The Economy Of Good Enough Thu, 02 Jun 2016 18:55:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Google Need To (Really Try) Buy Snapchat SOON Wed, 01 Jun 2016 14:16:10 +0000 Google lost the social fight, good or bad – that’s just a fact at this point.

Facebook won the social fight, and as of last week, firing on all cylinders, Facebook announced going after Google’s display advertising business.  Got to admire these guys, there is not a quarter that passes that they don’t announce something new, a new product, a new initiative, a new territory. Some of these announcements are exciting across the board to everybody, and some are exciting mainly to Facebook, but that’s fair – it’s business.

When Facebook bought Oculus for $2B it was because Mark saw the future, and it was virtual (e.g. investing in the future growth). But when Mark bought Instagram for $1B it wasn’t only to grow Facebook – but it was to make sure Facebook image business won’t die because of Instagram exploding growth (e.g downside protection).

Between Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook organic growth – Facebook won social.

But did they?

Introducing Snapchat

In April 2011, Evan Spiegel came up with Snapchat for the first time at Stanford, at first called Picaboo (you know, when you see something and it’s gone), to then 2 months after relaunch as Snapchat.

I must admit, it took me a LONG LONG time to get into Snapchat. And if you’re reading this, and you’re over 30, I know you feel the same. You’re either not using it, or thinking about all those times you tried it but it felt “too much is going on, swipe up, swipe sideways, colors, things come up.. help!” (right? admit it..).

Well, few weeks into Snapchat, I can tell you I was wrong – and you’re probably wrong too. Snapchat is not only an unbelievable platform, but I think that while Instagram was risking Facebook image business, Snapchat risk Facebook’s very core business of what Facebook is – communication between people. While younger audiences (under 20) don’t love Facebook because their parents are there, and use Snapchat mainly, I argue that overtime – most adult audiences will convert as well to Snapchat.

Facebook and Instagram encourage people to share – “who they want to be”, beautiful pictures, taken at the best moments.. it’s all perfect. Try to think of any friend of yours sharing an authentic post, like just normal, not perfect self on Facebook or Instagram. Won’t be easy for you to find. Heck, there are even amazing startups such as TalkSpace that were born to help our (social) generation to be just a little bit mentally healthier by allowing people to join a social platform that enables them to be themselves; due to this perfect-image we keep seeing all the time.

Trust me – the world isn’t perfect, even if it “looks” like one.

Snapchat is exactly the opposite of all of this, and 15 year old kids figured it out before us oldies did. Snapchat is not about who you want to be – but rather who you really are, constant flow of authentic, mostly video driven, content is uploaded to Snapchat on a daily basis to something called “my story”, a 24 hours window where your stories are lingering for people to consume, but then they are gone. Because they are gone after 24 hours, and it’s mainly video of yourself (versus text/image), people feel MUCH MORE liberated to share things about themselves, sharing their lives, talking about things, asking questions, knowing in 24 hours it won’t stay, so no need to “make it perfect”, it can just be “real”.

Would you ever upload a video to Facebook where you talk for 30 seconds about your day today? NEVER (what would people say about it??).

Would you ever upload a video of you saying something a bit silly, because you’re feeling silly? NEVER (what if your employer sees it in a week or a month)

Would you do these things on Snapchat, every day.

Google lost buying Facebook when it was small, then Instagram, then WhatsApp, Twitter went public… but there is one real winner out there. If they would agree to ever sell. Google worth $500B+, and let’s say they offered Snapchat 10% of Google, would it worth it? would Snapchat do it? Well if Snapchat will be the next Facebook, and Facebook market cap is $300B+, then it would be a pretty good deal. I would also guess that the day Google made the purchase, their value would go north of $50B as investors are “really into” Google getting into social. Then Google would the largest in search, maps, video, mail, ….. and social.

Gotta love Snapchat – “Not who you want to be, but rather who you really are”.



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11 Questions Asked On Shark Tank Fri, 02 Jan 2015 04:27:21 +0000 At any point in time there is at least one show I watch on the go, mostly on my iPad.

When you travel as much as I do, and spend so many hours in airports, airplanes, cabs, on the way somewhere… sometimes, all you want to do is click play, and watch some good TV.

The range of things I watch is really broad, and can be from Dexter, Breaking Bad and all the way to Top Gear, or Jersey Shore.

I now watch Shark Tank.

As opposed to many reality TV shows, when a lot of it is not really real, and the emphasis is on the drama, Shark Tank is quite different. In a line – the show is about entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to raise money from investors, who need to invest their own money.

And the main difference between this show and others – is money. The investors are not investing other peoples’ money but rather their own, hence there is a tangible limit to how much producers can fake it.

Beyond that, as the investors are using their own money, when they decide not to invest – they usually say why. Nothing is more valuable than getting some feedback about your product/business, whether you ended up raising that money or not.

Naturally, many episodes include the investors asking the same questions. For the fun of it, I thought I’ll list them:

– What are your sales?
– How do you sell, direct to consumer / distributor / retailer?
– How much do you sell the product for. What’s the margin?
– How much have you invested so far?
– What’s the unique element of it?
– What do you do outside of the startup, do you have another job?
– Tell me about your competition, why you unique?
– How are you going to use the money you could get today, how can it grow the biz?
– What drives you, why are you doing this?
– What did you do before, tell me your history?
– Could I do what you do for less of the valuation you’re asking?

Here is a trailer of the 2nd season I was able find, enjoy 🙂

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Apple-Watch Is Not After Wearable Market, It’s After How We Tell Time Sun, 14 Sep 2014 03:05:23 +0000 I had a chat with Greg Maher from Look Northinc and the below thoughts came about.

Apple launched last week its new and long coming iPhone6, as well as the Apple Watch (aka, not iWatch).

Apple Watch is a $350-$1000 or so hardware that can tell time, as well as connect via bluetooth to your iPhone to become smarter. It can show text messages with inteligente predictive replying mechanism, take a call or see who is around you. As Apple says – an entire new kind of conversation.

If you search for news about Apple Watch, there are few interesting threads going on. One of them discusses Apple-Watch going into the Wearables market, dangering Jawbone and Fitbit. There is another thread discussing Apple going after the growing smart watches market. There are many others.

Here is an hypothesis. Apple Watch price is now kind of stuck between the luxury watch line of Omega, Rolex, IWC which is $1k+ to the popular watch lines, the likes of Swatch and Seiko, going for the $100-$200 range usually.

If I had to guess, early adopters of people buying the Apple-Watch will be mainly people that would buy new things Apple launches whether they need it or not. But long term, I don’t really think Apple cares to define itself as a leader in the Wearable Smart Watches; I think they’ll try to redefine the watches industry as a whole, and build an ecosystem around it.

Rolex will always stay Rolex, but over time, in a world where price goes down, becoming more affordable and Apple Watch goes for $150 a pop, if you’re a kid in school, you want to be cool, you may even have an iPhone — and you can get a Swatch or you can get an Apple Watch, same price – which is it?

Swatch’s annual revenue alone is over $8B while Jawbone is valued over $3B, so Apple’s potential is to go after the way most of us get the time, using every day watches. There were times when we actually used CDs to listen to music, and physical buttons to type an email on our mobile phone. These things happened, and Apple changed that.

Today we won’t consider a mobile device just for the purpose of talking, that would be weird.

5 years from now we may forget a watch once just told the time.

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What if Apple-Glass is a Reverse Version of Google-Glass? Sat, 19 Apr 2014 16:01:47 +0000 Recently I’ve been finding myself talking in meetings about “An Application Economy” whereby the future of TV may be driven by people broadcasting application and information from their iPhone into their TV’s.

If that has any merit, then people who get meaningful distribution on our future phone-screen may become the future victors of our TV screen.

I then started thinking it would be rather great if our phone could broadcast itself to any type of screen, not only TV, perhaps there is some new Apple ISO broadcasting protocol for glass manufacturers in 2020, which says that any glass supporting this ISO can receive Apple Broadcast from any iPhone. As if that manufactured glass had Apple-TV pre-integrated into it. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Let’s think of some examples to such glasses where it would be super cool to broadcast our iPhone into and run an App: our window. Instead of buying a big screen TV we broadcast Netflix into our window and watch it there, it can be any window, at our house, when we travel at a hotel room, at a friend’s house; let’s take another example – at our car, we broadcast Waze into the car screen and can finally navigate with a proper navigation system and not with something that was pre-installed and last updated with maps from 2012, at work, we continue an email we started on our iPhone in a cab on our desk screen using the same email App, or even at an airport clothing store’s fitting room mirror – we broadcast Tripit to check our flight status while trying a shirt.

Then I thought, what if Apple went even further and didn’t count on ISO protocol to make the glass support its broadcasting, and integrated some sort of projector into the iPhone itself, or perhaps sold it separately as something we put on our shirt, our glass (wink @Google), or something like that. At that point, anywhere we go we can broadcast an App at whatever is in front of us.

Holding a piece of paper, and broadcasting Candy-Crush into it to kill some time while waiting for the doctor, or being at your friends house and broadcasting YouTube unto the wall to watch some movies, etc.

So what if Google-Glass, who’s vision is bringing the physical world into the digital world, is completely wrong, and the direction is the opposite. What if the future direction is bringing the digital world into the physical world, wherever we are.

Introducing “Apple-Glass” – a combination of ISO broadcasting protocol to any glass supporting it with a projector broadcasting our phone into anything.

Enjoy the video 🙂

Thumbnail credit link.

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Or In Other Words, Subscribe! Sat, 15 Mar 2014 06:26:32 +0000 One of the things I love about WordPress is the ecosystem around it. I’ve integrated wysija plugin to create a newsletter in practically minutes and it works just great. In months that I’ll create enough content, I’ll use wysija to create/send a newsletter and keep you posted over email.

Enjoy (or in other words, subscribe!)


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When a StartupMan Launches A $70M VC Tue, 11 Mar 2014 13:57:01 +0000 (disclosure: David Hirsch is a Taboola advisor)

For entrepreneurs, one of the constant concerns is about funding.

How to get it, how much, who to get it from, how long will it take, are they strategic, will they help when needed, are they pro-founders or pro-share-holders, does it matter if they are nearby, or is it ok if they are on the other coast, and many more questions.

A few months ago, I had a catch up session with one of our managers, and we talked about the importance of managers knowing the job, just as good as they know how to manage. That’s why people that become managers from the ground-up, first doing, then doing a bit more, manage one person and then manage a few – have a meaningful advantage. Nobody they’ll hire will ever wonder how they got the job, and those managers will have the resilience of being there first, breaking the glass ceiling, and selling that first deal.

Do I think managers can just manage? could be, but I’ve never met a (good) manager like that yet. In my humble opinion, managers that are not personal ninja contributors, or cannot demonstrate an ability to be one if needed, will have a real challenge growing a strong team under them. There is a reason why in war, the commander is first in line, not last — leading by example and not by rank. It’s ok if the head of R&D won’t write the best or most code in the company, and it’s completely ok that the head of sales is not making most of the sales. But it’s a risk if as managers, most of what they do is behind the scenes including emails, meetings, and strategy. Commanders need to know how to fire and hit, and build a culture of “doers.”

Today I’m excited to share that a good friend of mine, David Hirsch, launched his 2nd fund at Metamorphic. I met David last year for the first time where he was introduced to me as a “very early Googler who became a VC” in New York. I thought that was an interesting way of describing somebody. We met and the description made sense. David is probably one of the most unconventional VC you’d ever meet. He wears t-shirts and jeans and speaks as fast as he thinks. He remembers the day he joined Google (with AOL’s current CEO and Chairman – Tim Armstrong) to launch Google’s NY office, and when their annual revenues were $2M (which is about 30 minutes’ worth of revenue for Google today)

David wanted to help entrepreneurs to build great companies, but his approach was a tad different. Instead of going to find traditional Limited Partners for a fund, he first wanted to test a concept and started with some of his old buddies. Imagine having a large group of top executives who are now, few years later working for Google, Twitter, Facebook, eBay, AOL, Amazon, and others just ready to answer your questions and help. How can we build enterprise sales organizations that scale? No problem, let’s connect you with a Google VP from the DoubleClick team…, you need to ask Twitter about their sponsored content model? No problem, one of the LPs is actually working in that department. You’re looking to hire a CTO? Let us connect you with someone from PayPal to see if she can help; she’s an investor at the fund. These are the types of answers David had hoped to answer for founders, and his goal was not to ask for favors necessarily, instead, create a foundation of an alumni-like network of LPs that have current jobs in places where entrepreneurs need an “in” or a piece of advice. It doesn’t hurt that David himself spent nearly a decade at Google during a time when everybody in the world wanted to do business with them, and that his ex-manager now runs AOL.

I wish David the best of luck building a VC that “can manage, but not just manage.” For founders like myself out there, having folks like David deciding to commit himself to helping fund our next dream is a real plus.

When a StartupMan starts a VC.

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My Dad. Me. TEDx. 12 Minutes Tue, 26 Nov 2013 00:15:58 +0000 TEdxMy dad, besides being a great dad, is also a killer guitar player, who started out in the south of Tel-Aviv 30 years ago, and since then played along the likes of, Sir George Martin from the Beatles, Eric Clapton’s drummer, Sex and the City, Sopranos and others. My dad, being my dad – he “did it all” carrying a big smile, in a humble fashion.


Two months ago, my dad and I were fortunate to be invited to speak at TEDx. We started working with executive producer, Osher Assouline, on the talk where the topic was The Hero’s Journey. I began our talk with a comparison between the journey of technology to that of music, and there we would transition the talk into our musical debut together on stage, performing a (re)arrangement of songs, that would tell the Hero’s Journey through 3 different heros.

We were lined up to go last. It was a Friday, my dad landed at noon, arrived at my apartment around 2pm, we met 2 great journalists from Israeli-Channel 2 (see article in hebrew) and at 5pm we were live rocking & rolling at TEDx Lower East Side.


I’ve embedded the video, and the script of the talk if you’d like to read/watch. Hope you enjoy.


My dad. Me. TEDx. 12 minutes.

Talk script – The Hero’s Journey 

Really excited to be here today


I just picked up my dad from the airport.


But before I tell you about my dad and I and the reason we’re here, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the reason why all-of-us are here.


We all share a sense of curiosity, an appreciation for ideas worth spreading. That’s what TED stands for. And that’s why we’re both so excited to be on this stage.


The other reason we’re even more excited is that it’s the first time I’m on stage with my father. My dad has been on stage my whole life, almost his whole life.


I grew up watching my dad building himself up to become the world renown guitar player that he is.


I started a company which now serves 100M people very day.


Funny enough, everything I needed to know in order to run a successful tech company I learned watching my dad building his own music career. Only very recently, I’ve learned these lessons have a name. It’s called The Hero’s Journey.


The Hero’s Journey is a paradigm, a blueprint of all journeys worth taking


For me, the main lesson of the hero’s journey is the importance of the actual journey.


What you going to watch is a video/audio composition, highlighting a 12 step journey of 3 very different heroes.


As you watch this, I hope it will help you to discovery:

– That all heroes got scared at one point as they faced their “Call To Adventure”

– And all heroes needed a mentor, perhaps it’s time for you to seek one or become one

– And lastly, that the only true reward is making an impact in the lift of others

These lessons have changed both our lives. We hope they can impact yours.



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With 3 Billion Recommendations A Day, Taboola Turns 6 Wed, 14 Aug 2013 22:57:48 +0000 As Taboola just turned 6, I thought I’ll blog about it, and take the opportunity to thank the community, partners and users for a great journey thus far.


It All Started With A Few Owls

It was July of 2007 when we formed a company, and later received our first VC money. Tomer Afek who worked at Evergreen Ventures at the time, introduced me to Erez Shachar, who together decided to invest. Tomer later introduced me to Lior Golan who became our CTO.

I started Taboola because right after graduating from nearly 7 years of army service, all I wanted to do was to watch TV and focus on doing nothing. Problem was that while there were about 200 channels, instead of feeling that there was a lot for me to watch, I felt like there was nothing on TV. I then changed my mind, realizing that content was no longer king, not without a proper kingdom – an audience.


With a big startup mentality, working in a tiny room with no windows at our angle investors’ offices to be able to avoid rent, to giving our mathematical algorithms names as if they were each an Owl, names such as Contextual-Cathy, Behavioral-Bob, or Social-Shelly, and all the way to leaving everything behind and moving to NY on May 23rd of 2009 after a board member called me up and said, “it’s time, you’re moving”. It was all of that and more that had us hard at work, connecting people with content they like and never knew existed.


I’ll never forget Erez’s face when Pilberg and Yaniv presented for the first time why “Behavioral Bob” was better than traditional Collaborative Filtering techniques; seriously there was a picture of an Owl on a slide titled “Bob” and we knew how to explain why it made sense. Nevertheless, whatever was said in that room made Erez put $1.5M into it, and we were as excited as a bunch of geeks could ever be.


Community Supported Our Vision

We got some amazing support from the community over the years, both from Israeli papers, as well as in the US with writers like Ryan Lawler who covered us at Contentinople, Gigaom, and now at Techcrunch, or Daisy Whitney, Liz Gannes, Peter Kafka, Andy Plesser, Will Richmond, Om Malik, Mark Robertson, Brian Morrissey, David Kaplan, and many others.


Why…Not How

We got peoples’ support not only because they enjoyed our recommendations on some of the most innovative sites in the world, and not because we were provocative on panels, and also not because the CEO was a known business guy. People believed in what we believed in as a company, relating to “why” we’re doing what we’re doing, and not “how” we do it.


You see, in many ways, our vision was to design a scalable Search Engine but in reverse, having information finding you instead of you knowing how to find it. Something every person in the world could enjoy and use because we are all consumers of knowledge, we read, we watch, and glance at content we like – if we can discover it.


Taboola changed a lot in the past 6 years since we started it, but our vision never changed – #ContentYouMayLike.


Thanks everybody, and may we discover content we love.

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Protected: 3 Billion Recommendations A Day Later, Taboola Turns 6 Sat, 27 Jul 2013 21:23:37 +0000

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Don’t Let Others Know Your Own Clients Better Than You Do Fri, 12 Jul 2013 23:52:53 +0000 When starting a startup, naturally there is a real threat that money will run out and together with it your company.


That’s scary.


Founders will do literally anything before letting their company go dead-pool. They won’t sleep, eat, they won’t take salary, they’ll buy the team food from their own money, they’ll move back to their parents, they’ll fly anywhere a client may be, they’ll be convincing, personal, emotional, real.

Investors would expect founders to do at least that and work relatively insanely hard before calling them to tell them their money is out.


I had the pleasure of chatting with some founders I find awesome and I noticed that there is a topic that many think about so I thought I’ll blog about it.


Question: should early stage companies try to get demand for their product by partnering with bigger companies that already have existing footprint with their target cliental.


My 2 cents: I think it’s a mistake.


I think that the most important thing, operationally, beyond the team, when a company is founded is to seek product market fit as soon as you can, and not compromise. Realize that seeking product fit can happen in a month, a year, few years or never.



Let’s say I start a company that can project Ads into the sky, and use that untapped real estate to generate ad revenue. So as I’m eating a Salad at Tel-Aviv beach, I’ll see a projected image of Hilton hotels in case I want to consider that. Should I pitch Hilton myself or should I tag team with someone that has all the Hiltons of the world already signed up?


Option 1: Tag Team with someone to get you Hilton

This can really go in two ways. You may fail landing that partnership, you won’t learn a lot about your market as there may be politics that prevent that partnership from happening, and overtime you’ll risk drying your bank account. A different option is that you’ll actually succeed, they’ll give you a lot of business/ads to project into the sky, and you would then generate revenue. The challenge here is that you’ll never really know if Hilton is happy with your product, or masked from knowing they even run on your Sky-Ad-Network. If Hilton never cared to check out if the results are good, it could be that your product is good and all is well, even if one day Hilton would check the results.

However, what happens if after a year, two or three Hilton finds out that your supply (e.g. “the sky”) is not working for them and the partnership you’ve landed, getting you all the Hiltons ends. Big risk.


Option 2: Pitching Hilton

This can also go in two options, but in here, I think both are constructive to the main goal, which is seeking product market fit. One way this can go is that Hilton will never become a client and you’ll spend years pitching them. However this is actually great, because what’s better for a founder to know that a client is not interested, it’s an important feedback and good time to adjust the product. The other way is that Hilton is actually signing up after a year of pitching and then they’ll tell you loud and clear – we are happy or not, and that feedback is gold.


Overall, while I do think that demand-side partnerships can be exciting for matured companies that are already post their market fit phase, I think for early companies it is risky and should be avoided.


I’ll finish by saying that I think failing is really ok, and better fail as fast as you can and move on, adjust the product and go back fighting over shortcuts that may look lucrative today but can become risky over time.


Don’t let others know your own clients better than you do.


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