Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting wonderful people at the Start-up Nation Tech Fair: Highly motivated San Jose State students, Club members and volunteers and high-tech leaders who have contributed their free time to come and socialize with the students, answer their questions and educate them about the tech industry which is booming around them but still at times seems far and unattainable. Start-up Nation org: “The main objective of this fair is to showcase Israeli technology and innovation and provide internship opportunities for students with Israeli companies”. Fourteen companies had booths at the exposition floor and four CEOs had participated in a panel.
At the panel discussion: “Starting and Growing a Business: Challenges and Opportunities” the CEOs had talked about their background, education, the beginning of their career and the things that have brought them to choose the path they’re on: a path of leadership and innovation.
All panelists have emphasized the idea of following the heart and pursuing their dream and passion.
When Tal Behar, the panelist asked about the differences between working in a big company vs. working in a tart-up, all smiled and nodded. Working in a start-up is like riding the roller coaster. It is addictive, there are highs and downs. On the other hand, in start-up you can have a greater influence. Lior Koriat: “Sometimes a larger organization will be able to offer you access to technology and budgets that smaller organizations may not. However, smaller organizations will offer you the opportunity to develop faster in your career because the more you would be willing to undertake, the more the organization will actually give you and allow you to do.”
Another question was about the secret sauce of an entrepreneur. The panelists have emphasized the importance of persistence: For each success, there are tens of failures. Lior Koriat: “Always look back and debrief how you could have done things better… Be open and admit to your mistakes and learn from them.”
The panel discussion was very interesting and that is thanks to the panel members who were very open and really wanted to give some of their experience to the younger generation. The question I found to be most interesting wasn’t about technology or fund raising. It was about the culture of the organization: How do you keep a start-up culture in an organization that is relatively big?
Lior Koriat:” The culture actually starts with and radiates from the founders and the CEO of the company. You have to make sure that you broadcast it throughout the organization, especially when opening new branches and new sites. This is why I moved here six years ago, because you cannot build an organization with the culture you’d like to have without migrating that DNA into that territory. You need to hire people that fit the culture in your organization and they will help you instill that DNA”.
After the panel session, the students had the opportunity to visit the companies’ booths and mingle with their representatives.
I wish I had this kind of an opportunity, to meet with market leaders, when I was a young student not too many decades ago 😉
Are You Ready to Know the Start-Up Nation Up-Close and Personal?
Are You Ready to Know the Start-Up Nation Up-Close and Personal?
Posted by dev March 14, 2017
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.”
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.
“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
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!
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