If Ayelet Noff were to be played by a Hollywood star in the movie version of the Israeli web scene, the actress would have to be either Scarlett Johansson or Uma Thurman. Ayelet’s blend of authentic charm, warmth, web savviness and marketing smarts is so high-wattage only an Oscar winner could do her justice.
A former New Yorker, Ayelet is one of those bi-cultural Israelis who grew up in the US and then moved back. Fluent in English and seemingly effortlessly bi-cultural, Ayelet offers a much need broad perspective to the high-tech start-ups that seek her counsel–she offers advice on product development, marketing, partnerships and brand positioning; my sense is she often provides a valuable and more savvy focus to Israeli teams wanting to reach a global market. In addition, Ayelet is a born connector; she truly knows everybody and relishes introducing people to one another; the dinners, meet-ups, coffees and conversations she helped created for the Travelling Geeks crowd on this last Israel trip were wonderful.
During The Marker’s COM. Vention; Israel’s equivalent of Web 2.0 Expo, I sat down with Ayelet and asked lots of questions. Here, some of the answers:
When did you start your blog, Blonde 2.0? What made you dive in with it?
“My background is in marketing. I worked for TBWA Chiat/Day in New York for a while, then came home to Israel and worked at ICQ and with some start-ups. 18 months ago I started Blonde 2.0–there was a need for a marketing business that could explain Web 2.0 tools and help them use and integrate them in the Israeli market; the name was just a way to brand myself.
Are there many women who do what you do?
No, not really. For one thing, in Israel, many people marry and have babies by the time they are 25 or 26, so not everyone wants to be as entrepreneurial as me. Also, not everyone has the perspective I have; I’m Israeli, but I’ve lived around the world and am able to see different cultural and international points of view, particularly the American market; that and my fluency in English set me somewhat apart.
How do you get business?
Well, I’m pretty visible, between my work and my blog/brand. Clients often come to me, either through word of mouth, or via my social networks. Often, they’re at an early stage where they need a web site and lots of positioning, or they’re farther along and they need to really focus on the marketing.
What are the rules you try to run your business by?
- Always remember people who have helped you; be helpful in return. Build a good support network
- Do a good job -there is no replacement for that!
- Work with really smart people; use the best
- Don’t use your personal social network to promote stuff; you’ll burn people out.
- Never speak badly of anyone.
- Work with companies whose products you’d use yourself and that you believe it.
- Write about clients in your blog, but discreetly–don’t over promote
For me, meeting Ayelet was great because she’s someone, perhaps like Deb Schultz in the Bay area, who can bridge Israeli tech culture and the US Web 2.0 scene. Smart and motivated, Ayelet is both a pivotal part of the Israeli scene and an interesting contributor.
Excerpt from blonde 2.0:
“…bloggers today have a dramatic effect on the outcome of startups. Bloggers are the opinion leaders of today. I would be more inclined to try a service or product if a specific blogger that I admire recommended it as opposed to a journalist. But we’re not only talking quality. We’re also talking quantity. 120,000 blogs are opened each day and startups can receive a great deal more coverage through blogs than through traditional media. In addition, there are niche bloggers that write about specific topics and turning to those bloggers will of course get you much more targeted exposure for your service/product.”