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High tech business lessons from the Greek economic crisis

This summer's 'Greek Tragedy' provides Israelis - and others - with much food for thought
A demonstrator waves a Greek flag during an anti-austerity rally in central Athens, Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A demonstrator waves a Greek flag during an anti-austerity rally in central Athens, Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

“It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” – Warren Buffett

The summer of 2015 is a great time to learn from other countries mistakes – starting with Greece. What high tech business lessons can we learn from the unfolding Hellenic tragedy?

Don’t Bite the Fund That Feeds You

Greece has been “borrowing” money from every international fund that still takes it seriously. We’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars – way beyond any teenager’s allowance. Yet they sure know how to cop an attitude.

Rude, crude and lewd.

Don’t bite the fund that feeds you. When your startup takes money from a venture capital firm or from a bank, be polite. Don’t go Greek on them when you disagree.

Go to the Mirror, Boy!

The Greek crisis began in 2009. As a startup, you will never have 6 years to get your act together. Greek society is unwilling to make the massive reforms that their economy desperately needs. What is the result? 25+% unemployment and a society that is nothing short of a mess.

Don’t waste time.

When you see the need for changes in front of you, initiate them before your creditors force them upon you.

Cut the Philosophy

The Greek government has been rambling about money owed to them from World War 2. The country that gave civilization ancient philosophy doesn’t know when to stop.

When your startup is down and out, cut the philosophy. Your employees, creditors and fans don’t want to hear long-winded speeches about the past. Don’t preach about the prehistoric era, World War 1, 2 or the Civil War.

Focus on what you need to do to beat your present challenges. Don’t get stuck on the “injustices from the past.” You’ll get justice in the “next world” – not in today’s fast-paced business word. Nations are like startups – there’s no time for ideology.

Its Agility, Stupid!

The Greek economy is the opposite of the world “agile”. When it’s hard to fire, it’s hard to hire. No one even knows how many civil servants are on the payroll. 6 years into this mess, and one lesson is clear – a rigid economy and society that is change averse is a losing formula.

The real Greek tragedy is the human suffering that is the result of the lack of agility. Business isn’t just a number’s game, it’s the ultimate reality show.

About the Author
Kenny Sahr is a startup marketing executive. His first startup, founded in 1996, was featured in Time Magazine and on 60 Minutes. Kenny moved to Israel from Miami, Florida. In his spare time, he is an avid music collector and traveler.
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