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October 10, 2011 2:00 pm

Godfather of Israeli Start Ups Credits Demanding Social Code for Success

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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Yossi Vardi, 'The Godfather' of Israeli start ups. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

Yossi Vardi charmed  and inspired several hundred Israeli American Young professionals at a gathering hosted by Israel Bonds at the first completed tower at the World Trade Center complex.  They came to listen, and they learned much.

The humor of Yossi Vardi is infectious, idiotic and instigating.

Listening to the consummate Israeli angel investor, one cannot help but enjoy! – and laugh at every other moment.

Behind every entrepreneur – at least those in the mold of Yossi Vardi – is a Jewish mother who is sure her child is an idiot. Some combination of the preceding, enhanced by the instigation of a social society that says “question!” and considers everyone a valid partner, somehow, results in the unfettered exploration that makes Israel the “Start-Up Nation,” and Yossi Vardi the Godfather of over 60 high tech companies.

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“Everything is transparent…there’s one degree of separation – everything is transparent.” The code of social behavior is more demanding than in other countries –   In Israel you can’t escape.

“The whole thing is incestuous,” he says. “Your competitor of today will be your collaborator of tomorrow….the “level of cross fertilization is higher than in other countries…. and creates a special bonding.”  Vardi commented on nimbleness and universal feeling of ownership, responsibility, and loyalty.

Analyzing the reasons behind the Start-up Nation, Vardi said that while Israelis have no trouble exercising judgment…they are “not so good in taking simply instruction” -there is a “willingness to take risks.” Noting that his business history includes a “long list of successes” there is also a list of failures.

Vardi is proactive:  “don’t tell me I’m an idiot” he says. I’ll tell you I’m an idiot!”  Through a rich career in academia, research, government service and entrepreneurial investment, he has fostered people, providing what he terms “extended scholarships to execute their dreams.”

Asked by the Algemeiner how Israeli high tech and its growth industries can affect the future of the region, Vardi responded that the “spread of technology throughout the Middle East has been happening for thirty years.” Citing the development of greenhouses and drip irrigation, he said joint ventures are common: “People are people are people.  At the end of the day, they are interested in their standard of living. The future should see more consensus.”

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