Micah's Mashup

Lessons Learned at 3 Meetups in Tel Aviv, Israel

With services like meetup.com, eventbrite & many others it has never been easier to get connected to events in a new community. Where people used to have to be in the right place to see a flyer or newspaper/magazine or posting for an event, I just look at my smartphone. Tel Aviv is full of tech meetups & groups.

This past week I attended three events: a Big Data conference, Fireside style talk about founders experience at Microsoft Ventures Accelerator and Cognitive Biases & Early-Stage startups. Each event has proved beneficial and informative in it’s own way.

1. Big Data Conference

The first event, Exelate’s Big Data Conference, turned out being all in Hebrew. I stuck through the ~2 hours of Hebrew lectures and took away some of the key points from the English slides and buzzwords “Big Data, Cloud, SQL, SAAS, etc.”. After the talk was networking, drinks and food at the David Intercontinental Hotel. In the end I was happy to have stayed at the event and networked with some folks. I find the people I meet and interact with at these events to always be a top highlight anyways.

Lesson Learned: Check to see if events will be in Hebrew or English before attending.

2. Inside Microsoft Ventures Accelerator

Next was an event put on by Microsoft Ventures where alumni of their Tel Aviv program talked about their experiences and the value of the Microsoft Accelerator program. Microsoft Ventures started in Tel Aviv in 2012 and has celebrated great success in their early years. Unlike Techstars, they offer a 4-month program and do not take equity (another blog post topic in and of itself). Here are a few points they mentioned about Why Microsoft Ventures?

  1. Help with Funding.
  2. Help founders/teams that don’t know much about startups.
  3. To be taken seriously in Enterprise space through the Microsoft and mentors network.
  4. It’s free!

Lesson Learned: Experience and value proposition of a different accelerator than Techstars.

3. Cognitive Biases & Early-stage Startups

And lastly, a meetup at local co-working space SOSA hosted by Hanan Lavy of Microsoft Ventures. I even got my girlfriend Hannah to attend because I told her it was a psychology topic, her expertise (Cognitive bias at work)! Hanan spoke about common psychological terms- Cognitive Dissonance, Illusory Correlation, Ambiguity Effect, providing a definition and common example of each and how it pertained to startups and business.

Lesson Learned: The way in which a solution is phrased makes all the difference, people are much more dissatisfied with losing something (money, time, marketshare) than saving the same thing.

They say showing up is half the battle, while I don’t completely agree with this, I do agree with Wayne Gretzky’s quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So i’m going to keep shooting, learning and refining my skills.

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