Archive for the ‘life’ Category

The man in the arena

January 16, 2012

it is the beginning of the year.

happy new year. 2012. the end of history?

maybe just something different.

expect the unexpected?

some of my companies are struggling.

the 2nd half of 2011 has been miserable. everyone is waiting. people seem to prefer to delay decisions. channels are clearing their inventory levels, with no new orders. people are zipping their pockets. money is not coming out. with a few exceptions.

two classes. the haves and have-not’s. the ones who have clear growth.  predictability. visibility. and the ones who are working just as hard. trying to figure it out. that is why we choose this.

i realize i am not in the trenches. my job, my line,  is to support the entrepreneurs who are in the front. not a lineman, a line-backer.

Here is how Teddy Roosevelt described it in an April 23rd, 1910, speech in the Sorbonne, now named citizenship in a republic.

here is looking at you

Amir, Israel, Yuval, Omer, Nili, Yonathan, Zvi, Tal, Guy, Avner, Pierre, Guri and Doron:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;

who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

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LinkedIn?

December 7, 2011

I pressed a button I did not intend
500 emails went out inviting older contacts I am not really in touch with to LinkIn.
Within 1 minute, 10 people accepted. the movement in the network. the signals coming back. I could visualize it.

Now I am learning about my new connections. Including my mom whom I have been avoiding as a facebook and LinkedIn contact for about 7 years. Hey, I love my mom. But I wanted to keep my facebook contacts to friends, not family, not a way to ‘watch my kids’ (Carmel is 20 today); my LinkedIn contacts to people I remember and am willing to help with a request and feel comfortable asking for help. While i am now connected to more people, I am concerned about the “noise” it can create

Linkedin is

poland, israel, palestine

September 29, 2011

Happy new year, again

the first day of the new year is wonderful. שנה=שינוי

yet, it is also the first day (of the rest of our lives) of the horrible days. the 10 days in which we as Jews need to think about the last year. what was good, what was not. what do we wish we would have done differently? whom do we need to ask for forgiveness or pardon? will we be able to ask? will they forgive?

Tal lost her first tooth this week, Carmel is back from officer’s course after 21 days, and Yuval is back from Poland. a trip which could have been  very meaningful, and in her case,  seemed to be a bit less so. decided to share the letter i wrote her:

יובל היקרה,
את עוד מעט בת 18. בת אדם, שלמה, נפלאה לומדת וצומחת.

אילו מדינת ישראל לא היתה קיימת, יתכן והיינו יהודים באירופה
מחיים יפים ונורמלים. היינו נאספים אל הגטו. לאחר מספר שבועות או חודשים קשיים היינו נשלחים למחנה  עבודה/השמדה . כרמל ועדן במשלוח אחר. לא נראה אותם עוד

גיל, טל, אמא ואני. ואת. דחוסים בקרון. אני חולה. צפוף וחם ומסריח בקרון. וצפוף. אולי גיל מספיק נבון לקפוץ מהקרון דרך חלון צר.

    , לאחר נסיעה ארוכה ומשפילה, כבר למדנו הרבה על השפלות ואובדן בטחון עצמי

  “arbeit macht frei” יוצאים מהקאות והקרון ל

תמיד האמנתי שהעבודה משחררת ועכשו אני בקושי יורד מהקרון. את, אמא וטל בצד אחד, ואני בצד אחר. הנתראה שוב? האם יש בי את הכוח

אמא עם טל על הידיים. את סוחבת שתי מזוודות. אמא רוצה להחליף. את מבינה באינסטינקטים שאם תיקחי את טל על הידיים לא תעברי סלקציה. טל בוכה, אמא חלשה משלשה ימים בטרנספורט. את מחליטה לסרב ולכן קצין האס.אס. שולח אותך ימינה . את טל ואמא שמאלה

יובל, את גודלת להיות אזרח במדינה מרתקת וקשה. נס עלי אדמות.  ארץ אוכלת יושביה, זבת חלב ודבש. ארץ שברירית שקיבלנו במתנה. עלינו לשמור עליה ואם אפשר, להחזירה במצב יותר טוב משקיבלנו.

היש מקום יותר כייפי לחיות בו? אנשים מוכשרים, ערב תרבויות, אוכל, ים. עם הרבה חריף.

עם יפה, עם אחד,וגם עם מפוצל שעסוק בהישרדות. עם כובש שמתנהג בגסות אל השונה והאחר. שוחר שלום או כוח? לא ברור. מה שברור הוא שבכל דור ודור, עומדים עלינו לכלותינו. רק הרעים מתחלפים. לפעמים גם התור שלנו.

אסור לשכוח

אבא

which would you rather be?

September 5, 2011

in life, and in your startup, what would you rather be?

this earth digger?

moving earth one bucket at a time

or

    this guy, who skates almost frictionless on ice?

its kind of a loaded question.

yet, it is surprising how often in life and in business we choose the digger.

in Start-up life, as en entrepreneur or CEO, there are several ways you can make your life easier.

yet some people choose to dig a hole rather than skate.

the most common way to make life hard for you self is in your business model.

the most common mistake that is still common amongst early-stage SaaS startups is to go for direct sales:

  • it is costly.
  • it takes a long time to figure out
  • it changes the DNA of your company early. how easy is it to change later to Self-Serve after your VP sales has dedicated a year to sell direct.
  • it effects the leads you seek, and their costs
  • it gives a false sense of control
  • oh yeah, and the switch later, is really painful

most of the above applies to our bad-traits as individuals, too.

end of summer

August 28, 2011

it is the end of summer. school year is just around the corner.

football. some air to breathe. a new bag, 3 sharp pencils.

in our family it is time for a great barBQ with Limor’s brother’s family as all 3 boys’ birthdays are in the last week of august

so it is time for the long drive to a moshav in the Sharon plains.

Limor is driving. we pass by כלא הדרים, a prison nestled in the middle of many acres of citrus orchards.

From the back seat, Gil says “it is really not fair to call a jail כלא הדרים. it is like calling a kindergarten סוף הדרך or an old-age home גן עדן”.

end of summer. has that bitter taste.

now it is time to start something great, fresh, new

 

Spring Of ’69

February 17, 2011

here is a picture from my kindergarten. spring of 1969 if i am not mistaken

good education system

israel is high on its spirits.

1969 גן יחיאלה, רמת השרון

met gil eshet last night.

first time in about 35 years. he is on the second row from the top, second from right.

it was delightful

what you see are the same eyes, and the same smile on the edge of the lips. gil was always looking for a twist, doing something on the wild side, and with a smile.

it was so beautiful for me.

to be with a person who is so highly rooted in my early memories; a friend from age 3-12, and one class above.

and have a discussion with a deep chronological perspective but only early, fragile  intimacy.

interesting.

אנא בכוח please…

November 26, 2010

what a wonderful performance

for me this song, prayer,  פיוט , is so exact, and “connected”.

it is also a prayer of transition. from “up” to “down” . body and soul. life and death.

and of that special israeli moment, friday afternoon as Shabat is coming. בואי מלכה

from doing to being

learned about this song from my 5 year old daughter as she was humming it and not understanding the words:

אָנָּא בְּכֹחַ גְּדֻלַּת יְמִינֶךָ תַּתִּיר צְרוּרָה
קַבֵּל רִנַּת עַמֶּךָ שַׂגְּבֵנוּ טַהֲרֵנוּ נוֹרָא
נָא גִבּוֹר דּוֹרְשֵׁי יִחוּדֶךָ כְּבָבַת שָׁמְרֵם
בָּרְכֵם טַהֲרֵם רַחֲמֵי צִדְקָתֶךָ תָּמִיד גָּמְלֵם
חֲסִין קָדוֹשׁ בְּרוֹב טוּבְךָ נַהֵל עֲדָתֶךָ
יָחִיד גֵּאֶה לְעַמְּךָ פְּנֵה זוֹכְרֵי קְדֻשָּׁתֶךָ
שַׁוְעָתֵנוּ קַבֵּל וּשְׁמַע צַעֲקָתֵנוּ יוֹדֵעַ תַּעֲלוּמוֹת

to understand the words which i find complicated, here is an explanation

i am running אני רץ

August 28, 2010

thanks god for dudu tassa, a real cultural hero

the great thing a about art, is that someone has packaged your emotions in such a great way.

אני רץ

אני חייב להספיק כל מה שהעולם מציע

כל זמן שהאויר מגיע

וזה לא מפריע

ומלטף אותי

ויש אצלך אור למה לי לעצור

_______

אני רץ

אני חייב להספיק כל עוד שאני מגיע

כל זמן שאני מזיע

וזה לא מפריע

וממסטל אותי

ויש אצלך אור אני בטח עוד אחזור

_______

אני יודע

אני זז וזה פוגע

בלב שלי יש חור

שאי אפשר לסגור

_______

ואני רץ אני רץ

אני חייב להספיק כל מה שהעולם מציע

כל זמן שהאויר מגיע

וזה לא מפריע

ומלטף אותי

ויש אצלך אותי את בטח תחכי

_______

אני רץ

אני חייב להספיק כל מה שפורק ת’זעם

כל מה שחלמנו פעם

כל דבר שיש בו טעם

ומפנק אותי

_______

אני יודע אני זז וזה פוגע

together, beginning to end

August 22, 2010

Orna, my mentor, friend and colleague got me this book

Home, or in hebrew habyta by assaf inbari.

the story of kibbutz, a dream created in Israel 100 years ago.

a dream of community, socialism, values, sufficing with little and even less.

i was swept away by the book and recommend it to anyone who:

  • can read hebrew,
  • has a kibbutz in their background,
  • cares about creating communities

or

  • willing to give up convenience for values

the book is great because:

  • it blurs the lines between fiction and facts in a new and breathtaking way
  • it tells the story of the great kibbutz initiative that helped create israel in a way that was never told
  • it makes you think about what it takes to be a pioneer and entrepreneur. what you are willing to give up, how long it will last, and what does partnership really mean

some of my takeaways:

  • i think i understand my grandfather yeshayahou, who started a kibbutz and bestowed me with many values, much better now. sorry, grandpa, that i ended up a capitalist and not a socialist, but i hope i still have some time to fix that
  • any partnership, or common shared pool which is absolute, can exist, and beautifully so, but only for a relatively short time. years, a decade, not much more. the concept of ‘contribute what you can and take what you need’ can not last far beyond when the founders  themselves change. definitely not beyond a generation, which i consider to be 15 years these days, unless the next generation also has a common set of values and needs, and can change from the original vision while staying together
  • kids paid for their parents dreams, values and actions. paid dearly.

a good friend recently told me he wants to be my partner. ‘do you know what partnership means?’ he asked and answered:

you do all the work, we split the profits 50/50

zimmer in the north

August 21, 2010

it’s summer. hot. boy it’s hot.

time to be together. ‘vacances’;  not high-end.

mid-end, mid-east, mid-life,  vacances . the whole family bar one. and friends. 6 adults and 10 kids. a few quiet days. and cool if possible.

air condition and shade.

together. north. zimmer.

___________________

its morning. i wake up last.

breakfast is wonderful. omelet. salad. fresh bread and jam.

the pressure is building up; make sure the salad juices do not touch the omelet.

am i still not grown-up? by now i better realize there are some things i got to have a certain way:

coffee. fresh coffee.  my day has not started with out a cup of good coffee.

___________________

most of the kids are ready for the pool. in  swimsuits.

mothers are starting the ritual of sun tan lotion. sentences are shorter. patience is smaller. a kid is crying.

the pressure is building up;  ‘נו כבר’  to the pool

___________________

we made it to the pool

noise. i do not like israeli public spaces full of noise. but the noise here is good noise.

everyone stuffed together. trying to draw imaginary territories. where to lay down the towels?

is there room for the ‘מחצלת’ ? (what is the word for them in english? much more than ‘mat’.  i think there is a reason why they are so popular here these days. they grab a lot of land.  real quickly and clearly, and the family and all strangers know that the territory is marked. even if the kids in the mat-next-grass  will step over the edge of our own mat. they are educated and know not to step on their own mat.  they are considerate and step on our own mat in a de-militarized zone; the ceremonial 20 cm close to the edge)

we israelis are good at it. making rooms for mats.

a country with no borders. a country with no limits. looking for markers, looking for territory to call our own. with no challenges.

the lady who took my chair is claiming i did not use it. ‘שלך מהבית?’,

i give up. unhappy about the lost chair, but happy she is not able to piss me off

___________________

it is time for fun.

and we are having fun

water. jumping. no-jumping. megaphone.

the lifeguard proves his authority; important in a country with no limits

sun. sun. sun. water.

in the water. out of water.

the pressure is building up; i need to urinate.

in the pool? no-way. i would rather do it מהמקפצה . and even i try to be more proper than that.

it it time to march to the public toilet. we have come a long way in the last few decades with public toilets. you would not consider using them in the past. but today, i am not afraid.  about 10m away from the toilets it is noticeable. not the smell, that comes later, but the mud on the tiles. i am barefoot. damn. should have brought the flippers. what’s next? how to proceed? a real dilemma. i am able to make it within 2 meters from the toilet on my toes. but i give up.

i find a tree and water it. saving our dry country some water. hey, and making it more green.

still our ‘public space’ is not social. not minded to ‘together’. not enough respect for the other. not enough respect for the ‘next’. i am afraid that includes me.

sun-tan lotion.boy it’s hot.

some water polo with the kids.

total pleasure.

kids climbing all over me.

laughter, fighting for the ball.

even the little ones get to score goals.

and more laughter.

people giggle and smile like they have not for a long time.

priceless

___________________

its night time.

little kids are a sleep. the teenagers are out at night. it is time to teach them poker

it is fun to teach and see how quickly they learn. smart

a few turns to try it out and then its time for the chips, the bluffs, the strategy

each kids displays in a different way a side of their personality that was not evident previously

their eyes move in different directions. a hidden smile. a stern attempt at poker face.

in a few years they will all be soldiers.

serving with others for others.