On January 8th, we visited the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and Better Place. Both meetings were extremely informative on their operations, vision, mission, and goals. I feel however, that the strongest theme between the two was the idea of constantly revolutionizing the standard. The idea of constantly changing to meet the demands of the world was strong in both presentations.
To start off with a little background information, we arrived at the Tel Aviv Stock exchange and was greeted by Kobi Avramov, the head of research. The building was decked out in bright blue walls but had an eerily quiet feeling.
Instead of finding the expected hoards of employees, there were all but 3 or 4 in a calm state of mind. This is in large part thanks to their fully automated system that was put into play in 1997. Here is where the idea of constant change comes into play. We were given a brief presentation on the history of the Tel Aviv Stock exchange. We were shown pictures of employees yelling across the room, slamming phones, and shouting orders. However, as the sophistication of Israel grew and the country began to become a significant player in the global market it was time to revolutionize their operations. The real solidified change from emerging market to developed market came with the automizing of this system. In order to avoid discrepancies and provide fair opportunities for the increasingly interested investors, they had to change, and so they did.
The new system operates based on price and time priority. It is order driven and trading is anonymous. All of the transactions are made against the stock exchange. Of the companies trading, 140 are high-tech companies and 56 of these are biomedical companies. High tech and innovation has helped bring Israel to the map; however, I don’t know that I would consider the Stock exchange a high tech company but as you can see, regardless of the business at hand, the culture remains the same. They are still constantly innovating, constantly adapting, and constantly revolutionizing to meet the demands at hand.
Moving along on our journey for the day we arrived at Better Place, a company journey toward a new future through transportation transformation. In alliance with Renault, Better Place is seeking to put electric vehicles on the road and attempting to take an entire country off of oil. It’s quite a large mission but after seeing their culture of constant revolution, their dreams do not seem too afar. We were shown models of all electric Renault vehicles due to the market place in 90 days.
The idea is to create a vehicle that is completely electric and provide the charging stations in the most convenient way possible. They plan to have various switching stations where the battery can be switched in and out with ease, making the switch from gas powered cars a breeze. They are also enticing consumers to make the switch by offering government tax incentives. For Israeli’s, they pay 76% tax on car purchases; however, if they purchase an electric vehicle it will be lowered by 10%.
The idea of constant revolution is extremely strong. They first began thinking of how a better world could be achieved; their idea: taking a country off of gas. However, just introducing an electronic vehicle to the market would not be enough, they needed to adapt their business so that it would meet the needs of the consumer. Instead of becoming a manufacturer of electric vehicles, they partnered with one and instead developed the service that would match the consumer’s interests. They adapted the experience of the electric car to meet the convenience consumers desired. Not only did they come up with a way to make at home charging stations easily installable, they developed a grid of charging stations and switching stations at various convenient locations. Therefore, they are strongly encompassing the idea of constantly innovating in order to push the standard way of life and bring about new, exciting, and revolutionary lifestyles that align with the consumer demand.
Our trip for the day was then ended with an authentic dinner at the Lillyot Restaurant with a short talk provided by Allan Barkat. He discussed his idea behind the Liliyot Restaurant and its social good aspect of taking people off the street and providing them with the training and knowledge to work in the food industry. Once again pushing past what it means to be a “normal” entity by revolutionizing the workforce behind it.