Jake Fichman
Government Media Advisor | CEO | American Israeli

A Lone Soldier to Start-Up Story

Photo credit: Goldfish Marketing Inc.
Fichman as IDF Soldier. (courtesy)

In 2013 I left a comfortable life in America to volunteer in an IDF combat unit as a lone soldier. I had discovered a love for the nation of Israel and passionately sought to intertwine my life with the nation’s story.

During my army service, I found myself actively protecting the nation of Israel along the Gaza and Lebanon borders with a rifle in hand and combat medic equipment filling my vest. Many times I would wake at 2am to take my post on the most Northern tip of Israel’s borders, looking out into the night with heavy eyes.

Though it wasn’t permitted, I would also bring along a book to read and a pad of paper to take notes. I would read books about international branding and strategic messaging, as well as consumer phycology pieces by authors around the world looking to share their insights on the newly emerging digital realm of community and consumerism.

Fichman with Combat IDF Soldiers. (courtesy)

As I finished my military service in June of 2015, I turned in my student visa for the commitment of living out my life in Israel as a citizen. Though I had received top honors in my university for marketing and made it to the Junior Olympics in long-distance running, none of this was relevant anymore for my new identity here in Israel. No one cared to ask about my education or accomplishments post-university, and that was just fine. It offered me a new freedom and paved the way for a start-up mindset.

After getting settled into an apartment in downtown Jerusalem, I began to look back at my note pad from those late nights on the Lebanese border and found a common thread; the desire to empower businesses, organizations, and governments in the areas of international communications and marketing.

I believe that this is a journey that many Israelis go through. During their army service, they have deep times of reflection that foster creativity and innovation. They become so wound up with a desire to improve this world and prove themselves. I certainly felt this way.

Fichman with Ambassador to Israel from Sri Lanka. (courtesy)

Over the coming five years, I tested the limits of what a “no-name” person with no connections could do in an entirely new and unknown environment. Over a dozen times I reformed my definition of who I was and what I did, and allowed the responses of people I respected to help pull me towards market demand.

My startup would eventually develop into what it is today, which is a global creative marketing agency. We’ve now worked with some of the world’s largest brands like Vogue, while currently holding positions with Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office as communication advisors to the Government Press Office. We work with Israeli startups like Watergen to strategically define their global messaging for entering new consumer markets. We make use of today’s most cutting edge technologies to help companies and organizations to better understand their customers while empowering them to create meaningful experiences.

Fichman at the White House in Washington, DC. (courtesy)

This startup that was dreamed up on the borders of this great nation has become something beyond what I had ever imagined. The life of this entity has swept me away on a journey that makes me excited to wake each morning and drive to the office.

Israel is saturated with stories just like mine; soldier turned vocational adventurer. The country and its circumstances press and form you into something far greater than you could have ever managed through your own might. The unusual mix of empathy and severity for excellency conjures up something nearly undefinable, which inevitably has left me in awe of life in Israel.

About the Author
Jake Fichman serves as international Media Advisor to the Prime Minister's Office and is Founder and CEO of Goldfish Marketing Agency in Israel. Originally from the USA, Fichman specializes in international communications and strategic messaging.
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