To our considerable sorrow here at The Jerusalem Post,
our super-smart, relentlessly questioning, insightful editorial writer,
Saul Singer, left the paper three years ago to write a book. To the
great and still evolving benefit of the State of Israel, that book was Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.The truth is that increasing our positive impact on the world already
does help toward survival in many ways, but that shouldn’t
be the driving force here. Some of the world’s best companies are driven
something in addition to profit, a creative, world-bettering imperative,
that actually makes them much more profitable. This country is being
needs to be more driven, by a creative, world-bettering imperative. I’m
convinced that will actually make us more successful in every way,
the struggle for our survival.
with his New York-based co-author Dan Senor, Jerusalemite Singer set
out to answer the question of how our tiny country, all but bereft of
natural resources and in the midst of a constant struggle for physical
survival, has nonetheless managed to outstrip every other nation on
Earth in terms of hi-tech innovation.
The two answered that
question with such conviction and flair as to turn their book into a
bestseller, with over 100,000 copies in print in its English-language
edition and numerous foreign language translations emerging worldwide.
So compelling was their diagnosis, moreover, that the book is gradually
transforming perceptions of Israel – at least in parts of the global
technology world. Start-Up Nation, Singer reports, is being read in some
economies as a kind of “how to” manual – as in, how to orient your
economy to maximize its talent for innovation, with the Israel
experience held up as an exemplar.
But as their book makes plain,
and as Singer elaborated in an interview this week, replicating the
Israeli model is not so simple. There are, we hardly need reminding,
unique characteristics to this country. And aspects of its geo-strategic
reality, of its ability to absorb immigrants, of its need to place
immense responsibility on young shoulders in the army, are central to
its capacity to thrive so strikingly in the field of innovation.
capacity for innovation, says Singer, has gradually transformed the
Israeli economy over the past three decades, but it has the potential to
achieve a great deal more. It is already enabling us to genuinely serve
as a “light unto the nations,” Singer argues – saving lives, bettering
the world. Tikkun olam in practice.
Among the examples Singer
cites here are Shai Agassi’s trailblazing Better Place electric car
venture, and the dramatic new approach to teaching being pioneered by
Time To Know, revolutionizing the classroom. (It has been widely
reported, to give one more telling instance, that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s
life was saved after she was shot in Arizona in January because the
emergency medical team applied a revolutionary elasticized bandage,
developed in Israel, that creates pressure to quickly staunch head
We now need to more deeply internalize that potential
ourselves, Singer says, maintain our cutting edge, and begin building
deeper and wider relationships worldwide to further our positive impact.
When he stepped down from the Post three
years ago, I should add, most of us knew Saul as quiet and understated,
almost selfeffacing – a colleague who articulated himself most
effectively in his writing. The Saul of 2011 is an extrovert with a
cause, talking up Israeli innovation and its still untapped potential
with almost evangelical passion.
In both incarnations, I should
stress, Saul has always been kind, gracious and unimpeachably likeable.
But a small, delightful subplot is that writing his book on the hi-tech
transformation of Israel, and internalizing its impact, has quite
evidently also transformed Saul Singer. Let’s start with some Start-Up
When was the book published?
In November 2009.
And where had it come from?
It stemmed from an idea Dan had when he was a student at Harvard Business School in 2001. He led a group of students to Israel – the first such group. Mostly non-Americans.
He wanted to give them a book on Israel’s entrepreneurial innovation. There wasn’t one.
So, years later, we decided to write it.
would have been hard for a native Israeli to write a book like this
alone. Even I, an oleh of over a decade-and-a-half’s standing, was too
close to some of it. It needed a New Yorker to recognize what was being
achieved here. I was on the inside, a journalist at that. I was used to
complaining about the economy. He, as an outsider, was marvelling at the
And just how marvelous is it really?
amazing. Israel has the largest number of start-ups per year outside
the US of any country. Not per capita. The largest number. Period. We
have about 500 a year, and all of Europe has 600-700. Our 7.5 million
people compared to that whole continent’s 700 million people.
There is no sentiment involved in the allocation of venture capital to fund startups.
It doesn’t care where it goes. Venture capital is looking for “the next
big thing” – the next Microsoft or Google. And Israel gets
two-and-a-half times as much venture capital per capita as the United
States and 30 times as much as Europe.
The proportion of our GDP
that goes on research and development is 4.8 percent. The OECD average
is 2.5%, and the US is about the same. So Israel is far ahead in
How do you explain the phenomenon. What’s the Israeli start-up secret?
That takes us into the nature of innovation. There’s a difference between ideas and startups. Generally, if you ask, “Why is Israel successful?” the answer you get is that “there are lots of smart people here.”
But that’s not really the answer.
is No. 1 worldwide for patents for medical devices per capita. But
we’re not No. 1 in patents per capita overall. There are five or six
countries ahead of us, including Korea, Japan, the US, maybe Sweden. And
those countries, with the exception of the US, don’t have so many
start-ups. So it doesn’t just come down to the number of ideas and the number of smart people.
So what are the real factors?
There are two other factors: drive and the willingness to take risk. Israel has more of those qualities than other countries.
And why’s that?
We talk about seven or eight reasons in the book. Two of the most important relate to the military and to immigration.
a misconception that the military plays a central role in Israeli
start-ups through various IDF hi-tech units and through military
R&D. In fact, the main military influence is cultural. So many
Israelis go through the IDF, they learn leadership skills, they learn
about teamwork, improvisation, sacrifice for a larger goal – these are
things you don’t learn in school or in business. It’s a kind of third stage in life.
people abroad characterize what’s unique about Israeli innovation, you
hear the same two terms over and over: maturity and sense of purpose.
And both of those come from the military experience. Sense of purpose
comes, too, from the fact that Israel itself is a start-up. We all grew
up on the story of the country – the determination and risk involved in
building it. Every generation is maintaining that determination and
readiness to take risk to further build the country in its own way.
this start-up generation here, it’s not just about making money and
finding an exit. It’s motivated by a desire to contribute to the country
– 21st-century Zionism – and to the world. This is the new form of
pioneering. Our grandparents drained the swamps. This – innovation – is
what we do.
Start-ups are extremely hard to do. When you have a
great idea, two things tend to happen: One, everyone says you’re crazy.
Two, everyone reminds you that most start-ups fail.
true. So you need a lot of determination and you need to be prepared to
take risks. Well, lots of Israelis meet both of those challenges.
And where does immigration fit in?
everyone here is either an immigrant, the child of immigrants or the
grandchild of immigrants. That, by its very nature, took determination;
it reflects a willingness to take risk.
There’s just been a study in the US which showed that half the companies in Silicon Valley were started by immigrants.
is the most pro-immigrant country on Earth. Here we have politicians
campaigning for more immigrants. We have an Absorption Ministry! Sure,
we complain about how it works. But other countries are coming here to
learn from us about how we absorb immigrants.
We’ve turned a potential problem into an asset.
Were there key players who set this remarkable start-up phenomenon into motion?
talk of “clusters” – environments where one industry develops and
snowballs. In Silicon Valley, the “cluster” comprised one key company,
Hewlett Packard, a great university, Stanford, and nice weather. That’s
what it took. Israel had the classic “cluster” elements. Intel came
here. This was its first R&D presence outside the United States. Dov
Frohman [the Holocaust-orphaned, Israel-raised, former Intel vice
president who pioneered Israeli hi-tech research] had planned to come in
1973 but had to postpone that because of the Yom Kippur War. Intel
opened here in 1975, which was incredibly early in terms of hi-tech.
Remember, even into the 1980s, you had to apply to some government
ministry to get a phone line. This was not the easiest place to get
going, but Frohman had the determination and the drive. There were also
great pioneering Israeli companies, like Uzia Galil’s Elron, which was
founded in 1962. We had great universities. And we, too, had nice
weather. That was our cluster.
All that was boosted by the Yozma
program of the 1990s, which created a venture capital sector out of
nothing. It established a threeway partnership: government funding was
provided, local venture capital funds were created and American venture
capital funds came in. The government took on some of the risk from the
private sector. And that partnership funded all the great 1990s
start-ups – ICQ and Checkpoint and Comverse and Amdocs and many others.
was the most successful government program ever. It came at the right
time. It worked. It fulfilled its function. It disappeared. The private
sector bought out the government.
So you had a kind of positive
“perfect storm” in the 1990s: There was Yozma. The Oslo process from
1993 eased Israel’s economic isolation. People forget how strong the
Arab boycott was before that. There were no Japanese cars; lots of other
partnerships and presences people now take for granted didn’t exist.
Then there was the overall growth in the global economy. The US was
enjoying its hi-tech boom – the Internet bubble.
And of course
there was the huge influx of Russian olim. We were the recipients, the
beneficiaries, of much of the top talent of a nation of 200 million
people – we, in our country of then six million people. It was an
incredible injection of human capital. And we used it so well. There
were, for example, large numbers of civil and mechanical engineers, and
what we needed were electrical engineers. Well, for $2,000 per person,
we trained engineers who became worth $200,000. It was a 100-fold return
Now, in 2000, all of those favorable conditions
fell apart. There were barely any Russian immigrants. Oslo was over. The
second intifada began. The Internet bubble burst and the global economy
went south. So the Israeli start-up phenomenon should have shriveled
and collapsed. The rug had been pulled out from under it.
And it didn’t because?
Israel got more global venture capital in 2005 than it had in 2000. We actually moved ahead during those years.
Israeli start-ups have transformed adversity of all kinds into a renewable source of creative energy.
at all the obstacles start-ups here face. They have no sufficiently
large local market. They have no ready access to the regional market,
because of hostility. Israel is under constant attack, and constant
boycott pressure. All these adversities have been turned into assets.
that creative energy has not only been focused on hi-tech innovation.
It has also been channeled into social entrepreneurship. Into the arts.
Start-ups are just a part of it.
So the global economic downturn
was just one more factor to grapple with. Our economy has suffered only a
single quarter of negative growth since the 2008 economic crisis
struck, and not a single full year of negative growth. Our stock market
was the first to recover. The Bank of Israel was the first to raise
interest rates – which showed that there was concern here about too much
Why did all that happen? For one thing, a
start-up-centric economy is less vulnerable to a global downturn. It
doesn’t have lots of customers, so there’s less significance to a drop
in customers. For another, a downturn period is a good time to start
start-ups. People are out of work. They are looking for something new.
You don’t need too much money to get a start-up going.
maybe you’re more ready to take risks, because there’s less to lose.
How central are Israel’s start-ups to our overall economy?
a big debate over the relative importance of start-ups and big
companies. As we quote Shimon Peres saying in the book, Israelis and
Jews, we have a tendency to be dissatisfied. That was certainly true in
the hi-tech sector. We had Nokia envy. People were asking, “Where’s our
Nokia? If Finland can do it, why can’t we?” People don’t say that as
much anymore, now that Nokia is not in such great shape. But still there
are some who say we must build big companies.
To which I say,
yes, but that tends to downplay the importance of the start-ups. We are
and must continue to be a start-up-centric economy. That’s our
comparative advantage. We envy other countries’ big companies? Well,
they envy our start-ups. They’re coming here to learn. Others are
looking to us for innovation.
The world needs innovation more
than ever. The pace of change in the world is only increasing. Twenty
years ago, who knew what the world would look like? Mark Zuckerberg was, what, six? [Spot on, Saul. He turned seven in May 1991.] There was no Google. No Facebook. Barely an Internet.
years from now, even more change will have occurred. In a world like
this, the premium on innovation only goes up. It’s a world of
opportunities for start-ups. If our start-ups grow into big companies,
fine. But our challenge for the future is to produce a growing crop of
I probably should have asked you this earlier: How do you define a start-up?
new business built around something innovative. Not necessarily
technology. Israel is increasingly offering three types of innovation.
Right now, it is mostly in technology. But already there is more
“business model innovation” and “globalization.”
Better Place is an example of that second kind of start-up, business
model innovation. Its essence is that Agassi recognized that electric
cars were already cheaper than gas cars if fuel costs are included.
Build cars and infrastructure to support swappable batteries, and
suddenly electric cars are cheaper, more convenient, and have the same
infinite range as gas cars. And this is happening now. I’m going to be
able to buy a car with no tailpipe this year and drive it anywhere in
the country. This wasn’t revolutionary technology, although there was
plenty of innovation. The key innovation was in the business model.
same applies to Strauss, which is now selling coffee in Brazil. An
Israeli company selling coffee to Brazil! They found a better way to
sell coffee. A more innovative business model.
globalization, a recent example is the Chinese company that just bought
Makhteshim, the Israeli fertilizer company. They didn’t buy it for its
technology. They bought it because it is working in 120 countries. That
meant instant globalization for the Chinese.
We’re good at
globalization. Why? Because we’re geniuses? No, because of the
particular challenges we face here. A French company sells first to the
domestic French market, then to Europe and then to the world. Israeli
companies have to think globally from day one.
Coming back to my question: How central are start-ups to the Israeli economy?
you look at a graph of Israeli exports down through the decades, you
see “oranges” trundling along at the bottom. And then hitech kicks in
and sends the graph soaring. Half of our exports come from hi-tech. And we’re an export-driven economy.
And yet things are far from perfect here economically…
not. When one part of the economy races forward, and the rest gets left
behind, as has happened here, you get wide social gaps. But the
solution is not to complain about hi-tech. Without hi-tech we’d be left
with the oranges. The solution is to bring up the rest of the economy.
Take advantage of the hi-tech sector. Learn from it. And specifically,
introduce the key factors that have boosted hi-tech to the rest of the
has thrived with low taxes, low regulation and high competition. The
rest of the economy is the opposite – high taxes, high regulation and
low competition, so it’s no surprise that the rest of the economy isn’t
doing so well.
Now there are real problems, notably the low
participation in the labor force of entire demographic sectors –
ultra-Orthodox men and Arab women. And then there are the familiar
problems with our education system.
And yet take somewhere like
Tel Aviv University. For all the higher education woes, Tel Aviv
University is ranked 11th in the world in citations per faculty member –
how often people are cited by their fellow academics. That’s a figure
you can’t play with. TAU is behind Harvard and MIT but ahead of Oxford,
Cambridge and Yale. So we have both a world-class education system and a
We have to deal with falling test scores in our
schools. We have to deal with the brain drain from our universities. But
there are also some leading academics here who argue, with some sense I
believe, that we should be doing much more to encourage foreign
academics to come here. Not just Jews and returning Israelis. More and
more students are studying abroad. We should take advantage of this.
Let’s go back to the book for a moment. How has it fared in terms of sales and impact?
reached No. 5 on the business bestseller lists of both The New York
Times and The Wall Street Journal. It has been the No. 1 English book at
Steimatzky’s here ever since it came out. It has been a business
bestseller in India and a general bestseller in Singapore. It’s on its
fifth printing in Korea since August. The Korean government and Samsung
bought hundreds of copies.
It’s either out or coming out in
translation in China, Taiwan, Korea, Russia, Portuguese in Brazil,
French, German, Hebrew, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Turkey.
It’s coming out soon in Arabic. It will be published by the United Arab Emirates’
Institute of Strategic Studies. It’s already circulating among the Arab
elites in English. A friend of mine was just at a conference in
Morocco. They’d all read it. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad knows all about it. Fareed Zakaria on CNN made it a book of the week and said that every Arab businessman and politician should read it.
particularly pleased about the Turkish version. A leading economic
institute there helped find a publisher and is doing a launch event. You
have “conflict” on one hand, and the book on the other. There is so
much interest in the Israeli economy in the Arab and Muslim world.
also just got my first e-mail from Mongolia. A school there wants to
translate it. I told the Israeli Embassy in China. So we may have a
Has official Israel realized its potential?
I’ve spoken at various
officially organized conferences, in Brussels, in Berlin. I know that
many ambassadors and commercial attaches are using it.
How many copies in print in all?
In the US edition, about 100,000. And the paperback is coming out this year.
Are you planning a sequel?
Dan and I are talking about another book. It won’t be a sequel. It will
be a business book that will be based on Start-Up Nation, but won’t just
be about Israel.
Now let’s talk a little about the wider
implications of Israel being the Start-up Nation, and especially how we
should do more to internalize and utilize the fact.
We need to update our narrative. The Jewish narrative has changed over the years. We need to enter the 3.0 era.
1.0 was the era of the Bible. What we Jews were about then was purpose.
And our purpose was to transform the pagan world – the world of child
sacrifice and extreme immorality. Along with Christianity and Islam, we
succeeded to spread a message of one God and of ethics. The pagan world
was transformed. Mission accomplished. And we grew as a people. But then
we faced the destruction of the Temple and exile.
And that took us into the 2.0 era. 2.0 was the era of survival. In that
mode, what we Jews were about was survival, and the dream of a return,
and messianism. We were hoping we’d be around to see the future. That
2.0 period lasted 2,000 years.
Today, we’ve still got this narrative: They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat. That’s how we still think of our narrative.
Amusing, but not good enough?
That’s a narrative of survival. That’s not a purpose. Unless you call survival a purpose.
Which you don’t?
Of course not. We must update the narrative, to: They tried to kill us,
we won, now we’re changing the world!
That takes us to the word
“miracle” in the book’s subtitle. When I moved here 16 years ago, we
thought that the dream of being a light unto the nations probably had to
wait for peace. We were busy surviving. That challenge is still there. But what we learned writing this book is
that the light unto the nations dream is already happening. We are
saving lives though medicine – through medical innovation. Better Place is showing the whole world how to get off oil. Almost every
technology you look at – computers, cellphones, Internet – has a piece
of Israel in it. Almost all of the major technology companies are doing
some of their research here. We’re having an impact and it can increase
dramatically. There’s tremendous potential for it to grow.
And somehow this positive impact has to be integrated into our narrative: what we’ve achieved; what we can do.
Yet that’s not what we talk about when we talk about Israel. It’s not
what we show when we bring people to Israel. It’s not integrated into
the way we think about our purpose as a people in the world. Not yet.
We’ve not internalized what we’re achieving here?
That’s right. This is the 3.0 era. This should impact the way we talk
and think and act. It should impact the way the Jewish world talks,
thinks and acts about Israel.
Can this also have a positive impact on the ongoing challenge of survival?
Yes, definitely. The way we currently deal with the threats and
challenges of delegitimization, of boycotts, is defensive. But you can’t
win by being defensive. “Winning,” with that strategy, is merely moving
from negative territory to zero in the best-case scenario. You’re not advancing positive thinking on Israel in that way.
The real way to fight disinvestment is with investment. The way to fight disengagement and boycott is with engagement.
Take anybody, anywhere in the world. They’re interested in their work,
their business, their community. In all of these areas and more, there’s
something going on in Israel that can help them. They can enhance their
world with a partnership with Israel, and produce something that
It’s the same in Europe. It’s the same in the US. This is the way to
fight isolation – improve the world though cooperation and creative
energy. This is not just about business. It’s about people.
I was recently at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. I had been invited
to the area by the local Cincinnati Jewish Federation. The hospital has
a research budget of $130 million. I saw their labs. If they do some of
that research together with Israel, it will be more effective. Again,
not because we’re geniuses, but because we’re used to small budgets. We
do more with less. They’d benefit and so would we.
The Jewish community has barely begun to mobilize in this direction.
You mean in encouraging those kinds of partnerships? So what should be done?
Connect at a business level and at the nonprofit level. Businesses and
universities. The Diaspora Jewish community is the natural place to lead
that kind of effort, but it doesn’t have to just be Jews.
As things stand, the Jewish community is speaking to the shrinking converted.
Birthright widened that community. But we have to reach out to people
who don’t have any kind of Jewish connection. And what’s meaningful to
everyone is to innovate and make a better world.
China and Mongolia are not interested in Israel because it’s the Jewish
state, but because it’s innovative and creative. That’s the Jewish to
What about in our hostile region?
I met last week with an Israeli woman who was very critical of Israel,
very active against some of the bad things we do regarding the
Palestinians. But she said it made her feel proud to realize what Israel
is doing in the field of innovation. It didn’t make her forget the
things she doesn’t like. But it did make her proud.
And how does that extend to the Arab world?
Our capacity to innovate cannot, by itself, have a dramatic impact. But
the key component there is the elites – the elites that would engage
with us if the situation allowed it. This [start-up phenomenon] can’t
create a new situation [in terms of our relations with the Arab world].
But it does constitute a further incentive to bring about change.
And it certainly shows another side of Israelis?
Yes, and that’s helpful.
How much further can the Israeli start-up sector grow?
The potential is enormous. Over 80% of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Israel comes from the US. That makes no sense.
Why is the rest of the world less than 20%? Yes, US companies are
tech-oriented. But that still doesn’t explain those proportions. Plainly
there is potential to build wider relationships with Europe and with
Asia. The firms competing with IBM, Microsoft and Intel, why aren’t they
here? These US firms have injected themselves into our strength:
We’re not good at everything. We are struggling when it comes to scaling
up. The CEO of General Electric, Jeff Immelt, said to companies here on
a visit last month: bring us your innovations; we’ll help you scale up.
That’s a model for a natural partnership with other parts of the world,
Now, of course, they, too, can innovate and we, too, can get better at
scaling up. But our comparative advantage is in innovation. And that’s a
great niche to be in. We certainly shouldn’t complain about being in
that niche. In fact, we better make sure we stay in it. Improve in it.
That we not take our leadership in it for granted. Others are coming up.
There’s plenty of room at the cutting edge, and we’ll be fine if we stay at the cutting edge. But we can’t afford to fall back. If we don’t stay at the cutting edge, we have nothing to offer. Other countries do.
We mustn’t be complacent about our place as a start-up phenomenon. And that means we can’t be complacent about education.
And you worry that we are getting complacent?
This is a watershed moment. We can go one of two ways. If we get
complacent and fail to deal with our education problems, we will lose
our edge. I hope we’ll fulfill our potential – that we’ll grow the
start-up sector at the same time as we build big companies. What we’ve achieved to date is just the beginning.
And the geo-strategic element of this is that the Israeli economy can
become a factor that other countries have to take into account in this
hi-tech world. They don’t at the moment. Only 1% of Europe’s exports go
to Iran, but even that relatively tiny commercial relationship impacts
on Europe’s thinking on Iran. Economic factors affect countries’ political thinking.
Now we certainly can’t compete in terms of getting large numbers of
countries on our side in UN votes. But we can compete in terms of
economic significance. We can create a situation in which it is not a
free ride to moralize at Israel’s expense. Already our economy is
greater than the combined economies of our four neighboring states –
Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
Just elaborate a little on the specific potential for further expansion of the start-up sector.
Shai Agassi puts it well. He describes Israel as “a Beta country” – a
testing ground for trying out solutions for the global economy. Innovate
here, see if it works, then scale up for global application – exactly
as Better Place is doing.
I’ll give you another example, another Israeli start-up: Time To Know, which has a system to reinvent the classroom.
The classroom has remained unchanged for hundreds of years. They’re
redoing it. A laptop for each kid; maybe an iPad soon. And teachers
freed to teach at many levels at once. No need for tests, because there
is a realtime feedback from the kids to the teachers, to principals, to
It’s being used in some schools in Tel Aviv already. I just visited one.
They say it would be “unthinkable” to go back to the way things were
before. The program has been running for a while in Texas too. And now
it has started in New York.
It’s not the education panacea. A lot more is needed to fix education.
But this is an example of innovation to tackle a world problem.
If we in Israel can solve our education problems, as we must, we can
then take those solutions and spread them, and turn a disadvantage into
We can do the same in health care. We can do the same when it comes to the management of water.
Sometimes our own start-ups skip Israel. It’s nice when they don’t. It’s good when they test their ideas in Israel.
I see a multitude of ways that the creativity in this country can have a
huge impact. As I said, we can find and test and demonstrate solutions
to world problems. We can be, we are, a key part of the engine inside
And maybe we can start to build large companies of our own. Maybe the
next Facebook can come from here. If it does, it will come from a
That’s one more reason I’m so excited that the book has been out for the
past two months in Hebrew. I don’t think Israelis are generally
appreciative enough of the comparative advantage we have here – of what
we have to offer the world.
There is plenty to fix here. But first we have to realize what our
strengths are. That’ll enable us to fix things more effectively.
Most of our focus in this country is on the political. But we have to
focus on what we are working towards. This book gets to the essence of
our potential, and it’s not just in economics. We can go into anything.
Social start-ups. Maybe applying some innovative thinking to
Tell me more.
Well, for a start, clearly governments have to do a better job of
interacting with their electorates. You need better feedback mechanisms. Government must be more responsive. There’s certainly scope there for innovation. I don’t know anybody who’s working on that here, but the need is there.
But I want to end by restating my central conviction about start-ups and
their potential for transforming the Jewish state. Our purpose, the
Jewish people’s purpose, is not to survive. The purpose of surviving is
to have a positive impact. It so happens that innovation, and solving
world problems, is the main means by which we have been having a
positive impact so far, and it offers potential for even greater impact
in the future.
But beyond that, once we start thinking in terms of the positive impact
we can have, and not just in terms of our survival, this has
implications across the board, not limited to the Start-Up Nation
perspective. It has implications for everything from the macro to the
micro, from our foreign policy strategy to the way we conduct ourselves
when manning roadblocks.