‘There’s no such thing as bad dialogue,’ says ‘Forbes’ editor in Jerusalem

‘FORBES’ EDITOR Randall Lane poses at the magazine’s ‘30 Under 30’ summit at the Israel Museum yesterday. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
‘FORBES’ EDITOR Randall Lane poses at the magazine’s ‘30 Under 30’ summit at the Israel Museum yesterday.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Despite closing down Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda shuk in a pub crawl the night before, Forbes editor Randall Lane was on hand early Wednesday morning at the Israel Museum, preparing for the third full day of events of the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit.
Entrepreneurs reclined on bean bags near the “Ahava” sculpture in the museum’s courtyard as speakers took to the stage discussing culture and technology, all with the underlying theme of coexistence and innovation.
“There’s no such thing as bad dialogue. There’s no such thing as a bad collaboration,” says Lane in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. The summit is the first Forbes has held outside the US, and, taking place in Israel, it lent itself to discussing the importance of global dialogue. “This is not an Israeli- Palestinian conference, it’s a conference with people from 40 countries... but obviously this is front and center.”
That’s the motivation behind a joint Israeli-Palestinian hackathon to take place on Thursday, where – together with Jerusalem Venture Partners – 150 people will create and develop innovative projects that center on dialogue and coexistence.
Lane says that individuals, and particularly entrepreneurs have power beyond that of governments.
“The world is global. Anyone who doesn’t see that and anyone who tries to pretend that that is not the answer and that that’s not the future is deluding themselves,” he says.
The summit, which has 600 participants from North America, Europe and the Middle East, has attracted some high-level speakers – including former president Shimon Peres – and entrepreneurs like WAZE co-founder Uri Levine.
But two names stand out more for their failures and controversy than their success: failed Better Place founder Shai Agassi and Monica Lewinsky, the Clinton administration intern who almost brought down the presidency with a sex scandal.
Agassi, who was well received earlier in the week in Tel Aviv, says that entrepreneurs could learn more from their failures than they do from their successes.
“Very few of the great entrepreneurs nailed it the first time,” Lane says. “Shai is somebody incredibly impressive, who had a big idea – and he’s going to have other big ideas.”
Lewinsky, who moderated a panel about overcoming challenges on Middle East dialogue, has started to rehabilitate her image through public speaking. She spoke for the first time publicly in 2014 at the first Forbes 30 Under 30 summit in Philadelphia.
“Here is somebody who was the first person to ever have their reputation shredded by the Internet,” Lane says. “This is something that this generation understands.... Here’s somebody who’s become a true leader in the area of cyber-bullying and the need to have a civil dialogue.”
Outside of the panels and the pub crawls, the summit also seeks to give back to the community.
“The challenge is... we try to leave every place better than we found it,” Lane says.
The final day of the conference is dedicated as a “service day,” which includes participants speaking to students in both east and west Jerusalem, a mentorship program for Palestinian entrepreneurs, and a joint Israeli-Palestinian cultural immersion program.
“We’re going to inspire kids who are only five or 10 years younger than these speakers,” Lane says. “Look at what these guys have accomplished; [the kids] can accomplish it, too.”
While this is not his first time in the country – Lane backpacked in Israel when he was in his 20s – he says the conference has given everyone a chance to experience the real Israel. “To be in the shuk [in Jerusalem] last night, to be on the beach in Tel Aviv, the food festival, having a concert in the Tower of David – these are memories that will last a lifetime.”
For Lane personally, interviewing Peres was “an honor and a thrill,” and he adds that, based on the reception from the audience, it was clear “the coolest guy at a conference for people in there 20s is a guy who is 92.”