By Aivars Jurcans

Bright sunshine, summer-hot weather, sandy beach, stylish venue, quality catering, relaxed participants willing to mingle and to network… This might usually be the recipe for any event to become a success. The organisers of Baltic Venture Capital Associations Summer Symposium last Thursday in Jurmala had gone even further by bringing in a moderator who was both charismatic and entertaining.

The glue that Jonathan Howard as moderator used to hold the program together came in the form of findings from a book called Start-Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. The authors have been seeking answers of what explains the success of Israel’s hi-tech, venture capital and start-up sector. Mr Howard came up with eight or nine factors altogether, starting with the Hebrew term of “chutzpah”, which stands for the ability and willingness to question authority and established rules. In other words, a trait that is required if one wants to build a truly disruptive business or technology.

Probably every participant found some principles that resonated with him or her more than the others. My personal favourite was the subtle yet truly fundamental difference a simple change could possibly make to the way we view the world. Through a simple role play using a dialogue between an imaginary client and a hairdresser all the participants were offered proof of what a tremendous effect this switching from “Yes, BUT…” to “Yes, AND…” to start the sentences might have. If the former was a quick way to confrontation, then the latter opened up totally new avenues to explore. An eye-opening lesson in just a few minutes. For someone who is quite good with identifying obstacles first, like yours truly, this was quite illuminating. Changing one’s attitudes is not easy and some chutzpah might be called for. But it seems worth trying.

While at risk of being considered biased (our publisher, Murinus Advisers, is a member of Latvian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association) I nevertheless believe that this event with more than 150 registered participants from across the Baltics was a true success. Yes, AND the next year’s event in Estonia is going to be even better!

Aivars Jurcans

PS. The book Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle is available from Amazon.co.uk using this link. And, no, I am not receiving a commission for recommending it.

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