Startup Watch: It pays to listen, no to networking and solar for Lebanon?

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Here’s a roundup of what we’ve been reading this week on how to approach networking in the most effective way possible, how we can be sustainable in our architecture and not sacrifice pleasure to do so, and of course, that free MBA course you might like to take at Stanford.

Eating their way through the competition. Uber, you just can’t get away from them. They pissed off the world’s taxi drivers and since June, have been expanding their operations into the food delivery sector. Today they launched Ubereats in Dubai. So who can they annoy in the Middle East now? Well there’s Talabat, Delivery Hero, Deliveroo, 24h.ae, Yemeksepeti, and Zomato, to name a few. In London, they promised deliveries in under 30 minutes, with no minimum order size and at no extra cost for delivery to customers. Forgive us but we’re skeptical on that model really working. Uber’s next stop? Trucking.

The power’s out again! (Image via Gingerbeirut.com)

Power to the people. Oh Lebanon, wherefore art thou electricity? For at least three hours a day (and nearly all day in some parts of the country) there are power outages.This week the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation, part of the Ministry of Energy and Water, announced they would be inviting solar power companies in 2017 the chance to get permits to build 12 solar power farms. There will be 120 megawatts in various locations, and all would sell their power back to Electricité du Liban.

Sustainability doesn’t need to be about sacrifice. Bjarke Ingels is a Danish architect who’s so hot right now. Wired made a video with him where he talks about the different ways in which architects, businesses and town planners can approach their cities in a way that is sustainable and sexeh. At around the 8.00 minute mark he said that “art and science are literally about creating the world we would like to live in [...] we have the responsibility to make it fit the way we want to live”. Sounds obvious, but good to be reminded.

Wamda of the week: Pakistan’s solar startups. In the second edition of a two part series, Wamda’s Rachel Williamson shared insights on the proliferation of Pakistan’s solar power startups. The country has 70 million people with limited access to the electricity grid, so we’ve got here seven startups that are looking, in slightly varying ways, to combat the problem. From a simple system to power a fan to larger scale projects like agricultural businesses, this piece is out must read of the week.

Free MBA at Stanford! (*) To complete an MBA at Stanford University in the US isn’t cheap. This article says it costs around $160,000 in total. Ouf. Well, Stanford is offering to pay for it all for you, the caveat being that you then have to go and work in America’s midwest for two years afterwards. It’s part of their effort to address underserved parts of the US (yes they do exist). If you’re keen you’d better get a wriggle on, there are only eight places.

No, no to networking. Derek Coburn, author of ‘Networking Is Not Working’, reckons there’s a problem with traditional networking. While Wamda, which organizes several great events annually, does encourage the social act, Coburn has some useful tips. He suggests a different way to approach networking: avoid traditional events entirely, spend quality time on already established connections, and maybe try to host your own ‘networking event’. Coburn is also founder of Cadre, an un-networking community in Washington, DC.

‘Oh great, another business card I’ll never use’. Networking sucks, apparently. (Image via Getty Images)

If you listen, you will grow. Anyone with even the most vague interest in fashion will know Refinery29, one of US’s fastest growing companies. It was founded in 2005 by two friends who wanted to ‘list’ artists and designers they came across in New York. Their mission to cover topics ‘“that cater to the pieces of a woman's life that other media outlets overlooked” has brought them success, $80 million worth of success even [their 2015 revenues]. How did they do it? They listened to what their readers wanted to see more of.

Feature image via Plumvoices.com

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