The Potential of the Young Talent
First and foremost, the event confirmed a suspicion I and TechOrange have had for a while: something is a-brewing here. I am not quite sure what that ‘something’ is, but anyone who was in attendance could feel it. It’s an eagerness. It’s an energy and excitement. A desire to turn the potential into kinetic. That this suspicion was confirmed was wildly redeeming on a personal level, because it was a reassurance that this hobby of mine has not been in vain. That ‘something’ is also, in some ways, representative of a change of guard.
I don’t know if you noticed it, but I did. Perhaps no one really wants to say it, but there was a striking difference between the end-products of the teams led by the younger and older team leaders. In general the younger teams understood the spirit of the competition a bit better than did the teams led by older team leaders. They had a better sense of what the judges were looking for, and in general were more successful in creating true startups. I doubt this is merely anecdotal. In the sense that I am an outsider looking in, I’ve noticed a large culture gap in general between the old-school and the new-school in Taiwan. That culture gap exists in business as well and was on display last weekend, and is telling of an island and a culture in the midst of change. The younger generation here is filled with potential, but I hope that their risk taking is encouraged rather than discouraged.
In many ways, I believe this gap to be both an opportunity and an obstacle. For me to dive in much further than that would be a bit unfounded, but I think the implications are there. Please feel free to argue me on this.
A somewhat obvious observation is that winners Adarsh Menon (Food Jing) and Duncan Murtagh (Vetter) are not native to the island. Their victories are a testament to the importance of embracing international influence. There will be a future blog post on this, so I’ll save a lot of these thoughts for then, but there was a wide representation of countries among the participants, and judges. Case in point: organizers James Hill, Volker Heistermann and Elias Ek themselves hail from Europe. Not Taiwan. The fact that Taiwan’s international friends want to help Taiwan by contributing to a high-potential industry is a beautiful thing and should not go unnoticed by the policymakers of the island. Let this be encouraged.
The Generosity of Spirit
Major kudos need to be given to aforementioned organizers Volker Heistermann, Elias Ek, James Hill, and to David Kuo, Alice Yeh, Wendy Hsiao, Kat Lo, Wendy Tai, and Ines Chen. These are some seriously dedicated people who deserve their propers. Their efforts underscore a generosity of spirit that was consistently on display this weekend, from the volunteers and participants to the mentors and judges who all donated time out of their busy schedules to support this thing. It should not be taken for granted. Thanks for a great production, guys.
The Valuable Startup Lessons
Throughout the weekend, the judges and mentors were sharing pearls of startup wisdom. To recant them all would turn into a list of platitudes, but I think each and every one of us got a lot of good experience, firsthand or otherwise, from this event. Mine? I was most impacted by the advice gleaned from the discussion panel to not be afraid of failure. It’s counterintuitive advice that will stay with me long after this event. What were yours?
I feel these things are worthy of discussion, and at the very least should be acknowledged. I encourage your feedback about any of these points, the comment box is just below. Enjoy the photos!