Eva Pascoe: Making Trend Spotting Help Your Future Business

So much of what we take for granted today has only just been invented, some of it by Eva.

Eva’s career has been built off the back of spotting and acting on emerging trends and she knows stuff!

Eva founded the world’s first Internet Cafe – where David Bowie and Gary Barlow learned about the Internet. Cyberia became a successful chain that she sold before joining Top Shop in 1998 as launch MD of their fledgling eCommerce activity in the days before payment platforms. Whilst at Top Shop, she launched the world’s first mobile eCommerce solution (WAP based). Eva has an extraordinary track record of spotting and exploiting trends. These days she works at The Retail Practice, where she helps brands, on and offline, to understand what is coming next.

Spotting trends is pretty easy if you know how. Using that knowledge is different – there’s one thing you really need to understand if you are going to capitalise on the future.

Such a good talk at BoS EU 2016 – not just about how to spot trends, but how you can capitalise on them in the long term.



  • 1994 – CyberCafe Cyberia (London, Paris, Tokyo, Bangkok, Manila)
    • Initially aiming to provide software training for women. At launch, the queue built up around the building, and there wasn’t a single woman.
    • Delight is your end goal! Focus on DELIGHT, which is a difficult thing to quantify! It’s a dynamic concept.
    • We opened with a little money, which ran out immediately.
    • The duration of trends is very short.
    • The likelihood that you will hand a business over to your children is very low.
    • Trend forecasting is about understanding VELOCITY and DURATION.
    • The best trends are the one you create. This is tough, but you have to take ownership.
    • We have tons of data, but we don’t know what to do with or make of it. Our access to and the availability of data has surpassed our ability to understand it.
      • Collecting data is easy, interpreting it is hard.
    • DunHumby (TESCO) – From 2 billion pounds to valuation of zero in less than 12 months
    • “Try to build something new from scratch… you aren’t going to be able to do it”
      • “Our data collection tech is ahead of our algorithms”
      • A lot of great startups do ONE THING WELL. Go back to core and go back to core and “decomplexify”.
      • Define your limitations then attack the opportunities.
  • Innovative Longshots & Building Ecosystems
    • La Realite Virtuelle 1938
    • 1984 VR startups existed and were sure the trend was close
    • VR Applications
      • Virtual catwalk experience
      • Augment the Dior in-store experience
      • “Women can drive technology!”
      • Tommy Hilfiger is testing VR in store, so is Cath Kidstone
      • Design your kitchen
      • @ThomasCook – Holidays in Egypt. Remotely check the quality and experience of a hotel room.
      • Training – AR by Virtuix for Army @virtuix
      • Paintings come to life
  • Mobile Futures
    • Companies only change if they have to, and that only happens when their consumers are kicking and screaming.
    • Know and drive device experience trends
      • New ergonomics of “Swipe Right for YES”
  • Solving Ecommerce Returns
    • The cost of logistics for ecommerce retail is growing and growing. It is unsustainable.
    • The luxury brands are driving innovation.
      • Use 3D scanning technology to scan the size of the foot.
      • Someone will define all the shoe and foot molds and offer it SaaS
  • Contactless v. ApplePay
    • Contactless – 1.2bln pounds Dec 2015 (VISA)
  • HotJar for Stores
    • Heatmaps for stores.
    • Preparation for Staff-less stores
  • Companies only change because (1) customer demand (2) dramatic cost-structure impact
  • Colocation for Everyone – Hydro 66

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Eva Pascoe: Good morning! Delighted to be here and follow Nick because I look for support in every line of his comments, having been through the mill of founding, co-founding, startup-ing, exiting, pivoting everything he says it’s all true. It’s good to start from that point and I will build on and tell you a little bit on how to avoid a few other horrible things.

But first of all, very nice to be here! This is my first time in Dublin and Ireland so I’m excited about checking all the bars later and experiencing the Dublin bars. So it all worked out wonderfully because I’m 2 weeks from a big goal life and I couldn’t bear seeing my team working 24/7 and just trying to stretch it to an hour, but an extra 5 minutes before all explodes terribly. So I’m just preparing for my big day.

Eva Pascoe Business of Software

So I’m Eva Pascoe, I’ve been around for a bit, but my kind of entry to the internet world was really Cyberia. Back in the 1994 I was sitting in University minding my own business, interneting away, emailing the word and trying to avoid writing my PhD, I’m sure many of you had the same experiences. These PhD’s are made to try you and are an endurance test more than anything else. And I realised what people loved more than doing their PhD around me was emailing and bulletin boarding and all those news and things that people used to do on the internet before it became publicly available. But the delight factor was what attracted me and I was if we were all so delighted about interneting around, then anybody else on the high street would as well.

And I was just gonna come out of it back in Poland so we had a tiny bit of money which we checked into this really scrummy building in Whitfield Street. It was before a television studio, it was completely wrong for a café, but we somehow managed to make it a really, really nice place with lots of big, bulky computers. If you look through the windows here, the computers were enormous and they were overwhelming the place but nobody cared. When we opened initially we were aiming to provide software training for women, that was my feminist thing because we were all cyber-families then but when we opened, we had the cue around the building but not a single woman. So I was oops, that’s the business plan and has got to be a big rethought and we just put it away, organised training for women as a separate business and carried on with Cyberia as it was, for the years it turned up and it took a good 3 years before we started rebalancing the genders a bit.

But my kind of learning from that type and the start up POV was really about the principle of what people like. I came up with the data PhD so I was studying new power stations, dynamic decision making design and I was full of these models and lots of numbers. You don’t do anything until you have lots of numbers and it turns out you can do that with people because your numbers will change them so it’s best to just observe what delights then and interfaces that develop with people that are successful so I think everything we did since then was guided by the principle of delight. And I would thoroughly recommend that because even if it’s hard to measure, when you see it you know it. When people love something, you can see the big smile on their faces and the drive and they are going to cue for hours on end for 10 minutes on email as they did before because it was so delightful.

Quantifying delight is what I spent last 20 years of my life cause it’s a bloody hard thing to do. It’s a combination of multi-variables, it changes so it’s a dynamic concept there’s a good PhD in that but that’s where we’re at.

So delight started with Cyberia, we opened with a little bit of money and the money ran out immediately as that’s usually. So we had to go around the world, trying to find investors because it was 19994, kind of in the middle of a big recession in the UK and we were a bunch of combination of entrepreneurs, I had 3 fantastic co-founders, none of us looked like a good bet and the banks were I don’t think so, this internet thing will never work. So we heard it so many times we eventually gave up on the banks and ran out as following Nick’s advice to US and started in America for 6 months and you cross the central park enough times, you find an investor. That’s where they are. So we both had rollerblades and just network in the park and that’s how it was because we ended up bumping into so many kind of young and really agile private offices investors and young kids who were running their private family money who were bored stiff with having to invest in real estate in New York and we were a breath of fresh air. So we got a bit of money from Mick Jagger, Michael Douglas and all sorts of people who were interested thought internet will take off because musicians were clinging on the medium.

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Very early on, David Bowie was setting up Bowie.net and we had the owner interviewing him when it was launched and one thing he said stuck with me. He said my music is never finished until the fans have a play with it. So he understood the mashing really early on and I think that’s what we understood as well that to bring people in the business, you have to let them play with it. So our bunch of investors were illustrious but we were really lucky, which is really going back to the fact that the data will never tell you enough. Cyberia was in Whitfield Street, little did they know because I lived in my PhD bible that next door was the biggest European recording studio called Whitfield Recording Studio and basically for 3 years everybody who was recording in the studio was running up to Cyberia so we told Kalie Minogue how to email, Bono how to do FTP and take it from there. And everybody in the music business came through my door. Complete coincidence! They would have found us anyway but it was just amazing to see how these worlds collided in a beautiful way because internet at the beginning was just ugly, there were no fonts to play with, it was very limited. And somehow the music brought that delight. And although it took a very long time before it worked properly, music drove it and that’s something that we all have to remember that it’s not just tech, it’s a mean to an end, but the delight is the end.

So that plan taught us a lot of things and how to internationally build companies because we are running a number of different franchises around the world and having different shareholders with some of them and it was a complicated business and just to the point where we started thinking about opening a really big café in New York, Stelios showed up and decided to set up something called easy everything. Completely ruined the business for everybody and he cost massively as he always does, lost 80 million and apparently he had 80 million to lose, I didn’t. So we’ve seen it coming and this is my trend forecasting hat, we realised that we can’t fight that so we managed to find a really nice Korean company that just started Korean PC Banks and exited the business just in time. So in many ways the trend spotting value comes not just at the beginning, but knowing when to bow out and seeing changes early enough that you come out of it in one piece, preferably making some money. Because the duration of trends is very short and at the moment, nobody is gonna build a business to hand it over to the children, we had this idea that we will be running this business forever. At the time Cyberia had 7-8 years life span they still exist and actually in Korea they are thriving because there are kids like the local tournaments ran from the local cafes but that was very different from what we were doing in Europe. So trend forecasting is really about durations and understanding the velocity of each of the trends.

So when I got out of that one, I had this really strong idea that women like shopping. I was quite surprised because I came from Poland and we had no shops, zero. If you wanted something you had to make it. But then I discovered that British women loved shopping, that’s what they did most of the time with themselves and I thought that they like to do it online. So I approached the guys from top shop at that time to see if we could try and I had very strong interface background and I was confident I can make it work but at that time, we had nothing – there was no shopping online example. So we really had to persuade the board that this was a great idea and I managed to do it because we showed them lots of pictures with women shopping online from my café except they were shopping for books because Amazon was already going so we knew people were buying books online.

The leap of faith that people would be buying fashion at the time was quite serious and most of the board at that time looked at me like really? Why would people want to do that? Don’t you want to touch our beautiful fabric? So I said to them your beautiful fabric is crap 9 out of 10 so you’re better off not showing it to them because at that time Arcadia was just shifting the supply chain to Asia and the quality was going down and they didn’t want to touch it. It was better to have it like that rather than actuality and it’s gone towards since as you may know if you read the papers.

But somehow I managed to persuade them and at the same time there was a new head in Daily Mail and I will completely follow Nick in terms of networking. We had to piece some sort of fund together to do it cause Arcadia didn’t want to give me enough money. So we went around networking, also dinners and tweeting but we bumped into the Daily Mail people who were just changing the generation, the old guy passed away and the new guy Jonathan took over. He’d just came out of Harvard, I think and he was like ok, so what’s this new thing? What are we doing? And it was coincidence, but it brought two companies together that haven’t actually worked together before. So sometimes networking triggers events that they were there to happen but wouldn’t have happened without you drinking too many pints of beer. So we did that for a while and that was quite an interesting adventure because there was no trend, I made the trend. So my point on the trend setting for today is that the best trends are the ones that you create and that might be tough but you’re in control of the trend and you can be directional. If you follow, yes, as Microsoft followed for many years and they came up the cliff because there wasn’t anybody else to follow.

But at some point you have to take ownership of your trend so where we are today is this, we have a lot of data thanks to Nick and Datasift, loads of data, nobody has a clue what it means. Data is flowing at us at the speed of light at the moment and it’s just firehoses everywhere. I do a lot with retailers at the moment and I can see my poor customers with heaps of data dying because what’s happening, our ability to gather data has run ahead of our ability to interpret it.

So unfortunately, or fortunately, I work alongside DunHumby, when developing the shop, because I used some data and I watched the incredible story from riches to rags because that company has been valued to about 2 billion and about 10 minutes later it’s valued less. So Tesco attempted to sell it for 2 million and ended up it’s unsellable because guess what? DunHumby didn’t have a knowledge on anything, all they were making money is selling Tesco data to other companies. You as a Tesco customer was basically cannon fodder for them setting your data. Once Tesco tried to sell it and close the feet of Tesco with data, DenHumby had nothing so it’s a very big lesson for anybody who thinks they will make money on data because collecting data at the moment is pretty easy. We will do it and do a lot more with it. Interpreting and owning the piece of knowledge, very hard.

And I think there’s parallels with the conversation about what happened to Twitter and Datasift. Our surroundings are very similar, one of my co-founder, the Tech Crunch, had one of the first search engines called Real Names so if you typed Ford it would actually take you to Ford website as opposed to 25 imposters. And he got this contract for Microsoft for billions. Built a beautiful company, Silicone Valley offices, hired the best people, all of them smarter, followed all the rules. One day Microsoft called up actually you know, we’re doing it ourselves. Bye! At that point we understood that actually doing anything with large companies is usually a bad idea. I think that was my second guide and principle for my trainspotting so basically try to work in a way that serves ecosystem not a single company because you’re never in control of them.

And even today, or recently, I’ve got an investment in a games company which is a stream company and that little bit of software belongs to a company that has been voted bought by Acumen and I had an offer for a very big company recently, but when they found out that that piece of the code belongs to another company, and we were licensing it. No, we’re not doing that. Everything has to be pure. Try to build something pure from scratch, you’re not gonna do it! It’s all kind of moving to high probability territory but carrying on from that.

My third guiding principle of trainspotting is basically I think you follow the smart guys. This is one of the very smart people who I was lucky enough to meet early on in my PhD, Yaneer Bar-Yam. He is completely crazy but is one of the early people who tried to put his arms around complex systems and what we’re leaving for today is not complex systems getting more complex, but getting there faster. So the whole thing is complete chaos. Bar-Yam has been working at it for many years and he was one of the many proponents of complex system theory actually making sense of complexity and not just saying that, because a lot of people make a good living out of de-complexifying, but they can tell a good story. He is very driven and it’s a story so portioning out the complexity to small bits. And it’s so true because if you look at all the good startups of the last few years, they do one thing well, it’s when they do two things it gets complicated. When they start doing 3 things, now they fell off the cliff. So he told us one thing, go back to core and de-complexify and he was explaining it to us a few years ago that for a long time we will be gathering more data than we can interpret because with the progress of AI it’s still bulky and years. So once you define your limitations, you can actually tackle the opportunities and the limitation is the algorithm.

So where we are today is this; our favourite office got themselves 90 million pounds super computer. 16 PB later, where will they be focused tomorrow? I don’t know. So the ability to gather more data unfortunately still didn’t give them any answers. It’s really lovely for them because they’re nice people but it’s completely pointless at this stage because the tech is not there yet. What do you do at this point?

So we tend to change that from predicting to invention. And I was talking about Dennis Gabor, who is a Hungarian inventor/physicist. He invented lots of things but one particular strong one is holography. And he came from physics background so he never really believed in data scoping but he believed in engineering and one thing that he told us that when you make things you impact everybody around you and the impact is direction – when you said that predict, you impact some things but it’s the making, the physical output which carries more impact and I think he was proven to be right because if you look at what drives – the really big shifts that’s happening today, at the moment, it’s all the kind of really long shots so they are more mobile which I love, is based very close to my home in Czech, I’m from Poland and it’s a Czech invention and it’s absolutely delightful. The roboskin, the 3D glasses that you can print at home they are kind of already here but you also know they need the massive ecosystem to really kick in. so you can transport to death but you can only tell – we will know it will happen but we don’t know when.

So the case study which I wanted to talk about today is this one. This is an invention which began in 1984, VR, crazy Jaro Lanier and all of them were dreaming about having a massive industry then, I was quite lucky because when I was just getting into computing – for me it was 2 years and we would all be in VR no problem. Many years later we still kind of are down to this little cardboard boxes but it’s beginning to happen.

So we started tracing in my day job which is the Omni channel retail development, working with companies to bring that long ecosystem building and filling in gaps and the bits that we could fill. Doing a couple things well. We started from working with supporting top shop on and quite early on, 2014, it was a big streaming event from a catwalk in Tate gallery. So everybody was in Tate gallery but as big as it is, it doesn’t take the millions of Top Shop fans. We managed to get a bunch of Go Pro’s together but the streams were to Oxford street where everybody could come and be part of the catwalk and that worked really well and it was early on and I understood that women can actually drive the trend, it’s an area and one of the few where we got first because the fashion business got the first. Everybody thinks it’s games, I don’t think so. I think it’s well in fashion because look how many companies are doing stuff.

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So this is me testing very beautiful headset done by Dior– it was just beautiful. Everything about this headset was Dior, it even smelled beautifully. So when you lifted it, it was light, they really took it apart and put it back together, 3D printing every single part in a way that was acceptable to Dior. It felt Dior, it was Dior. And they developed it with very impressive industrial design agency, as much as I agree with Nick on hating agencies there are some better agencies than others, they did an amazing job. And planted it there for 4 weeks and it had to be supported by the U-Shape ring so people don’t fell over, but you could walk around within the environment of Dior catwalks, seeing these amazing 13-year-olds made up. You have my view on it but it was amazing and everybody loved it! Selfridges loved it because they wanted to put their 10 pence into the ring of women can drive technology. It’s ok we can do that. And it’s fitted very well into the store, it was really nice. You could be sitting there and forecasting and running data and trying to predict it, and you’d never predict that strong early VR will come from Dior. It just wasn’t indicated by any signal at all but it is happening.

Tommy Hilfiger is now testing the VR in the store, they are a bit wild but again they approach it from their own Tommy Hilfigerish way and everybody is trying to put a little bit of their own feel to the development. Cath Kidstone has designed a walkthrough within her environment, mainly for people who are moms, because if you’re a mom you still love shopping but you’re tied into little things that run around and can kill themselves easily so you don’t want to drag them and have kids in store and others for that matter. Men forget always that shopping for women is a delight and it’s a lot of what drives our activity but you don’t have time to do it when you have small children. That’s why you shop online. The early shoppers in my Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins were women who loved to come to the store, but they didn’t have time. That is very much what drives it. Gives it half a chance – of course want to be in the store, it’s nice and it even smells nice. But unfortunately we have no time, so that’s where all this stuff comes in.

But we did find some way of attracting men into it as well. So there’s a project going on the design your own kitchen, so you put your headset on and walk into your kitchen. And somehow men don’t care about tiles and shades, but with the VR they are there, I’m picking the tiles, I can do that. So in a way that’s what will bring the design together for this kitchen was designed by both husband and wife and not just wife and getting the input from the husband too late.

One which probably made more impressions than most is the checking for what your villa will be like when you actually get to your place. Remote checking on the environments, we were testing that quite thoroughly and discovered that all the people loved them because for them it’s very important if they get to their place, that it can support the limitations, particularly people with disability. So you really want to know where you’re going that need to know what the place is like at the other end, it’s very strong. They will overcome any technical limitations if you find out, if you give them an option. So I’m not talking about holidays but it’s for older people because it’s much more important for them to know what the holiday experience is like at the other end. Other steps and young moms as well but the whole environment structure very important.

Coming back to the VR, the trend is there but the other trend which we spot a long with it was all the fitness stuff. As we know we have an obesity problem in the UK and Central Europe at the moment as well so we started looking how to get the kids off the gaming. Obviously the boys game 24/7 is you give them half a chance but that doesn’t necessarily help their fitness. So we came across Virtuix and ended up investing in them which basically was an sort of army project for a VR training while you can move around so it has little pods and you wear special shoes that look a bit dorky because they look like bowling shoes but it will get better. The thing is you can move and exercise, duck, dive, when you do action you can be there in a physical way instead of lying on the carpet. So although I generally don’t touch hardware, it’s not my buck, I always kept my nose out of it, because of very different thing to exercise a start up with hardware. We just note well geared for Europe.

Anybody here with a hardware start up? No, stay out of it! But this was such a delight and again that comes back to the delight concept, it just was so beautiful we couldn’t bring ourselves not to. So it works very well, it gives you – the pod is interactive, you need special shoes but they’re not too bad and you can move around basically. What is lacking at the moment, there’s not enough games that allow you to do that without feeling like you are a pirate on the high seas. So the sickness element is still there but technology is moving quite fast now and I think we’re not too far from being able to offer a really physical vigorous exercise which will allow you to do virtual gaming but also keep your body in a bit better shape. We still have to save fat for a little while longer, while we’re working on the details and number of FPS but it’s getting there.

So on top of it, once we started playing virtually, they just had a successful second round of fund raising, we came across Israeli company that added gesture recognition and that kind of it really closes it, because then you can do everything. They were just acquired for a lot of money but hopefully they will carry on. The last thing on that one, it all comes to life where you can be in the middle of the football page whatever sport you’re watching. This is unbeatable! When you experience that, you never want to watch sports in any other way. So again, the delight factor will drive the market however hard it is, it will get sorted.

In the very same way, like the key trend that drove us, my company and most of your companies, is the mobile. Again, the delight. Nobody predicted that, when we were sitting in Cyberia in 1994 we had a tech for goods social frameworks so I spent a ridiculous amount of time going around various parts in London and helping women in computing and just trying to get people on board so they don’t get left behind. Little did we know that actually now we didn’t have to bother because sooner or later smartphones came up and everybody has access to more computing power than NASA. So things happened and when the delight is there, the market catches up to it and that probably drives 90% of the inventions.

So one thing on the transporting which I’m religiously sticking to, we don’t touch anything unless it’s driven by the consumer uptake. So I gave up a very long time ago on B2B changes that are good for the company and should be done. It never happens. Companies only change if they have to and they have to do if the consumer does something before. The consumer got themselves smartphone and kid is screaming through gritting teeth, retail had to deliver. So I watched with amazement when either island produced them up, you have no idea, either island is like dinosaurs. It’s the company that hasn’t changed from day one, but the consumer had the mobile, they had to be there and engineered a whole set of processes to deliver it. So it can be done. If you go to the island to do anything else, they will never do it. Their IT people no it can’t be done! Because the role of the CTO in large retail is to be defensive, protective and look after the cash deal. They don’t want to be out there with the pioneers, too high risks but if the consumers want it, come hell it’s gonna happen.

So we tried going in an area that lends itself with an ecosystem which adapts and it has to, which leaves out big swatches of areas that don’t have to adapt and what’s left at the moment but what’s happening at the moment is people are filling the gaps. So what hasn’t been done? Health and beauty. Last month more start-ups in it than I ever saw together everybody is into it now. So this percentage is going – when you see that graph next year it’ll be massive. So it’s a large opportunity and not one to be missed.

But because I’m an interface person, I commented it from an interface point of view. The question is we haven’t really updated enough the smartphone interface. It feels awkward and either too small or too big and it’s not right. What we done is we shovelled in what we knew about PC’s to tablets and mobiles without stopping, basically took the whole set of principles and haven’t stopped to re-think about it for 10 minutes and then it’s off you go customer! You go and shop as if it’s a PC. People say really? I’m not doing that. I am happy to watch my cats on social media, I’m not shopping on it. So it’s now where people realise it’s only one thumb business, that’s all there is to think about it. So the current big trend happening is whoever started early on Tinder and watched how delightful it was for obvious reasons, speaking on the one thumb interface. So Grabble which is a nice shopping app and it’s been outed early it still has a lot of legacy from a PC and there’s a lot of wrong things about it, you have to think about it more like a kiosk, and we didn’t think about it and haven’t made that leap yet. But if there is successful they’ve running about 500 million turnover on it and it’s amazing how quickly people take into swiping. That shift is happening now but it’s amazing how slow it’s happening. People are still holding to what they know from the olden days.

What goes with it is a lot of things got easier but one thing hasn’t. Returns are still enormous, we’re talking 20%-25%. Shoes, 30% on average, it’s a horrific number for business process. You have to deal with it so people do but over last 2 years, the cost of logistics for every retail company is just like that and higher and higher and 18% of costs, it’s unsustainable. So we have to crack it somehow and the people who are cracking it first are luxury companies so this is a system from Michelle Gucci, Italian brand, invested masses with one of the Italian start-ups to actually run 3D scanning in the shops and also offer it in central points, slight trouble is at the moment only runs with one brand so if you’re a faithful customer of Lobo Teen or Jimmy Choo, then you will be fine because they mould and your 3D scan will overlap and tell you if the shoe fits or doesn’t. But if you walk around different shops and want to use different brands, you can’t do that, because everybody uses different moulds so this is early stages, we haven’t got an answer to it, but somebody will come along and do all the work and mould it up and provide faster service. It should be done, hasn’t been done yet. Opportunity.

The trend which we’re working at the moment is the Contactless and Apple Pay, they aren’t going the way we thought they would. The contactless has been driven predominately in London by underground. So it got people used to waving their credit cards at the machines so at the moment, in December last year, it was 1.2 billion pounds out of 662 million on credit card. So it’s still a tiny fraction but it’s more than I thought it would be because to me it felt very insecure but because underground forced people once or twice, people are at odds, as we learned with our Cyber security ventures. It could be very dangerous but if you’re used to doing it, you forget it’s dangerous. If you do anything every day, however crazy it is, by the third day you’re just doing it. So unfortunately this is that case and not the safest thing to do but everyone is doing it, it must be ok.

So Contactless has done more than Apple Pay which is inherently much more safe, does different things but now charities have picked up the Contactless so you can swipe while you are in Starbucks, you can swipe your card and put 30 pounds into your favourite charity. It’s going like that, people love doing that. It’s early and takes a few seconds, you have your card out anyway, why not? So again, that will drive a lot of adoption.

And something that I’m particularly interested in in the stores because when I started working with stores over connecting the internet in the store the only channel, I realised people have no idea what’s going on in the stores. Some reasons are correct because privacy issue is very strong and no retailer wants to stick facial recognition cameras right at the gage, because people would just very unhappy so it was a bit of a slow progress but eventually it’s happening in a slightly more balanced way in terms of privacy. There was a company called WargBase which I’m sure many of you know which came out of the Scandinavian start-up but they do this beautiful in-store hot maps so basically it’s like hot jar for stores. It makes such a difference when you see the retailers, the delight on the face of the retail manager who sees what’s going on. You would think you can see it with the naked eye but not. And particularly because the manager in large companies doesn’t see many of the shops on the floor, they only see the top level numbers, spreadsheets and the effect and not how it’s happening. They love it and can adjust things in real-time, much like running a website. So they lead them into the area but it’s a massive area, totally open at the moment.

And just to close it off, the key thing for me is cost so when companies have to do something, they only do it because the customer demands it or because it radically changes their core structures. So one of the companies I’m involved is Hydro 66, which we designed and started in Sweden next to the massive amount of dams which you couldn’t do again today because the environmental law has changed, but these dams already exist so basically you can have your internet for almost free. And that’s driving quite strongly the adaptation of the new data centre technologies because it’s got to run on nothing. People have massive demands, the TV is fading away, everybody is watching everything on laptops, but it has to be hosted somewhere and the direction of travel at the moment is cheap and sustainable. So somewhere around Arctic Pole where you just open the window and cool the whole thing with cold air it’s probably where we’re all at and I’m proud of them because they got a big award last week it was European Data Centre award for best architecture and best sustainability so Sweden but operated and owned by British company. If you need a core location, talk to me after.

And just to wrap it up, the kind of underlying principles for me is don’t touch anything unless it’s consumer driven, swipe Tinder interface, filling in the gaps in the market, keep the money as slow as possible, cut the costs and be the trend setter by inventing, not just predicting. Thank you! [clapping]

Eva Pascoe, The Retail Practice
Eva Pascoe

Eva Pascoe

Eva studied linguistics, psychology and the ergonomics of computer interaction before co-founding the world’s first Internet Café in 1994 (where David Bowie and Gary Barlow learnt basic Internet skills).

She pioneered early epayment and ecommerce fashion at Arcadia (Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Warehouse…), co-founded a non-profit Digital think-tank Cybersalon.org, co-organiser of Cybersonica Festivals (Southbank, Soho, Science Museum) and is a regular contributor on across a range of national media. She has worked for the past 4 years with The Retail Practice advising retailers and startups on the intersection of brand experience, retail, technology and business.

More from Eva.

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