Technology has been a constant theme throughout your education and career. Describe your progression.
My first interest was technology, and everything followed that. I served four years in the Israeli Air Force, working with advanced technology, which defined my future thereafter. I decided to formalize my passion with an engineering degree and an MBA, and afterwards got into the startup world in Tel Aviv. I took roles in various startups there, and then eventually moved to Silicon Valley during the early 2000s, before joining Google in 2008. From Google, I took a role at Intuit, and most recently I served as CTO for Air New Zealand.
It sounds like your current work for Vision Fund is a natural next step.
I think it is. I've been an operator at the C-level for years, managing hundreds of people at each company, so I was a leader. But in many ways, I've always seen myself as more of a doer. My work at the Vision Fund combines my skills and passions; we get to work on implementing the bold visions of our founders. It's allowing me to be a creative engineer while guiding companies through some of the same experiences I’ve gone through.
What was it like to work for a huge company like Google after being at startups?
Unlike my time at startups, at Google I learned about scale. When you have unlimited resources, as we had at Google, you learn how to design for growth and build for scale. You also learn the importance of hiring not just good people but great people—and the impact they can bring to the business. In my last role at Google I led the team responsible for identifying and developing new Ad products, which gave me the opportunity to build new technologies—think of them as "internal unicorns"—from the inside of a large corporation. I learned about operations in just about every size and stage of business, and learned to get a feel for what it takes to support big, innovative leaps in terms of new products.
You mention that you are helping companies scale. What's your perspective on navigating growth?
Scale is about thinking outside your comfort zone and believing in yourself. A lot of it is about focus and patience, which may sound odd. You hear “scale” and you think, Let's add a lot to our plate and get big fast. That's a temptation, especially when you get a really big investment. But to scale right, you need to give yourself the room to make sure you understand your markets and products before you make your big bets. If I'm doing my job right, I'm sharing my past mistakes and successes with founders, guiding them to look around and get a clear picture of the opportunities and challenges in front of them, and then helping them put a plan in motion to deliver against it. Most of the time it’s just being there for a CEO and helping them think it through until they are comfortable with the idea and the plan.
We understand the challenges that companies face when they try to scale, and we help them through that.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I really love what I'm doing right now. It's our role to help founders understand how to move their companies forward. That's what my function as an operator at Vision Fund is about. We understand what's behind a growth plan. We understand the challenges that companies face when they try to scale, and we help them through that. The founders we work with have come to rely on us as a resource. That's a big thing for me.
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