Ayelet Noff has been involved in the startup scene almost before the term social media existed. A conversation about founders in Israel and taking risks.
Ayelet, how has the term ‘social’ changed your life?
“I’ve always been a very social person and have always also had an affinity for technology. So when social media was just emerging, I fell in love with it because it brought two things together which I love so much – digital and social. It enabled me to create a huge virtual network of connections throughout the world and I understood very early and quickly the potential of this space for brands to become socially active and engage with their customers.
In the past you were Marketing Manager at ICQ for 4 years as well as Writer at Mashable, TechCrunch and The Next Web. What was the most exciting story you ever wrote about?
“I was one of the first people to cover the Israeli tech space as it was becoming more social and B2C-oriented. As social media tools and networks were coming about, Israel also started its own series of socially oriented products and apps. It was exciting to be there at the time to cover and discover this space.”
Interesting. You live in Tel Aviv and travel around a lot. What makes the startup scene in Israel so special?
“One out of three people you meet in Israel is an entrepreneur. Israelis are not afraid of taking risks. Often, you’ll meet founders of startups and find out that their current project is their 4th or 5th venture. In addition, the Israeli startup scene is very hospitable and welcoming to new and old entrepreneurs.”
Everyone in Europe and Israel still speaks about the questions of where the next Silicon Valley will be located. Do you think this is the right question to ask?
“I think it’s very clear that Israel is the second Silicon Valley. We have more startups per capita than anywhere else in the world.”
What founder did impress you the most so far and why?
“I have to say Matt Mullenweg. This is a kid from Texas who was able to build the largest blogging platform in the world, i.e. WordPress, all on his own. His philosophy of openness and cooperation enabled him to grow WordPress into what it is today.”
In 2006 you set out to build Blonde 2.0, your venture which now has over 20 employees from all around the world. Since then, Blonde 2.0 has become one of the largest global digital marketing companies in Israel helping over 40 companies worldwide. During your journey, have you ever been afraid of something?
“I’ve learned from a very young age that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.”
How does your usual day look like?
“Going over emails, internal meetings with departments, meetings with clients, more emails, going to gym, more emails, meetings with potential clients, more emails, global conference calls, more emails, tech mixer, more emails, more global conference calls, going to sleep, answering more emails.
Your company name Blonde 2.0 sounds a little old-fashioned, using the term 2.0. Why do you think it still suits your passion?
“Web 2.0 is all about enabling people to interact with online content, about democratic values, engagement and communication. That’s what Blonde 2.0 is all about.”
While traveling, is there something you always take with you? Travel essentials?
“Yes. My electronic kit with my adaptors, cables, speakers, chargers, etc.”
You started your company almost 10 years ago, where do you see yourself 10 years ahead from now?
“Head of a bigger Blonde 2.0 empire with international branches.”