Chutzpah, 3 Other Jewish Keys to Startup Paradise

Chutzpah, 3 Other Jewish Keys to Startup Paradise

By Michael

Lior Vaknin for Atlanta Jewish Times
Lior Vaknin speaks at an Israel Bonds dinner at Temple Sinai on June 3.

The traits that make Israel the world’s startup nation are essential to the Jewish character, according to Lior Vaknin, the founder and president of Israeli Startups NYC.

The New York-based entrepreneur, a native of Tel Aviv, used his speech at an Israel Bonds dinner at Temple Sinai for Ina and Harold Enoch on Wednesday, June 3, to explain the core characteristics that have forced the world to recognize that “Israel has become startup paradise.”

Vaknin said the four ingredients of the innovation recipe, which he called the Matbucha Factor, are chutzpah, resourcing, visualization and social responsibility:

• Chutzpah. Vaknin said Israeli chutzpah goes back to Abraham, who had the nerve to negotiate with G-d over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Today, that chutzpah shows in 22-year-old Israelis who are certain their startups can beat established multinational companies in billion-dollar markets.

• Resourcing. The Israel Defense Forces is one of the best resourcing systems and the most efficient human resource organization in the world, Vaknin said. The IDF training most Israelis receive teaches them how to get the most out of people.

• Visualization. Autosuggestion has spread in popularity since the start of the 20th century through gurus such as Tony Robbins, but Vaknin said it’s a technique Jews have used for two millennia. We have survived since the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. by visualizing ourselves returning to a restored Jerusalem in the next year, he said, and we made that vision come true with Israel’s rebirth.

• Social responsibility. Thousands of entrepreneurs in Israel spend their time away from the office by working in the community to make life better for others because they think in terms of “we” instead of “I,” Vaknin said. “If you want to see change and if you want a better future, it has to start with you.”

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