Archive for Social Media from Israel

SaaS Goes Open Source: Kaltura’s Yekutiel Tells Us Why

by on July 31, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Kaltura’s Ron Yekutiel talks to us about open source and video. They organized and participated in a SaaS Goes Open Source panel at AlwaysOn this week, together with SpikeSource, Zimbra, Acquia, Fenwick & West and Alfresco.

It’s disruptive he says, but tears down those gardened walls giving corporations better control, flexibility and better integration. More from Ron on the SaaS model, video and open source below.

My6Sense Updates Us

by on July 31, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Barak Hachamov and the My6Sense team gathers in Palo Alto to talk about their updates and upcoming iPhone app.

Blonde 2.0 Tries Hard to Get Me in Trouble

by on July 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm

One thing I've noticed during my six months of jet-setting is that entrepreneurs around the world want to be compared to Silicon Valley, but frequently get upset when you do it. Michael Arrington jokingly asks how I intend to piss off a whole country this time before I leave for any trip. (At least, I think he's joking…)

So, note the tap dancing below as Ayelet Noff asks me to compare Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to London entrepreneurs and Israeli entrepreneurs.

Once upon a time, I lived on a kibbutz

by on June 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Returning to Israel after so many years was more than a rendezvous with nostalgia. My current life as a publicist, entrepreneur and blogger met the former me, a teenage girl with a pony-tail on an adventure that more than shaped the rest of her life.

This story is a very long one and not typical of my regular blog posts. For that reason, I’ve shortened the introduction – click on more if you’re interested in reading the entire piece. It’s a story of a journey back in time, back to Israel and the life I knew 23′ish years ago, hitching and living on the road and working on a far left Zionist kibbutz, a fact I didn’t know when I first arrived.

My first experience in Israel was a coming-of-age story in countless ways. I never saw Israel as a new country full of immigrants who went there to find a better life for many of the same reasons the oppressed and the misfits flocked to the States at the turn of the century.

Nearly all of my encounters during that trip so many years ago were with misfits — misfits who were on a journey to find themselves and each other. They came from nearly every corner of the world, had a wide range of belief systems and religions, and ranged from 17 to 70.

(more…)

The universe whacks me upside the head

by on May 19, 2008 at 12:00 pm

It’s been a month. More than a month, actually. On the one hand, the time has flown by. But even with the rapidly flying calendar pages a month can be a very long time.

Especially when you find yourself creatively constipated.

In my case it’s largely due to the fact that for the last several weeks (four weeks, to be specific) I could have sworn I was sitting on a large pile of what felt like five or six chewy blog posts.

That rather lumpy mass, however, was something else in disguise.

Procrastination.

More on Ayelet Noff interview: Miriam Schwab

by on April 29, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Well-know Israeli blogger  Miriam Schwab was among the myriad people who have had trouble getting authenticated to post comments on my blog (sorry), so I am posting this note for her re my interview with Ayelet Noth:

“I’m sure Ayelet didn’t quite mean what it sounds like she said, but in
any case I would like to point out that women can have kids and be very
entrepreneurial. In fact, giving birth can (strangely) act as a
catalyst for making sweeping and exciting changes in one’s professional
life.

I got married really young, and had a bunch of kids by the time I was
25/26. Not only did I not quit and park myself in my kitchen, each kid
pushed me to make changes in my career. I had three kids while in
university. After the third was born I decided to get my first real
job. The next one led me to quit and start my own biz. The next led me
to discover and explore the world of blogging and social media, and
turn my business into a social media marketing service provider.

There is enough of a stigma in the workforce against women with kids,
so we women should watch our words and make sure that it is very clear
that we can have kids and careers. Actually, the fact that we have
personal lives, I think, contributes to our value at work. We don’t
mess around (too much), and are very efficient and focused.

As someone once said to me: “if you ever need something done, ask a
busy person.” Women with kids are busy, and we’ll get things done. “

Twitter: Not Mainstream, but Seeping Out of the Echo Chamber for Sure

by on April 28, 2008 at 12:00 pm

One major flaw in Kara’s informal survey: Equating this wedding she was at with “outside the Silicon Valley echo chamber.” I’ve been stunned how quickly people outside the Valley have started following me on Twitter. My in-laws asked my husband if it was an invasion of our privacy to “follow us” and while I was out of town my parents– who use absolutely zero social networking or social media sites and are doing good if they read anything I write — sent an email to my husband that read, “What is a Twitter? Is it just like a one-line blog?” I was floored. And, let’s not forget international. Every time I travel outside the U.S. I’m stunned by Twitter’s ubiquity. After all, mobile apps are much stronger outside the U.S. In my own informal polls, people in Europe and the Middle East rank Twitter among the most global companies in the Valley, well above Facebook even.

In short, Twitter isn’t mainstream, but it’s getting outside the echo chamber fast. The problem is it’s not necessarily in predictable ways. It’s in random spurts.

Virtual Worlds….Really?

by on April 25, 2008 at 12:00 pm

We have a few pieces posting on Tech Ticker today and Monday that parse through a lot of the first quarter venture capital data. I’ve never interviewed that many people in studio at once and not sure how good of a job I did 🙁  (Video on the jump and more on TT)

Anyway- among the biggest surprises to me was how hot virtual worlds were in the first quarter. (and how hard it is to say “virtual worlds”) Wha???

I heard a lot about virtual world companies in Europe and Israel, but
my impression was it wasn’t a US phenomenon any longer. Some bets were
made, Club Penguin did well, Second Life– eh, we’ll see. I just don’t
think virtual worlds are like social networking where everyone will one
day use one in some way. In short, because they’re don’t meld your
online self with your offline self– it makes them more distinct. That
seems so at odds with how the Web is developing to me.


I’m sure there are some niches and some good bets, but $185 million worth in one quarter? Sheesh. Do you want
to lose money, Sand Hill Road? Assuming it has mostly been momentum
chasing the kids space, which is an untapped area of development
online. Still…let’s get our heads back in reality here.

MeeMix Changes Music Listening & Sharing

by on April 24, 2008 at 12:00 pm

I met a number of entrepreneurs and venture guys in Israel over the past couple of weeks. The Garage Geeks event was also full of start-ups. There are far too many to cover them all but I’ll be talking about the ones I most resonated with and would be likely to personally use over the next couple of days.

We also saw a few that are still in stealth mode so I can’t write about them yet, but as things develop, I’ll cover the ones that gave me aha moments. One is in the 3D space and tries to combine elements of SecondLife, SceneCaster and some of the sites solely dedicated to 3D online shopping.

As a lover of music and the Pandora concept, I was really impressed with MeeMix, a personalized Internet radio community, built to reflect and engage unique taste preferences.

MeeMix encourages users to saturate their personal spaces on the web with expressions of their own one-of-a-kind taste in music. Members communicate with a slew of other social networks and friend communities, by making live song recommendations on Facebook, posting favorit songs or reviews to Twitter, placing Mee Widgets in sites and blogs presenting Favorite Artist, Favorite Station or using one of their applications in Bebo, Facebook, Hi5, and MySpace to present their music style in local profiles.

Meemix_create_station_by_genre_peri

They’re unique in several ways. MeeMix looks at your invested user experience and adds a community nature to predict music you’d likely be interested in. Some of the other sites in this category that aim at taste prediction strive for detailed classification of music and rely mainly on musical attributes to estimate a user taste.

MeeMix tries to identify personal taste by giving the human factor more consideration and combining that with musical attributes. They are not interested in classifying all of the characteristics of a song but are constantly refining the attributes they classify to better relate them to a user preference.

Meemix_app

In contrast to competitors, if three members ask for the same artist in MeeMix in creating a personalized station, chances are that their stations will be very different upon completion. The reason will be the human factor. Their algorithm takes into account demographic and geographical aspects. If the same artist is picked by a 16-year-old girl from Minnesota and a 34-year-old man from Spain, their musical tastes are probably not similar and those their playlist will be comprised based on very different characteristics.

Their home page is pretty simple making it easy for people to get started quickly without a lot of effort or having to sift through a complicated set-up process. It almost looks like a search engine for music.

Meemix_intro_screen

It’s worth checking out and I’m sure they would love to hear your feedback. Below: me with their quick witted and engaging CEO Gilad Shlang after a start-up dinner in Tel Aviv.

Geek_garage_party_event_29

One voice: meet up—Craig Newmark and One Voice group

by on April 20, 2008 at 12:00 pm

The boy is late teens, handsome and fair, and his eyes are earnest as he talks: “In One Voice we don’t call it peace anymore; we want to bring about an a agreement that will bring bout comfort and a more stable situation than they have now. It’s not peace, it’s divorce…the metaphor says now we are pre divorce and we need to balance the situation…this is the difference between one voice and the normal peace movement that talks about peace and friendship.”
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It’s a weekend morning, in Tel Aviv and Craig Newmark, JD Lasica and I are meeting with the director and a group of student leaders from One Voice , a powerful, grassroots peace movement that has engaged Israelis, especially college students, from all over Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and Gaza, as well as drawn in members from the US, the UK, Canada, and other parts of the world. The group is bright, committed, and right now, engaged in making sure this group of American bloggers and funders (Craig is on their board), understands how they work and what they have to offer.

Basically here’s what I learn:
The universities are flash-points for OneVoice recruitment, as are the occupied terrorities. The movement tries to educate through lectures and events, then recruits at various levels of engagement, from signing up for a newsletter (over 100K people in a country of 7 million) to attending events, to joining as an organizer.  For the students involved, One Voice clearly offers a change to discuss, a change to create change, but mostly importantly, a means to hope.

Here’s some of what the students tell us:

Marina:  This movement involves the public so they can have an opinion for themselves and think about what they support.

Tal: We try to enrich student understanding with lectures and knowledge; we also take the message of OneVoice and careful optimism and take it out on the streets, where we want to mobilize the students and the city residents.

Another student: We ask citizens what would you do to end the conflict? People can become policy makers, instead of just consumers of policy
.
Talking with this group, they make it clear to me that what engages them so deeply is the feeling of being empowered in a frustrating situation where it is so hard to effect policy changes. Because OneVoice is a participatory culture, with youth councils, leadership councils, and local action, it provides a means for these bright engaged students to avoid dispair, as well as to educate and inform.

Listening to the talk flow around me, and seeing the passion in these fresh eyes, it strikes me that like the African National Congress (ANC) for South African Doris Lessing and her fellow progressives in Johannesberg, so long ago, OneVoice provides a means to survive and hang on in an impossible situation by becoming a force for positive change. It strikes me that OneVoice is a great group, not only for what it offers in terms of the conflict, but the positive vision it offers Israel and Arab youth, and through them, their parents, families and neighbors
.
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