Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle

CNBC network, which aired an interview with Dan Senor about his book
entitled “Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle”

The interviewer opens by presenting Senor, formerly a foreign policy adviser
in the Bush administration, and asking him to sum up what his book is about.

“Israel is the fastest growing, one of the most dynamic, entrepreneurial and innovation-based economies on the planet, that barely got hit by the global economic crisis of 2008.” Senor replies, “More Israeli companies on Nasdaq than all of Europe combined, than all of India, China, Korea, Japan combined. More global venture capital each year going into Israel on a per capita basis than the US two-and-a-half times more than the US, three times more than Europe. Surrounded by enemies, in a state of war since its founding, no oil, no access to regional capital or regional markets, and what can we in the West learn from it at a time when we are trying to reboot our own innovation economy and get real productivity gains, not credit bubble gains.”

Next the interviewer asked the reasons for Israel’s entrepreneurial prowess.

“We go through eight factors in the book,” says Senor, “Let me just focus
quickly on two or three of them.

“The Israelis have very innovative policies in how they bend over backwards to bring people to the country from around the world? they spend more as a percentage of their economy on R&D than any country in the world, and they have some very innovative ways for how they actually make that R&D spending matter?

“And the military… these young 18-year olds go into the military when they finish high school? they get the most incredible leadership and entrepreneurial experience on the battlefield, and the entire economy knows
how to read a military resumé – investors, CEOs of companies, when these guys come out of the military they know how to integrate them with their battlefield experience into the economy, and the US does not know how to do that.”

Towards the end, Senor is asked how the West can learn from tiny Israel. “If we can cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation among our young people the way the Israelis do,” is the response. “We interviewed the CEOs of Google, we interviewed the CEOs of eBay, senior executives from Cisco – Cisco has bought nine companies in Israel and they are looking to buy more – we interviewed the senior leadership of Intel, and they all say:
you take the average Israeli 25-year old, when they’ve finished their military experience and they’ve finished their university experience, you take that 25-year old and put him or her up against their peers anywhere
else in the world, every single day of the week they would hire the Israeli, because their capacity to manage and lead at a young age and deal with real problems and have real perspectives is unlike anything in the world.”

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One Comment

  1. paul
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    Nice post & nice blog. I love both.

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