Mr. Tsingos goes to Washington

Impressions, thoughts and observations of a European entrepreneur checking the US scene.

Sep 8:
I’m flying from Athens to San Francisco. I’ve been around quite a lot, but this is my first time going halfway around the world. I’m so excited to be visiting the Valley that I can even tolerate airplane food.

Half an in-flight movie, some poring over slides, and a small nap later, hello San Francisco 🙂

Sep 9-10:
Not much time for sight-seeing yet. At the moment I am amazingly proud to represent the TalentLMS eLearning platform at the CloudBeat 2013 conference, discussing how “Learning Gets Cloud Powered”. My little startup, Epignosis, is sharing the stage with legends like IBM and industry heavyweights such as vmware, puppet and xero.com.

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(While at the CloudBeat conference in San Francisco, all of a sudden we got literally into the cloud.)

Sep 10:
CloudBeat is over, and what a great experience it has been. Congrats to @VentureBeat for making it happen!

Finally let out in the sun, I notice that the landscape in California is very similar to Greece! I could get used here.

Sep 11:
I took a walk along Market Street in San Francisco. Was surprised by the number of homeless people I saw. Given the super-concentration of wealth in this city, this indicates of failure of society’s part. So sad.

Sep 12:
I’m now on the East Coast, and I’ve just attended an amazing event about innovation in healthcare, organised by the Harvard Innovation Lab. Having worked with clients in Greece’s health care industry, and knowing what passes for “innovation” and “change” at our Ministry of Health, it was amazing to see such coherent ideas and out of the box thinking for solving the US’s health care issues.

The buzzword of the event was the so-called “Triple Aim”: better care, better health and lower per capita costs, of which, our government back home seems to only care of the latter (if that).

Sep 13:
At my first TEDx event. I find this kind of discussion and spreading of ideas is sorely needed in Europe (well, we have TED events in Europe nowadays, but I mean in general).

(rant) The European project is so promising, but it’s burdened by innovation stifling bureaucrats and greedy nation states. Even our entrepreneurs and businesses are stuck with the ways of the past, repeating history instead of creating it. We need more ideas and more open exchange of them ― ideas that respect the European culture and heritage but also move it forward. America seems so much better at this, with the caveat that a lot of what happens there now, even if sold as innovation, is often focused on a quick pay-off. (end rant)

Sara Seager’s TEDx speech was exciting. She’s a MIT Professor who has devoted her life in discovering “earth twins” exoplanets, and has already identified a dozen of them. Even her job rocks: she is a “Galactic Explorer”. That’s the kind of job an 10 year old child dreams of having, but in real life. Can a job be any cooler? I don’t think so…

Sep 14:
And I’m free myself to explore a little again. Didn’t find any exoplanets, but had some great food with some great friends in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Ah, the good life.

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(The good life)

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(I also officially endorse the Trillium microbrewery on Congress street, at the Old Boston harbour, which was started by …biochemistry graduates!)

Sep 15:
And I’m in Washington (DC, that is, not that Tesla AC nonsense), invited to take part in the International Visitor Leadership Program, and I’m having my first 20th century experience while in the States. I just got hold of my Travellers Cheques (didn’t even know those things still existed).

Architecture wise, Washington is one of the best cities I’ve seen, up there with Vienna, in utilising classical Greek forms. Which makes the comparison with modern Greek cities (that decided to mostly invest in 70’s build bland utilitarian monstrosities, straight out of USSR era project houses) all the more humbling.

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(That said, the White House is rather smaller than I expected)

Sep 16:
The second day of the “A New Beginning: Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation” program in the context of the IVLP is over.

The IVLP program brings 30 entrepreneurs from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, a network of creative people to exchange ideas and best practices.

Warm congratulations to the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Meridian International Center and the State Department for making this happen.

I do wish that the European Commission will take similar initiatives in the near future. YES, the European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs would gladly assist in this direction.

For my more serious thoughts on the E.U/Silicon Valley differences, you can also check out this post.

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