Your job sounds fun !? What’s a typical day like?
To your surprise, diplomacy is much like tech entrepreneurship. While tech entrepreneurs deal with connecting algorithms into a more productive and beneficial code, diplomats are in the business of connecting people and ideas into win-win models. Think of me as working in an open source of human relations, fusing the different connections available in ways that create new opportunities.
I help create opportunities for international and Israeli tech companies and institutions. These days virtually all delegations coming to Israel are focused on innovation and tech on different levels. In coordination with other actors in Israel, The Economic Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, facilitate these needs in a way which maximizes the chances of future cooperation between the two sides. On the other hand, working with our embassies around the world, we help promote and assist Israeli innovative companies in different international markets.
— Yoav Adler (@YoavAdler) October 14, 2015
Israel has a good reputation for innovation and cyber tech, what in your opinion has it done well over the last few years to achieve this?
Israel has definitely lived up to the hype surrounding the “startup nation” brand given to it. Maintaining one of the most exciting eco-systems that continues to grow and create new ideas and investment opportunities. It is very difficult to pin point one factor that has stood out in Israel’s success. it is an eco-system that is well balanced, with creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, risk taking, raising venture capital, high quality academia and an emphasis on R&D. looking at it from a government stand point, I think the secret was to intervene without disturbing.
Anything you think you could have done more or less of?
There are always thoughts about changes and things that could have been done differently (one of the main arguments you can hear in Israel is that we do not scale up enough), but in my mind, I think that we have reached an amazing accomplishment and maybe changing something in the past would have taken things for the worse and not for the better. having said that, we should plan and use our past insights when looking into the future.
— Yoav Adler (@YoavAdler) October 13, 2015
What coming tech trends are you excited about?
Israel has been on top of R&D in almost all fields and as someone who deals with innovation it is like being a kid in a candy shop. But, everyone has a favorite flavor, so personally, I am fascinated with the advancement in the field of artificial intelligence and IOT. I think the next major tech disturbance to our lives will come from these fields and I know some major breakthroughs and “wow” companies will come from Israel.
Are there particular areas of tech innovation that are doing well in Israel at the moment?
At the moment, the tech industry is doing very well, and investors’ confidence is very high. in fact, this is the fourth straight year that Deloitte has rated Israel in second place for startup investment after Silicon Valley. Having said that, personally, I find the success in the cyber-security field is growing and expect more to come out of Israel regarding this sector.
— Yoav Adler (@YoavAdler) October 11, 2015
How quickly would you recommend Israeli startups start building a presence overseas / in the US or elsewhere?
One of our challenges, which turned into one of our success factors, is the fact that we have a very small internal market and a problematic market in our vicinity. That is why Israeli tech entrepreneurs think globally from day one, with the US and Europe as a first extension. also, most of the money invested comes from overseas, so start-ups have an international “back” from almost the get go.
What are your tips to startups hoping to do well and grow their companies?
One important factor, is knowing how to sell and market your idea. unfortunately I’ve seen amazing companies miss great opportunities just because they did a bad job at getting their message out there and convincing potential investors and clients.
What’s your perspective on the Irish startup scene from where you’re based?
Among the European major startup scenes there are two that I have heard great things about but still unfortunately haven’t had the chance to truly familiarize myself with them. The Irish scene which has a lot of hype in Israel and the Swedish scene. I have heard a great deal about the “Irish Spirit” when describing Irish innovation and entrepreneurship, much like the Israeli “Hutzpa” which has become famous in the high tech writings so has the “Irish Spirit”. It’s one of those cultural phenomenon that you cannot copy or take away, but has a special effect in defining and forming the startup scene in each country. I really hope I get the chance to visit Ireland and see and experience the scene for myself in 2016.
We often see lots of Israeli companies at the annual Dublin Web Summit, would you recommend them attending, and if so how should they get the most out of their time there?
There’s a great buzz here about “The Dublin Web Summit” and many Israeli companies see it as a must in the list of global summits. This year there will also be very interesting Israeli speakers such as Ari Roisman (Glide), Yoni Assia (eToro), Nir Erez (Moovit), Ayelet Noff (Blond2.0), Omri Shore (MediSafe) and Ron Moritz (BioCatch). If you are interested in learning more about the Israeli Startup Eco-system, I highly recommend checking them out at the Summit.
How do you manage your own work / life, online / offline balance?
Working for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, travelling from one place to the other, makes my personal and professional life intertwined. Representing one’s country is a 24/7 job, with many challenges and excitement. It is an adventure I took on with my whole family and we are so far enjoying this global roller coaster ride.
As for being offline, you know that Israel has amazing beaches and luckily I live close by to them. So I try to visit the beach as much as possible, either with my family or with my surf board, and that’s when I leave the Phone at home, replacing the sounds of digital alerts for the waves.
What else should we have asked you / or you’d like to add?
I invite your readers not only to come and witness the Israeli startup eco-system, but to take part in it. Israel serves as a great opportunity for anyone interested in tech on many levels. Whether you are an investor, a student, an entrepreneur, a scientist or just someone with a passion for tech, Israel should be high on your list.