Hi! Sign in or Registration
Looking for Investors
Israeli Companies Map
Made in Israel Online Exhibition
Wanted: Arts majors for high-tech
Author  Dafna Barmeli-Golan

Wanted: Arts majors for high-tech

From Globs

Technology companies are looking for creativity, flexibility, and the ability to think outside the box.

The average profile for a high-tech worker generally includes an education in systems engineering, computer engineering, or programming. However, in recent years, along with the blossoming of start-ups, many companies are turning to completely different fields to recruit workers. They are looking for creativity, flexibility, and the ability to think outside the box - attributes that are not necessarily typical of math and engineering graduates.

This trend, which characterizes high-tech and start-up companies, reflects a broader trend: companies are increasingly seeking to hire workers who are not conventional fits for the traditional requirements, so they can contribute to intellectual diversity, and help them to see things a little differently.

Shai Ozon, CEO of One1 Group, which employs 3,000 workers in IT, is a strong advocate of hiring management talents from different fields. “The idea is to bolster the management layer with people who come from different disciplines, and to diversify the style of management,” he says. “The reason is that we are in an industry that is constantly changing: the technology changes, the customers come from a wide variety for fields, and we are looking for people who will be able to speak in diverse languages, and not necessarily understand the intricate details of the product we are selling, but more relationship management and sales processes. We can teach them about the product.”

Are there problems with today’s training?

“Apple’s success did not stem from the fact that their computers were better than IBMs, rather from the synthesis of disciplines. For example, once, the role of information systems was to make sure the computer would work. Today, it is to give the business a competitive edge. It is not enough to speak the old language of technology; you need a broader business vision.”

What characteristics are you looking for in employees?

The people I am looking for may have backgrounds in law, industry and management, and as far as I'm concerned even art. The important thing is that they have some life experience. They first undergo an internship, for about a year and a half, in three levels of specialization: professional training in IT, management coaching, and in organizational culture the company’s business language. Each one of them will hold a variety of positions within the company along the way: projects, sales, etc., and they will see the big picture.

“I am looking for assertive, creative people, who understand business, and from that, also sales processes. Personality and ability to communicate are extremely valuable. It is hard to find managers, and, generally, people look in the wrong place. The match has to be as close as possible. We have built a rigorous program, and I want to have 10 employees enter the first round. If I end up with a few good managers, I will be happy. Good managers are worth a lot of money.”

Technology with creativity

RSA (EMC Information Security division) Israel Director of Research and Innovation CTO Alon Kaufman says that using information for business purposes requires multi-disciplined people, and professional teams need to include, on the one hand, technical people, with backgrounds in statistics, mathematics, or computer science, and, on the other hand, content experts, who understand the business side, and the customers.

“There are very few mathematicians who have a natural business sense, therefore, people who can translate and manage all the technical sides and direct them towards something business oriented that will speak to the customers, and will translate the information in the most practical manner into a final product, are very important. But thinking about the final product has to course through the blood of every one of the workers. So that they have the drive to find the simplest algorithm, and the most practical graphics. When we analyze the data, we need people who know how to ask questions, and know how to present the final product, visually speaking. Such a team could include an architect, a statistician, someone with a degree in computer science, and a physicist. The manager of such a team does not need to be an expert in one of the fields; the manager needs to have the personality traits to allow him to connect everyone, to communicate with the team, and to lead.”

Is it possible to find such people?

“It makes hiring very complicated. Depending on the candidate, you sometimes change the job description, because obviously you will never find yourself exactly. Typically, managers look for people who resemble themselves, but I think this is the biggest mistake - you should search for people who are different.”

At the start-up company Innovid, the employee profile is also atypical for high-tech. “The company’s first employee was a Creative Director, which is a position that does not exist at high-tech companies,” says co-founder and global operations manager Zack Zigdon. “What we are creating is something new, and when you approach a client, you have to show him something to convince him. We need creative people to convince the advertisers.”

Innovid offers advertisers a new way to present their products using videos that present viewers with options to be exposed to more and more information about the product. For instance, a viewer watching a car commercial may be able to book a test drive, view the car’s interior, or receive price quotes, while watching the commercial. The company has a full team of art and design school graduates working on the video advertising experience.

Playtika Israel, which operates in the field of gaming on social networks, and whose primary platform is Facebook, has a hard time finding workers because the company is so specialized. According to head of HR Gabi Karni, she turns to candidates whom, in a typical recruit, she would not be interested in. The company’s content manager is a script writer, and working directly under him is a toy designer. The studio manager previously worked at an ad agency. The marketing manager is an entrepreneur, who previously founded a start-up. One worker was an IDF intelligence officer; his job is to research the competition. “Initially, it was because we had no choice,” says Karni, “But, later, I understood that, surprisingly, the variety and the heterogeneousness bring about our success as an innovative organization that creates products outside of the box. These workers come from a crossroads, seeking a new and challenging path. They come with motivation, hunger, and desire - this is what creates the synergy with the organizations culture and pace. Their learning curve is very steep, and they succeed exceptionally.”

“Also seeking literature majors”

As mentioned, seeking employees who do not fit the classic profile is not only typical in high-tech. McCann Valley (McXann Erickson ad agency Mitzpe Ramon extension) chairwoman Hana Rado, had a hard time finding young workers in the area. Hence, some of the senior staff relocated to the area from Tel Aviv, but there is a clear preference for Negev residents. “We take people with undergraduate degrees, who have no experience, and they undergo 3 months of training. For the time being, the training is in Tel Aviv, but soon it will be in Mitzpe Ramon. We have psychologists, economists, lawyers, communications majors, literature majors, people who understand language. People who like to write like journalists, economists, biologists. People who are interested in the Internet world. Wonderful people with values. It’s like a start-up in the desert."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 30, 2013

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013

 

Globes - Wanted: Arts majors for high-tech

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Articles of Home
Israel doing big things with nano-materials
Israel doing big things with nano-materialsIsraeli scientists are making significant contributions to the advance of nano-technology, discovering and developing some of the most important breakthroughs.26 Oct 2010Applied Nanotech, one of the many companies presenting new products at the International Nanotechnology Conference, will highlight its nano-based copper ink technology. By David HaleviIsraeli high-tech has done some big things in the past - creating some of the most important advances in computer security and networking, social media, and telecommunications. Today, Israeli companies are set to do some little things - which may have an even bigger impact than some of those high-tech achievements.What Internet startups were to the past decade, nanotechnology will be to the next one, experts say - and Israel is already a world leader in development and deployment of applications based on this new science. Already, Israeli scientists have made significant contributions to the field, discovering and developing some of the most important breakthroughs.Among the applications Israeli start-ups have developed using nanotech are water purification membranes, agents for oral drug delivery, inkjet digital printing systems, diagnostic tools, holographic storage systems - and an 'e-beam on a chip,' which is similar to a laser beam, to be used for semiconductor manufacturing.Thanks to nanotech, for example, organ transplants may become a thing of the past, as special growth factors based on nanotechnology help grow healthy cells in an organ to replace unhealthy ones. Nanotechnology could also help to vastly reduce pollutants from internal combustion engines and could even develop elements that provide the taste of sugar in foods, without the calories and tooth decay that are part and parcel of the product today.The nanotechnology revolution is here, and moving forward rapidly, with a host of Israeli companies already producing applications based on this new science, which allows researchers to control matter on an atomic and molecular scale.Highlighting Israel's nano-accomplishmentsHighlighting Israel's accomplishments and research in the emerging nanotech field, the second annual International Nanotechnology Conference will be held in Tel Aviv in November. It will focus on innovations and business opportunities in the energy, water, environment, nano-material, nano-electronics, nano-photonics, nano-bio and nano-medicine fields.Investors seeking opportunities and companies from Israel and abroad will attend, showing off their nano-wares. Speakers will include the leading lights of the discipline from Israel and abroad. Among them will be the 2010 co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics, Professor Andre Geim, for his discovery and work with the nano-material graphene.The conference is being chaired by Nava Swersky-Sofer, who is one of the leaders of Israel's life-science industry and is the former CEO of the Hebrew University's tech transfer arm, Yissum; Mr. Dan Vilenski from the Israel National Nano-technology Initiative (INNI); and Prof. Arie Zaban from Bar-Ilan University."Israel is known worldwide as a center of knowledge and innovation in nano-technology and research in the nano field. Israel's achievements are at the forefront of a variety of the industrial fields, such as communications, electronics, computerization, security, medicine and life-sciences," says Swersky-Sofer.Israel is already on the international nanotech map, according to the INNI, one of the conference sponsors. The group lists about 80 large and small companies working in Israel's nanotech sector, along with more than 40 academic and governmental labs, employing some 300 researchers and scholars. The INNI states that Israel has the third-largest concentration of startup companies in the world, surpassed only by California's Silicon Valley and the Boston technology corridor.A survey conducted by INNI shows that the Technion employs 119 nano-researchers, followed by 55 at Tel Aviv University, 47 at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 43 at the Weizmann Institute of Science, 39 at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and 30 at Bar-Ilan University. Since 2002, the number of nano-researchers in Israel has doubled. The two main scientific disciplines are chemistry (25.6%) and physics (19.5%). Most of the researchers (33%) focus on materials, followed by electronics and photonics (22%) and biotechnology (17%).Israel had a head-startIsrael is ahead of many other countries in this new field, because its researchers have been working in the nano sphere for years. Among the researchers is Prof. Reshef Tenne of the Weizmann Institute. Tenne, who will chair a session at the conference, is best known for leading the group that discovered and studied the inorganic fullerene-like nanospheres and nanotubes, generally termed IF nanoparticles, considered a new class of nanomaterials. Tenne says that nanotech development suits the Israeli development model: "This is a small country, and nano-material research, of course, is done on a small scale. But the research can yield big results, and we expect that today's research will pay off handsomely in the coming years.""Over the next five to 10 years we'll see nanotech applications take off," Prof. Reshef Tenne of the Weizmann Institute.Israeli researchers have done a great deal of work in helping to discover new nano-materials, and Israel is by far the most advanced country in its neighborhood in nano-research. "You can tell how advanced a country is by the number of high-resolution electron microscopes a country has. We certainly don't have the resources that rich European countries like Germany and Holland have, but we've got quite enough for a country of our size. We're in a good spot in the middle, and our researchers take full advantage of the resources available," Tenne says.Tenne himself conducts ongoing nanotech research at the Weizmann Institute in both basic materials and applications, a combination that he says suits him well."Over the next five to 10 years we'll see nanotech applications take off. Most of the first round of applications will probably be in the medical field, and we here in Israel have been making great strides in the area of nano-medical technology," Tenne relates.Manipulating small elements of matter as it does, the science of nanotechnology is also considered an art form. 'Nanoart' features nanolandscapes (molecular and atomic landscapes, which are natural structures of matter at molecular and atomic scales) and nanosculptures (structures created by manipulating matter at molecular and atomic scales using chemical and physical processes). These scientific images, captured and processed with various artistic techniques, will be on display at the November conference.
World's biggest fund discovers Tel Aviv
World's biggest fund discovers Tel AvivFrom GlobsLast year, Rami Levy joined BTI, the group of businesspeople that supports peace with the Palestinians for the sake of the economy. When this step raised some eyebrows, Levy, a dyed in the wool Likudnik, stressed that his political position was still far from that of those who support the Oslo process. But in Oslo, it turns out, there has actually been a move in Levy's direction recently, or, to be more precise, in the direction of Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd. (TASE:RMLI). This stock is one of five Israeli stocks that in 2013 became part of the of the investment portfolio of the Government Pension Fund of Norway, the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. At the end of 2013, the fund held shares in Rami Levy Chain Stores worth NIS 18 million, out of total holdings of NIS 3.5 billion in 62 stocks traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.Was the decision to invest in Ramy Levy Chain Stores politically motivated? Unlikely. But in other instances of investment in Israeli companies, the fund has certainly acted out of avowedly non-economic considerations. So, for example, in January this year the fund announced that it was putting Africa-Israel Investments Ltd.(TASE:AFIL), controlled by Lev Leviev, and its subsidiary Danya Cebus, back on its blacklist.This step was taken on the recommendation of the fund's ethics committee, which determined last November that the two companies were guilty of contributing to severe breaches of human rights through construction in East Jerusalem. As a result of this decision, the fund will sell off its holdings in Africa-Israel, which were worth NIS 7.3 million.Another loser is communications equipment producer Mellanox Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:MLNX). During 2103, the Norwegian fund liquidated its holding in the company, which only a year previously amounted to some NIS 60 million. Its holding in Emblaze Ltd. (LSE:BLZ) was also liquidated last year. Similar things have happened in the more distant past. In September 2009, for example, the fund decided to sell its holdings in defense manufacturer Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) because it provided equipment for the separation fence.Wary of the gas partnershipsThese instances are perhaps discordant to Israeli ears, but the general picture of the Norwegian fund's activity is actually positive from an Israeli point of view. In the course of 2013, the value of its investment in companies traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange rose by 43% in nominal terms, from NIS 2.4 billion to nearly NIS 3.5 billion. Even discounting the boom on the stock exchange, the rise is impressive: the fund's proportionate holding in shares on the Tel Aviv 100 list grew by 21% last year, exceeding 0.5% of the total of shares listed.At the same time, the fund raised it holdings of Israel government bonds from NIS 2.674 billion to NIS 3.75 billion. Another NIS 693 million of the fund's money is invested in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA). The fund's total investment in the Israeli capital market is thus nearly NIS 8 billion.The fund's largest equity holdings are in Teva, the banks, and Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL), with the best performing stock being Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI). Apart from Rami Levy, it is noteworthy that the fund has added to its portfolio two gas exploration companies,Delek Energy Systems Ltd. (TASE: DLEN) and JOEL Jerusalem Oil Exploration Ltd. (TASE: JOEL). In both cases, the investment is in the parent company, and not in the partnerships they control, Delek-Drilling, Avner Oil and Gas LP (TASE: AVNR.L), and Isramco Ltd. (Nasdaq: ISRL; TASE: ISRA.L), which could indicate aversion in principle to investment in limited partnerships.What lies behind the growth in the fund's investment in Israeli stocks? Journalist Anders Horntvedt of financial newspaper "Finansavisen" points in this context to the decision by the Norwegian Ministry of Finance in the summer of 2012 to include Israel in its emerging markets index. "Beyond that, it is no secret that the current government in Norway holds more positive views on Israel than the previous government, and that certainly can't harm," Horntvedt adds.Indeed, on October 16, 2013, a new government was sworn in in Oslo headed by a center-right party, replacing a coalition of left-wing parties that took an openly pro-Palestinian stance. Since then, the new Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, has declared her opposition to boycotting Israel.Aharon (Orni) Izakson, who heads the Norwegian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce, can testify to the warming of relations between the two countries. Izakson points to growing interest on the part of Norwegian companies in Israel's oil and gas exploration industry, and mentions an Israel-Norway business conference planned for November in Israel. "I hope that it will also be possible to promote the signing of an R&D agreement between the countries," he says.Will we see more Norwegian money invested in Israeli know-how?"I hope and believe that we will, although in my view it would be better to develop relations on a mutual basis, of investment by both sides."According to Horntvedt, the Government Pension Fund of Norway will continue to increase its investment in Israel and to reduce its under-exposure to the Israeli market. "The fund is growing rapidly, and so there is every reason to assume that its investments in Israel will continue to grow," he says. "There is nothing at present to prevent the fund from investing in Israel, apart from matters relating to the settlements."Do you think the ban on Africa-Israel will be broadened to other companies?"Any company that has activity in East Jerusalem or in settlements on the West Bank runs the risk of being put on the blacklist. Like it or not, that is the fund's declared policy."Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 9, 2014© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013Globes - World's biggest fund discovers Tel Aviv 
Start-ups boost big technology cos
Everyone wins when a big company acquires a start-up.From GlobsExactly three years ago, Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG) co-founder Larry Page again took over as CEO, ten years after leaving the position. Eric Schmidt vacated the post to become chairman, and Page began to take the search giant in a new direction. Schmidt, who had been parachuted into the company in 2001 because of investor pressure as a responsible adult to turn the small and bubbling start-up into the corporate giant that Google has become. However, three years ago, it was decided to go back to basics, and not just with a personnel change, in order to give Google the feel and atmosphere of a start-up that it had lost over the years. The idea was to instill innovation, agility, and a faster pace of decision-making in a company with tens of thousands of employees.This was only part of Google's strategy to feel younger and more innovative. In fact, the company is one of the most active buyers of start-ups and technology companies, with over 150 acquisitions amounting to billions of dollars. This method has brought many new faces to Google's departments, and kept its head above the water in a range of fields.Google is not alone of course. Many enterprises in Israel and other countries are trying to bring in innovation through the back door. However big and smart they may be, these enterprises know that not all wisdom is found in the company's corridors, and that there is a need for some smarts and new thinking from outside, either through acquisitions, or more efficiently and smartly through strategic collaborations.Examples are Qualcomm Corporation (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Deutsche Telekom AG (XETRA: DTE). The two giants have shown great interest in tiny Ness Ziona-based Magisto Ltd. and have embraced it. The Israeli company has developed an advanced app for editing video clips directly from smartphones. The app is installed in hundreds of thousands of Deutsche Telekom handsets and the company works closely with Qualcomm on future developments."Video is one of the key elements in 4G networks, which are far faster than their predecessors. We consume as much as Facebook or WhatsApp in almost the same way, but Deutsche Telekom sought the extra something to offer its users, and provide this with our video editing service," says Magisto co-founder and CEO Oren Boiman.Boiman says that the collaboration with Qualcomm put it in the lead. "All of Magisto's technology and the set of products that we're developing are not part of Qualcomm's repertoire," he says. "They know how to make high-speed cameras, but we bring the product that is supposed to be the killer app, which can differentiate between what it sees through the camera, how to take automatic pictures, track the person in front of the camera, and so on."The advantage of big enterprises cooperating with start-ups is the added value and differentiation for their users when the need to answer the question whether our product causes their product to be better and different from other products. They know that they can't do everything in-house."In Israel, too, the same feeling that the lack of innovation can be solved by linking up with start-ups is also understood. For example,Zap Group Ltd. linked up with several Israel start-ups to offer added value to its advertiser clients. Zap Group CEO Nir Lempert says, "Assimilating a start-up in a big company can give it many advantages, such as a system-wide perspective, relevant ties in Israel and other countries, and help solve relevant business problems from life and not just in theory."Lempert says that the company's cooperation model with start-ups allows them use the large enterprises as a kind of beta site for various experiences and to see how things work in practice, and to change direction, if necessary. "We can install the product on our websites and apps and together try and promote the finished product in the world," he says.Lempert says that two successful examples are MobeeArt Ltd., which began as a company for building mobile sites for small businesses, and now develops systems for managing a full digital presence for these companies, and Vcita Ltd., which began as a diary management solution for free professionals, and with the influence of Zap Group developed the product to manage leads for small businesses."The change and development was made at our demand and needs, and these products are now sold in a number of countries. These transactions are win-win for both sides," says Lampert.Who will win smartup2?"Globes", in collaboration with Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI) is launching the second annual SmartUp competition for Israeli start-ups. As part of the project, "Globes" correspondents will track three start-ups, which receive assistance from incubator experts and Bank Hapoalim advisers, based on the understanding that many companies with good groundbreaking ideas get stuck at the start because of difficulties that prevent them from achieving their potential.The project is designed for Israeli companies that have raised at least NIS 250,000 in seed funding. Each company selected for the program will receive over three months advice from the high tech and business world on a range of topics relevant for early-stage start-ups, such as marketing, financing, human resources, and heading overseas. All they have to do is to register at smartup2 page (in Hebrew), and tell us why your start-up should participate. Participating companies will receive a start-up package from Bank Hapoalim, including a high-tech account at preferred terms and a NIS 20,000 grant.The three winners will receive assistance from leading Israeli incubators and accelerators Explore.Dream.Discover, 8200 EISP, andNielsen Innovate.Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 21, 2014© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014Globes - Everyone wins when a big company acquires a start-up   
up


Last Articles


Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2015 Jun 14
Wanted: Arts majors for high-tech From Globs Technology companies are looking for creativ...
Published by Dafna Barmeli-Golan
Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2014 Aug 31
World's biggest fund discovers Tel Aviv From Globs Last year, Rami Levy joined BTI, the g...
Published by Amiram Barkat
Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2014 Jul 07
Everyone wins when a big company acquires a start-up. From Globs Exactly three years ago,...
Published by Roy Goldenberg
Made in Israel - an online exhibition and catalog of Israeli Products & Services made for export
2014 Jul 07
Executives in Israel for the MIXiii conference tell "Globes" about the future of medici...
Published by Gali Weinreb