Tale Of Two Cities

By Divya SamtaniEntrepreneurship. Startups. Creativity. As cities around the world race to give birth to the next billion-dollar idea, the question on everyone’s minds seems the same: what makes an ecosystem so innovative, and how can it be replicated?

The key to success is derived from two factors. First is a city’s ability to create a truly collaborative community. The second is the extent to which they allow things to get weird. Here are two examples that explain why.

Tel Aviv, Israel

When it comes to creating a thriving startup ecosystem, it has been proven that social cohesiveness matters. Perhaps no place better demonstrates this fact than Tel Aviv, a city known for only having one degree of separation.

When asked about the secret to Israel’s success, the Godfather of the Startup nation – Yossi Vardi – maintains that “It has less to do with funding or technology, and everything to do with spirit. You need to create events, meetups, hackathons – opportunities for collaboration. I call it ‘social glue’, where people can support one another and the community.”

According to Vardi, Israeli companies can compete, but they will still help each other. Such steadfast camaraderie – often a result of serving alongside one another in the military – defines the very fabric of Tel Aviv’s culture and leads to more opportunities for serendipity, as well as a greater chance for business success.

Austin, Texas

One of the world’s quirkiest cities (by most standards), Austin boasts one of the fastest-growing tech ecosystems. The unofficial motto of this state capital is “Keep Austin Weird”, and you’ll find it proudly plastered across everything from T-shirts to office walls.

Initially a slogan to promote small businesses, it has since come to represent the city’s emphasis on resourcefulness and personal expression — ideals that the citizens of Austin take very seriously. The fact that Austin is open to anything and everything is precisely what makes it so appealing for entrepreneurs looking to dream big without being ostracized.

So there you have it, two cities with very important lessons to share – integrate, collaborate, and keep things weird. Because as Steve Jobs would say, “the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

About The Author

Divya Samtani is a professional communicator, connector, and content creator. Through her role as Mettā’s resident Ecosystem Explorer, she works to unite the international startup community by establishing partnerships and knowledge-sharing with entrepreneurial organizations across the globe. www.metta.co

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