Author Archives: sovakvictoria

Do you love technology as much as your dog? 

Reading Time: 2 minutes

You don’t have to be a crazy pet person to get onboard with this idea. But it helps.

Do you ever wonder what your dog is doing all day while you’re at work or school? I do. There are two cool companies that make it possible to check in on your dog while you’re away. Petcube and Petzi Connect.

Petcube is a box that contains a wide-angle HD camera, microphone, speakers, and a laser pointer. When you’re not home you can see what your pet is up to. You can even use the laser to play with them a bit. The best part is that this is all done through your smart phone! You can also get sound and motion alerts so you can see if anything major is happening. But the idea behind Petcube is not only to interact with your pet and keep tabs on your pet, but to also keep them active.  With the built in laser toy you can play with and exercise your pet at any time. You can also use the “autoplay” mode to keep your pet entertained if you’re too busy to do it yourself.

Current price: $149

Petzi Connect is a device that is similar to the Petcube. But instead of using a laser pointer to play games, it has a treat dispenser so you can spoil your pet even when you’re not around. Another difference is that Petzi Connect plugs directly into the wall whereas Petcube can be placed anywhere. While Petcube allows you to speak to your pets, Petzi offers a two-way audio and video connection.

Current price: $169.95

Both are reasonably priced considering what they do. What makes these cameras “pet cameras” rather than regular cameras, aside from the marketing, are the interaction features.  Both use smartphone apps as the main user interface and are both available for iOS snd Android.

Although the technology is a bit quirky, it is another convenience that technology allows us to enjoy. Now I can sit at work and give my dog a treat, just because. I can check in on him to make sure he hasn’t gotten into any trouble. I can also get great new pictures for his Instagram…follow him! @hugo_warsaw_frenchie. 


How to use Snapchat in E-commerce

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to send pictures and videos that self-delete a few seconds after being opened. There is also the option to send these pictures and videos to your “Snap Story” in which case the snaps are accessible by anyone on your friends list for 24 hours. Since it’s launch in 2011 it has become increasingly popular.

Since Snapchat is so popular, companies have been adding accounts and using the app to promote their brand. Here are 4 ways that Snapchat can be used to promote e-commerce stores:

1.Creating excitement around new products

Posting Snaps to promote new products, or to build excitement about the release of new products is a good way to get started. The best company doing this is Taco Bell. Even though they are not an e-commerce store, they are, in my opinion, the best in Snapchat marketing. They use Snapchat to create authentic and less intrusive campaigns to reach their target audience. This technique can be applied to e-commerce sites as well.

2. Distribute discounts and promo codes

Everyone loves a good discount. Some companies are encouraging their users to share snap stories of them interacting with the brand and in exchange they receive discounts from 10-100% off their next purchase. With e-commerce stores you can ask your users to upload screenshots of their snaps. Or they will have a promo code posted in their Snap Story, and users can use it at during check out on the e-commerce site.

3. Invite users to interact

There are different ways to get your users to interact. The first is to post a series of Snap Stories and create a game. For example, encourage users who watch Snap stories to solve clues to get discounts or other prizes. This can be a bit harder for an e-commerce store to do, as their is no physical store to do this in. However, if your social media team is creative, it can surely be done.

Another way to get your users to interact is to have social media  influencers post about your company on their social media, and lead them to the your Snapchat. Or if the influencers use their Snapchat to promote your brand, with perhaps a discount code, it will also lead new users to your site.

The main takeaway with either are incentives. Users need a reason to get involved. There are some who are brand loyal and don’t need incentives. But these are few and far between depending on the company.

4. Show your team

People love to see what’s going on behind the scenes at their favorite companies. It is a good idea to introduce your team and show the followers what they are doing. You can have different people “hosting” the Snaps for a day or week, etc. Or you can have one dedicated person posting the Snaps, but they go around the office and introduce different members of the team and let the users get to know what’s going on. This helps users feel more connected to the company, and like they are a part of the process in some way. This is useful for e-commerce stores because customers don’t have the opportunity to meet employees, or build a connection in a regular retail store. 

The Bot Craze is Real!

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Over the past year, bots have been a widely discussed topic. Experts and the media have been weighing the possible benefits bots can create for businesses as well as consumers. The U.S. market has expressed a high interest in bots. Products like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Allo Messenger, and Siri SDK are all technologies that are leading the battleground of this bot war. While bots and systems that benefit from AI and recurrent neural networks are not a new technology, 2016 was the year that most of the big players increased their attention and invested more money into AI and machine learning systems. With all the buzz around them, it can sometimes to be tricky to nail down just what a bot is.

Bots, or conversational UI’s are autonomous services humans can interact with using natural language in existing messaging apps. Amir Shevat, the developer relations lead at Slack defines bots as   “digital users within a messaging product. Unlike most users, they are powered by software rather than by a human, and they bring a product or service into a given messaging product via conversation.”

Since companies have been reinvesting in bots there have been significant improvements in technology. The BBC predicts that nearly half of the most commonly held careers are at a significant risk of being replaced by automation by 2035. Here are a few examples:

  1. Web Designer/Web Developer: (via The Grid) The AI behind The Grid will take designing and coding away from web designers and developers. With just a few photos, it can turn an idea into action in just a few steps. It makes it changes based on human feedback.
  2. Office Manager: (via Betty) AI will soon be managing your offices. Betty is an intelligent bot who is in charge of greeting guests, staff and tracking employee hours. She is also in charge of stocking office materials.
  3. Psychologist: (via Ellie) Ellie is an Ai therapist that uses sensors to read a patient’s body language and respond like a human. She is capable of smiling, nodding and shrugging at appropriate times via her screen’s human avatar.
  4. Human Resources: (via FlatPi) This is the ultimate headhunter! FlatPi is able to filter through tons of candidates in seconds and is therefore transforming the way companies hire. It allows you to hire, track, manage interview and choose the candidate all in the same place and in a less time consuming way.

While all of this new technology is exciting, the most important question is, how long before new technologies take over all of our jobs?


Get anything you want from anywhere in the world!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Moving from your home country in search of a new adventure is exciting! It’s something more and more people are doing. Whether it be students studying abroad for 3 years or professionals who move indefinitely, there is one thing that connects them all. That is that we all miss specific things from home. This is what inspired Daria Rebenok with the idea for Grabr.

Grabr is a peer to peer shopping and delivery marketplace. They make it possible for travelers to make money by shopping for and delivering products to people all around the world. Grabr uses these travelers to bridge the gap in the global shopping market. This way shoppers can have access to goods that are either unavailable or overpriced in their country. Travelers use the extra room in their suitcase to bring the products from point A to point B.

So who is this service for? There are two answers. The first is the shopper. Shoppers are people around the world who want or need to shop internationally. The second would be the travelers. These are people who are traveling, for whatever reason, and want to make some easy extra money.

To put it simply, someone wants something they can’t find locally. They post their plea for someone to bring it to them for a price that the two decide on (usually between $5-$20). Grabr takes a 7% cut of these fees. So you’re in L.A. but want macarons from your favorite cafe in Paris? Easy! Just post your request and connect with someone who is making the trip from Paris to L.A., agree on a price, and you’ll be enjoying those macarons in no time!

It can be argued that a service like this facilitates the sale of illegal goods. Grabr does impose restrictions as to what can be bought through their site. In their terms of service there is a list of prohibited items that includes illegal drugs, human remains, counterfeit currency, and live animals. Items imported without a customs declaration are also banned. Stolen property  or anything the U.S. government deems hazardous are also prohibited. But the question still remains as to how users will be monitored. However, companies designed as peer to peer, such as Airbnb, say they’re only facilitating the person to person connection via technology. This therefore lets the people and not the company take care of the arrangements, which in turn makes the company not liable for any illegal transactions.

Regardless of the things that can go wrong, I know that I will definitely be using this to get all of my favorite foods from the U.S. delivered here to Warsaw!



The Polish Start-up Scene

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you were to ask someone to name the start-up hubs around the world, they’d probably name places like San Francisco, London, Tel Aviv or Berlin first. But if you’re an entrepreneur or investor, Poland should be on your radar. This is because over the past few years the Polish start-up scene has exploded. A recent report from StartUp Poland gives more insight into the country’s digital economy.

In a poll of 2,400 start-ups, 39% identified as software development enterprises, mainly selling their products as SaaS, e-commerce, mobile app development and IoT services. All of which share the dominant B2B business model. There are a decent number start-ups in the poll who are growing more than 50% annually. Most of these companies are in business with medium-sized companies and large corporations. Just over half (54%) of Polish start-ups are exporting their services abroad mainly to the United States and the United Kingdom. 60% of the digital entrepreneurs had bootstrapped their start-ups, and reported being profitable from the beginning. However, others have used funding from the EU as well as domestic and foreign VC funding.

Here are some of the top start-ups in Poland:

  1. DocPlanner: an online healthcare platform that enables patients to book appointments with local physicians. They raised two impressive rounds of $10 million and $20 million in the last year and a half. The company plans to use their funding to expand internationally.
  2. Brainly: is a social learning network and is one of the most promising and fastest growing within the EdTech space. They’ve raised $24.5 million in funding and have over 80 million monthly users. They are available in over 35 countries and have 12 language versions.
  3. Brand24: provides easy to use, cost-effective internet monitoring. Hundreds of businesses like Panasonic, IKEA, and Air France are using Brand24 to get real-time customer insights and actionable intelligence that is relevant to their products and brands.
  4. Growbots: founded only 2 years ago, Growbots is the first all-in-one outbound sales platform. It has attracted funded and has moved part of their team to San Francisco. They offer automatic lead generation and automated email drip campaigns that can integrate with your CRM. They allow you to set up your ICP access over 200 million quality leads.

With the start-up momentum continuing to grow in Poland, it might not be long before they are viewed as a powerhouse like San Fransisco, London Tel Aviv, or Berlin.

Where are these stat-ups located?