We're OpenEveryone is familiar with the concept of Office Hours especially on college and university campuses. Faculty members schedule certain times where they make themselves available to students to drop by and discuss matters related to their coursework.

The first time I heard of Office Hours in the context of venture capital work was during a dinner conversation with our Advisory Board member Seth Levine. Brad Feld also discussed the idea in his book “Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City” which I reviewed in my last post with some ideas on how it applies to Ramallah. Lastly, I recently read a post about it on Fred Wilson’s AVC. In this context, the idea of Office Hours is basically to periodically allocate a block of time where a VC would make himself available to meet for a short time (15 to 20 minutes) with anyone to discuss pretty much anything.

I’m starting my Office Hours on Jan 28 at 5pm at Zamn coffee shop in Al-Tireh, Ramallah. For this first session, I’m allocating a block of 6 slots with 20 minutes each. Here’s where you can reserve a slot, and if they’re all booked, you can follow on Ohours and they will notify you when the next session is announced. You can also follow me on twitter where I’ll tweet on future sessions.

Depending on demand, I may adjust the amount of total time allocated for subsequent months. Choosing to meet at Zamn as opposed to the office will hopefully help make this less formal. There are no requirements or prerequisites. You just show up, and we’ll have a conversation. Make sure to be on time, since being late will eat into an already very limited time slot. Finally try to have specific things to talk about. This will help us make the most of whatever time we have.

Part of what makes a startup community function more effectively is the ease by which people in the community can meet each other, and make new connections. Office Hours should make it easier for others to meet me, and for me to expand the circle of people I know in the community. This is important primarily for two reasons. First, I don’t want entrepreneurs and others in the community to have the wrong impression that VC in Palestine is inaccessible. If you think I can be of help, you can use Office Hours to schedule a time to meet. At least, we can talk for a few minutes and see what comes out of it. Second, I want to meet as many people from our local community as possible. This is helpful to the work I do as it may open new investment opportunities, or otherwise create connections that can potentially help our portfolio companies.

See you at my next Office Hours, or any future ones.

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