Startup Watch: Say no to #manels and hyperloop feasibility in UAE

The world of entrepreneurship news is a complex one, with people ever ready to give their two cents on how you should be running your business/VC fund/incubator.

Here’s our wrap of what we’re reading on how to talk to employees, write the perfect networking email and getting rid of all-male panels.

Hello, remember me? No one likes desperate, in any context, even in email form. But it’s likely how many of us have actually started a communication to someone we wished to connect or reconnect with. Don’t go with "You probably don’t remember me…” get straight to it with “Hi David, we met at GITEX last month in Dubai....” Basically imagine you were talking to them face-to-face, and you get the gist. Plus there’s a great video in the story on how sometimes what you write is not what is read.

1,200km per hour you say. The UAE does love to go fast, and big. And this week the focus is on the former. This week the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport (DMAT) has signed an agreement with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies to investigate connecting Abu Dhabi and Al Ain with a hyperloop system. Dubai’s RTA also announced a deal in November with Hyperloop One to explore using the technology to link Dubai and Abu Dhabi. All aboard the fast train. Toot toot.

Wamda of the week: the problem with male-only panels. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor says Lebanon had 25 percent more women entrepreneurs than men in 2015, and yet, where are they on the panels at various conferences? Thankfully the tide is turning but women, and men, interviewed in this piece still say there is a way to go. How one manages to run a business while wearing a skirt and heels is apparently still a point of fascination.

Hiiiiya, remember me? Please say yes. (Image via

Can tech save us? This radio podcast is looking at whether or not ‘world building’ can save us. Climate change is happening and as such there are a lot of people working to see how we can save ourselves from it - sensors being used to monitor the weather; ‘smart fin’ on a surfboard to collect data from the sea; batteries need to be cheap; and not forgetting biomedical modifications of humans (short people being a primary focus of his podcast discussion).

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. We often come across startups that can’t seem to work out what they do and so end up doing lots of things, badly. This seasoned executive has created a ‘hierarchy of purpose’. He says that sometimes leaders make the wrong decisions, prioritizing the wrong thing, but more often than not they simply don’t make the decision. “Companies that start prioritizing can experience significant reductions in costs (in my experience, roughly 15%) as less-vital activities are cut and duplicated efforts are consolidated.” This advice piece should help not only a company work out what to prioritize, pursue and apply laser focus to, but also help individuals in working out what should be on their daily to-do list.

Messenger app competition. Unsurprisingly Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp are hugely popular, but that’s just in the US. They each have a billion monthly active users (meanwhile Skype only has 300 million). But most of their popularity lies in the US - what about outside? Well, look to Asia. They’ve got various platforms that are growing rapidly and their monetization models are pretty impressive. Do you have a preferred messaging app beyond the big two?

How does that make you feel? Not everyone who is a boss was born with the necessary skills to see what might be irking their employees (we’ve all experienced a boss who’s allergic to other humans), so it’s good to get the advice on how to draw honest opinions on your business, when you can. This CEO says take time to understand how an employee is feeling; share what you think you suck at; don’t be defensive; explain why you need their help; and most of all, listen.

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