Innovation

What Makes Israel So Innovative?

click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Despite its size, Israel manages to be one of the top leading countries in every industry around the world thanks to its unique culture. At our #B2BTalks event that focused on innovation in B2B marketing, we were joined by Inbal Arieli, VP strategic partnerships at Start-Up Nation Central. She discussed her experiences in the start-up ecosystem, and some of the interesting aspects of Israeli culture that make it so innovative. More

From Boring to Brilliant – Innovation in B2B Marketing

click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Innovation in B2B Marketing

Over the past few years, marketing technology has been dominating the conversation – from big data to marketing automation. And while marketing technology continues to play a huge role as marketers are using more tools to fine-tune data-driven activities and show results, we’re starting to see a shift in the conversation.

According to a B2B Marketing International survey, 72% of U.S. companies see innovation as one of their top 5 current business challenges, but still plan on putting 56% of their marketing efforts into branding/marketing communications. So how can you keep your marketing team on the cutting edge of innovation? More

#B2BTalks – Call for Speakers

click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

call-for-speakers

B2B doesn’t have to mean boring-to-boring

We are gearing up for our next #B2BTalks event on November 8, and we want to hear from you. We want to be inspired, and that’s why we’re looking for speakers who have worked on an innovative B2B marketing campaign, or an initiative that significantly improved workflow, to share their work with us. More

How to Get the Innovative Best Out of Your Marketing Machine

click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

In this #B2BTalks video series, a lively and captivating panel discussed a topic many of us in the marketing world struggle with every single day – how to get your marketing machine performing at its innovative best.

Each panelist came up with some superb tips on how they fire-up innovation in their own marketing machine. Below are just a few words of wisdom garnered from the session – there’s plenty more in the video above! More

Humus Manifesto and Shakshuka Reality

click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Shakshuka
Image by STML via Flickr

Michael Eisenberg, an Israeli VC, wrote two thought provoking posts about the way the government  invest properly in Israeli High Tech. From Microsoft and .Net monopoly through iPad banning, to poor distribution of CSO funds, our government neglects the important aspects of maintaining Israel’s technological leadership.
Though not a VC, I’ve worked in several industries, from mobile to internet to media, and I meet a lot of startups in different stages. And I think that though Michael is right in his claims, there is another angle to this story – the core competencies of the Israeli industry is not as important as in the past.

Origins of Israeli High Tech
Israel’s High Tech originated, broadly speaking, from 4 sources:
1. Technological army units such as 8200, Air force and Mamram
2. Universities such as Technion
3. Russian immigration
4. ECI/Comverse RAD group and other major companies, whose employees who jumped ship and opened their own startups.

The strong points of these sources were electrical engineering and telecom oriented know how.

The Best Beta Site
Israel has one of the highest mobile and broadband penetration rates. Therefore, a mobile startup could easily sign a deal with a local mobile operator and make it a beta site. The local mobile industry was at the same level as  European mobile markets, so Israeli companies could launch products in that huge market relatively easily, as it was close to what they had locally. I was a part of such process when working with Flash Networks. First we sold our product to Orange, and then to T-Mobile. We knew what was needed in order to build and deploy a product in such an environment.

Media and Internet are Winning. Pipes are losing.
However, the market changed. World wide innovation lies more and more in internet companies. Hulu is more innovative then Motorola. Google is more innovative (and profitable) then Nokia. Mobile operators are not as important in the value chain as they were before. And Apple is changing the game again and again with innovative hardware and software.

Failure in  Growing the Business
Most Israeli companies are just not big enough, or maybe not with the right culture and financial resources to win over the mobile and telecom market and create the next Nokia or even next iPhone. The last guys who tried it failed and closed shop, not to mention their founder’s financial trouble. Yes, I am talking about Else Mobile and Eli Reifman‘s troubles. So in that area we are basically, well, screwed.

No Longer a Beta Site
So let’s look at the Israeli internet industry. Unlike the mobile market, there is a huge difference between local internet industry to international or American one. While video is growing drastically in the US, and major media companies experimenting with new business models, our market is just too small, too centralized, to make companies feel their bread and butter is at risk. With 3-4 major media players (Hot, Yes, Reshet, Keshet), and two major portals (Walla, Ynet) no one has the incentive to innovate. They are making enough money as is, and digital cents are not even on their map, as no one buys content here.
We don’t have an Israeli iTunes. We don’t have an Israeli Hulu. We don’t have an Israeli Huffington Post. We don’t have an Israeli ereader market (Sorry E-vrit, not enough units sold yet). Come on, iPhone, one of the biggest media innovations, landed here less than a year ago.
Amazingly, there is a huge gap between Startup innovation and portals’ adoption of technology.
So the Israeli media and internet is like Shakshuka – some great cutting edge media technology (eggs) floating in a sea of not extremely innovative portals (tomato sauce).

Culture
With technology less of an issue and winning product is the focus in the online and media industry – culture and media consumption habits become the key for creating a winning company. And, we don’t have the visibility of neither. Cause our local market is so different.

Is This The End?
Is this the end of Israeli startup industry? No. There are several amazing content and media companies here in Israel such as Innovid, Outbrain and many more.
But we need to start think differently. It is not like 8200 will start to create cool video players so Israeli innovation won’t die. But it might be that in the future these units won’t be as important in Israeli High Tech as in the past.

Possible Solution
We need a simple plan – and do the so unIsraeli thing to do- actually follow it. We should encourage Hot, Yes and the major portals to invest in innovation. It might be through tax incentives or other ways, but we should give them a reason to do so, cause they don’t have one now.
We should create special incubators for media companies with international media veterans. I have couple of names in mind.
And we should take into consideration that the market is going to change to the worse for us. As Michael said, we are definitely not competitive in price. If the current situation will continue, we will lose our technological edge as well.

What’s Wrong with this  Post?
If you know me you know that I love well established facts. Unfortunately I don’t have the numbers to back the claims here. It is based on personal experience and being in the industry for 10 years.
Would love to hear your opinion.

The Digital Journalist

click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard did two great pieces about the philosophy, workflow and tools that digital journalists, usually a one man show out on the field. If you are suckers of neat kits that allow you to basically do everything on your own, as well as interested in learning more about the best way to be a one man gang kind of producer, check these videos out:

NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo: Her digital workflow from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

.

NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo: Inside her digital toolkit from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

Schiavocampo is a digital journalist with NBC News.

According to this great post her kit includes:

More

Technology, Media and Celebs Meet at Rosh Pina Festival

click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A gathering of international speakers from US and European media industry, startups, technology companies, interactive agencies, investors, TV stars and executives is taking place in Rosh Pina, Israel, on 5th-8th of November.

In the last 8 years, Rosh Pina Festival was all about the TV industry, positioning itself as the place to be for executives, creators and business people.

This year, Ami Giniger, head of Taya Media Group, the main organizer of the event, decided to extend the festival to digital media – and cover the effects of technology on the international media market. As a part of this change, Yossi Vardi became co-chair of the event.

Therefore, I was thrilled when asked by Taya to be the principal organizer of the digital track. For me, it is like being a kid in a candy store – creating an international conference in the topic I am so passionate about. Though require a lot of heavy lifting (and if you follow my twitter you know that), it is an exciting role, and I am happy to say that we are going to have an amazing event, with speakers from the local, US and European media and digital industry, research companies, and a lot of innovation and startups. And, yes, a lot of TV starts and celebs (let’s face it, geeks are cool, celebs are…. at least as cool…)

Some of the speakers are well known in the Internet TV circles – we managed to get Mike Hudak from blip.tv out of his lavish NYC offices to the stages of Rosh Pina, as well as Robert Millis. Jeff Pulver will talk about disruption in the media industry. But that’s not all. IDC Research will present NBC’s Internet strategy, ESPN will present its multi-platform activities, H3G will present mobile TV case studies,Newtek‘s CEO, Jim Plant, will discuss live broadcasting,  and we are expecting some exciting presentations from Microsoft.

We decided to add a lot of innovation to the event. Therefore, after every panel, we will present a startup that is changing the media landscape. This angle makes the event the place to be for startups, investors and VCs.

Please email me for more information (kfir@pravdam.com). If you are interested in blogging about it, let me know, and please tag all relevant content with the following tag: Roshpinafestival08

Feel free to join our Facebook group as well. 

Stay tuned for more info about panels, speakers and cooperation opportunities.

Innovation in News – A Top Down Approach

click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Inform, Educate, Entertain... Expose?Image by inju via Flickr

We all know that the news industry is highly affected by technology – starting with the rise of bloggers as a news source, through the usage of UGC in mainstream news reporting, the reduction of cost of live broadcasting, the introduction of video to newspapers websites, collaborative news gathering, and the usage of social media tools to notify readers and create discussions around news items.

However, how can one evaluate the level of innovation of a news organization? Here are some of our thoughts:

1. Release of hot off the press news through the day, without limiting hot items to a specific news hour or editionTV news organizations expanding to the internet face a challenge – should they compromise the rating of their main edition by releasing hot items on the internet first? The same goes for newspapers and radio. This is a case of innovation – the internet strong point is the fact that news can be dispatched instantaneously 24×7, while traditional media is all about creating and maintaining viewership and readership peaks.

2. Creation of direct to web video news clips – today the cost of a video journalist is much lower than in the past. Newspaper websites already have in some areas video journalists – a role traditionally exisitng in the TV business only. Online news consumers do not divide media based on it sources (such as TV, papers and radio), but based on the information itself.

3. One news desk,  many platforms – while in traditional media, a newspaper has its own platform and news desk, one will think that news innovation should integrate all the platforms and create a unified desk per topic. So, for example, a desk covering the Pallin affair would be a stand alone operation in a newspaper, while others will focus on getting the best information, and “repurpose” it to the relevant platform.

4. Social media as a part of a news gathering game – does a news outlet use social networks and blogs as source of information?

5. Social media as a part of a distribution strategy – does a news outlet use social networks (such as Facebook and Twitter) and blogs as a distribution platform?

6. Audience interaction – does a news outlet interact with viewers, through its own site, as well as social networks?

7. Distributed approach – does a news outlet allow others to embed its content in their sites, social networks profiles and so on?

How does your news room operate? What are the challenges you are facing? what is the role of innovation in the success of news organizations, and how do they evaluate it?

(written in collaboration with Lara Greenberg, former South African journalist and current student of the School of Communications at IDC Herzliya).

How Much Interactivity Do We Really Need?

click to shareFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

When I ask people about cinema, technology, or Internet TV, I hear a lot of references to the possibilities of viewers’ interactivity. I’ve met creators and tech enthusiasts who told me with sparkling eyes that now they can truly interact with their viewers. They can even let viewers decide what will happen next!

Well, open and honest, I don’t want to affect the plot. Not at all.

I watch TV, films, and Internet TV in order to be entertained. I want someone to create a world for me – a believable world that I can relate to. I have no problem with different ways that creators increase my involvement with what I see on screen. Great soundtrack, as well as less conservative methods to create a world, are fine by me.

But, please, don’t ask me to decide what the character will do next. Don’t ask me to decide if it will turn right or left. Not only it doesn’t increase my involvement, it reduces my suspension of disbelief.

Having said that, there are many ways that technology can make me live the story I see on the screen. Check out Lance Weiler work in this field – fascinating and innovative ideas come to life in his creation, surrounding viewers with multi-layered experience.

Letting me decide how the plot will evolve is feasible. I just don’t believe it is needed.

How do YOU feel about the idea of viewers’ controlled plot?

Technorati Tags: , , , ,