TWS 2008 – Worst Israeli High Tech/Internet Conference Ever

The arrogance and silliness of Israelis reached an all-time low with what must have been the most disapointing high tech/Internet conference ever.

The TWS 2008 event earlier today assembled a group of 10 Israeli start-ups (although I’m not sure what Answers Corporations was doing there, almost 10 years after being founded) to present themselves to the Israeli marketplace, VCs and others in the Industry. In addition to the featured “start-ups” were panel discussions and other bonuses.

One of my main problems with the conference was that everyone was forced to speak in English. Just because someone is an entrepreneur, even a very smart one, doesn’t mean he or she’s a good presenter on stage. What’s more, it doesn’t mean he’s a good presenter when forced to use something other than his mother tongue. Worst of all, of coruse, is when people make bad jokes in their second or third languages. I understand there were several people from America who don’t speak Hebrew but translations should have been provided for them, not the other way around. Some presentations were entirely incoherent, defeating any purpose of trying to cater to the few rich foreigners (in the end no one ended up understanding anything).

Because most of the panel discussions were entirely boring, without direction and filled with nothing but buzzwords (“mobile is going to be big!”) most people didn’t even pay attention to what was going on on-stage. Certainly nothing new was shared or learned today. This was exacerbated by nearly every speakers’ silly habbit of polling the audience. Almost no one raised their hand for any question. “Eh, how many peoples in audience have profiles on the Facebook?” “If you do twitters raise your hands.”

The event opened with a game both excruciating to watch and painful to participate in. They has three different venture capitalists pitch the audience based on Powerpoint presentations they had never seen before. What could have been a funny 60 second excericse turned into 30 minutes of grown men making fools of themselves to an audience that couldn’t have cared less.

Combined, I think more harm was done to the impression foreigners have of Israeli high tech than anything else. The games we play here, the lack of professionalism in how projects are presented and the complete lack of respect we show for each other that leads us to leave cell phone ringers on and talk in loud conversations while some poor guy is trying to present his product in something other than his mother tongue.

7 Responses to TWS 2008 – Worst Israeli High Tech/Internet Conference Ever

  1. Eric Lee says:

    You know, I have to tell you, I really enjoy this blog and the insight from everyone who participates. I find it to be refreshing and very informative. I wish there were more blogs like it. Anyway, I felt it was about time I posted, Ive spent most of my time here just lurking and reading, but today for some reason I just felt compelled to say this.

  2. EV says:

    But mobile IS going to be big, Jacob.

    Mark my words: Mobile is the future.

  3. Avi says:

    Very true and I would be thrilled to help them

  4. Bystander says:

    …you just sound like an arrogant bitter American at this point.
    I thought this site was supposed to be fun.

    What happened to the other writers? They were much less…hateful…of their lots in life…

  5. Jacob says:

    Mr. Anonymous, I am not and was not being bitter or arrogant. If anything my point was that the conference should have been held in Hebrew!

  6. Wow. Am I ever glad I canceled our tickets. I would have kicked myself for wasting a day on that. Anyways, people here have really got to calm down with the conferences. Everyone and their mother wants to organize a conference, and there’s a limit to how much value a zillion conferences can add.

  7. Yosi Taguri says:

    I’ve been there too, as always there’s a lot to improve, this year it was much better then last year.

    But I’m sure there was at least 1 good startup, not all was bad.

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