My First Week in DC

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by Haythem Dababbi

What did I do?

Finally, I’m in DC. I’m visiting the USA for 6 weeks as a part of my participation in the professional fellows program which is a program organized by Legacy International and financed by the US state department along with other young leaders from Morocco and Tunisia. During the program I joined the WeWork labs community as a part of my fellowship in order to share, observe and learn.

The first week was very exciting but exhausting at the same time, I was requested to work on 3 different projects at the same time without considering the work that I already have in hands. Yes, that’s just another normal day of my life.

Even if the challenge may seem big, but I really consider that as a very good test to my time management skills and to my work flexibility. And, since being this close to the entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Washington DC is not an opportunity that comes every day to anyone I had to stop complaining and start working.

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The first day of my fellowship was really nice. In the begining of my day I got a really nice gift from my responsible, an informative very useful session about the streets of Washington and a very interesting tour around the place where I will be spending the next few weeks .

What did I learn ?

During my stay in Washington DC I had the chance to explore one of the most known coworking spaces in the world “WeWork”, or as some members love to call it “the Unicorn of the coworking spaces” . The experince was a great opportunity to dig deeper into the world of co working spaces and accelerators and to know more about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in DC.

The experience in total was full of very good new observations and knowledges. The major important thing that I learned during this stay is that ideas are not that important , but the way how you execute what makes them a hit or a fail.

What was my favorite experience ?

Last Monday, the legacy team staff organized a Tour Scavenger Hunt for the fellows from Tunisia and Morocco. Since this was my first time to play such a game, I was very observative about the game itself and about the different details, and the fact that we played it in teams with such a wonderful group made it even more exciting for me. It was a great challenge for our flexibility skills and management skills as well. This game, with the magical combination of sport, thinking, fun and discovery makes it the perfect mix and the number one favorite experience on my list for this week.

Who did I meet?

The experience of travel always brings you to meet new people with different interesting experiences and stories to tell. This new experience has brought into my path some more oriented particular cases and stories. Even though the list of people that I met is long, some names pop’s up into my mind which I’m going to talk about just two of them. The first the meeting with Alex Cohen the founder of twenty Tables where I got some really interesting feedbacks about my project, and the second was with Duane Rollins the national director of product and impact at seed Spot and founder of Steemly who showed me some really interesting and useful KPI’s for my startup and explained to me the particularities and the things that I need to consider working with schools in the US.

Tunisia VS the US One big difference ?

I consider this as a very long topic to write about since we have a long list of differences between the two countries that may need books to talk about. But I can resume a part of the differences in two words: details and valorization.

The amazing thing about the US in general is the high level of care about details. And details in here may refer to lots of things starting from the details in the infrastructure, work places, etc.

Valorizing the history and the achievements is one of the strongest assets in the US, where you will be able to find that people care about teaching the next generations and reminding the current populations about the sacrifices, achievements and people who marked the history of their region and population. A strength that, for a country such as mine who have more than 3000 years of civilization, is a good example to learn from.

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