Or rather the dilemma of Israelis living in Silicon Valley… Most every Israeli living abroad has “return to Israel some day” on the agenda. Then, there are those that actually *do* return to Israel. When we live abroad, our friends become our substitute families; we celebrate Jewish holidays, school holidays, birthdays and pretty much everything together.
When we moved back, already 18 months ago, we left behind many great friends. Fortunately, some of our Israeli friends have also returned to Israel. Now we have a club “Silicon Valley Diaspora”, or SVD for short.
When we lived in the valley, we traveled frequently with our friends, visiting the “must see’s while you’re living in California”, including Yosemite, Tahoe, Wine Country, the Canyons, Disneyland, and many more. Now that we’re back, we decided that there’s no reason why not to keep tradition here. So, the first trip of the SVD happened this weekend. Instead of an RV (which was a popular way to travel in the states), we hopped into our own cars, slept in a huge Bedouin tent, rode on camels and hiked the Negev. Instead of a Napa cab, we enjoyed some great Israeli wines, and overall just had a wonderful time.
Hard to believe that I’m actually saying this, but “There’s no place like home”!
Oh, and while we were hiking, we saw the 30,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility for Inotek pharmaceuticals, complete with PV solar panels, taking advantage of one thing that the Negev does not lack!
From what I heard, there was no need to travel to France to catch the snow. Could’ve just stayed here in Israel, taken a quick hop to Jerusalem or Mt. Hermon. However, since we already made that effort… here’s some pics of my boys: Jonathan (14), Yoav (10) and Ben (4).
I’ve waited a long time to be able to show this photo:
Although it’s too bad you can’t just drive for ‘real skiing’ (another point in favor of Silicon Valley), but when we do go, we GO! Hard to compare a European ski vacation to that of Tahoe (or Colorado, Utah or Sun Valley for that matter). Mountain food is top notch (no junk food!), the atmosphere is one of leasure and vacation, and most people go for an entire week (rather than a long weekend at max). And did I mention the snow? Well, perhaps I was lucky… 50 cm snow at night, bright sunshine the following day. I really thought I was in heaven!
As I was preparing for my upcoming trip to the US, I decided to to check out the “Natbag express” – the train which will take me almost from my Moshav, all the way to Ben Gurion Airport for 23 NIS (vs. 230 NIS for a cab, or similar in parking fees). If I do this in Milan or London, then why not TLV??? Not only is this a convenient way to arrive at the airport, putting me straight into the terminal, it is cheap and environmentally friendlier than any other alternative. I am now officially ‘hooked’.
While on the Natbag Express, I flipped through a copy of TheMarker that somebody had left on the seat and much to my surprise, found my own photo in print. The Article by Guy Grimland was about TheFunded.com and my blog was quoted in print!!! That’s a first for me. My blog has been linked to, linked from, commented, criticized, listed in other blogs, etc., etc. but quoted in print? I suppose there’s nothing really wrong with that, but it still feels odd.
Last year, at just around the same time, I was contemplating where should we go for the family ski vacation. I spent a lot of time on the web, researching the various alternatives, etc., etc., etc.
This year… I gave a quick glance in my calendar to check for board meetings, and other events that have been planned ahead, and while in the car, on the way to the office, I called Club Med. By the time I arrived in the parking garage, we were set with flights, accommodations, equipment rentals, etc.
Ed always says that if you want something done, give it to a busy person. No doubt, I’m busy this year…
Looks like it snowed 1.4 meters this past week in the French Alps! Nothing like that to put a smile on my face .
I’ve just spent the past few days in Milan at the 22nd (!) European Photovoltaic Solar Energy conference and Exhibition. This was my first solar energy conference, but certainly not my last. What amazed me was the energy … i have spent my fair share of time attending conferences, typically related to enterprise software, security, etc. There was no comparison in adrenaline levels. You can feel the excitement. Since there were no name tags for attendees, it was difficult to access who they were, but there were definitely some VC’s, as well as entrepreneurs and customers.
Exhibitors were showing off their solar cells, panels, processes and as well as systems for solar cell manufacturing. It’s an impressive industry, with excellent growth and much room for innovation.
There wasn’t as much Hebrew as I would have expected (definitely not as much as I hear at RSA…), but this too will change over time. At the same time, there was plenty of Chinese spoken… (see photo on the left of part of the China Solar exhibitors…).
Milan is a beautiful city, even though most of what I saw was underground… however, during the 1 hour that I did have post closing of the conference and closing of the stores, I did manage to make my personal contribution to the Italian shoe industry .
Well… just in case somebody thought the “random selection” algorithm changed since I flew TO the US at the end of last month… it didn’t. I got those famous “SSSS’s” on both of the domestic flights that we took. Mind you, when flying with 3 kids, this gets quite tiring, not to mention time consuming. However, Yoav (my 10 year old) really loves the “poofer”.
If I’m considered to be part of Generation X, according to generation researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss, my kids should be Generation Y. In any case, generation gaps are not something new.
Today’s kids do not know what it was like to live without the Internet, IM and cellphones. But what continues to amaze me is their level of independence – especially the Israeli varietal.
A short story. As my family was preparing for a trip to the states, the unions threatened to launch a general strike here in Israel, which included bringing Ben Gurion Airport to a standstill. Given that I had ordered a ticket for my 14 year old Jonathan with some of the many, many, many miles that I have accumulated, missing the connection in Europe was not an option. Like many Israeli’s, we looked for a way to get out before the strike takes effect. For 40 euro, the airline was more than happy to adjust his ticket. Only problem, this required him to prepare to leave for the airport within 45 minutes of our talking with them, and also required an overnight in Zurich. We didn’t blink once, and off he went; cellphone in hand along with some leftover swiss francs from one of my trips. Jonathan arrived in Zurich, took the shuttle bus to the hotel, checked in, spent the night, had breakfast, checked out, took the shuttle to the terminal and boarded the flight to the West Coast. For him, it didn’t seem like a big deal at all. He had done that so many times with his family, and had traveled by himself several times as well. I wasn’t really worried either. But having talked about this with others (especially the grandparents), I realized that it is actually quite a big deal.
I can only wonder what else will these kids experience at this early age; and can’t even imagine what their kids will be like. I guess that even for a venture capitalist that lives “on the cutting edge of technology”, I will forever be “old fashioned” in their minds. Long live Generation Y.
Shekels, Dollars, Euros, British pounds and Swiss francs. Quite the change from a Dollar/Shekel only wallet maintained during my six years in the valley (with an occasional quetzal or peso left over from a vacation of sort). We truly live a more international life over here…