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!

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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/