Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Don’t talk to strangers (except if they’re handing out stickers)

As more and more businesses decide to Viv, we are increasingly focusing our time and attention on one thing – stickering people.
How do we make Viv a gigantic success for us, for our businesses, for the environment, and for you? Well it’s pretty simple – by getting an equally gigantic amount of people to slap a Viv sticker onto their credit card. Viv is a consumer-led solution. It’s a you led solution. Businesses that accept and count Viv stickers can make all the environmental commitments they want, but if they don’t see any stickers, they aren’t going to change.
That’s why we sticker – to ignite the Viv snowball (I love mixed idioms :-)). We’re out there all day and way too much of the night (stickering often coincides w/ late night socializing… what a lovely pair), and we’ll sticker anyone who asks… and lots of people who don’t ask (but inevitably get excited to Viv!).
But most of all we need help. If you know of some folks who would like a sticker, let us know. If you know of an organization that can help us get stickers out to folks in SF (particularly in Pac Heights, Marina, and Nob Hill), drop us an email. Every sticker counts – literally.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A presidential call to action

This week a friend of mine went to get his weekly dinner at Osaka, congratulating Rena who runs the sushi restaurant on joining Viv and chatting her up about our program.  She told him with her hearty smile that she was waiting for us to get her started.  Whoops!  An eager business is great, and we are on it.  I just didn’t expect what she said next.
With Obama’s inaugural speech on Tuesday, Rena said that Dinesh and I were doing what he had asked the nation to take up.  We were?  Barack noted, “…the spirit of service: a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.”  Wow.  I am flattered and t0uched that she considers us in such a light.
When we started Viv, we wanted to not only spark pro-enviro change but also change the way it was done.  Viv is about involving people in a way that empowers the individual– empowers you to make a difference.  Viv puts that power in your hands.  It let’s you voice the spirit that Barack asked us to believe in.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

So can I eat it?

I’ve gotten this question a few times now after telling people that our Viv stickers are actually made out of corn (or more specifically Polylactic acid (PLA) –
There are some really cool products out there being made from this plastics substitute, and we found a great label manufacturer (that’s what stickers are called in the big leagues…labels) that makes an environmentally-friendly sticker from PLA.
So to the questions of “can I eat it” and if so “how many calories are in a Viv sticker”, I think our official answers need to be “please consume at your own risk” and “not enough to replace a meal”.
Here’s the hard question though – If my credit card expires, I have a Viv sticker on it, and it ends up in a landfill – will the sticker biodegrade? Well, you can’t be sure. PLA is designed to biodegrade in a “controlled composting environment” – essentially a big complex where plant & food scraps are being digested by microbes. Given that the sticker is so thin, it may biodegrade, but to be sure your credit card would also have to be made out of a biodegradable material (check out – – hopefully coming soon to a bank near you) and you’d have to place the cut up card & sticker in a composting bin.
So feel good about the sticker and let your old PVC card enjoy something that’s a little more all natural…but as always, there’s still a ways to go.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

20 and Counting

Viv is growing. A lot. We had a couple long, hard weeks of pounding the pavement with 20 new partners to show for it. In fact, more than 20… bringing our total count to 23, which of course is a fortuitous number for all those Michael Jordan fans out there. We humbly follow in his footsteps.
With the launch of our beta site this week at, we have plenty of new material and an amazing new look to our website. Check it out. We are still finishing up a few developments this month, including our ever-growing list of businesses who have partnered with Viv in San Francisco. It’s coming shortly, so in the meantime we have posted our most current list here:
  • Pacific Heights: Alborz, Osaka, Royal Ground Coffee (2060 Fillmore St.), Captain Submarine, Tango Gelato, O & Co, Mani & Nanny, Food Inc., A&M Market / Sweet Jimmy’s, Round Medical Supply, Pacific Heights Cleaners
  • Marina / Cow Hollow: That Takes the Cake, Nurturing Spa For Wellness, Union Street Apothecary, jovino, La Canasta, Hunan Empire, Many Scott Flowers
  • Nob Hill: Midpoint, Indian Aroma, Royal Ground Coffee (1605 Polk St.), Frank’s Shoe Repair / Village Cobbler
  • More SF Neighborhoods: Super Save Market
Be patient as we are getting our new partners ready with Viv. It will be a quick few weeks and then they will be waiting for you to use your Viv sticker at their stores. However, as a taste of what’s to come (pun intended), we are kicking off with That Takes the Cake this Saturday, the 24th. Swing by to get your fingers on one of their scrumptious and tasty cupcakes… and show a little Viv love while you are there.
San Francisco, here we come.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Batman was pretty much the one who convinced me that we needed to start a blog. Arul’s been pushing it for a bit, but I guess I never took myself for much of a blog writer. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit paranoid about personal info on the web (hey, my last name is Thirupuvanam. If you google me, you’re going to find the only Dinesh Thirupuvanam out there) or maybe it’s because I’m a horrible speller and even worse with grammar (I was an English minor though – haha – and do thoroughly enjoy strange experimental writing). But that whole stance on writing a blog changed when Batman came to me in a vision. Actually, it wasn’t even Batman – it was Ra’s al Ghul, but I prefer to think of it as the husky voiced Christian Bale Batman who, amidst a convo with Arul the other day about how we spark the Viv snowball among everyday people, said to me “If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal…you become something else entirely”.
Now maybe this is a pretty dramatic way of starting my first blog post but that was honestly the thing that did it. Batman saying to me – look Viv is about more than giving people really cool looking stickers made of corn (v2 coming soon!). It’s about an ideal. It’s about giving anyone and everyone the chance to do a little bit of green. It’s about helping out the environment in the simplest way possible, and doing it in a way that gets the other 90% of the country to say – “you know what, that’s so easy – I could do that.” That’s what this is all about. And as for the blog, I guess this our way of sharing that ideal with people – and sharing it in a real, and open and honest way.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

So it begins: The Viv Blog

Here’s to Viv.  Here’s to an idea on how to change the world.  Here’s to the environment, global warming, sustainability, and everything that is considered green today.  Here’s to a mission that brings together consumers and businesses for a common cause.  Here’s to ubiquity and making it as simple as possible for everyone from coast to coast.  Here’s to a vision that involves you.
This blog is for our friends who have asked for it… our family who wonders what we do with all our work hours… our tireless advisers and mentors nudging us along… our loyal supporters cheerleading and rooting us on… our partners who want their businesses to grow and be more environmentally-friendly… our predecessors who laid the ground work… and of course our users– the Viv people– who sport Viv everyday.   Here’s to all of you.