The Economist, which has been intrigued by Israel's unique role in the world of technology entrepreneurs for years already, has a review of the book not in the review section, but rather in the business section:
The country that has led the world in promoting entrepreneurship has also done the most to plug itself into global markets. The Israeli government’s venture-capital fund, which was founded in 1992 with $100m of public money, was designed to attract foreign venture capital and, just as importantly, expertise. The government let foreigners decide what to invest in, and then stumped up a hefty share of the money required. Foreign venture capital poured into the country, high-tech companies boomed, domestic venture capitalists learned from their foreign counterparts and the government felt able to sell off the fund after just five years.
Last year Israel, a country of just over 7m people, attracted as much venture capital as France and Germany combined. Israel has more start-ups per head than any other country (a total of 3,850, or one for every 1,844 Israelis), and more companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange, a hub for fledgling technology firms, than China and India combined. It may not have the same comforting ring as “the Swedish model” or “the polder model”, but when it comes to promoting entrepreneurship, “the Israeli model” is the one to emulate.
Here's a story about what it's like to live in the middle of this whirlwind.
What are the odds of that happening anywhere else in the world, outside Silicon Valley itself? (If there).
So the other day Jeffrey Goldberg interviewed Dan Senor. It's a bit understated, but otherwise a really fun read.
It's a very young country, very difficult environment, there are no natural resources, no access to regional capital or regional markets. If you were to paint a picture of the circumstances under which you're not going to have a successful economic developing country, it would be Israel...
JG: Go to one final thing, something that struck me when I was reading this book. You have a boycott movement in Europe, but in the U.S., too, you have forces that want to delegitimize Israel. I realized in reading this that it would be quite something to go tell Intel or Google or IBM to divest from Israel.
DS: They'll never do it. I mean, it's impossible. What various companies told us is that if they had to shut down operations in India tomorrow, they could survive because it's basically a lot of outsourcing and a lot of call centers. They said if we had to shut down our operations in Ireland, we could survive. But what one person after another told us is that the one place in the world that would devastating for them to have shut down would be Israel, because they put so much of their mission-critical work and R&D in Israel. The Intel story we tell is amazing, this key chip that was central to Intel taking off was designed and then manufactured in Israel, so it would be devastating to these companies to lose Israel. And one more thing -- the most interesting data point on all of this is that European venture capitalists invest more in Israel than they do in any single European economy.
JG: Is that true?
DS: Yes and, to me, that says it all. For all the ranting from Europe about boycotts and attempts at boycotts, that's not what European capital is doing. In terms of the U.S., this is even more true. I don't want to oversimplify, but who do think is more important to Barack Obama: The head of J Street or Eric Schmidt at Google? And if Eric Schmidt said that his company would be devastated if Israel came off-line -- and we interviewed Schmidt and he talked about the importance of Israel -- then I think I know the answer.