Young Yahoo trainees take inspiration from overseas
Members of the tech giant's APM program learn tips from tech entrepreneurs.
It's not a stretch to say that, since taking over as CEO, Marissa Mayer has changed the culture at Yahoo. One aspect of the culture change is that she encourages managers, and the managers-in-training, to travel around the globe for inspiration.
Recently, a group from the Yahoo Associate Product Managers (APM) Program visited Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv to meet a number of Israeli tech entrepreneurs. Their mission: learn how products are launched in other markets.
"Our APMs launch products globally, often from day one, and it's critical for them to learn firsthand what the user needs are in different countries – that way we can better tailor our products to those audiences," Fernando Delgado, the head of the Yahoo APM program, told From The Grapevine."Our Yahoo engineering colleagues in Tel Aviv and Yahoo Labs research colleagues in Haifa were fantastic hosts. Their strong ties to the local academic and startup communities helped facilitate a very informative and productive trip."
Some of the companies the Yahoo APM group members met with are from Israel's best-known startups: Kenshoo, IronSource, Outbrain, SimilarWeb, PlayBuzz. They also met with Aleph, a venture capital firm that has funded many of these startups. They also learned about SifTech's accelerator program that helps entrepreneurs navigate their companies through the startup phase.
Delgado and his team had known that Israel was startup-friendly, but the biggest surprise that he found when he visited was that "since Israel is a relatively small market for massive consumer technology products, entrepreneurs in Israel are thinking about a global audience from day one," he said. The entrepreneurs' ability to develop with an eye toward audiences outside Israel has produced an impressive array of apps, websites and other technology.
The Yahoo APM group on a Segway tour of Haifa. The team went to Israel to meet with the country's best tech entrepreneurs and students at Haifa's Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. (Photo: Ariel Raviv/Yahoo Labs/Flickr)
"Most cases of successful startups in the U.S. begin with very niche or local markets that are close to the founding team, so the Israeli approach is different from what we have observed in the past," he said.
The APM group also met with students at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, and Delgado was especially impressed with what he saw future entrepreneurs working on.
"Their work on robotics, computer vision, 3D modeling and real-time processing of data was quite inspiring. We hope to see the products these technologies will enable in the coming years," he said.
What was the APM team able to take back with them to California?
"One of the most important things we'll take back is to think more about our global audiences from day one," said Delgado, "and what needs users have in different markets."
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