Eighth Day: Jerusalem and Saul Singer 

June 15: We left early in the morning for Jerusalem. After about 1 hour and a half, we arrived at the First Railway Station at Jerusalem. From there, we started a tiring and yet cultivating weekend with meetings with different speakers and historical cite visitations. 

The Railway Station is a neat, casual, and beautiful place. We arrived at early morning so we were able to see a group of women, around middle age, doing morning stretches and exercises in the open space within the Station.

As two foodies, my friend and I were over the top when we stepped into the grocery store located in the Station. Their assortment of produce was plentiful. From fresh fruits to dried candies, from American imports to Chinese flavors, everything looks delicious and was affordable.

I still haven’t figured out what exactly those things are called. They are mostly dried berries pieces or candies. While I was walking around later on in the shuk in the Jerusalem, I heard people saying that they put them in ice creams and yogurt. That sounds absolutely delicious.

Never figured out what goat milk lassi is either. Googling it right now…

After our little stop at the Railway Station, we started our visits to different companies and different speakers. We started with a short visit to a crowdsourcing investment company called OurCrowd. I was bombarded with stacks of investment jargons and their operation logistics. It was a lot to process and I learned about the operation of venture capital and complexity behind it.

Then we are able to listen to a speaker from Jerusalem Venture Partner. As one of the oldest venture capital firm in Israel, we were able to learn some of the insights of how they select startups and their belief in higher returns with higher risks.

At last, we were able to meet and listen to an educational, thought-provoking, and insightful speech from Paul Singer, the co-author of StartUp Nation. We were asked to read to book before the program to help us understand the history and current dynamics  of Israel economy and startup culture. The book was very interesting and narrates a complicated and mixed sequences of events and implications in a clear way. In his speech, he saw health, education, and cities as the three big reinventions that are and needs to happen for development. In particular, he mentioned something called SkyTran.

yas-island-skytran-15-HR

skytran

It is rather revolutionary idea, seemingly unachievable but Singer did make a couple of solid points in seeing it happen. He believed that SkyTran could single-handedly solve the problem of city traffic and cut down energy consumption by a large portion. The implementation of SkyTran also allows cities to eliminate the space of high ways and roads and rebuild them as walking space. SkyTran is different from just a subway because it is able to divert and create a stop anywhere just like you exit at a high way. The concept is ahead-of-the-time and fascinating. Even though the use of SkyTran would benefit modern society in so many ways, I still think it would take so much effort and investment and a very long time for us to see SkyTran being widely implemented.

 

 

That is me getting my copy of StartUp Nation signed by Paul Singer. As you can tell, I was very excited.

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