Category: clothia

How the Internet is changing the fashion industry

I was one of the keynote speakers at the Web 2.0 conference in New York in October, 2011. Here’s a transcript of my talk on how the Internet is changing the fashion industry and the transition of offline behaviors to online.

Retail is a huge industry. According to the US Census Bureau, just in the US, retail spending (excluding food and automotive) amounted to $3.1 trillion in 2010, of which almost 80% was done by women.

Morever, online shopping is one of the fastest growing sectors, with the average growth of 19% a year for the last few years even despite the recession.

Fashion has been a bit slow to get disrupted by the Internet, in contrast to music or news industries. However, that is quickly changing.
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Fashion140 – “Virtual Fitting Room” panel

I was one of the invited speakers at Fashion140 conference May 4, 2011 at the Lincoln Center, sponsored by Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. Not only it was an amazing day where I got to meet everyone from Stephanie Winston Wolkoff to Joe Zee, it was also a great learning experience! Here’s a video of our panel discussion:

Five rules for outsourcing

UPDATE: My post is also on Business Insider.

Outsourcing is a tricky subject. Heralded ten years ago as a business practice that would change the corporate world by making it flat, outsourcing is still an extremely risky endeavor. As an entrepreneur who has employed a team of developers in St. Petersburg, Russia for my fashion technology startup, Clothia, for the last seven months, I’ve learned some general rules to make outsourcing work. Here are a few suggestions:

1. You need to have a project manager who speaks the developers’ native language and understands their culture.

Most foreign developers understand English well enough to read technical documentation (especially if they work on the “bleeding edge” of tech, like the developers I get to work with) but unless they’ve lived in an English-speaking country, their language abilities are not going to be sufficient for meaningful, real-time communication. Cultural and educational differences between countries also play a role. My Russian developers prefer goal-oriented assignments with a degree of creative freedom, in contrast to developers from other countries who – in my experience – have preferred more micro-management. Also, having personal interactions builds a closer relationship that benefits both the company and the developers. At Clothia, we have daily Skype chats and regular in-person visits.

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Augmented Reality: three conditions to make it the “next big thing”

UPDATE:  this blog post got picked up by Business Insider

A robot looks around, scans his surroundings, and detects humans.  Using real-time visual reports on the humans’ vital and biographical stats, he identifies which ones are enemies and efficiently eliminates the threats.

That is a scene from the movie The Terminator – except that the Augmented Reality (AR) technology featured in it is no longer a Sci-Fi fantasy.  Simple AR applications have been around for years: for example, the lines superimposed on NFL broadcasts to show the line of scrimmage and first-down markers.  More recently, we’ve seen AR applications that help with real-world navigation (Yelp), natural language translation (WordLens), and online commerce (virtual fitting rooms that let shoppers try on clothes before they buy them).

In order for AR to reach its full potential, several technological advancements are required:

1. Markerless object recognition needs to mature

  Most AR applications currently use markers that look like small barcodes, requiring users to either print the markers themselves and attach them to objects, or else limiting users to only interact with objects that already have markers on them.  Markerless AR enables applications to recognize objects without markers and thus significantly improves user experience.  Microsoft’s Kinect is the best-known and most successful commercial example of markerless AR, and startups like Organic Motion have created very impressive prototypes for creating real-time AR avatars.

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About Ме

Professional:

Founder of Clothia, a fashion marketplace for emerging contemporary fashion brands from around the world. Clothia fashionistas can buy exclusive fashions that are handpicked for quality and style, as well as keep a virtual closet of items they like and get outfit suggestions from our personal stylists.

CEO of Sputnik Mobile, a full-service mobile development agency. We build awesome apps for iOS, Android, and responsive web. Services include visual branding, design, user experience, analytics, development, quality assurance, and app maintenance.

Guest lecturer at Columbia University, NYU and General Assembly. Contributing writer to Business Insider. Featured by BetaBeat as one of the “25 Women Driving New York’s Tech Scene.” Profiled by The New York Times, Fast Company, AdAge.

MS in Computer Science from University of California, San Diego, Systems and Networking concentration, Network Security focus. Analyzed properties of port scans, intent of attackers and prevalence of background port scanning, and created a network traffic analyzer to assist in network data measurement.

Researcher at CAIDA (Collaborative Association for Internet Data Analysis) at SDSC (San Diego Supercomputer Center) with k claffy researching internet topology utilizing skitter (traceroute measurement tool) data and BGP tables.  Evaluated the value of IXs (Internet eXchange points) for Autonomous Systems (AS), the difference in peering relationships through IX (Internet eXchange Points) vs direct peering and IPv4/IPv6 protocols.

Bessemer Venture Partners – Lead Developer mining web traffic data, analyzing large data sets using machine-learning algorithms to predict Internet trends, and building traffic prediction models using gathered data and additional independent data sources.

Onshore/offshore project management – designed and developed custom financial applications and business solutions.  Raised funds for 200M+ market cap companies, created a back-end platform for 400M+ hedge fund to optimize foreign exchange trading, assisted with development of high-frequency trading algorithms, worked with NASDAQ and NYSE-traded companies to create an unified online business development strategy.

Personal (fun facts):
 
Born in Kaliningrad, Russia to a family of engineers. Lived in Russia, USA, France.

Piano Laureate, All-Russia Open pianist competition.

Studied ballet for 8 years, both in Russia and in the US.

Interests include snowboarding, fashion, technology, bioengeneering, literature, art, wine, and mixed martial arts.  Fluent Russian, conversational French.