RISE Hong Kong 2018: Day 1

An hour and a half after departing Taipei, we were in the thick of one of the thickest environments in the world. Everything you expect a big city to have, it was there, buses, tall buildings, sidewalks, subways … everything, but it all felt a bit stranger than usual. We’ve traveled plenty by this point and are used to big cities, big buildings and masses of people, but this was different. Everything felt slightly out of proportion and squished. It was like watching a 16:9 movie in a 4:3 ratio. The trams are all slim double-deckers, as well as the buses, and with four-wheel steering, their agility in tight spaces was truly a sight to behold. The iconic Hong Kong taxis also were interesting in terms of proportions; the Toyota Comfort has unusually tall windows and short doors. The roads and sidewalks are a bit narrower than you’d expect, and the tall buildings we’re used to living amongst in New York, all felt much taller and more ominous here. The air was no exception, very thick, condensed and heavy.


As the title suggests, we’re in Hong Kong for RISE. If you’re not familiar with RISE Conference, it’s an international startup conference, with talks, workshops, and pitch competitions for blindly optimistic startups like ourselves. Although we have yet to attend TechCrunch Disrupt, based on the Silicon Valley parody, I’d say they’re very similar.

We made it to the Hong Kong Convention Center to check-in. This beautiful, massive, and brand-new convention center was hosting 2 other conferences that same week, and RISE wasn’t even the biggest one! Yet another reminder of the very unusual scale of Hong Kong, where a tiny, 20,000 people tech conference, had to be squeezed in between a fashion and a manufacturing show. So, we checked in, got our BETA (now that we’ve graduated from ALPHA) name tags, and more importantly, our wrist bands which you wear all 3 days, wherever you go. This band gets you all the special treatment at the designated bars and restaurants around Hong Kong that week.

Opening day of RISE was the next day, so we checked into our very skinny hotel, left our luggage in our very small rooms, and went to a very small coffee shop to finish building the little demo of our product for our little exhibit the next day.

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