Israel’s Marker Conference

by on December 13, 2008 at 12:00 pm

Yossi_vardi_3_2 I’m just outside Tel Aviv at the annual Marker Conference, hosted and produced by Israeli legend Yossi Vardi.

It’s a two day event, but only one is in English. Some say that the event comprises the second tier companies who didn’t make the DEMO cut. A sarcastic and highly American-centric view, and after being here for a couple of hours, I disagree. The hallway conversations and panel discussion is equally interesting to American technology conferences and if anything, the perspective is more global. Thankfully.

And the music and coffee is much better.

Aside from the blogging team I’m here with (Scoble, Lacy, Newmark, Brooks, Shultz, Mernit, Lasica, Redderson, Saperstein, etc), I ran into a number of industry buds from the states, including Robert Scoble and Peter Hirshberg. I also heard that Barak Berkowitz is here although I haven’t seen him yet.

Yossi interviews Eastman Kodak’s VP of Business Development Eliezer Lubitch, Robert Scoble, Microsoft’s Moshe Lichtman, and Wunderman’s David Sable.


Yossi asks the panel, “where is the industry going from a product and a revenue perspective?”

Eliezer Lubitch thinks it will all be IP home based entertainment. He says, “today, we have digital content coming to our house, but we are not yet on an IP-based network. In 2008, we’ll see homes moving to an IP network. When your flat panel TV is going to be attached to an IP network, this is where you’ll start to see a huge viral effect happen and new models will evolve. The consumer will be in the driver’s seat. You will start to see more digital displays in your house that will all be interconnected. Your surround sound will also be connected this way.”


Robert thinks it will all be about mobile. He gives us examples of how he uses his mobile devices to upload video and audio in real time as he travels both in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. He also talks about how his son accesses information that he needs for a school report in real time from his handheld device, a revolution in only one generation.

Corporate VP of Microsoft and head of the Israel R&D Group’s Moshe Lichtman speaks up. He looks at the behavior of business, consumers and advertisers. “Starting with consumers, let’s look at some stats from 2006. There were 450 billion watching television and only 60 billion on the Internet. In Israel, its twice as high. One thing we can take away from this kind of statistic, is that we’re visually driven.”

The panel also talks about the growth of gaming, HDTV and where digital is going. Yossi asks about the proportion of the digital business to the non-digital business. Says Lichtman, “between 70+% of people who make a purchase on the web go to the web to look first. 60% of the traffic going to the web to find out more about credit cards comes from direct mail.

This is a multi-channel environment. It’s very clear that nothing is going away tomorrow. Magazines, mail and TV are not going away – they’re just changing. It’s more about changing the way they work together for maximum efficiency.”

David Sable, Vice Chairman and COO of Wunderman says, “in the beginning of search, you went to a portal because that’s all we knew how to do. We had this linear progression to find the information that we needed. Today, we’re moving away from a linear model. Finding it is not the issue anymore. The question is: have I optimized the place where you end up? Our job is to optimize the experience once you get to the place you want to be and to make your transactions as easy as possible.”

There will be a revolution. Ultimately we’ll get to a place where we’ll get paid to be contacted. At the end of the day, the bulk should come to us.

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