I am very new to the Israeli and to Tel Aviv Start-Up scene. So new that I feel like an outsider. I haven’t even had the chance to read the “Start-Up Nation” but as I am meeting more people and going to more meetups and events I am starting to get a feeling the name of the book should have been “Start-Up Shtetl”.
100 years ago, in my grandparents shtetl, everybody knew everybody, and if they didn’t know somebody, they knew someone else who knew him. Bottom line, if they needed something from someone, they always could reach anyone (complex sentence, you can read it again).
And if a Jew would walk into the shtetl, where he knew nobody, all he had to do is go into the shul and talk to the Rabbi or one of the people there and tell them My name is this and this, I live there, I am traveling there and I need a place to sleep. I am sure that even without Parsefbukh (Facebook) or a “vos-hert-zikh” (Whatsapp) group, he would easily find a place to eat and sleep. If he had walked into the Shul and said he was robbed, the people of the community would have make sure that by next morning this guy had enough money to get to his destination. I wasn’t there but I feel it in my bones, this is what happened there.
The reason I am telling you this nice Jewish story is because I am seeing it every day in the last few months. People I haven’t talk to in years giving me intros. People I meet for the first time are happy to help. People I never met before are happy to meet with me, share from their experience and help me meet other people. People I know for 5 minutes sit with me to an hour of consulting they would usually charge a lot of money for.
Today I went to a meetup, talked to random guy and he got me into a “whatsapp” group for entrepreneurs helping one another called “Yazamim Medabrim”. Two minutes after I joined the group, two people offered to help me. I gave a pitch and 5 strangers offer to help, no string attached. This is why I think it’s not a Start-Up nation, but a Start-up Shtetl, it takes just one person to connect me to the industry finest and it’s all done with a smile and tons of good intentions.
I am not sure where my journey will end and if I will succeed in what I am trying to do, but I know two things for sure. 1. It’s going to be a hell of a ride. 2. They say it takes a whole village to raise a child, I can tell you it takes a whole shtetl to grow a Start-Up. Luckily for me I am living in one.