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I think there are two intertwined arguments here, and though it's nuanced, one is fair, while the second is wrong.
1. The main argument that the Israeli Consumer Web Scene has not "arrived" w/ Waze is fair.
2. The "harsh reality" assertion that Israel's tech scene is "underperforming dramatically" couldn't be further from the truth. It's a secondary argument written in parallel to the article's true focus on the consumer/web storyline, but is just not a fair one:
- Cisco acquired NDS for $5 billion in cash just last year. It's not as sexy as Instagram or Tumblr, I'll give you that, but it's still worth 5x more than either of the aforementioned two - and it's roots are all Israeli - it was started at the Weizmann Institute, a lesser known university than Israel's famous Technion, but a solid one nonetheless.
- Enterprise startups may not be as sexy from a press perspective as the consumer web, but Israel is still booming there - with Singtel buying Israel's mobile ads startup Amobee last year for $300m+, Retalix (point of sale software) going for nearly $700m and Herziliyia based XremIO selling to EMC for $430m+ last year after raising just $20m or so a few years prior.
- Life sciences/communications startups are still booming - again, not covered as frequently in the tech press, but booming in Israel.
It's fair to say that Israel's consumer web startup scene has a long way to go, but it is unfair to say that the "tech scene is underperforming dramatically" in general. In fact, it's the opposite. Berkshire Hathaway & Warren Buffett spending $6 billion on Israel's 'metalworking startup' Isracar is just another example.
The country has obvious extreme challenges politically, as well as economically with an increasing gap between the rich and the poor ironically due in part to those successful Israeli startups of the past decade or two, but while inequality and other issues persist, the tech scene in Israel is far from underperforming. The government's friendly policies towards startups and the prevalence of multi-billion dollar success stories such as Waze, NDS, Isracar and others in a country the size of New Jersey should continue to keep the tight knit ecosystem there strong and producing winners for years to come.
1 year ago on Why Israel should reconsider too much high-fiving over Waze
Great stuff from a great team - looking forward to more to come.
2 years, 1 month ago on Chill Heats up with $8 Million in Funding and a TMZ Content Partnership
"There’s been a stigma for a long time that LA companies start fast but don’t finishing (sic) strong." Interesting - I've been working w/ startups and internet companies in LA for nearly 5 years and have never heard this before. Applied Semantics is now Google AdSense, which is a pretty damn strong finish if you ask me. LowerMyBills, PriceGrabber, and Shopzilla have combined for billions of dollars worth of exits and these exits were 5+ years ago in the lead generation space where exits in the billions are extremely rare and thus, incredibly impressive. There are even firms like ReachLocal (ok, perhaps not as 'sexy' as 'Silicon Beach' startups by the beach) based in Woodland Hills that have generated significant long term growth - in this case in local business ads market. Michael, I think it's the nature of the beast to go on the wild rides that startups experience - the highs and the lows - but I don't think it's unique to Los Angeles or anything to be worried about at all. We have some big winners here, just as they do up north, and just as they do in NYC, and some diamonds in the rough too.
2 years, 1 month ago on The Health of LA’s Tech Ecosystem Relies On a Few Large Companies
Interesting startup and Nice UI. Looking forward to seeing how it works out. Erin - you come to your senses in the last 2 paragraphs despite the ludicrous title [that - to be fair, hooked me, so well done w/ the bait].
As you say, Linkedin is "a huge business that’s not exactly experiencing a slow in growth." Linkedin is valuable to recruiters as a sourcing platform precisely because it has 161 million users. Sure, as a "social network," it may have weaknesses - especially in comparison with Twitter and FB when it comes to time on site, page views, and interaction, but the sheer volume of [updated] professional profiles and it's sourcing offering for recruiters is the gold standard in the industry. There are other very important components of recruiting - from branding to distribution to targeting, but as a sourcing tool LinkedIn seems, by all accounts, pretty 'useful.'
2 years, 2 months ago on WorkFu Launches its Less Ugly, More Useful Version of LinkedIn
I would add a 5th element to Ben's key reasons to hiring an MBA today: Meeting other high-caliber people & developing relationships. It's nice that Mark Leslie and Andy Rachleff at Stanford now teach key lessons in building enterprise sales channels and Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao at Stanford teach novel approaches to incentives. Sounds like a massive improvement over the criticisms of MBA programs in the '80s and '90s. And even though it's so obvious, you can't pen a contrarian view and support MBAs who have been ridiculed in the startup world without at least mentioning the omnipresent (past, present, future) power of the network - Ambitious peers and potential co-founders, faculty, entrepreneurs, etc. I see many brilliant technical founders & non-technical founders out there looking to hire a team, or raise capital, or partner in a biz dev deal - and it's much easier to do those things with a strong professional network - one of the byproducts of a competitive MBA program.
2 years, 2 months ago on Everyone’s Convinced That MBAs Are Useless, So Now Might Be a Good Time to Hire Them
"YouTube, on the other hand is a clusterfuck of poorly labeled, limited-value content. The majority of the Web suffers the same problem." - Spot on. The opportunity is massive, here, obviously and the creation of true subject matter / content experts [Chill's roots in creating and recognizing influential experts from it's Namesake days] is one that also shouldn't go unmentioned.
2 years, 2 months ago on Chill Aims to be “Front Door of Video,” User Count in 8 Digit Range