Posts Tagged ‘Tel Aviv’

Branding Humus in Tel Aviv

September 16, 2011

Last Friday I had a craving for Humus. I decided to try Abu-Ahdm which is about 800 meters from my house. It is a Tel Aviv branch of the original location in Yasif village at the north of Israel.

Abu Adham Humus  Sign

Abu Adham Humus Sign

Something seemed strange , as all the signs were gone, but the place was still operating and serving Humus. I suspected they lost the franchise and walked away to Humus Badunas , which is a franchise of the original location next to Check Point original headquarters in Ramat Gan.

It is a nice example of the power of the Brand. Not all Humus is created equal, the owner has to wake up at 4AM to get things done properly. The Pita has to be soft and warm. A good franchise monitors its franchisees , to make sure they are not destroying the brand.

The Humus was quite nice, by the way and checking at the web it does seem I was right regarding Abu Adhm in Ibn Gvirol.

And here is an interesting post(Hebrew) about Humus and Social resistance.


Fresh Look – Dozen Interesting Israeli Start-Ups

April 7, 2011
    Fresh Paint Balfour Street Tel Aviv

    Fresh Paint Balfour Street Tel Aviv

    I have assembled a pseudo-arbitrary list of interesting Israeli start-ups. These are mostly companies whose product I got to try and whose team I met. Some bias to companies with real intellectual property in algorithms or products. They may have much in common,and there are many more around, but worth watching.

  1. ToTango – Simple Idea. Wide Appeal. “New Wave” solution.
  2. Contendo – Speed of Light is constant. Akamai is Too Expensive. DNS too Crucial.
  3. Xtremio– SSD can be a game changer.
  4. ZeRTO – Smart guys. Track record. Stealth Mode.
  5. TakaDu – Smart guys. Strong Algorithms. Strong Need. Out of the box.
  6. Panaya – Strong Algorithms. Pure Israeli. Sales 2.0. Sharing knowledge. Proven Results.
  7. WatchDox. A Nobel approach to managing document and security.
  8. WorkLight – Portable Mobile Apps Make great sense. CEO.
  9. PrimeSense – Great Algorithms. Awesome product. Huge Potential.
  10. Plimus – Money has a wide appeal :). Great alignment for SaaS. Good API. Stands out in a confusing world.
  11. Kampyle – Simple product, wide appeal. Responsive to Customers. In the good sense.
  12. Snaptu – They were on the list before their exit 🙂 Same for Sentrigo
Orange and Carrot Juice in Tel Aviv

Orange and Carrot Juice in Tel Aviv

Product Management Case Study – The Yogurt

February 14, 2011

One of the hardest problems in product management is choosing the right defaults.

The cowards let the users see all the options and confuse them to death.

Yogurt from Iceberg Tel Aviv Without Proper Defaults

Yogurt from Iceberg Tel Aviv Without Proper Defaults

Iceberg has one of the best ice cream  shops in Tel Aviv, and maybe in the world. Their Yogurt combination provides a wonderful mixture of honey, granola, slightly sour yogurt and fresh fruit in a very affordable price (22NIS).

I had the Yogurt deal( “Yogo”) In their original location on Ben Yehuda street on many occasions.

Yesterday I tried to get the same deal in their Ibn Gvirol franchise.

To my horror, the clerk asked me “what do you want in the yogurt?” and offered 20 different options – candies, walnuts, almonds, chocolate and so forth.

I do not know what I want. If I were to choose I would take all candies, and the result would be horrible.

Please make the right decision and mix for me. I can’t make such decisions on an empty stomach.

High School and Hi-Tech in Israel

February 10, 2011

I was going through some old documents and found my High School final projects presentation agenda from 1991. It’s almost 20 years old.

It is interesting to look back and remember some of the roots for Israeli Hi-Tech predate the army background.

The projects are quite impressive, given it was  1991 and they were developed by high school after hours.

  • Drawing with Robots
  • Hebrew Optical Character Recognition Engine ( That’s mine with Roy :), It didn’t work very well, but it’s a hard problem )
  • Robot and Algorithm to Solve Rubic’s Cube (Not the video from youtube which is much newer)
  • An Internet Terminal connection  over RS232
  • 8088 simulator
  • Russian-Hebrew-English Dictionary
  • Course-ware for Firefighters
  • Sound Sampler for IBM PC
  • An expert system to prove Theorems in Euclidean Geometry

Looking back at the technology is also fun. Lot’s of Robotics, Prolog,”Expert Systems“,  EGA, Turbo Pascal and 8088.

It’s true my school was not a standard in the Israeli education system. The principal used to show a map of the Silicon valley superimposed over Tel Aviv back in 1988, in order to present a vision to new candidates. But it was definitely not the only school encouraging technical innovation.

Naturally, I have not stayed in touch with most of the people. Random samples suggests that quite a few are leaders in various positions in Universities and in the Hi-Tech industry.

Israeli High School Final Project Day One

Israeli High School Final Project Day One

High School Final Projects Day Two

High School Final Projects Day Two

High School Final Projects Day Three

High School Final Projects Day Three

Israeli High School Final Projects Day Four

Israeli High School Final Projects Day Four

Borscht, Babaganoush and Beer – Food in the Global Software Development Industry

February 8, 2011

“Without Spam, we wouldn’t have been able to feed our army.”

Nikata Khrushchev, ‘Kruschev Remembers’ (1970)

“You are very fortunate to be assigned to duty at Fortress Monroe on Chesapeake Bay; it is just the season for soft-shelled crabs, and hog fish have just come in, and they are the most delicious panfish you ever ate.”

General Winfield Scott, May, 1861, speaking to General Benjamin Butler


Borscht, Borscht

I was surprised to see there isn’t enough research on the role of food in the software development process.

There are some clever insights on Beer and Pizza , Google Vs Apple food fight and “Frat Culture” but there is a lack of in-depth global research 🙂

Here are some observations that might be expanded later, on demand.

  • In California, lunch is sometimes sponsored by the company.
  • In Israel, in Hi-Tech, lunch is sponsored by the company, takes about 60 minutes and is eaten in Restaurants outside the office. The “Official” lunch break is supposed to be 30 minutes.
  • Is this tradition coming from the earlier socialist roots of Israel? Maybe it stems from the army background of many developers.

Personally, after 10 years of fried eggplants, eggplants in tomato sauce, eggplants in Tahini, eggplants with vegetables and eggplants macaroni, I was very happy to start eating proper lunch in top restaurants.

  • I once had to fly to a development center in Minsk,Belarus and eat borscht, for the first time in my life. I had to make sure the food level was comparable to other sites. It was a beautiful city and the borscht was better than I expected 🙂
  • In Israel , the employees eat lunch together and it is a great opportunity for team building. In California developers eat alone at their desks, which I always found a bit sad.
  • In California, 30 minutes lunch breaks are mandatory. It is similar to Israel.
  • Whenever we had to work on Fridays, I used to bring an extra nice breakfast for everyone . It helps make the atmosphere more causal and expresses  this is special occasion and not taken lightly by “management”.
  • In Belarus (2006) the cost of developers lunch was ,in some cases, almost 25% of their overall compensation.
  • No free beer in Israel. But Diet Coke is a must have. A top-notch espresso machine is quite common, in Israel. In the states horrible coffee is the norm anyway 🙂
  • The cynical view is the employers use food as cheap way to get employees motivated. The reality is that it is not so cheap. Assuming cost of 800 NIS per month it is 2.5%-8% of the compensation.
  • A less cynical view claims that the 60 minutes lunch breaks are  critical to get developers to work 12 hours a day. In reality, few employees work 12 hours a day, and there is little correlation to the ones who have the longest lunch breaks 🙂
  • Food does touch people emotions and demonstrates diversity. For example, a top engineer who suffers from Coeliac was extremely happy when one of our restaurants helped him select relevant dishes. At the same time, we helped Muslim engineers who needed to eat their lunch later than usual during Ramadan.
  • We are all quite fortunate to work in such great conditions. Our peers in Medical establishments have to live with Hospital food, if they even get enough time for lunch break.
Chocolate Ball Dessert, Tel Aviv

Chocolate Ball Dessert, Tel Aviv

Local Mini-Market Disappearance

July 12, 2010
Cute Human Watch Dog

Cute Human Watch Dog

My local mini-market is gone and I’m so sad.

Not long ago we had cute,slightly rugged, cheap mini-market that offered great service.

The store had four young owners ( my age 🙂 ) that worked on the store every day and every hour.

The results was they provided great service, were highly efficient and the pace was young and quick.

The deliveries were free, refunds easy and if one was missing kohlrabi the owners would go and get it.

They liked to hear feedback and despite having ש smaller selection , it was tailored to customers inputs.

One more thing – it had one of the cheapest price points, despite the central location in Yehuda Makabi street.

As a result the place was always packed , even though the much bigger Mega supermarket was located just across the street.

Alas, three months ago they sold to “Supersal”, a big retail store that decided they want to “rule” the new “niche” of “urban mini stores”.

The owners used the opportunity and sold the real estate at a very nice price.

So now we have a new “urban”,”local” “My Supersal” which is horrible.

The service is hostile,clueless  and slow, the dairy products are out of date and the stock is much smaller and more expensive.

This is what happens when marketing and finance are calling the decisions and analyzing the trends and numberz instead of using  EQ.

It was the owners that created the place and made it successful, not just the “concept” or the “strategy”.

They cared about customers happiness and their own reputation and revenues.

Right now the people who shop in the store

  • have nothing to do with the people who work in the store
  • who have nothing to do with the people who manager the chain
  • who have nothing to do with the owners of the chain
  • whoa are probably the customers as it is publicly traded chain store …

And the the new store is quite empty – in the same location.

Tel Aviv,Israel, Triathlon 2010 Photos

June 5, 2010

Sunny morning in Tel Aviv , Israel. The nicer side of the sea. Click Images to enlarge.

Tel Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010 , Beach

Tel Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010 , Beach

Tel Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010 , Beach

Tel Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010 , Beach

Tel Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010

Tel Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010 - Long distance Runner

Tel Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010  2

Tel Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010 Friends

Tel-Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010  Bikes

Tel Aviv Israel Triathlon 2010 Bikes

Tel-Aviv, Israel, Triathlon 2010,  Airplane in The Sky

Tel-Aviv, Israel, Triathlon 2010, Airplane in The Sky