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This was such a great talk! I found myself cheering out loud when he said "we should not be afraid of acting like start-ups." Bravo!
1 year, 3 months ago on PandoMonthly with Naval Ravikant post-event recap
@ronenshilo Here here Ronen! May you mentor and encourage more successful Israel-based ventures.
1 year, 7 months ago on Investment in Israeli Startups Falls 20% This Year — Can We Finally Admit There Is a Problem?
Hi Sarah, great article! As an American-Israeli who has spent over a decade observing and working with Israeli start-ups my anecdotal observation is that Israel has a driven R&D technology culture that is second-to-none in the world in many areas... but translating that into the disciplined business-building that is the hallmark of Silicon Valley simply is not a predominant part of Israeli culture.
Over a decade ago I felt, and still feel, that there is an opportunity here: The right mix of talent/VC acumen could easily match promising Israeli technology with the product management know-how and executive experience necessary to develop a business around such technology. This would require Israeli technologists-turned-CEO's to accept the fact that technology in-and-of-itself is only as useful as the problem it solves, and figuring out which problem to solve is primarily a marketing question, not the strong point of the Israeli business skill-set, to politely understate things.
To put it slightly differently, marketing is no longer an "add-on" that you staple to your products at the end. Perhaps it never was. Today marketing is core to the entire value-proposition of your product, especially regarding the viral Web. Once Israeli companies demonstrate that "they get it" I'm sure VC's will respond approvingly. Until then, many Israeli firms will content themselves to "outsource" the business side (i.e. the most profitable side) of the equation overseas while they focus on the next cool technology. Maybe Israel's start-ups were at a greater advantage when their was a stronger correlation between what the market needed and what the IDF was designing (security, semi-conductors, wireless, etc.)?
MichaelEisenberg - I agree with you that some of this is a scaling issue, but to some extent this is a chicken-egg conundrum in that with a more successful ecosystem there wouldn't be such a shortage. The labor shortage you mentioned may to some extent be a symptom of the problem rather than it's cause. Fascinating insight on your other posts regarding Israel's overly Microsoft-centric developer community. It's bothered me for years, but I couldn't quite figure out why. But again, all it takes is one successful (i.e. multi-billion dollar) company to do it right, and there's your next generation of non-MS programmers. Ruby-on-Rails training for the Ultra-Orthodox, I love it!