I was interested to see a story today on the front page of the Wall Street Journal about Israelis applying knowledge gathered through their military training towards entrepreneurial goals. You may have stumbled across our recent ClickZ News story on why Israel has made for a great place to start an ad tech firm. One reason: the experience provided by serving in Israel’s military.
The WSJ story focuses on the military influence on tech innovation in Israel, and the struggle between serving the state and striking out on a new path. It mentions in particular a founder of ad-supported CGM video site Metacafe, Arik Czerniak, who has been among the elite groups in the Israel Defense forces, a “secretive Israeli military program called Talpiot.”
According to the story, Talpiot commander Major Roy Shefer “tries to counter the trend toward the high-tech world by instilling in the cadets a sense of obligation to country.” Shefer is quoted as saying, “We view them as a national resource, and we want to determine how they can best contribute to the state.” The story goes on to note, “He acknowledges, however, that the private sector is difficult to resist.”
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