GSMA’s Andy McGuire on Israel as a Tech and Entrepreneurial Powerhouse.

A Note From Andy McGuire, VP Mobile Innovation…

Dear Friends,

AndyIn mid-September, Mobile Innovation played a significant role in Ernst & Young’s Journey’09 conference in Tel Aviv, Israel. From a large applicant pool, ten companies advanced to compete in the Mobile Innovation Grand Prix regional competition, and we were fortunate to have respected industry figures such as Rina Shainski of Carmel Ventures, Bob Borchers of Opus Capital, Anat Amir – Head of Product Marketing for Africa – Google, and Guy Bauman – VP and GM of VAS Division of Pelephone offer their perspectives in a fascinating thought leadership session. Two companies, Siklu and fring, won the Israel leg of our year-long Mobile Innovation Grand Prix and will move on to the Global Finals at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February of 2010. You can read more about the competition later in the newsletter, and congratulations to these two fine companies.

Acquaintances not involved in technology frequently ask me why Mobile Innovation travels to Israel, and they are often surprised to hear that the small country of 7.5 million inhabitants is a tech and entrepreneurial powerhouse. Sure, there are logical explanations- an excellent university system, experience and training during mandatory military service, and close ties to Silicon Valley. These all are influential contributing factors to Israel’s success in the technology sector and, in many cases, unique to the country.

There was another critical element to Israel’s technology success, however, that was pointed out to me by several Israelis. This variable certainly was not unique to Israel but rather rested squarely in the control of the individual. Simply put, it was a lack of fear of failure.

Apparently, it is readily and openly accepted in Israel’s tech scene that the journey to professional success will most likely include a few instances of failure. There is no stain or stigma associated with failure, and this “liberated” perspective allows entrepreneurs to manage toward success and not simply away from its alternative. With failure out of the way, an innovator’s vision has a much greater likelihood of becoming reality.

As always, we thank you for your support and participation, and, in the coming weeks, please look for a special announcement regarding Mobile Innovation Exchange.

All the best,

Andy McGuire

Journey 09 Conference in Tel Aviv (pictures: Guy Tessler)

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