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From Tel Aviv to Texas –  Israel’s Creative Class Convenes At #SXSW 2012 in Austin

This post is an expanded version of the story by Levi Shapiro that appeared in the Jerusalem Post about Israel’s presence at SXSW 2012 in which I contributed some of the content.

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Gal Malmoud, WonderVoice and Avner Warner, City of Tel Aviv

I’ve been traveling back and forth to Israel for almost eighteen years, representing many leading technology companies.  Most of what I have done has been traditional PR (i.e. media relations) that involved the beginnings of Internet Security, VoIP (think applications like Skype), WiFi, the tablet computer, the wired home network and many other innovations and standards where Israel has innovated, lead and monetized.  

Over the last four years, I’ve been observing a new chapter in the evolution of Israel’s startup economy, one that is merging technology, media, the Internet, entertainment, music, film and all things digital.  

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Israel Musical Sensation, Yoni Bloch

Naming or categorizing what’s going on here would be an injustice to pigeonhole what I am seeing as being “one thing.”   Rather, it’s a movement of culture, intellect, smarts, and a new form of “technology”” that is democratizing and dramatically lowering the barriers to entry for this new breed of startups.  It’s also an extension of what a previous generation of entrepreneurs built and became the infrastructure of the Internet that is now connecting us in so many new ways.

While it would be overstating the obvious that Israel rocks the house when it comes to “technology,” there’s an element of the economy that’s often hard to measure, let alone understand its longer-term social and economic impact.  

Fact of the matter is that there are lots of under-the-radar companies that are involved in digital media, music, the social web and all of the plumbing and analytics that are driving this  dramatic and concentrated force of creativity, innovation, and yes – real business.  

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David Wyatt, Alan Weinkrantz (me), Natasha Shine (Rounds), Gilad Zirkel and Marc Fischman (Hashtag Art) and Avner Warner, City of Tel Aviv celebrating Natasha and Marc’s appearance on CNN during SXSW 2012.

Some may be operating in co-working places like TechLoft , The Junction or the City of Tel Aviv’s The Library, while many are operating from home or in coffee shops.

I know there’s lots of smart and cool people all over the world doing this, but you’re not going to find any country on planet earth where the concentration and sheer numbers of people, relative to a country’s population, is involved in this period of dramatic change and positive disruption.  

While we all might appear to be having fun and geeking out during SXSW, the whole world will be watching and connecting with us.  

You’d be well served to tune into SXSW 2012,  and get a glimpse of the future,

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