Packing innovation is the smartest thing a company can do. Here’s why.

Have you ever bought something just because you liked the packaging? Of course you have. I’m not just talking about pretty colours and pictures, but actual design, usability, ease of opening – a feature that makes you pick it off the shelf over its next door neighbour? Let’s take the example of heinz creating squeeze bottles. This is probably one of the best innovations they … Continue reading Packing innovation is the smartest thing a company can do. Here’s why.

Advert of the Week – CATS

Okay so technically this advert of the week is a non-advert. It was actually created as the opposite of an advert; to combat the noise and saturation of messages that consumers face every day.   Organised by Glimpse (a collective of marketers and creatives) and funded by a Kickstarter campaign, the project is a breath of fresh air in the jumble of the ads of … Continue reading Advert of the Week – CATS

Advert of the Week – Intel

Okay so technically more of a product stunt than an advert, but still amazing. It gives a glimpse into what the future of drones could look like (delivery, event lighting, security) en masse. Beautiful visuals and wonderful display of their technological capabilities.   Give it a watch. Continue reading Advert of the Week – Intel

I tried to make a snapchat filter for my apartment.

Sometimes I get ridiculous ideas in my head and I just try everything until I either fail miserably or complete my ~vision~. A lot of these are arts and crafts based. Just ask my roommate Emily about our room and battle over the ethereal glowing cloud I wanted to put in it. I think I get it from my Mother – we have a giant … Continue reading I tried to make a snapchat filter for my apartment.

Hotels in the AirBnB Generation

I started this blog post 4 months ago and it was abandoned in favour of more exciting posts about food and road trips, so it’s not as on trend as I’d hoped but there we are. Sorry.

The Airbnb generation is a weird one. We love to travel, and we don’t like to pay a lot for it. We don’t mind sharing people’s homes, or all the information about our lives for that matter. We want living rooms, not just hotel rooms. We want to feel at home when we’re abroad. As such, the hotel and travel space is changing.

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In the last 6 months, both Ritz Carlton and Hilton – massive players in the international hotel space – have re-worked their business approaches in order to capture the Airbnb market.

First off, Ritz Carlton had re-branded in an attempt to appeal more to a younger audience. I do think their redesign looks great, but the category is changing so much that I’m not sure a new font is going to help you keep up. You need to shake up your offering.

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Hilton on the other hand are doing exactly that. They have launched a new chain called Tru (not to be confused with the Tru Hotel and Resort chain), which are priced between a hostel and a hotel (and on par with many airbnb’s) and decked are out accordingly.

“Tru by Hilton is aiming to reach travelers with a “millennial mindset,” even if they’re not, strictly speaking, millennials.” – Forbes

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Their aim is to bring a more relaxed hotel experience, with lots of common areas like hostels and Airbnb’s that people are coming to expect. Ever in search of a deal, consumers expect better prices, so they have addressed this too.

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Really I think this is a necessity if large hotel chains are going to survive, and Hilton have even predicted this might become their biggest spin off. From the mock ups it looks like they’re doing a nice job of it, but I suppose we’ll have to wait for the visitor reviews.

“That’s where the real demand is — in the midscale segment of the business…So what that means for us is instead of signing as many DoubleTrees, Hiltons, Conrads and Waldorfs by numbers, you’ll start to see a lot more Hilton Garden Inns and Hamptons.” – Bloomberg

While this is going on in the western world, AirBnB are looking to China in order to grow their business in the East.

I don’t think Airbnb is going to slow down anytime soon, so it’s interesting to see how the industry is responding. Watch this space.

Continue reading “Hotels in the AirBnB Generation”

The best of CES 2016

I REALLY want to go to CES (consumer electronics show). It’s basically a huge expo in Vegas show casing all the new tech that companies have been developing over the past year. It’s so big that it’s housed in 3 locations. About 170,000 people attend, and 20,000 new products are launched. To put that in perspective, there are only 150,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas. … Continue reading The best of CES 2016

‘Uber for Beauty’ – The Glam App

I like to have gel nails at pretty much all times. I feel bare without them, and even if I decide to give them a rest, I tend to get a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder from my Mum and Sister that unpolished nails are not a sight to be seen.
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However, I am pretty busy. Fitting in full time work, a part time post graduate and a social life is pretty hard.

The Glam App is beauty on demand. With the push of a button, The Glam App delivers beauty experts to your front door. Offering services that range from a blow dry, to make up applications, or just a simple polish change there’s no need to leave your house, when we bring the salon to you.

With only 180 likes on Facebook and 1 rating on the app store, they aren’t doing so well with uptake. It’s only available to use in the US, but with locations in every major city I would have expected a bit more engagement from beauty addicts like me.

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What is even more surprising is that it was launched by Cara Santana (actress), so you would think you would get a lot more celebrity endorsement.

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I downloaded it and had a look around. The app is really easy to use, and designed simply but stylishly. Gel nails (which would be my go-to) were priced at $65, which is double what I would pay at a salon. Maybe if I was desperate I would pay $40, but $65 seems steep, even with the home visit.

This could be why they haven’t had much success. Particularly in a city like New York where there is a nail salon every block, paying double to have someone come to your house seems like a celebrity luxury not many are willing to pay for.

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Similarly I find it hard to believe someone would pay $100 for a half up-do, or some of the other hair styles they are offering.

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Great idea, good design, but not executed well enough in terms of price. But hey, I might not be their target market.

Check out this blog post on the other apps trying out the same concept.
http://fashionista.com/2014/08/beauty-on-demand

http://streetfightmag.com/2015/06/26/7-platforms-offering-on-demand-beauty-services/

Continue reading “‘Uber for Beauty’ – The Glam App”

A closer look at driverless cars

The sharing economy is a phrase that has started to buzz around. It essentially refers to the move towards the practice of renting or sharing rather than ownership. For example, Freecycle, shared offices such as WeWork and even crowdfunding platforms can all be included in this. The movement has also been dubbed ‘the Airbnb generation’. It is the sharing economy that is going to be the driving force (lol) of self-driving cars…or so we are being told.

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I have talked about driverless cars briefly here before, but I read a really interesting article on the Wall Street Journal during my daily scrolling that I found very interesting and therefore wanted to discuss/share.

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Before we get into it, can we all just think about how sweet a proper system of driverless cars would be? Very few accidents, sleeping in the car on the way to work, NEVER GETTING LOST (i.e. a problem for me every day). But the practicalities of it go much further beyond this.

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This article in the Wall Street Journal outlines some of these practicalities. It basically points out that for 95% of a car’s life, it just sits there. It waits for us to finish work, or waits for us while we sleep. This is where driverless technology and the sharing economy collide. If you only need a car for 5% of its time, then you can share it with 20 other people. Essentially, the end of car ownership for the masses has been predicted.

This also means that you can get the car you need for the occasion and need state. Just one of you going to work? Smart Car. Needing to transport Ikea furniture? Land Rover. Family trip? Volvo. The flexibility of this idea plays into how we live our lives today: getting personalized service, when we need it.

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This also stands to reason that there will be huge efficiency gains. No traffic (less cars, better road control) and fuel efficiency gains should be huge – particularly considering car companies plan on driverless cars being cleaner vehicles. Of course, one of the biggest appeals of this system is cost. You only pay for what you use – that 5% – rather than 100%.

“Beyond the practical benefits, autonomous cars could contribute $1.3 trillion in annual savings to the U.S. economy alone. Global savings? Somewhere in the neighborhood of $5.6 trillion.” – Ravi Shanker, a Morgan Stanley analyst covering the U.S. auto business to the WSJ.

Although this will obviously spell declining sales in cars, the industry is already looking forward to this and how they can be players in the movement. Don’t forget, driverless cars means more people using cars: children, the elderly, the disabled, the blind, banned drivers.

“The benefits for these groups would include independence, reduction in social isolation, and access to essential services.” – WSJ

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Obviously the road to driverless cars has been a long one. Google’s been at it for a while, as have other major car manufacturers. Nissan are aiming to get a full driverless cars on the road by 2020, with a ‘highway assist’ car coming in 2016 (so soon!). So if you’re thinking about buying a new car in the next 5 years, I’d hold off: you might be buying into a dud investment.

Continue reading “A closer look at driverless cars”

Tutorial: Scary Clown Halloween Makeup

I like to go all out for halloween. It you’re not creeping people out, you’re not doing it right.

This year my friends and I managed to wrangle some cheap tickets to the WeWorkNYC Halloween party, which was ‘Midnight Circus’ themed. Considering wework, I knew there was going to be some creative costumes there, so I decided to step up my game from past years. I started looking up tutorials on YouTube and changed my mind about 4 times before committing to a costume. I decided to go as the creepiest clown I could.

I’ve dabbled a bit before in SFX makeup, so I knew a couple of things, but I’m going to break them down here in case you’re not in the same boat.

I started by making my own modelling clay which can be used for fake skin (scars, scabs, deep cuts etc). You can buy it in the form of sfx wax but its normally quite expensive and you don’t get much.

All you need is flour, vaseline and foundation.

You start by mixing the vaseline and flour together until it starts to blend. IMG_2879

Then you can add some foundation for colouring. Depending on where the clay is going you might want to choose a darker or lighter foundation. This is due to the lightening that occurs because of the flour. So if it’s going on your face and your wearing foundation, use a darker colour as it will match better.

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IMG_2881Then you keep mixing it and smoothing it together, until you get a paste that is mouldable. 

IMG_2882 IMG_2883 Leave that on the side and get started with the spine. I bought liquid latex from amazon, and got a pint for about $7.

Take some cotton pads, dip them in the liquid latex and fold them into the right sizes for the bones. If they are too heavy they wont stick. I also used some adhesive to make sure it would last.
IMG_2884 IMG_2885 Next, use some adhesive (not necessary, but recommended) to outline where you are going to put the modelling clay that is going to become the edges of your wound. Roll the clay into sausages and press around the edges.

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IMG_2893 IMG_2892 You can use vaseline to smooth out the edges so that it blends into your skin. Make sure to not make the edges too thick, otherwise they may crumble and fall off later.

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Once you’ve gone all the way around with the edges of your wound, you can start painting in the background black. In general I don’t like using grease paints for this (these are the ones that usually come in little pallets in costume shops) so I used water-based makeup paints.

IMG_2903 IMG_2906 IMG_2909After this, use foundation and powers to blend everything in. I also used some purple and blue paints for bruising. The only thing left to do is layer on the fake blood. I used blood paste as well as liquid blood, because it stays fresh looking and in place.

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As well as my neck piece, I also decided to add some gore to my hands. I used the same modelling clay for this, as well as sticks from cotton buds.

IMG_2914 IMG_2915 I sponged on some liquid latex and let it dry. I then peeled this off to create a flap of skin.

IMG_2916 I glued down the sticks to look like bones, and filled in the spaces with torn cotton pads, to create a fleshy effect when covered in blood.

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The more blood the better. After this, I just painted a clown design on my face for extra creepiness.

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I have linked the tutorials I followed below.

Happy Halloween!

Continue reading “Tutorial: Scary Clown Halloween Makeup”

Bringing ‘big data’ to the masses

I’ve been putting off writing a post on Big Data. Firstly because it’s kind of like yeah, and..? Everyones bloody talking about it so what value do I have to add? And secondly, beyond the surface, I don’t know a huge deal about the ins and outs, and I like to know a fair bit about something before writing about it.

But Google did a pretty cool thing and twitter did a cool thing earlier and I just thought’ it’s about time.

So for anyone who doesn’t know (and come on, you really should by now), Big Data is a broad term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. I touched on it on my blog post about the internet of things. There must be about 40 TedTalks on the topic. Here’s a good one, and the rest are here.

Up to this point, we have heard about big data, a LOT, but many of us have not really seen it. You’ve almost definitely been affected by Big Data, but unless you work in the right job in the right industry then you probably won’t have seen it.

However, something popped up on my twitter newsfeed the other day that got me thinking – are consumers, day to day people, going to be seeing more of it?

This thing was twitter analytics.

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This add on means that you can view the reach and engagements on your posts. For the most part, it’s basically useless to the average person. Although interesting, it’s not going to influence your tweeting behaviour, probably.

However it is interesting to see that Twitter are making this information available to everyone, as opposed to just businesses who pay for it.

Google have been leading up to this for a while I think. With the launch of this (I assume) temporary website ‘Freightgeist’ Google have introduced everyone to the wonders of big data, and how it can be useful and fun.

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Now I am unsure whether this was made available in the UK, so I can’t compare and contrast, but here is what we have in the US.

The site has basically collected all the Halloween information from google searches and collated them into intelligible information about trends around costumes.

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You can see what is the most popular costume by area on a map.

2015-10-30 12_47_53-Google Frightgeist2015-10-30 12_48_10-Google Frightgeist And also what’s trending overall.

Moral of the story, don’t go as Harley Quinn – it’s going to be cliche this year.

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I just thought this is a really fun example of how big data is creeping into our everyday lives, and it makes me wonder where we are going to physically see it next. Clearly Google are keen to make it understandable and accessible, so I’m guessing they’ve got some plans.

Happy Halloween!

Continue reading “Bringing ‘big data’ to the masses”