Why You Need to Attend Start Up Weekends

I was introduced to the Lebanese Ecosystem in 2014 when I attended Banque Du Liban Accelerate 2014 as a Sponsor (representing Nostalgie Liban and NRJ Lebanon). To be honest, I was fascinated to know more about companies that accelerate and incubate startups and innovations.

I somehow knew about Sequence (A Start Up Accelerator) since I was younger, but Banque Du Liban Accelerate raised the bars up higher when it comes to the region’s entrepreneurs. I, later, worked with the organizing team of BDL Accelerate Team 2015 and ever since I have been more and more interested in this non-worthless-community taking place in our society.

Here’s what you need to know about Start Up weekends, Accelerators, and the Ecosystem in general (from observation).

Such events/ programs promote entrepreneurship and support young startups.
At Startup weekends/ competitions, more than 10 people pitch ideas for new startups. The attendees vote for the different ideas; those who cast the votes form teams (of the participants who want to team up with them) to get the pitched idea to action. 
At hackathons, more than 2 teams join forces to come up with a hardware or software device –  they present it to a jury.
Prizes can get up to millions of dollars, along with full incubation and 
assessment from the ‘smart’ programs like Smart ESA or managing partners like MEVP.

– Any one can be part of it. You don’t need to be a developer to be part of the community. You don’t need to be a “geek”. Every one is needed. Whether your background is in photography, design, marketing, computer science, engineering, technical support, or community service; you can join a team and start making ideas happen!

– You don’t need a team to join.
If you have an idea, and you do not have a team to execute it with or you do not trust the people around you, simply say it out loud at an accelerator program! You will be introduced to people who think the way you do, most of the times – because those are the people in the community. Those who believe in your idea will join you and start making ideas happen with you!


– You don’t need to have an idea.
It’s alright if you do not have an idea of a startup, others do! Join the network of ideas, if you felt like you would like to team up with someone with a great idea, DO IT – and start making ideas happen together!

– Don’t be so selfish and possessive about your ideas! If you have a great idea and you’re just keeping it for the right time – IT IS THE RIGHT TIME. I understand that most of us think we are the smartest individuals in the world with creative brains BUT truth is – if you keep your ideas dormant for a long time, the universe (someone else) will eventually make your ideas for you!

– You don’t need to be a professional. Programs like Berytech and Altcity will provide you with all the support you need as a young entrepreneur including finding you investors, keeping you updated with competitions, and even providing you with offices.
Even if such companies will be charging a bit of your profit, always know this:
Having 100% of nothing is not any better than having 10% of something BIG & you won’t be only getting 10% if you know what I mean.

Why You NEED to attend such events?

– It’s Global.
Such events always have speakers, entrepreneurs, success stories, investors, mentors, and attendees from all over the world. You will meet people from Europe, Asia, North America, Iran, Middle East, Africa… What’s nice is that they are all there to CONNECT. People go to such events to meet people and finalize deals with win-win-situations. You will get to communicate with people from Silicon Valley like Marvin Liao (that personally explained to me a lot about the ecosystem and how to maximize my potential, energy, and work more efficiently). You will not think locally anymore.

– It’s educational. On one hand, most (not generalizing) of the unemployed people in Lebanon are not really focused on anything beneficial to the environment other than posing on Instagram and getting the latest LV bag. On the other hand, the employed aren’t really aware of what’s going on in the world of tech and entrepreneurship much; a big percentage of them are not happy with their jobs, have the job description of a robot – AND are not aware that they can easily do something on their own! These kinds of programs teach employees that there is more to life than an 8 to 5 job, that their ideas can be made into practice, and that people who were employees are now successful entrepreneurs.
Also, you will learn a lot about management, risk-taking, marketing, funding, building hardware and software programs, coding, and entrepreneurship. It’s definitely a whole new world!

– You will perceive failure in a different way. In our world, failure is a misfortune. It’s a shame. The ecosystem will introduce you to millionaires/ successful entrepreneurs with a lot of stories where they failed and dropped to point 0 and got back up over and over again. That might motivate you to start taking the risk.

– It’s a clean environment; everyone is there to innovate, to connect, to interact, to ask questions, to learn, to invest, to teach, to mentor, and to support. Even if you might get paranoid of a greater power doing such events, because I hear that a lot. It’s still better to have your ideas stolen and executed than to keep them in your brain while having a shot of tequila at the beach (be productive and initiate then have some tequila, you will enjoy it more); Weigh the other option and choose to come and join the ecosystem that believes in your power of change!

– And it is always FUN! Apart from all the ‘connecting with people’ that happens at hackathons and startup weekends, attendees are always subject to many activities. We had a yoga session (Isha Foundation) in the last Startup Weekend, a morning run on another day (Run With Paula), and 24 7 available playstation and foosball (Torch Academy)!

Even if you were going as an observer, try to make it and go!

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I covered the #SWBeirut 2016 as SocialMode
 – the Social Media Partner of Statup Weekend Beirut Environment Edition
All the pictures were taken by this awesome guy Jawad Bou Hadir .

To know more about the content that was spoken during the weekend go to
the twitter account of SWBEIRUT www.twitter.com/swbeirut
and the facebook account www.facebook.com/swbeirut
Snapchat SWBEIRUT
Instagram StartupWeekendBeirut

#SWBEIRUT was mainly organized by Layal Jebran (the Co-Founder of Cycling Circle and Deghri Messengers)
I was introduced to SWBeirut by my dear friend Arthur Bizdikian & I am very glad I attended!

Movie IV: Fight Club (1999) M Review

I grew up to be a rebel who thinks that everything mainstream is not worth experiencing. This popular movie is not overrated at all.

I have been preaching being nice for a while now, but sometimes being nice is mistaken to being a coward, a retard, a sheep, and being calm is mistaken with weakness.

Actors: This movie made me actually like Brad Pitt (playing Tyler Durden), I never liked him. Sick acting for Edward Norton (main), and of course Helena Bonham Carter (playing Marla) is as crazy eccentric weird as always. I’d die to play one of her roles anyways. JARED LETO❤ *fangirling* plays Angel Face. Yes. Moving on.

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Won’t go to the synopsis, you can Imdb that or just be surprised with the movie when it starts like I did =)

Fight Club shows us that:

Inside of us lies a monster. Inside every single person – the janitor, the gardener, the chauffeur, your hairdresser, the waiter, the policemen, the cashier – is an animal waiting to be fueled.

“You wanna make an omelette, you gotta break some eggs.”

Pain makes us stronger. And while we are in it, we should feel it and not run away from it, deny it or control it. We shouldn’t daydream or meditate our souls into a trance. We should experience pain thoroughly, and then after we are done with experiencing it, we can find the solutions to get over it. Once experienced, the pain will leave a mark forever. 

“It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.”

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– We always search elsewhere for saviors, but sometimes we are all we need. We all have hopes and dreams and things we want to become, however we still take day jobs and think that a miracle will happen and we will be the person we want to be in five years – and that doesn’t happen, so we get depressed or we forget our dreams. The only person who would save us from all this is our determination on fixing things.  Most people need a trigger to understand that. A trigger might be facing death, getting ill, or just watching a movie.

“And then something happened. I let go.
Lost in oblivion. Dark and silent and complete, I found freedom.
Losing all hope was freedom.”

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Self-Destruction sometimes needs to stop. Pain does make us stronger and we should make ourselves invincible, but we shouldn’t hate ourselves (too much that we get carried away) to a point that we stop our happiness. Sometimes, when it feels right we need to simply let go and stop trying to be in control.

“She is a predator posing as a house pet.”

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We should believe in ourselves; especially when everyone else around us sees our value and strength and we don’t.

“No fear. No distractions.”

– Men in suits can be easily blackmailed, threatened, and even killed. The corporate life is just as pathetic as any other thing you think is pathetic. The biggest governor, manager, and corporate owner can be manipulated easily. It’s all a retarded scheme, and once playing with those, do not be nice. Be sneaky, be dangerous, be fearless, be sly, or be a sheep – and become one of them.

“We were selling women their own fat asses back to them.”

– Sometimes you don’t have to negotiate, sometimes you need to fight with all you’ve got (perhaps literally) to get what you want – without giving up – TILL YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT.

“- Last words?
– I still can’t think of anything.” 

Definitely a must-watch (if you haven’t already seen it yet)
M

FaceSwaps! M Snapchat

Absolutely Love this new Gallery-Upload-FaceSwap Filter!  Today, I asked my Snapchat friends to send me their selfies with my face swapped, Here are some of the selfies I got! I crazy Love them!

(Snapchat Names are underneath each picture!)
Enjoy!
M

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Movie III :The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) M Review

Epic Movie directed by by Martin Scorsese, written by Paul Schrader – this movie is the adaptation of of Nikos Kazantzakis‘ controversial novel “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1953).

If you are an accepting person, you should definitely watch this movie TILL THE END. It depicts the life of Jesus Christ in a way no other movie did. The script departs from the commonly accepted biblical portrayal of Jesus’ life and is not based on the Gospels. You will not be watching the same scenes you’ve always watched – well, you will but in a whole different approach. That’s why (obviously) I wont be mentioning the synopsis.

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Somehow we always think of Jesus Christ as the savior, the hero, God: The Closest-to-Perfect Human Being who has ever lived. However, this movie shows us the human aspect of Jesus that would verify him asking God (before the prophecy was fulfilled):

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” in Luke 22:42

Somehow that pleading Jesus has human attributes, is tempted, is scared, and suffers just like all of us humans.

“I’m a liar.. A hypocrite
I’m afraid of everything
I don’t ever tell the truth
I don’t have the courage
When I see a woman
I blush I look away
I want her but I don’t take her
For God, and that makes me proud
I don’t steal
I don’t fight
I don’t kill
Not because I don’t want to
But because I’m afraid
I want to rebel against you
Against everything
Against God but I’m afraid
You want to know who my mother and father are
You want to know who my God is?
Fear.
You look inside me and that’s all you find.
Lucifer is inside me; he tells me you’re not the son of king David
You’re not a man; you’re the son of man and more
The son of god, and more than that God.” – Jesus

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Actors: 

Willem Dafoe (playing Jesus)’s reactions are remarkable in the movie – not exaggerated at all – just perfect. There are scenes of suffering, it’s all breath taking/ not annoying though. Barbara Hershey (playing Mary Magdalene) is gorgeously seductively remarkable. Her role earned her a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress nomination. Harvey Keitel (playing Judas)’s role was a bit weird. His strong friendship with Jesus made my human-brain feel like it was oddly intimate, not sure if that was intended. Keitel’s performance as Judas earned him a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor nomination. LOL.
David Bowie plays Pontius Pilate – Cesar (More Reasons to watch this movie). I had no idea it was Bowie till I checked the internet. His familiar face was so young for me to recognize.

“Either way it’s dangerous
It’s against Rome
It’s against the way the world is
And killing or loving its all the same
It simply doesn’t matter how you want to change things
We don’t want them changed” – Cesar

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There is a scene where it shows that something had been going on between Mary Magdalene and Jesus before she became a ‘prostitute’. At one point, Jesus comes and rescues her from persecutors. It got me thinking how people judge each other and call each other names while in fact Jesus protected a what you call “whore” these days and held her under his wings.

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Mary Magdalene has the reputation in Western Christianity as being a repentant prostitute or loose woman; however, these claims are not supported by the canonical gospels. The identity of Mary Magdalene is believed to have been merged with the identity of the unnamed sinner who anoints Jesus’ feet in Luke 7:36-50.

 


“If I was a woodcutter id cut it
If I was a fire id burn
But I am a heart and I hurt and that’s all I can do.” – Jesus

The shift in the movie is outrageous to some. I consider myself highly accepting to any kind of ‘art’ however, I myself got up and started walking around the house near the end of the movie just because I was bothered by the events of the movie. That’s where again I say WATCH IT TILL THE END. You might become restless, but wait, cause the ending is just perfect. A true masterpiece. Every single bit of it.

This movie might make you doubt your faith at a point, but I only see beauty in that. Once a doubt is recovered, your faith would be twice as strong. Once your doubt controls you, it might just be part of your spiritual journey.

“Even if he didn’t the word is still important.
Why?
Because people believe them.” – Paul

This movie makes you realize that even Jesus’s disciples ran away while he was walking to be crucified – your friends bailing on you because you got weak is nothing original. It might just be a common ground between you and Jesus (if you got ditched) or between you and the disciples (if you ditched). Both ways, you’re fine.

“I can’t help it God only talks to me a little bit at a time
He only tells me as much as I need to know” – Jesus

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Finally, this movie shows us another example of a trick we always fall for – something that is mentioned in the bible over and over again but we never even doubt. It is that the Devil comes in ‘sheep’s clothing’. (SPOILER!) Religiously speaking, the Devil was once God’s angel and that is what he will disguise himself in before he approaches any of us.

“There is only one woman in the world. One woman, with many faces.” 

“Harmony between earth and heart
That’s the world of god
Maybe you’ll find this hard to believe
But sometimes we angels look down on men and envy you really envy you” –  ‘Angel’ of God

 

A Must Watch!
With Love!
M

How To Stop Smoking: M Snapchat

So today, I asked my Snap chat friends how someone can stop smoking. I was surprised by the number of snaps I got of people asking me to share the advice I got because I guess many people are trying to stop and failing.

 

Since a Snapchat story only remains for 24 hours, here’s a blog for some of the answers/advice I got. I hope you find them useful.

 

(Names mentioned are the people’s Snapchat usernames)

smoking

 

EliasSafy thinks you need to stop cold turkey, he suggests sauna and steam for 3 days straight and a walk whenever you have the urgency to smoke; possibly motivating yourself with some teeth whitening: once you have whiten teeth, you wouldn’t want to lose them for the sake of smoking.

 

Rosemary.isk “forgets” her cigarettes at home. Also, she carries a cigarette box of a brand she does not like so that she smokes less. However, she still fails to do so sometimes and gets herself the pack of cigarettes she likes. At least she is trying!

 

Alyyshah actually quit cigarettes for some months now.
“You can quit by drinking enough water and juice… working out helps taking out the stress too,” he added saying, “Orange juice is my best friend now”.

 

KareemTabbaa decreased the amount gradually day by day. Then he stayed smoking 1 cigarette a day for one month. Then he was done!
JustinHammin also cut down the number of cigarettes he smoked by the week. He cut one cigarette every week + water and exercise

 

ElieAbsi GAINED 20 KILOS when he stopped smoking and doesn’t advise anyone to stop!

– Check this link: tips to quit smoking without gaining weight

Gilbertdeev8 asked me to NOT BE A QUITER!!

 

Letplaypoker said all it needs to stop smoking is “self belief and will power”.

 

RachidFadel3 completely stopped smoking 6 years ago and never got back to it. What he did? “I slept, woke up and never smoked ever again,” he said. He added, “All it needs is will power.”

 

Mckennaian quit many years ago with the help of the patch. “Sometimes you need other than just cold turkey,” he added, “I also had to change my lifestyle. At least for a year.”

 

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Now this is interesting;

MazenAshkar recommended printing a big poster of disgusting lungs on your room wall and cellphone wallpaper for the first month + working out.
He recommended a book called Excuses Begone.

 

Abou_zeidomar “Smoke the worst kind of cigarettes. Try also to brush your teeth then smoke. That used to kill me when I was a heavy smoker. Search for a healthier life by fitness gym or whatever.”

 

ChristianChami believes that fasting on cigarettes would actually help. Since you’re doing it with faith, your will power might be stronger + music + keeping busy

 

KevinVazzo recommends just keeping busy and asking those who smoke not to smoke near you.

 

HseinChamas “Smoke Shisha” adding, “Believe me wala, because of shisha I stopped smoking cigarettes”

– I guess this works with some people. Shisha is definitely not my thing though.

Anthony.Kahwaji “put nuts in a cigarette box”

– This is an unconventional way to stop smoking, probably makes you gain weight, but at least you would be keeping yourself and mouth busy without smoking

 

Monaz201 “Chewing gum, always in mouth”

– Again, this would keep your mouth busy. I’d fail miserably in that cause I always tend to swallow gum. I’m not sure what day it was but ever since that day, I never knew how to chew a gum anymore.

 

Dr-Dubs “I stopped smoking a year ago by running. The first week was hard and I was about to give up. The second week was easy.”

Finally, I got this snap from MohammadZahwe that made my day
“And Mohammad Zahwe said: I fell in love with a fictional exceptional lady who hates the smell of smokes”

– Seriously now, I’d so believe I’m in love with a superhero that doesn’t like smoking!

 

Just like everything else, people differ when it comes to quitting smoking. All it needs for some is waking up and determining to stop. Others actually need ‘the patch’ or the interference of a superhero!

 

I hope you find this as useful as I did!

With love!
M

*Would love if you could share your story, too.*
Featured photo by Ahmed Darwiche Photography

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