I am at SFO on my back from the Israel Web Tour and wanted to share some observation of the week. The tour brought together 15 “promising” Israeli web start ups for meetings with leading silicon valley companies, investors etc. For me the tour was about evaluating how should Sportingo approach the US market. Since founding the company we have focused on the UK and European markets and in 2008 we are thinking about how to approach the North American market (more on this subject on some future post).
A few observations from the visit. Yahoo Microsoft merger will go on but most people think it will fail and will distract both companies for the next couple of years. I heard some VCs stating they are telling their companies to look at ways to exploit vulnerabilities in both companies since this is the time to make an impact. There is also a feeling this will not be good for the market as it will leave Google as the only real acquisition option for many companies. Lots of question marks about the future of Facebook and the quality of its platform. My view is that if they are able to execute on their vision of a social utility they will prove everyone wrong but this is going to be much harder then building the social network which they have done so well.
As someone who spent four years in the bay area in the 2000-2003 I felt that the tour did not give us enough insight to the true culture of the valley and what it means be a successful entrepreneur building a company in Palo Alto vr Herzeliya. The cultural difference is something that is very hard to understand without spending a lot of time close to it. We all tend to view the world through our own point of view and it is to easy to just “not get” why Myspace, Facebook, twitter etc work so well and claim it is just because we are of a different age group.
The only session which truly addressed the culture of silicon valley was an interview with Sarah Lacy. She is about to publish a book “Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0” in which she follows some of the top entrepreneurs in the valley of the past 10 years. Her remarks about the industry were insightful and I am sure the book will be a very good read for any entrepreneur around the world who wishes to understand the key drivers for success in the most competitive market in the world.