Week 4: The curve gets steeper

e25’er: Kartik Raj Rewar

Current Location: Somewhere over the Arabian Sea

Mood: Happy

Consuming: Cabin-pressurized oxygen

Warning: This is going to be a long, longg, longgggg….(okay, not very long) post. More importantly, this is going to be a boring one. If you found the blog posts by my colleagues not too interesting, look away and close the tab. If you are still reading this, you probably don’t have anything else to do or you really want to know about e25. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll assume it’s the former.

Remember: This post will be long and boring and you will not takeaway anything but the frustration of having wasted 5 minutes. Let’s get cracking. Yalla!

My colleagues have beautifully penned down our journey and experiences at e25 – Sara’s green solutions, Nalini’s Dubai encounters, Vedant’s eternal wisdom and Ali’s humble note. I am lucky to be around such a talented bunch of people and acknowledge that I’m downright horrible at expressing my thoughts through a blog (or through any medium for that matter). I am having a hard time imagining what to write about and I guess I’ll settle for trying my best to let you know about the developments at e25.

In the past 10 days, a lot has happened at e25. Let me start with…whatever comes to mind.


The Justice League is now complete (well almost)

Today, finally Omar joins us and Patrick is no more an intern (Yay! His energy levels were anyway 110%). With the prodigal son (Omar) returning home, the team confidence and enthusiasm has scaled a different peak. Omar had been taking value time out from his schedule in the past month to help us out. Now that we have the two youngest heroes of the team (right out of their convocation robes) amongst us, is there any stopping us?

Convo
Picture 1: Omar (the scared soul in the middle) and Patrick on their Graduation

A New Office 😊

 In other news, we have relocated to a ‘relatively’ permanent office – in Emaar Business Park. A place with empty floors and blank walls – all ours to explore and change. A group of youngsters in T-shirts working (and having fun) in the close vicinity of Emaar offices –A new startup in the midst of a giant corporation. We’ll definitely keep you updated as we ‘design’ the new place. SO now you know where to send the gifts and desserts to.😃


Reaching 25

 These days a majority of our time is spent in trying to find the other members of the Justice League (I like to call ourselves that). In case you do not know (well you already know), we are hiring hard-working youngsters who are willing to take risks. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your background is- we want a DIVERSE team on the ground. Mavericks, creatives, engineers, financial analysts, data geeks, professional chefs who can make sushi for us, computer programmers (I repeat; PROGRAMMERS!) are all welcome. We have had a lot of interactions with the most amazing people from a number of countries and some have left us enthralled.

The hours spent brainstorming with each other about what a potential team member should bring to the team has helped us in staying on the right path to complete the team (league?). The application page is available on our website at https://www.e25.ae/apply. We understand that having a great team is THE most important input to our success and we’ll ensure that our final team is one that does justice to the responsibility and mission entrusted to us.


Website

We (finally) have our own website. Finally. To learn more about us, our values and what we are up to, you can visit our website at www.e25.ae or follow us on our social media handles: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You may find our crazy ideas not so crazy much for the guerrilla marketing! 😝

1
Picture 2: If you see anything else other than this on opening http://www.e25.ae, you are probably seeing our old website – Time to clear those cookies and/or update the browser

But wait, what is this e25?

We have often been asked ‘Who are you people?’, ‘What do you do?’, ‘Are you a start-up?’, ‘What do you want to do?’, ‘Where do you see yourself?’, ‘Do you have a vision?’, ‘So where does Emaar come in?’ and other related questions. It’s time to clear the air.

Who are we?

An innovation platform powered by EMAAR to take it to new heights and expand its horizon

Our Vision

To create a new way of life: sustainable, hassle-free and on-the-go –from Dubai to the World

Where do we see ourselves in the near future?

We aspire to be a platform which will give rise to multiple startups integrated into EMAAR.

Our Values

We do acknowledge that our goal posts might keep changing because of the nature of our job but our values listed below would be at the core of any venture that e25 undertakes. We want to imbibe in our work culture the following 7 values, which would define our projects going forward and help us find direction in times of adversities.

  1. Take Big Bold Bets
  2. Take Ownership
  3. Learn Learn Learn
  4. Trust Your Gut
  5. Let Your Ego Go
  6. Be Serious Without Suits
  7. Obsess Over Customers

Ending Note

Finally, I’d like to say that now the curve only gets steeper from here. We have our team, our mentors, our office and our ideas. (Wait, did I just read ideas? I thought there were no ideas and e25 does not do anything). The diversity of the current project spaces is as diverse as (if not more) the team – PropTech, Construction, Sustainability, Living solutions among a few. It is time for Justice League e25 to step harder on the gas, go a notch higher and save the world Get Crazy Done!

JL
Picture 3: The Justice League with original 7 (Image -Lego)

P.S. Do check out the ‘Thunder’ track from Imagine Dragons which showcases Dubai in all its glory at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKopy74weus

Week 3: The e25 Journal

e25’er: Ali Abou Haidar

Current Location: Cozy at Home

Mood: Ultra Productive

Consuming: Caramel and sesame covered almonds and peanuts

 

Imagine you are part of EMAAR. Separately, imagine you are part of a small group of young talented people who are all below 25 years of age. Both sound very cool right? Well just imagine being part of that group within EMAAR: now isn’t that just outright amazing!

We’ve been working together as a team for a little over a month now. Getting used to each other is not that easy: very different minded people sitting in the same room, thinking about ways to change the world. From vegetarian to pescatarian, yoga-lover and gamer, the list can go on for quite a while. We’ve had our fair share of disagreement but surprisingly, we have been able to reach an agreement on a vast majority of the topics we have discussed. Open-mindedness is a moto we live by.

During this long process of setting up our company, I keep learning new things every day. From how to set-up IT to how do you go about recruiting talented individuals, it is all a very steep learning curve. Other facts are more thought-provoking and can even be scary: can you believe Facebook’s ability to know you more than your closest friends or partner after analyzing just 240 likes? Well, it’s huuuge, it’s true.

As a final closing note, consider this: what do you want to see done in Dubai that would make your life easier or just make you happier? Leave us a comment here and we’re more than happy to look into your idea!

Week 2: The e25 Journal

e25’er: Vedant
Current location: Dubai Marina
Mood: Slight end-of-weekend blues
Consuming: Air, sunlight and some chairspace

From Dibrugarh to Dubai, it’s been quite a change! For those who momentarily and/or quizzically paused when hearing the name of the former, Dibrugarh happens to be my home: a small, sleepy town nestled in the quaint north-east of India. It’s a region as yet largely untouched by the rapid urbanization that one can see in mainland India. In addition to these, it’s one of the rainiest places in the world and boasts of some great natural beauty. Also, people here are generally poorer than even those in mainland India, and communities are highly entrenched and close-knit.

Dibrugarh and Dubai are, therefore, almost polar opposites in most regards – from the quality of life to the climactic conditions. Having spent most of my life in Assam (a state in the north-east of India), Dubai was like a breath of fresh (or shall I say hot?!) air. It is amazing to see the quality of life enjoyed here, the sheer number of high-rises and the welcoming, cosmopolitan society. It’s been only a month yet, but I think I am going to really like staying in Dubai.

A wise man once said, “A place is only as good as the people you know in it.” And, in that regard, I have been extremely fortunate. When I came here, I barely knew anyone in this city. However, I have already formed some lasting bonds, largely with the other members of e25, comprising some of the smartest and most talented people I have ever met. It is truly a privilege to simply be a part of this eclectic and accomplished bunch of people.

We had been interacting over Skype and emails prior to our first meeting but we only began getting to really know each other from the first week. The MBTI and the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp served as great ice-breakers, and helped us bond, apart from leaving us with a better sense of ourselves, our ideas and the path ahead of us.

Since then, we have had the privilege of meeting HE Mohamed Alabbar multiple times. His drive and ambition is infectious, and he left us with something to ponder about. We have also been fortunate to meet several of the top management of Emaar and its group companies. Each interaction gave us new insights about the discussed industries – spanning Properties, Entertainment, Hospitality, Shopping Malls, and Retail. They gave us ample food for thought and we always left brimming with ideas and energy.

We have also been busy developing our logo, our new website (it’s almost done), and getting our various social media pages up and running. In the process, we also took part in a marathon photo shoot – something yours truly truly disliked – beginning at 6 AM in the morning! (And we think models have it easy.)

Apart from all this, we have also been busy brainstorming, arguing, and in general going “blah, blah, blah.” We have had some pretty interesting and stimulating discussions, feeding off each other’s energy, experiences and ideas. During these discussions we have come up with what we would want e25 to stand for – a platform committed to creating a new way of life: sustainable, hassle-free, and on the go, from Dubai to the world.

In short, we want to have a meaningful and positive impact in Dubai, and, by extension, the world. Our scope knows no limit – whether that be cleaning the humongous amount of plastic in the world’s oceans or to find alternative, speedier ways to build buildings. We know that these are, of course, just ideas at the end of the day. What really matters is how we execute them, and that we execute them well.

Will we fall down during the course of our journey? Will we fail sometimes? Short answer: in all probability, yes we likely will. But we won’t stop till we get it right. In the words of Samuel Beckett, “Ever try, ever fail, no matter. Try again, fail again, fail better.”

But then again, it’s always better to get it right the first time. Until next time!

Week 1: The Journey Begins!:)

e25’er: Nalini Kothari

Current location: Auris Metro Central

Mood: Ultra-chillin

Consuming: Super Rings and Lindt 85% cocoa

I landed in Dubai in the first week of April and was blown away by how much it had changed since I was last here. The weather had gotten warmer but so had the welcomes. I was met at the airport by a friendly chauffeur who went on to give me a brief lowdown on all the famous buildings on our way to the hotel. Speaking of iconic buildings, the Burj Khalifa being the tall beauty that she is, evoked the greatest excitement in both of us.

Before I begin to describe my encounters in Dubai, let me start with introducing myself. I am Nalini Kothari and I have come to Dubai to be a part of the amazing e25 team! While a lot of employers speak of autonomy and freedom, seldom do they translate in spirit what they promise in letter. And I was glad to have found with Emaar a company that truly delivers on what it promises.

My mind was a mix of happy and sad as I got to the hotel, but my beautifully done up room and the amazing view it offered raised my spirits instantly. I had been in Lyon last year as part of my student exchange and was one day hit by this strong nostalgia for all things Indian – the people, the food, and the language. But, as I walked around Dubai, I realized that was not going to happen here. In a lot of ways, it just felt like home.

The team had planned to meet for dinner – a way to learn more about one another before we hit the ground running. We had decided upon Logma – a restaurant that serves lip-smacking Arabic cuisine. As a vegetarian, my food palette is often limited, but I am always up for trying what a new cuisine has to offer. And delighted I was as I suck my teeth into Halloumi – a kind of chewy, brined cheese that I took an instant liking to. It soon found its way into my wraps and sandwiches over the next few days. Ali was missing from this rendezvous and was hilariously photoshopped into the team photo.

teamcropped

 

On the first day, we had a series of meetings scheduled with the top brass at Emaar. They spoke about their journeys and the values that had held them in good stead till date. There ran a thread of commonality between all of the meetings – that failure is the biggest teacher in life, with each of them stressing more on the learnings from their failures rather than their successes.

The week ahead was choc-a-bloc with trainings. The next day was dedicated to MBTI profiling. We had previously undertaken a test to understand what our Myers-Briggs Personality type was and the day was spent understanding how our individual personalities would lend to the overall personality of the team. Funnily, all but one member of the team were extroverts as per the results of the online test, but as the day progressed, we came to realize that in our personal dealings most of us were introverts. And that may be because the workplace tends to favour extroverts and pushes us towards being demonstrative. This has been the subject of much debate and remains rather inconclusive.

Over the next two days, we were part of an entrepreneurship boot camp with Mr. Anthony Mills. It was an intensive training involving various fun activities, as we started on a systematic approach to establishing a start-up. There were long brainstorming sessions and crazy ideas got thrown around the table. But as they say, every new idea looks crazy at first.

The week ended with a meeting with Hadi, followed by a fantastic dinner at Hashi, Armani Hotel which serves authentic Japanese food. You’d be amazed to know how adept they are at customizing their signature dishes to cater to vegetarians. We walked out of the hotel to a breathtaking view of the Dubai Fountain and the promise of an exhilarating journey that awaited us!

The e25 Journal : Week 0

e25’er: Sara Al Liusie

Current location: Eataly @ Dubai Mall

Mood: Scatter-brained

Consuming: Americano and a small pistachio gelato

The e25 journal begins! Its aim is to serve as a cathartic outlet where we are able to record our ideas, activities, thoughts and projections to keep you, our followers, engaged throughout this journey. We want the blog to be as raw and natural as possible, and for all of us to develop our own narrative via this journal.

I grew up with Dubai and went through its growth spurt from rubble to skyscrapers. Although I’m of Chinese origin, I am Emirati by nationality but culturally; I guess I’d be defined as ‘international’. I’ve lived in London for 7 years preceding, and coming back to Dubai is a little bit strange. I’m excited to see what we can do as a team to contribute towards improving my hometown, my Dubai!

We’re being assembled globally (akin to the Justice League!), and have already been acquainted via numerous Skype calls over the past few weeks. We’ve briefly discussed ideas encompassing our marketing strategy, our branding, and e25’s I.T. structure and, perhaps most importantly, vocalized our mutual love for good food. However, it’s difficult to hold meetings with people spread across the UK, Dubai, Nepal and India! We’ll all be relieved to be in the same place when we can start communicating and fleshing out our ideas.

Ali and I will be attending the STEP conference which takes place on the 5th/6th of April, and we’re excited to listen to other startups speak about their experiences. It’ll be the best way to get acquainted with Dubai’s startup scene and for us to get real insight about what e25’s future may entail.

Personally, I am very passionate about waste reduction and being as green as possible. I am not sure where this has derived from; it’s truly innate. I never received the education or knowledge to recycle – my family is still not open to the idea of recycling! They think it’s an unnecessary hassle. What difference would recycling one plastic bottle make to the already accumulated sea of litter? Do you feel the same way? I myself wasn’t aware of the extent of how harmful and wasteful plastic bottles are until a year ago. Let me pull up a couple of facts:

Fact #1: It takes centuries for PET bottles to decompose, amounting to billions of tiny environmentally poisonous time bombs. Water bottles are made of completely recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, but PETs photodegrade i.e. they break down into smaller fragments over a long period of time. These fragments absorb toxins that pollute our waterways, contaminate our soil, and sicken animals (which we then eat).

Fact #2: Only PET bottles can be recycled. All other bottles are discarded and end up in landfills, and thereafter leach dangerous chemicals into the ground. Only 1 out of 5 bottles are sent to the recycling bin.  The States alone throws around 38 billion water bottles into landfills, annually.

Fact #3: 10% of the plastic manufactured worldwide ends up in the ocean. Every square mile of the ocean has over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in it. Plastic bottle tops and plastic bags are non-recyclable and end up either never degrading at the bottom of the ocean, or in the stomachs of marine animals that mistake them for food. One albatross that was once found dead on a Hawaiian island had a stomach full of 119 bottle caps.

Fact #4.  It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to meet the demand of U.S. water bottle manufacturing. This amount of oil far exceeds the amount needed to power 100,000 cars for a year, which does not include fossil fuel and emissions costs of greenhouse gases needed to transport the final product to market.

Fact #5:  The plastic-making process requires over two gallons of water for the purification process of every gallon of water. How wasteful!

Fact #6: Plastic drinking bottles contain many chemicals, some of which interfere with hormones in the body. Chemicals in the plastic can seep into bottled water, especially when exposed to heat or when the bottle is old.

It is unfortunate that Dubai does not provide fresh drinking water via our taps due to the dangers of contamination from the piping system. I try and minimize buying bottled water by re-filling the same bottle from public fountains. I also installed a water filtration system in my house which cost 950AED (http://www.liquidoflife.net/). I say no to straws, plastic bags, and plastic (I carry my own and use a backpack). I use a DivaCup (http://divacup.com/). I don’t eat beef (What’s the link here? Watch Cowspriacy). I hope these little actions can surmount as a significant movement in trying to be eco-friendly, and maybe provide you with some tips on how to adjust your own daily choices.

And now, via e25, I want to take this one-of-a-kind opportunity to make my city, Dubai, a green city. Let’s decrease Dubai’s waste, or find a way to provide more sustainable water sources.

Got an idea? Leave a comment and let’s be green together!

notoplastic

Sources:

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/oceans/pollution/trash-vortex/

https://thewaterproject.org/bottled-water/bottled_water_wasteful

http://www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/marine-debris/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norm-schriever/post_5218_b_3613577.html

https://www.banthebottle.net/articles/plastic-water-bottles-impose-health-and-environmental-risks/