This is the fourth interview in a series of fun interviews Deborah Schultz conducted with the Israel Web Tour companies. We asked each CEO to answer a few questions that we hope will give you a little insight into and their company and their personalities and what it's like to do business between Israel and Silicon Valley ( a 10 hour time difference).
An Interview with Avichay Nissenbaum, CEO and Yaniv Golan, CTO of Yedda
Q. What does your company name mean and why did you choose it as the name for your company?
“We really like the sound of it. Seriously, Yedda is the Hebrew word for knowledge, which is only appropriate since Yedda is all about sharing personal knowledge. In a way, we are all experts - you, your uncle or your neighbor have precious knowledge to share. Yedda allows everyone to share their expertise in diverse fields. Later we found that Yedda also means 'singing' in old English, and we love that.”
Q. In one sentence --what problem is your company addressing and solving?
“We enable people to benefit from the personal experience of others and help connect people who seek knowledge with people who have the knowledge.”
Q. What is your competitive advantage as being an Israeli based company and what are the disadvantages/challenges that this provides?
"We have a strong, technology-driven culture that is highly adaptive to problem-solving situations. On the other hand, the disadvantage of being associated with Israel is the fact that mayh people often associate Israel with the regional conflict and this is something we need to deal with as an Israeli company. In any case, thanks to the internet and phenomena such as the blogosphere, geography becomes less significant these days and the disadvantages are minimized.”
Q. What three words should an American techie learn to say in Hebrew if he is doing business with an israeli startup?
“Yalla, borrowed from our neighbors, which means let’s move forward."
"Chnun, which is the Hebrew version for the often-used industry term – Geeks :) "
"Achla, which means great."
Q. Which are your favorite US cities and why?
Yaniv: "I love New York because it's such a melting pot of different cultures, smells, and tastes. It's fascinating."
Avichay: "I love San Francisco. Great food, great wine, and moderate weather throughout the year. I also have a little place in my heart for Boston since I lived and worked there for a few years."
Q. What myth(s) about Israeli startups do you want Silicon Valley to know?
Yaniv: "Well, fact is that Israel is a very small country and it's true that all of us in the hi-tech business know each other. We all go to a lot of the same events and have probably done business with one another at some point in our professional lives.”
Avichay adds: “This familiarity really helps the networking aspect of things. I guess this is a big advantage as opposed to other countries, and one of the reasons that Israel has been so successful in this field.”
Q. How many times do you travel outside Israel for work and which is your favorite airport?
“Both Yaniv and I travel on business at least once a month, if not twice. My favorite airport is Ben Gurion Tel Aviv – it’s always nice to come back home.”
Now for some multiple choice questions:
Tel Aviv or Haifa: “Definitely Tel Aviv”
Cell phone or Skype: “We are great fans of Skype”
Army or Airforce: Navy :)
iPod or CD: “The iPod product is a wonderful lesson in usability and branding."
Books or Magazines:
Avichay: “Most of what I read is online.”
Yaniv: “Both. Browsers are great, but I still cherish the immersive experience of reading a great book or magazine. “
Q. Finally, What does Web 2.0 mean to you?
Yaniv: “We see Web 2.0 as a movement to make the web personal. It's about people, the content they create, and the opinions they express. It's about creating web services that are focused on creating a fun, useful platform for people to interact through.
Avichay: “To me, Web 2.0 symbolizes the democratization of content over the web. Web 2.0 puts the users in the center and gives them the tools to share,, express their opinions, and make an impact.