People come the Start-Up Israel section of Times of Israel looking for Israel-based technology and innovation. But more than a quantitative difference between Israel and other nations (e.g., more start-ups per capita), readers also expect to discover something qualitatively different about Israel start-ups. Although we often attribute the uniqueness to ingenuity, resilience, perseverance, etc… this short-essay suggests a behind-the-scenes spiritual answer to this well-known question.Albert Einstein, center, visits The Technion in 1923.
A few weeks ago I decided to conduct a social experiment. I contacted independent TEDx lecture organizers throughout Israel, asking if they were accepting speaking proposals. Having heard that TED stays away from religion, I didn’t mention that my proposed talk was grounded in Jewish thought.
While I didn’t get to the proposal submission stage, I did learn an important lesson. Although the topic was received with excitement – the decentralized topography of networks – I decided that it was either all of nothing. Either I would be given the ability to include explicitly reference Jewish thought or it would be better to sit down a Jewish market article instead.
Recently I wrote a series about Simon Sinek’s TED video, “How great leaders inspire action.” The video is currently the 3rd most watched on TED with over 17 million views, and in my two articles, I explained how to improve upon what was presented there. But whereas Simon has a successful book, website, speaking and consulting business around the ideas presented in that lecture, so far no one has come knocking on my door.
What’s the difference? One factor is that Simon is an engaging speaker and knows how to articulate himself well. But I’d like to suggest another reason. That unlike secular material that lacks context, a place to hold and further develop these ideas, content that overtly mentions God and Jewish thought is heavily laden with it.
But the task of promoting content within a Jewish context is much different than that of the secular counterparts. Instead of promoting content for traffic and social media shares, the Jewish people have a unique opportunity to place current events and hot topics into context. While this may not make news sites that feature Jewish content the most trafficked sites and subscribed-to publications today, unlike secular media outlets, Jewish outlets have the potential to provide lasting results for the readers. No matter how exciting or novel a headline may seem today, a day, week, or month from now something else will replace it.
While placing current events within the landscape of Jewish thought may not make for the most viral article today it is only this approach that has true long-term potential to become widespread. As more people seek to understand the headlines, the desire to leave the latest story with some long-lasting benefit increases; and the more Jewish-content publications and sites will become the destination of choice.
What makes a site about start-up technology in Israel Jewish is not the ability to appear similar to well-known secular news outlets, but in the ability to apply eternal truths to the temporality of the passing daily headlines. For more on this approach, please read