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Gotham Greens – A Startup Using Urban Farming To Supply Fresh Produce

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A majority of the American population is growing conscious about the journey of the food they eat, starting from the cultivation to how it ends up on their table.  They are concerned about the quality of the produce in terms of whether pesticides are used and are trying to reduce unnecessary consumption and only consume what is necessary.  Amidst all this, a New York based startup called Gotham Greens came up with what is called ‘urban farming.’ This is a concept of farming which uses urban spaces like buildings’ rooftops and abandoned warehouses and combines it with greenhouse farming to produce farm products.

The beginning of Gotham Greens

Gotham Greens was founded by Viraj Puri and Eric Haley when they quit their jobs and decided to do something environmentally friendly.  Viraj Puri was working at an environmental engineering firm and Eric Haley was working at a private equity and advisory firm. After finalizing a business plan, they had Jenn Nelkin Frymark join as a third partner and kicked off their first greenhouse in Brooklyn.

How Gotham Greens operates

Gotham Greens employs state of the art machinery to ensure they maintain high quality.  All the greenhouses they currently operate are completely solar and wind powered, meaning they maintain a neutral energy footprint.  The greenhouses are fitted with the latest sensors to control various factors like climate, moisture, oxygen and carbon dioxide content.  All the produce is farmed using a method known as hydroponic farming. ‘Hydroponic’ originates from Greek and hydroponic farming means water cultivation.  This type of farming reduces the land requirement for farming without compromising on the yield.

Advantages

Gotham Greens employed sustainable techniques to ensure there is minimal wastage of resources as well as their products.  All the water they use while farming is recycled and reused. Their way of farming increased productivity by 30 % more than that achieved by conventional farming methods, which require large areas of arable land.

Gotham Greens also has another unique achievement under its belt.  During the Company’s early days, Whole Foods was one of their initial customers.  Together, they built a greenhouse on top of a Whole Foods flagship store in Brooklyn, where they cultivate and produce fresh leafy greens and herbs.  This Whole Foods store’s customers directly get their produce from the farm. This is a first of its kind and needless to say, it cuts down on the cost of logistics and drastically increases the products’ shelf life.

Gotham Greens now plans to scale up and increase the number of their greenhouses to tackle the demand they are currently receiving.  By the end of 2019, the Company is looking to expand and have 8 greenhouse facilities in 5 states of the United States and increase its regional distribution to more than 30 states of the Country.

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How E Pharmacy Startup 1mg Changed The Way Medicines Are Delivered

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India is one of the countries where the prices of drugs and pharmaceuticals are the cheapest in the world, but access to healthcare is still one of the major problems which plague the Country.  A majority of urban population, along with the rural population in India, does not have any idea about proper nutrition, medicinal and dietary advice and the idea for 1mg, an e pharmacy startup, began on this premise.

Beginnings

1mg was initially started as HealthKartPlus, a platform which aggregated medical information and sold alternative medicine to its users.  The platform caught up quickly with the users and soon the users began asking for delivery of medicines to be included as well. That was when 1mg was founded by Prashant Tandon, Gaurav Agarwal and Vikas Chauhan in 2015.  At a time when information and awareness about medicines and lab tests were either minimal or non existent, 1mg aimed to change it. HealthKartPlus now stocks and offers health and dietary supplements and targets a younger demographic audience.

Services

After rebranding itself as a platform offering sales of generic drugs and pharmaceuticals, 1mg currently has 2 other major verticals (business areas)—doctor consultations and lab tests.  Users can go on the website or mobile phone app of 1mg to avail any of their services like ordering medicines, booking an appointment with a doctor or booking a lab test, which is neatly classified according to health and body categories.

Quality and information checks

Pharmaceuticals are very sensitive and need to be stored and tracked properly and on an online marketplace like this, there needs to be a system in place to ensure the quality of the medicines.  1mg has a system in place where they onboard vendors onto the platform if they meet certain requirements like computerised inventory and invoicing, which makes end to end tracking easier for the customer.  The startup is able to generate business even after strict government compliances which banned online pharmacies by making a prescription mandatory to make a purchase.

Adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

With AI being hailed as the technology of the future, every startup is trying to adapt it in some capacity to streamline and optimise their offerings.  1mg recently started offering a feature, ‘Ask a Doctor,’ which is an intuitive chatbot that asks questions in order to accurately identify what the problem may be and shows the medicinal specializations under which the ailment may fall.  Users can choose from one of them and a doctor, who can diagnose the problem via chat, is assigned to you.

With technology changing everyday, 1mg established itself in the e pharmacy market place as a major player.  They currently deliver medicines and health products to homes across more than a thousand cities in India from licensed and verified pharmacies.

Read about how this company is recycling electronic waste: How Namo E-Waste Is Solving A Major Environmental Issue

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Story of Rovio Entertainment, Makers of Angry Birds Franchise

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If you are a smartphone user, chances are you have seen or played the hit game Angry Birds at least once.  The game became a phenomenon due to its fun gameplay featuring ‘angry’ birds with powers and pigs which try to steal the eggs of the birds.  However, the creators of the game, Rovio Entertainment, almost went bankrupt before coming up with the idea of Angry Birds.  While Rovio Entertainment may look like an overnight success story, in reality, it really was not.

Beginnings

Rovio Entertainment was founded by three Finnish students, Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen and Kim Dikert, belonging to the Helsinki University of Technology, after they won a mobile game development competition sponsored by Nokia and Hewlett-Packard in 2003.  Rovio was initially named Relude. Later, the name was changed to Rovio in 2005 before finally becoming Rovio Entertainment in 2011.

Rovio Entertainment was focussed on making games which targeted niche audiences and concepts like science fiction and horror.  They released 51 games to not a lot of success and realised they would go bankrupt if they continued on the same path.

Development of Angry Birds

When the first iPhone was announced in 2007, the entire smartphone industry was disrupted, leading to the development of new ecosystems.  Mikael Hed, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rovio Entertainment, saw an opportunity to create a game which echoed with the millennial mindset and attention spans.  He wanted to come up with a game which was easy to load, simple to play without any tutorial and could be played at any time.

While the team of Rovio Entertainment was experimenting with different concepts, one designer pitched a concept art showing a group of birds which were cross for no reason and the design stuck.  The game was developed around these ‘angry birds’ by creating a storyline and antagonists. For the antagonists, the developers settled on pigs because of the swine flu epidemic which was in the news at the time.  Angry Birds was the fifty second game to be developed by Rovio Entertainment and was developed at a cost exceeding 100,000 euros.

Capturing the market

The developers realised they could not compete on the Apple App Store in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, which hold the largest market share with other games, as the response to Angry Birds was lukewarm.  Therefore, the developers released the game in smaller markets like Finland, Sweden and Denmark before capturing Greece and the Czech Republic.  The larger markets began to take note and the App Store in the United Kingdom finally put it on its featured games list, thereby catapulting the game into limelight and making it the number 1 game on the U.K. and the U.S.A. App Stores.  Angry Birds reached its one billionth download in 2012 and two billionth download in 2014.

Rovio Entertainment showed what it means not to give up and stick to an idea if it is endearing.  The success of Angry Birds is a testimony to the perseverance of the studio behind it.  Angry Birds successfully spawned a franchise, with multiple games on offer, merchandise and Hollywood movies to its name.

Read about the story of Electronic Arts here : The Story of Video Gaming Company Electronic Arts (EA)

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7 Inspiring Quotes By Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

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Satya Nadella came into the limelight when he was announced as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft in 2014.  Satya Nadella succeeded Steve Ballmer and is the third CEO of Microsoft, the software and cloud giant. He managed to increase the stock value of Microsoft during his tenure at a growth rate of 27 % and made some key acquisitions like LinkedIn, Mojang and GitHub, to name a few.

Satya Nadella made it to the top of one of the world’s biggest corporations and in the course of his inspiring journey, he has shared many words of wisdom.

Let us have a look at some of the inspiring quotes by Satya Nadella.

1. “Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don’t learn.”

Learning is a constant process and there is always something new to learn, be it a new skill, a new language or a new subject.  Being in a state of learning will lead to a fulfilling life. Once the learning stops, there is no growth in an individual, which leads to a state of stagnation.

2. “You renew yourself every day. Sometimes you’re successful, sometimes you’re not, but it’s the average that counts.”

Each day is an opportunity to do something new.  Whether or not you are successful is unimportant, but every new trial contributes to the average output.  This offers the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and make the average better.

3. “I think playing cricket taught me more about working in teams and leadership that has stayed with me throughout my career.”

Cricket originated in England and spread to its colonies, where it is a popular sport.  Cricket is a team based sport and involves reliance on teammates, offering plenty of leadership opportunities.  Almost every team based sport offers a wealth of learning in terms of leadership and collaboration. In his book Hit Refresh, Satya Nadella mentions how he was taken out of the bowling attack because he was having a bad spell and was later recalled by the captain again to bowl.  That incident resonated deeply with Satya Nadella and he says, Why did he do that?  He could have just broken all my confidence and thrown me off the team, but for some reason, he decided to give me the ball back. That ability, that sensibility of what leaders can do to bring teams along to do their best work—that’s what we can learn from team sport.”

4. “If you do not jump on the new, you do not survive.”

The world is constantly in a state of change in this age of digital communication, where technology is growing at a very rapid pace.  In order to stay ahead of the competition, it is important to constantly adapt to new things.  In a bid to compete with cloud product service giants Amazon and Salesforce, Microsoft released Enterprise Mobility security, which allows corporations and organizations to track and protect their mobile devices.  This product increased Microsoft’s gross revenue up by 67 % and drew praise even from the critics who predicted its failure, thereby proving the Company’s ability to innovate and survive against all odds.

5. “Success can make people unlearn the habits that made them successful in the first place.”

While success is a cause for celebration, it is important not to let it get to your head.  Success should pave the way for setting a new goal and aiming to achieve it.

6. “Our industry does not respect tradition. What it respects is innovation.”

The software and cloud industry is constantly evolving at a rapid pace, with innovations happening at a very quick rate, making the competition cutthroat.  The entire industry thrives on innovation and Satya Nadella aims to do the same during his tenure as the CEO of Microsoft. Some innovations under his tenure include the Xbox adaptive controller designed to give additional assistance to differently abled people, the HoloLens augmented reality headset and the surface laptop.

7. “We all know the mortality of companies is less than human beings.”

Companies are made by the customers who use their products.  Many big corporations shut down due to lack of demand from their customers, like Blockbuster, Thomas Cook, Compaq and Toys R Us.  It is important to be humble and constantly innovate to improve the quality of life of the customer. Microsoft released its operating system (OS) Windows 8 as a measure to push people towards using tablets over desktops and pushed needless updates.  This did not sit well with the people and they avoided using the OS altogether. Microsoft took the feedback into account and then rolled out Windows 10, which was more stable and compatible with desktops.

Which of these quotes by Satya Nadella inspired you the most?

Read more about motivational quotes by Sundar Pichai here: 7 Motivational Quotes By Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

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