A tale of dissonance, unity, and beauty

I spent a week in Armenia at Sevan startup summit, on the invitation of Yervand from Granatus ventures, the first Armenian VC firm. As I mentioned multiple times during my visit, I initially had reservations about my visit because of the location, much to my ignorance.

There were two general themes of dissonance that I’d like to consider. One was the many speakers (similar to me) who had flown in from afar to contribute to the forum. The other was the event, which was a campsite, which is an unfamiliar and uncomfortable living standard for many.

Overall, dissonance is uncomfortable. But it also is an opportunity to make the uncomfortable comfortable.

During the week, I led workshops with nine startups at Booster Track 2 to get to the goal of winning the startup pitch battle. I hate to teach from slides, so I introduced frameworks around topics like startup raising and facilitated group discussions. The group learned from each other, rather than from me presenting my views. I promised that the winner would come from booster track 2.

I believe the way I taught these workshops were more productive for a variety of reasons. There was better team cohesion and unity. Introduction of more relevant topics than what I could have thought about myself. Surfacing of personal stories that drove the taught topic home.

With team unity, I made the uncomfortable comfortable. And I knew I was in my element by my posture, my energy levels, and eventually the results.

In the battle, a booster track 2 team won the grand prize, but on top of that we achieved our stretch goal of two out of three teams in the top three.

This leads to my final point about beauty. Taking uncomfortable situations and transforming them through unity is not an easy process. It takes a comfort with ambiguity, courage to explore the unknown together, communication skills to convey points effectively, and energy to inspire people. But when all those elements come together, at the right time and place, it can become a thing of beauty of witness.

Congrats to all the teams of booster track 2. Everyone put their effort and shared lessons about themselves to the group. That makes not only the group stronger, but also each element of the group. Credit goes to you for trusting me, and trusting each other to learn and grow together.