The Marker Conference

Marker is the largest Israeli tech conference where the who’s who of “Silicon Wadi” convene. Of three thousand attendees 30 were from abroad; our group constituted one third of the foreign contingent. Four of our group were conference speakers: Robert Scoble, Cathy Brooks and Deborah Schultz participated in panels, while Craig Newmark (Craig list) gave the opening keynote. Lots of high energy networking and schmoozing. Yossi Vardi, the dean of Israeli high tech and the conference master of ceremonies, publicly acknowledged our group and it seemed that everyone knew of our visit. Yossi has graciously hosted us for a number of events and helped to plan some of our activities during this week. With warmth and great Israeli humor, Yossi is one of the best ambassadors for Israeli tech innovation and is known as a “techie rock star”. You may not know his name, but one of his companies ICQ was sold to AOL for a reported $400 million. It is known to you as instant messenger. So, when you next text message give a nod to Yossi for your connectivity.

Craig’s keynote focused on his hobby to create lists as Tikkun Olam on the web. Craig’s list is built on trust and of the 10 billion page users a month, there are very few who do misuse the system.

Robert Scoble (who interviews innovators and profiles new technology for Fast Company) spoke about where web 2.0 (more interactivity potential including video, audio, blogs, etc) is going. Mobile devices will make an extraordinary difference as people upload their visuals and the visual and audio uploading revolution is only beginning.

David Sable (who is not part of our group), COO for Wunderman advertising agency, posed a fascinating proposition in his panel. Google is getting money so advertisers can find us. We should get paid to get contacted. He thinks we are creating our own personal brands on Facebook; the customer should be in on the money making part of search.

Met Akiva Tor, the new Consul General for San Francisco and we spent quite a bit of time together. He is interested in what our group has done and hopefully will integrate new technology into the planning for his tenure in San Francisco. Perhaps our experiment in traveling geeks to Israel will have a ripple effect on bringing new media technology into how the Israel Consulate will make the Israel connection more relevant and interactive for the Bay Area. That would be sweet.

This post was sent from the van going to Haifa and I am connected to the internet through an AirCard provided from an Israeli company called Sierra Wireless. So I am connected 24/7 in Israel.

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