By @SimonCocking

Interesting and entertaining interview with @yanivf Chief Geek @geektimecom, Global Innovation Crusader at Geektime.

Geektime interview with founder Yaniv Feldman

How was 2014 for Geektime? What worked well? What would you do differently?

We relaunched October 23rd. We realised there was an opportunity to cover news from the world outside Silicon Valley and New York which are disproportionately reported. Seven months in, we have learned a lot. What works, what doesn’t in terms of content.

What would a good year look like to Geektime by the end of 2015?

For 2015 the goal is to find out what is best value, and to share global startup data, to make it accessible to everyone. Information tends to exist in bubbles, it can be very localised and not shared further afield. We are trying to collect data from around the world, to then build up a picture of what is happening globally. This way there is value globally rather than just locally.

It’s a crowded space to be an online news agency, how does Geektime differentiate itself, what are you great at?

Geek time is different because

1) We are not US centric. We are very different, so we have a different audience. We’re not US based and we’re not explicitly writing for that audience.

2) We are crowd sourcing our content. We hit a sweet spot between traditional journalism and the wisdom of the crowds. We pick and chose specialist sites and their content. This enables us to curate the best content from these diverse sources. This enables us to provide a global reach as Geektime collaborates across the world to gather it’s startup news.

Israel has a great pedigree for startups, rapidly developing them, and exiting. We know Israel is an outward facing country, is this the main reason for such success, or just one of several helpful factors?

We are outward facing. Less than 10% of Israeli startups are locally facing. Going global is the goal of most companies. I think the Israeli culture helps this. The army service gives young people more responsibility, which makes them more disposed to being able to start a company, entrepreneurship is more accepted. Israelis are also good at making noise about things. This becomes a monster feeding itself, which is helped by the fact we are good at telling stories.

What aspects of the startup scene, from your vantage point, does Ireland appear to do well? 

The Irish startup scene, having watched it over the last 3 ½ years has had lots of improvements. The government has been looking at it and given it a push, especially now with the Dublin commissioner to support startups. Overall though the growth is still relatively small. Ireland is seen as more as an enterprise country but is not telling it’s success stories well enough. Eamon Leonard’s Engine Yard was a big exit, but there needs to be more of these to build momentum locally.

Advice to startups? Should they scale from Ireland or set up overseas offices as well?

Can Irish companies scale? This depends on the sector, sometimes you need to be in New York to scale. Many companies can build products without putting their main presence in the US. Europe is a big, even bigger market, and there is also Africa and South America too.

Web summit? How did you find it? In what ways was it useful for you and Geektime?

Web Summit, Geektime was a media partner. It is the best Startup conference in the world at the moment for the size and quality of people in 2014, though maybe the quantity surpassed the quality. Knowing Paddy and Daire I’m sure they will achieve a positive balance for 2015.

What’s the Geektime approach to work / life balance? Are you remotely distributed?

We use Slack a lot, which is great. We also use whatsap which is really useful too. I’m basically a gmail guy, with some facebook and twitter too.

Twitter, love it / hate it, for you and Geektime?

Twitter, I’m a big user. I have about 3k followers, having gained 2,000 in the last 6 months. Twitter’s not that big in Israel, but of course overseas iti s important. For Geektime our number of followers was helped by a couple of stories that went viral. We were the second news agency to report Facebook was buying Whatsap, this was a great scoop. We also ran a series of regional startup profile pieces and after each of those we saw great increases in our number of twitter followers.

Which tech short cuts do you wish were already invented?

I wish I had a teleporter because I spend so much time on the road, even just coming into the office. The Startrek tricoder would be great for health scans.

How do you manage your life / work, online / offline balance?

Life / work is a real challenge. In some ways as an entrepreneur you ’don’t’ get to have a life / work balance. We have 12 employees and it’s important to be connected, especially with the nature of our stories from all over the world, things are 24/7. It’s hard to disconnect. However we do have working and non working hours. From 6pm to 9pm, I don’t work, in order to have time with my son. Weekends too, we don’t work on the Sabbath here so that helps, during this time we don’t take calls, emails so that helps.


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