Jumping on Entrepreneurship

Parkour, Startups, and Travel

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The Problem with Palestinian Startups

Last week I was in Austin, Texas for South By Southwest, which I’ve described as “a magical fairy land where nothing makes sense and everything is awesome.” I was back in Seattle for 65 hours, and now I'm 33,079 feet in the air, heading into four more weeks of traveling. I’ll be in Ramallah, Palestine for a week, followed by a week in Israel, followed by two weeks in Xi’an and Beijing, China.

I'm being flown out to Ramallah by Leaders.ps, a startup accelerator in Palestine, to mentor several Palestinian startups. I met the director of this accelerator through my friends at Mercy Corps in Gaza, and jumped at the chance to come out and help.

Based on our conversations so far, it seems like entrepreneurs in Palestine have great technical skill, but due to the political environment haven't had many opportunities for physical connections to the rest of the entrepreneurial world. This causes a pretty big problem.

Startup culture, just like a startup company, moves very fast. Things are tried, iterated on, and best practices are developed. If a process or methodology isn’t working, it dies off (either by being thrown away or because all the companies using that process fail).

#8 "Don't Think"

On The Case of the Fiery Grillman

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Saturday night, he refused to look at Djuna when she came to pick up appetizers. He could sense her eyes upon him waiting for acknowledgement, but each time he turned his back. After her check out, she came to the kitchen door, abashed. “I brought my resume. Will you still help me?”

He finally turned to face her. “I said I would,” but he felt defeated, thwarted wherever he turned. Raina was beautiful and funny, but too much alcohol, too many men, just too much. Djuna was perfect, except he couldn’t count on her. His apartment had looked good but was too expensive and too far away. He busted his ass for The Open Door, but it was never enough. He worked listlessly and couldn’t wait to be finished. Three doubles in a row; he was beat.

After work, he went to change into civvies but couldn’t muster the energy. Djuna stuck her head in the locker room door and found him head down, dressed in jeans and white socks. She said, “I got worried about you.”

“You don’t care about me.”

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