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).

Early On a Sunday Morning

On Where Pianos Roam

Just this past Friday, on August 28, I celebrated my birthday.  This year I decided upon a low-key affair that involved a couple of days of relaxing.  I had lunch with my sister, brother-in-law, Oreo, and Buttercup.  We ate at the yummy sushi buffet place 5 minutes from my house. Here are some photos .  .  . Thankfully enough, there will be further celebration with friends as this week progresses, and so, the fun is not over by any means. However, I did want to take a look back at the year that was .  .  . It was my year of audacity and one for the history books. Last August, I had assembled what would be the first full band I had EVER played in.  It included Ben Wilson on base and David Sutton on drums.  We had our first show together at The Rutledge on September 14. I spent much of August and September of 2008 putting the finishing touches on my first album of music "Seahorses".  Fine-tuning the graphics and artwork, listening to the final mastered mixes, and lending my final approval to every last, nerve-wracking detail.  It was, arguably, one of the most daunting projects I had ever taken on--throwing myself headfirst into something I had never ever done before.  It all took about a year and a half, through various stops and starts, to finish. But, alas, it was done!!! I played several shows last fall and did heavy promotion for my first CD Release show that took place on December 2 at 3rd and Lindsley.  I had built a seven piece ensemble, myself included, to perform at the event.  It was insane, but we somehow pulled it all off .  .  . So, my album was manufactured and done.  Digital versions were being sold online everywhere.  I had finally accomplished all that I had set out to do.  For the rest of my life, I have this album to share, sell, and enjoy.  It is one of many monuments I am so proud of having built. In February, Oreo, Buttercup, and I got to visit Seattle.  This was DEFINITELY a highlight for the year.  I got to see some old friends and make some new ones.  There was a ton of great food and lots of laughter. We had a blast .  .  .  . I also had fun shows at some wonderful venues like Pura Vida's Gypsy Lounge, The Basement, Cafe Coco, Manifest Discs, The Rutledge, 3rd and Lindsley, and the Persacon Anime conference in Decatur, Alabama. I've met so many kind and wonderful people this past year and have been so blessed to have done all that I have. Other notable events: This was my first full year of blogging, and I really love it.  I can look back on all of this many years from now and smile gleefully. Thanks to my sister Leth, I learned how to knit this year.  Thus began a whole new obsession for me .  .  . Watched my niece and nephews grow up before my very eyes.  It's been magical .  .  . So, now, I am thinking about the year to come.  Have you ever been reading a book and you get to a new chapter with a feeling that something significant is about to happen?  I have that feeling, and I am not sure why. Perhaps a new sequence of events will change me .  .  . Maybe it will be a sea change or a seemingly minor one whose monstrous tremors will be felt years from now .  .  . Maybe somewhere a cupid is taking aim at someone unsuspecting .  .  . Who knows?  I'll be looking back this time next year, and I will know what happened. In any case, I have various plans nonetheless, and I hope to have another amazing year somehow. May the best be yet to come .  .  . -gordo

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