Josia Nakash
Founder, Good Vibe Agency

The Voices We Should Listen To

Fusion LA Podcast with Guy Katsovich, Yossi Vinitski, Lisa Zaythik, and Tomer Levy

Until now we viewed social and business as two separate things. Everything was based on individual success – how much funding you raised, how many employees you have, etc. We’re now entering a new era where that’s no longer enough, because the economy is being directly impacted by the social situation we’re in. We are still in the middle of the coronavirus crisis that’s very gently giving us an opportunity to look at our lives in a whole new light.

A constant theme throughout the podcast was how so much of big tech was born at a time of crisis.

Timeline of Crisis Management

Private enterprises are in the best position to implement necessary changes, because they are focused on success. They must keep their people happy, and this is tied to the country and many other elements that need to be considered along with every decision.

As we see with the startups featured in this podcastAppsFlyer started making changes immediately: “We have 70 people in China, so we’ve been on top of this since January. We donated equipment to authorities in China, and sent protective gear to our employees. By the middle of February we had stopped all company flights, since we were thinking of employee health. We cancelled our participation in MWC before the organizers cancelled the event, and at the beginning of March we sent everyone home. The L&D team created tutorials explaining the new reality, and laid out ground rules for working from home. A survey from 3 days ago indicates that social is the sensitive point, but there is a 96% confidence level for how the company is handling the crisis. That’s because we’re a people first company. We also have our AppsFlyer Cares program that helps look after the weaker parts of society.” Lisa Zaythik, Chief People Officer.

Just the fact that you are a global business means you are already actually dealing with these changes on every possible level.

Logz.io closed all their offices and switched the whole company to remote when it became clear that was the thing to do, even though they had never done remote before – at all. They didn’t wait for government decisions to start adapting their company to the new reality.

So what can we learn from these driven entrepreneurs? Don’t wait for the government to make things better. Just the fact that you are a global business means you are already actually dealing with these changes on every possible level. You are already figuring this out before everyone else.

With that in mind, I really enjoyed this podcast hosted by Fusion LA with Guy KatsovichKobi Samboursky of Glilot Capital Partners, and Yossi Vinitski, head of high-tech at Bank Hapoalim.

A constant theme throughout the podcast was how so much of big tech was born at a time of crisis.

Kobi Samboursky, Founder & Managing Partner at Glilot Capital Partners, talked about the bummer call he has with his new companies about what needs to be cut at a time like this, and making necessary adjustments. That’s followed by talking about all the new opportunity the crisis presents, which makes him optimistic. Cyber, the cloud, working from home are all getting bigger. Suddenly people understand all the benefits of the cloud, and how privacy/protection of data is a huge subject with people working remotely. The Israel Electric Company moved everyone to work from home in one month, a shift that could have taken a decade without this crisis. Investors are very interested in the infrastructure for all these things.

We’re the cure! Not the problem!

When asked how he sees the future: “I’m very optimistic. In the 2008 financial crisis, startups couldn’t get funding. Here, we’re the solution! Imagine today’s world without Zoom, the cloud, etc. Everything would have crashed. It’s going to be difficult financially but not as bad as 2008. In the long term, the post-corona world will understand cloud & security – things we’ve been talking about for a long time. Things will be done remotely now instead of flying all over the world. So I’m super optimistic – we’re focused on the long term.” Kobi Samboursky

“Things will be done remotely now instead of flying all over the world. So I’m super optimistic – we’re focused on the long term.” Kobi Samboursky

Fusion LA Podcast

Working Remote Tips

Tommy BaravChief of Time at Supertools a Facebook digital productivity community, for changing the way we think about time and tech, and improving our productivity when working remote is done right. As someone who has worked at home for a decade, he talked about all the pros and cons, the unicorns whose entire company is already remote “the playbook exists”.

He gave some incredible tips for managers: “Don’t force your employees to be productive; don’t count their Zoom meetings/hours – it does just the opposite of what you want. Managers may feel back in control by checking what people are spending time on, but that’s not the way. It’s being intrusive, and downgrades the culture.”

Tomer also has incredible virtual office tips – 1) Tandem: put it in the background of your PC. You see what’s going on with everyone and what they’re listening to on Spotify – all these tools are on the rise. You don’t have to actually be there like on Zoom. 2) Use Crisp to eliminate noise in the house so your team won’t hear anything in your house except you. 3) Use cool backgrounds. 4) Use Slack addon Donut to raise morale. It randomly hooks up people that haven’t chatted in a while by setting up a time for you to have lunch together.

“Corona has opened up a whole new world of possibilities. It simply requires a shift of mindset.” Tommy Barav

When asked how he sees the market: “We’re supposed to be “enjoying” this period, but managers find it difficult to listen at a time like this. We need to sit in the lab and develop what they really need. Attention has gone to survival issues rather than focusing on what a small startup has to offer. Instead of going top down, we need to go bottom up. Get average people using our tools and they will take it to their managers.”

Every Crisis Presents New Opportunities

Lisa Zaythik, Chief People Officer at mobile attribution leader AppsFlyer: “I made Aliyah 18 years ago in 2001, during the dotcom crisis. In the 2008 crisis, I was let go from my high-tech job. I found myself unemployed, and looking for work. This actually created opportunities, because when mobile advertising took off in 2010, we were already forming AppsFlyer. So every crisis brings new opportunities with it. This is our optimism, and how we look at this long term. It’s an opportunity to review your career. It pushes you to get out of your comfort zone. Think about the things you really love doing, what you’re really good at, and how to take that forward.”

Tomer Levy – CEO, Co-Founder at Logz.io, cloud observability for engineers: “We were not ready for remote, and it was especially hard for the managers. Trusting your employees takes maturity. Trying to measure hours – we decided to put all that aside and trust they were doing what they were supposed to do. We put managers through special training about how to not micro-manage but rather be there to offer help. So on the one hand, you are dealing with the crisis and looking after employees, and there’s also the big issue of winning right now.” He then went on to explain how they are being ‘aggressive’ at a time like this, and how that requires a significant investment.

Question: Will remote work continue after this?

Lisa: “It’s not even a question. If before it was a cool benefit for global companies, now it’s the new normal. Companies will have to see how to combine the two. We’re doing a pilot of gradual / voluntary return to office – 2 days a week in the office. We’ve created a safe zone and divided teams, so if someone gets sick they will all quarantine.”

Tomer: “We’ll allow people to work from anywhere now – we’ll be much more open to it.”

HR Tips

Lisa: “What do you do with people inside the company who find themselves out of work? All your front desk operations and PA’s? You create new opportunities and skills to involve them in projects, and this is how you discover in-house talent. Just like any other time you have to think about tough things. You have to see whose advancing you, whose taking you forward. You must give people the tools, but also maintain the whole and get your company out of the crisis.”

About the Author
Josia Nakash made Aliya from Canada at the age of 12 on a 28-foot Cape Dory sailboat. She loves sharing all the good Israel has to offer the world. Josia has a BA in International Relations and Political Science. She was the IDF's second female sniper instructor and is a top marketing consultant and copywriter.
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