Are You Ready to Know the Start-Up Nation Up-Close and Personal?

Posted by dev March 14, 2017
Are You Ready to Know the Start-Up Nation Up-Close and Personal?

As an Israeli living in the Bay Area and working in a high-tech company, I’d like to share my perspective of the concept of “start-up nation.” Quali will present at the upcoming Start-Up Nation Tech Fair and our CEO, Lior Koriat, will speak on the panel of experts. Quali has a story that is very similar to other Israeli companies in the Bay Area: founded in Israel, keeps R&D center in Israel and moves the headquarters to the Silicon Valley. You see, it is essential for the success of the company and for its exposure to be here rather than there and yet, Israel is the start-up nation.

Why Israel? Why now?

Israel was founded in 1948 and is the only democracy in the Middle East, but it wasn’t always a tech state:

  • In its early days, Israel had an agricultural economy—it was essential to have enough resources to feed the population independently.
  • In the 80s, Israel concentrated on developing and manufacturing arms. This process was accelerated because of the embargo that endangered the young state.
  • During the 90s, along with peace talks with the Palestinians and the peace treaty with Jordan, Israel had moved to develop the high-tech industry.

Nowadays, Israel ranks 1st in number of start-ups per capita.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: “Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs.”

Oranges were a main export produce in the 50s.

50 years later: Young Israeli innovators present to president Obama.

What is the force behind Israel becoming the start-up nation?

In a nutshell: Israel’s only resource is its Sabras.

I’d like to suggest that on top of the establishment of the state and its progress up Malslow’s pyramid of needs, which allowed its citizens to focus and develop things that are beyond merely existence, lay cultural reasons.

Israeli Sabra (Native Israeli) - Tough on the outside, but delicate and sweet on the inside.

“Due to its lack of natural resources and raw materials, Israel's one advantage is its highly-qualified labor force, scientific institutes, and R&D centers”.

Sabras are raised on a system of values, some of which are:

  • The importance and emphasis of higher education
  • Individualism
  • Encouragement of creativity and thinking outside of the box
  • Encouragement of criticism, curiosity and self-expression
  • Always question, even if the order came from a higher authority

These values shape a person that always thinks for himself, never takes things for granted, isn’t afraid to challenge authority and always looks for a better way—an easier way—around.

These are only my two cents of interpretation, but while searching the web I found some supporting articles that claim there is a strong positive connection between criticism and innovation.

What’s between criticism and innovation?

According to the Harvard Business Review, “In order to find and exploit the opportunities made possible by big changes in technology or society, we need to explicitly question existing assumptions about what is good or valuable and what is not—and then, through reflection, come up with a new lens to examine innovation ideas. Such questioning and reflection characterize the art of criticism.”

As Jonathan Bendor, Professor of Political Economics and Organizations at Stanford says, “Criticism and creativity have to live together.” Next time your child asks “WHY?” try and be more patient. She might be a tech innovator someday!

In some aspects, there are a lot of similarities between Israel, the start-up nation, and Silicon Valley, the start-up center of the world: high rate of educated population, encouragement of critical thinking, creativity and individualism.

Come visit Israel to learn more and to have some good food, good conversations and make some friends!

Too busy working on your project? Don’t worry! Free up a couple of hours today between 5:00 PM and 9:00 PM and get a taste in the Start-up Nation Tech Fair. Look for Quali’s table and come say hi!

Where: San Jose State University, Student Union Ballroom

When: Tuesday, March 14th at 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM.

The event is open to the public.