In some ways, spending this week in israel is overwhelming; there’s just so much to absorb and assimilate, and I have so little context for it all. Sephardic traditions, Arab traditions, European traditions–I have no sense how they bump up against one another and how the big dose of American culture mixes it all up.
On another level, the tech world here–especially the web 2.0 corner–seems amazingly familiar.The passionate entrepreneurs, problem-solving engineers, and thoughtful VCs I’m meeting are all familar with Silicon Valley culture and building applications on a global scale (have to, Israel is such a small country).
Some of the start-ups teams that I’ve met that have me particularly energized include Pandora competitor and personalized music service meemix, where CEO Gil Shlang, Chief Scientist Dr. Ricardo Tarrasch and some kick ass musicologists/editors seem to be going at it the right way
Also impressed with the folks at Work Light, where marketing guy Yonni Harif is building interest in a lightweight and secure application layer that can manage document access and security from within the Facebook environment (and all sorts of other cool things, including secure RSS).
And of course my friend and mobile entrepreneur Eran Ahronson is inspiring..nothing like building one company after another..inspiring to see someone stay the course and be smart about it.
In other words, there is great start up energy here, with lots of eager developers, free floating VCs and all the talent to support that. (And are there many women-owned companies, especially technical ones? Hate to say it, but the answers seems to be…not.)
Note: Coming from Silicon Valley, it is interesting to see how knowledgeable everyone is
about our little bubble and how much the geeks we’re meeting adore and respect Scoble. For them, he’s both what the aspire to be and the man on the street–and he’s just as gracious and engaged as can be, another inspiring lesson in focus.