Color

The tea is expanding internationally, where collectors and connoisseurs are beginning to get on this trend. But, if you want to drink it every day, set your wallet right if you want to get on this hype.

Buying it is tricky and the tea isn’t cheap. Allocate Rs. 1200–1500 (~$20-$30) for 20 servings per person per month.This is for the normalized version of the tea sold to the mass market. Think: JW Red Label. We’ll know over time if it picks up across mainstream markets or only for passionate fans. If Green Tea is Black Label, Puerh is Lagavulin. So, what would you like to drink now? Coffee for me!

Some other things I found interesting from last week

News @Arcluster

Arcluster is pleased to announce the early launch of our first consumer market tracker on tea trends and associated markets across the world. Market trackers provide a more seamless and continuous coverage of trends, market size, pricing, shipments, bids, vendor shares for the markets we cover. The tracker is available for pre-booking as well with exclusive rights. Watch the news space to see the launch of these studies. For the latest news from the company, follow us on Twitter here, LinkedIn here and Like us on Facebook here.

Sustain#37: Do you need more skin than sense?

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Sustain Weekly — Do you need more skin than sense?

“Wear your heart on your skin in this life” — Sylvia Plath

How much would you pay to reSkin4place your skin? For a 1 x 1 inch patch.

1) $10
2) $100
3) $500
4) $1000
5) $5000
6) Nothing If it isn’t burnt

Really! How much?

Last week. I wrote about how safe a city is from us? The effects of the loss of green patch and how sustainable its future is. Then during the week, I read about German chemists developing a transparent, flexible polymer that can restore skin’s elastic properties. The ‘second skin’ lasts a day and can reduce eye bags and help retain moisture on dry skin. Technology is beginning to disrupt cosmetics. The consumerist angle to skin care will enable burn skin replacements to be more affordable and readily available and applicable.

How much do you think it will cost to remove wrinkles in 2025?

Will it be sold over the counter or with an annual subscription? L’Oréal — if you are listening, how much will you price it at? Will you market it like a skin fairness cream that no one needs but still buy? A pack of 10 self-healing second skins over the counter at $99? Or a pack of 24 for $199. Let’s see — time will tell. Transdermal patches are emerging to be a significant market. Pain relief medication and drug delivery through skin patches are becoming a thing. I’ll cover the growth of tech in cosmetics in selected weeklies in the future. Till then, love the skin you’re in.

Some other things you can read right now.

DesignTimeGraph

Instagram changed its logo and almost everyone who uses it are not happy about it. Some even compared it to textured WordArt on PowerPoint.

How, design is a complicated thing when measured for user opinion. I made a sketch earlier for Uber logo change and covered it in Sustain Weekly #24 — “Falling in love with the future of work”.

People’s opinion towards user interfaces are fickle and changes with time.

News @Arcluster

Arcluster is pleased to announce its first discounted bundle of drone reports — Agricultural Drones Market (2015–2020), Commercial Drones Market (2015–2020) and Public Safety Drones Market (2016–2021). You can procure the drone bundle at one of our resellers or give us a call at +1 (800) 614–9526 or email at sales@arcluster.com. For the latest news from the company, follow us on Twitter here, LinkedIn here and Like us on Facebook here.

About me
I manage market research and consulting at Arcluster, an innovation design and market consulting company that does research and consulting on micro emerging markets and sustainable solutions. You can reach me on twitter at @anirmal or via email arun@anirmal.com. Also, I love feedback. Please email me your views and suggestions. Cheers.

Sustain#36: How safe is a city? From …

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Sustain Weekly — How safe is a city? From …

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow” — Abraham Lincoln

What is the biggest threat to your city?

  1. Earthquakes
  2. Floods
  3. Water Scarcity
  4. Landslides
  5. Pollution
  6. War

Nope! You missed the most obvious one! Us.

Did you read the news about how Bangalore might be unlivable in 5 years?

A study claims that the built-up area in Bangalore has grown by 525%. Vegetation is down 78%. Water bodies have lost 79%. Last week, I wrote about the rise of China. But, what I missed mentioning is that everything comes at a cost. Did you know China’s housing boom has dried up its water levels? A similar thing is happening across major cities in India. The green patch in Bangalore has almost disappeared. An auto driver told me once that he moved from the cotton city of India to the garden city of India 20 years back. He said it was time people stopped calling Bangalore the garden city.

I remember spending my childhood summers in Bangalore, half or it near the East Station and half at the Defense R&D campus at CV Raman Nagar. East used to be open lands, where I spent my afternoons watching trains and catapulting stones at tamarind trees. My version of Malgudi! My second half of summer were at the DRDO residential society, where kids got together for roller skating and sports. I visited grape fields, botanical gardens and parks, all of which were in the area. Everything was green. Cool breezy summers with wide open roads and a canopy of trees.

Not any more. It’s a different Bangalore today!

bangalore green 2

People from across India have moved into Bangalore for work. Real estate spikes across the outskirts and workplace peer pressure to accumulate real estate investments has made people compete in terms of number of properties owned. 125000 trees have been cut down along the outer ring road corridor. In Whitefield alone, 40000 trees have been cut down in the last year. The loss of green patch in Bangalore is a core issue at hand today.Bangalore draws its water from Cauvery that flows 100 kms away and 1000 feet below. Bangalore’s population has gone up 150%. If this explosion of urban sprawl continues and the river dries up, Bangalore might turn into a desert. Today, Bangalore is hot and for the wrong reasons. This story resonates across multiple cities of the world. How do we solve this for ourselves?

Some other things you can read right now.

News @Arcluster

Arcluster is pleased to announce the addition of its latest report in the drone series. We’ve published the industry’s first market research study on the Public Safety Drones market. More information on the report is available here. You can also check out the product page with an audio commentary here. This is #2 in our summer research line up. Watch the news space to see the launch of these studies. For the latest news from the company, follow us on Twitter here, LinkedIn here and Like us on Facebook here.

About me
I manage market research and consulting at Arcluster, an innovation design and market consulting company that does research and consulting on micro emerging markets and sustainable solutions. You can reach me on twitter at @anirmal or via email arun@anirmal.com. Also, I love feedback. Please email me your views and suggestions. Cheers.

Sustain#35: How Significant is China today

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Sustain Weekly #35 — How significant is China today?

“Quickness is the essence of the war” — Sun Tzu

Panda

Can you guess which one of these China achieved last week?

  • Developed floating nuclear power plants
  • Tested New Hypersonic Warhead
  • Launched a robotic crime fighter
  • Operating a factory with robot workers

You guessed it right. All of it. A Giant Panda after all.

Apart from this, they are building the world’s largest radio telescope, implementing driverless cars, and a very inclusive ecosystem of startups and services that is sustainable internally. For example: WeChat

This is in China. Outside….

China’s HNA group agreed to Carlson Hotels, the owner of the Radisson hotel chain. China’s LeEco opened a HQ in San Jose to take on Apple, Tesla. Its CEO claims that Apple is far behind the innovation wheel. Famed investor Carl Icahn also shed Apple stocks last week because he worried about Apple’s ‘relationship’ with the Chinese Government. Add to this, Chinese companies are looking to India for investments in emerging markets. Huawei, Foxconn, Haier, ZTE, Lenovo among others have a large presence here. Add to this, rising investments in startups — Didi Kuaidi investments in Ola, Alibaba in Paytm, Alibaba in Snapdeal, Tencent in Practo among others.

They are now the major builders of infrastructure for several countries.

Especially in Africa. China built its first military base in Africa this year. The base in Djibouti marks an important step for Chinese foreign policy. China-sponsored apartments, factories and even micro cities have sprung up in Africa. Apart from these, China built a national theater in Zambia, Conference Center in Tanzania, Tanzania-Zambia Railway, a national stadium in Mozambique, African Union Conference Center. In Lagos, Chinese developers have built a walled-off micro city (SEZ with separate rules designed to attract investors) — based on Shenzhen.

China has lent $60 billion to Venezuela in the last 10 years and the economy is going a rough time. Most of its returns are in oil, which again is going through a rough patch. A catch-22 situation for China because of its expensive friends abroad. So, what makes a country superpower? I’ll cover this progress in some weeklies sporadically as and when the rise of China is reflecting more than usual. Stay tuned.

Some other things you can read right now.

and finally, Coffee delivery by drones is coming.Probably as low as $3. I made a sketch of a coffee delivery drone (below) and covered the possibility in Weekly# 21: ‘Siri, Bring me Coffee’. I made this prediction in 2014 of drones delivering coffee. A working prototype is already here. It’s sometimes very hard and other times very easy to predict a future innovation. But, you know how they say — the best way to predict a future is by creating it. Let’s work towards that.

Coffee Drone

News @Arcluster

Arcluster is pleased to announce the publication of it’s first syndicated study on the Bare Metal Cloud market. More information on the report is available here. You can also check out the product page with an audio commentary here. This is #1 of our summer research line-up. Watch the news space to see the launch of these studies. For the latest news from the company, follow us on Twitter here, LinkedIn here and Like us on Facebook here.