Technology

#B2BTalks – Call for Speakers

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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

Let’s Seize the Moment at IBM BusinessConnect

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“What is the most important thing for a company? Is it the cash flow? Is it the inventory? Nuh-uh. It’s the people. The people.”

Whether or not you take management advice from Michael Scott, Regional Director of Dunder Mifflin from the popular comedy show The Office, he makes a valid point. While we may rely more on our iPads than our paper distributor in order to run our daily business operations, what’s really most important is the people, our customers.

Customers today have high expectations and hold more power than ever before. IBM is plowing forward with various platforms to help marketers meet these demands. In a world with constant connectivity, customers demand almost instant responses and one misstep in their buying experience can leave them running to your competitor, along with hundreds of their Facebook friends and Twitter followers. This is the challenge that IBM’s various marketing platforms face. These include Silverpop and Unica for marketing automation, along with Watson and other Business Intelligence platforms for valuable insights. More

Technology and Tools to Build Your Sales and Marketing Machine

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We’re back this week with the third video installment of #B2BTalks 2 – How to Build a Sales and Marketing Machine. This time we’re focusing on the backend- all the technology that’s used behind the scenes to build and operate your machine. Our days have come to revolve around the latest technology tools, and we know it’s easy to drown in the dozens, if not hundreds, of products that are available today. More

#B2BTalks Breakfast – Marketing Automation Workshop

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B2BTalks logo

Marketing automation, a product aimed at marketing specialists, possibly bears the most misleading and underselling name for one of the most useful technologies out there.

So what exactly is marketing automation? Join us for a special #B2BTalks Breakfast Workshop Tuesday, January 21, at Deca in Tel Aviv. Enjoy a full breakfast buffet at 9am followed by a session led by Kfir Pravda (of Pravda Media Group). For a primer, please download our in-depth paper. More

Why B2B’s Should Consider Using LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

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In an effort to position itself as the leading destination for B2B content, LinkedIn started to roll out Sponsored Updates in late July. These are similar in fashion to sponsored posts on Twitter, and promoted pages on Facebook – allowing sponsored content to be pushed to specific audiences. Sure, it may get pricy for smaller B2B’s, but it would be worth the investment nonetheless.

LinkedIn takes pride in offering “content marketing in the world’s only professional feed,” and it would certainly be beneficial for B2B’s to consider using this as a part of their marketing and outreach efforts. In addition to the typical geo-targeting options, publishers can also select audiences by company, title, job function, and seniority levels. These updates could be promoted in 20 languages across 200 countries, with the potential to reach 225 million active members who regularly update their profile/feed.

Sponsored Updates will work wonders for brand awareness, and directing traffic towards press releases, job postings, and product pages on company websites. It would also increase the reach of thought-leadership pieces on company blogs, white papers and webinars. B2B’s could also strategically use Sponsored Updates for crowdsourcing purposes, and for lead generation. Targeted audiences would have access to social options to comment/like/share the post, in addition to follow the company in one click.

What do you think about Sponsored Updates? Do you think it would take off? Some big names already have their fair share of success stories. Here is the official link to get started with Sponsored Updates.

Ad:Tech Social Summit

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Ad-Tech

We had the chance to speak with Levi Schapiro, organizer of the Ad & Social Tech Summit taking place February 11 at Tel Aviv University, to find out what makes Israel a source of innovation in advertising technology, and what we can look forward to at the summit. Read about it in this interview. More

Humus Manifesto and Shakshuka Reality

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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.

It Isn't The Features Stupid!

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Google Nexus One vs Apple iPhone

Image by Yang and Yun's Album via Flickr

Last night I had a wonderful dinner with good friends. Between the wine and the steaks, we started talking about technology and gadgets. One of my friends was boasting about how his Nexus One is awesome, and I have to admit that I admired this slick phone. But I was puzzled with his comparison to the iPhone. He was talking about pixels, resolution, camera capabilites and so on and so forth.

And I ask you – who cares?

Call me strange but I don’t buy a bunch of features. I don’t buy screen resultion. I don’t buy camera’s pixel number.

I am one fo those strange guys who buys A PRODUCT.

You know, the whole thing. The packaged synergy between different technical abilities that create a user experience, coupled with UI and brand. I buy the ability to be a part of an ecosystem that makes my life easier, more productive, and more fun. I couldn’t care less about the technical details.

GPS is useless without maps application or location based applications. Camera is just a hole in the back of my device without a good picture gallery and the ability to easily share these pictures with my friends and family.

Or maybe I’m missing something here….

Another Beautiful Thing

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An amazing video shot with a prototype of Canon 1D Mark IV. This camera is so sensitive to light that it shoots in light levels that consider extremely dark for the human eye. The whole video was shot with available light only, and was done by Stu Maschwitz and Vincent Laforet

More information about the production could be found here

Thanks to @Ronenk for helping with embedding the video player here.

Open Call – Technology and Platforms For Virtual Events

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My social network
Image by luc legay via Flickr

IMTC Forum, meeting place for experts in video communication and collaboration, is doing this year a virtual conference, as a part of its years long commitment to bring the best thought leaders and technology experts together.  The event, called 2025, Technology, Standards, Work, Life, will discuss the ways video technology and collaboration will change the way we work an live in the year 2025. We expect thought leaders from different industries to share their views on these amazing topic and help us all retool our business and life for the future.

We also decided to do our whole planning process as transparent as possible, empowering the community by sharing our thoughts , decisions, vendors that we’ve reviewed and  lessons we’ve learned.

But, as always, we need the technology to support this event. This is what we are looking for:

  1. Ability to have up to 4 video streams (moderator + 3 speakers), with minimum video requirement of a webcam
  2. Ability to show slides per presenter
  3. Ability to mix video feeds  (meaning, one video player only, but the feed is switched between speakers’ feeds)
  4. Authenticated Chat section per session (including Facebook connect and Twitter API)
  5. Display Official and hash tag Twitter stream in the sidebar
  6. Ability to record all sessions and chats for re-runs and VOD access
  7. Simple to use registration page for participants

Are we missing anything? Let us know. Also, we don’t necessarily need one product with all features – mesh-ups are acceptable.

As a non profit organization we have a shoestring budget – but the event will expose technologies to the right audience – and what is better than seeing a technology in action?

Beyond these requirements, we will ask each vendor to write a short post about the value of virtual events, the way that technology is changing business, and their view on the needs of the industry. We will add our own commentary on each post, as well as write about our decision making process regarding this solution.

Interested? Email us at kfir AT pravdam DOT com with 2025 in the subject line.
Please send us your proposals by September 15th.