Written by ZOOZ
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| Issue 47|
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Ari Manor, CEO, ZOOZ
An interview with a senior executive
Paul Steiner, CEO of Huliot
- Number of company
- We provide: We have 3 divisions:
Piping Systems Division – for the construction and renovation market, sewage and water supply pipes;
Office Division, which supplies plastic filing systems and office furniture (which also includes a Medical Market Department that markets trolleys and storage systems for the medical market); and the
Logistic Systems Division, which deals with heavy shelving for warehouses. Strategically, Huliot will be focusing on piping system products, and we have therefore added the slogan “Flowing
with You” to our logo.
- I have been in my
position for: Half a year.
I have a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from Monash University in Australia. I immigrated to Israel as part of a core group of settlers on Kibbutz Kadarim. After learning Hebrew at the ulpan, I became the Marketing Manager of the rubber factory on Kibbutz Kadarim. I worked there for two years and then became the Kibbutz’s Farm Coordinator. While in this position, we established 3 new departments at the kibbutz. One was acquiring a factory from Kibbutz Hagoshrim for measuring tools (currently known as Kapro). We physically transferred the factory using an external company, and during that period, I travelled to Australia for a year off. After my year off, I returned to Israel and became the Production Manager at Kapro. I was later appointed Operations Manager and then promoted to CEO, a position I held for 14 years. I concluded my position at Kapro at the end of May and then came to Huliot.
- What I like about the
job: It’s a new field, after 18 years in another industry. I like the challenge. Huliot is the most conservative company in our industry, and I am attempting to introduce innovations, new ways of thinking and products. Moreover, coping with the global economic crisis is an immense challenge for any CEO in any company.
- The most difficult
part of the job: Reducing expenses according to the changing status of the market, and to have to lay off employees.
- Goals I want to
attain: To appoint the right human resources that are best suited to our goals to steer the company toward export markets (the company is currently focused on the local market); and also to introduce innovation processes and come up with new and unique products that have a high added value. Needless to say, I would also like to cause the company to grow significantly.
- Our vision: To be a world leader in household piping system products (inside buildings, not infrastructures).
- An original product
in the market: We currently don’t have any but we are starting to promote processes and there are already developing a few new and unique products.
- Sources of
innovation: A great deal of internal company. We also use technological incubators and institutions that deal with innovation development and that drive structured creative thinking processes inside the company.
There are many. I recommend not sticking to one particular book as a “Bible”. Due to the innate humanistic challenge I encounter in my line of work, I connect the most with Dr. Michael Hammer’s book -
The Agenda. There are numerous topics in the book that apply to my job – like the need to connect people to what is most important in the company. Another recommended book is the
Blue Ocean Strategy. I recommend it because it encourages every company to identify the fields in which it can differentiate itself and find an independent zone in the market.
- For more information about the recommended books:
The Agenda |
Blue Ocean Strategy
- Send feedback to
- The recommendations presented above belong to the interviewee (the interviewees of this section often recommend processes that they underwent with other companies)
- Would you like to be interviewed?: contact us
A must-read book for managers
The Battle of the Start-Up / Boaz Tamir / Mater Publishers
Published in The Marker
Magazine, April 2008, in "The
Management Bookworm" column written by Ari Manor, CEO of ZOOZ.
The Battle of the Start-Up
could have been a fascinating and thrilling novel for managers that describes the rise and fall of a technological enterprise at the height of the high-tech bubble in Israel, although it can’t be since it is not a work of fiction, but a true story. The book, which was published by Yedioth Ahronoth in 2007, describes the story of the Israeli company Be-Connected, and was written by its CEO, Boaz Tamir. Boaz has a Ph.D. in Political Science and Business Administration from MIT, he was one of the founders of Romold Group (infrastructure and environmental products), and he consulted numerous companies in Israel and worldwide and currently stands at the head of the Worldview research group and serves as a managing partner at Montefiore Partners, an American venture capital fund. The book depicts his personal story as the CEO of Be-Connected, and harshly criticizes the venture capital industry in Israel, the fundamentally flawed decision making mechanisms that are so steeped in personal interests, and the estrangement between the Board of Directors and the enterprises they are supposed to promote.
It is obvious from the book that Boaz Tamir is a man of principles, for better or for worse. He has already made his wealth, and he currently has no need or desire to flatter high-tech executives and the local venture capital funds. In
The Battle of the Start-Up, he exposes some of the industry’s closely guarded secrets, and shows its uglier and lesser-known sides, such as the power struggles, the intrigues between local competitors, the greed and deviousness of investors, and the lack of support from the mother company Telrad. Since Boaz Tamir was directly hurt by Be-Connected, the book is a personal protest against them all, and sheds a fairly bad light on everyone who prevented Be-Connected from succeeding in the final stretch, after gaining significant momentum. Boaz does not tell a neutral and objective story. In his favor, I will say that it attempts to present the good and positive sides of his saboteurs.
So, why is the book worth reading? First of all, because of the fascinating story. Be-Connected began as a pretentious and expensive project that was on the brink of extinction at a large and aging communications company, Telrad. Boaz, who previously worked at Telrad, was called back in order to see whether the project could be saved. The project eventually became a spin-off, a separate company under Telrad’s management, which developed a sought-after technology, and “rode the wave” for a year. Telrad saw it as a lifesaver; it was courted by competing venture capital funds, received an offer to join a multi-million dollar project, and even mammoth Cisco wanted to collaborate with it. The price of Be-Connected during that period increased by ten million dollars each week, and then… the crash: The Board of Directors steered in a direction opposite that of Boaz’s vision, he was fired, Be-Connnected’s window of opportunity in the telecommunications market closed, and the company crashed and disappeared along with dozens of other companies during that same period.
The second reason to read the book is to learn about management and leadership
during times of crisis. For example – when Boaz started checking whether the
project could be saved, the employees received notice that the project was to be
terminated and they would be laid off, and the overall atmosphere was somber.
Even after it was decided to continue with the project as a separate company
under Boaz’s management, 90 of the 120 employees that participated in the
project had to be laid off. So who should be kept and who should be fired? Boaz
decided to keep all the employees that perceived the technology as more
important than their salary. He presented a marketing-technological vision to
the employees that stayed, but admitted that he did not know how to translate
his vision into products, and requested that everyone help him with his mission.
He broke all conventions regarding employment conditions and employee demands
that were standard in a large “unionized” company like Telrad. He got rid of the
time clock so as not to limit work hours. He demanded that options be
distributed to the employees. He gave company cars to all the development
engineers, which the other workers, including himself as CEO – did not get
(since the development time was critical for the company’s success).
There are several additional elements and reasons to read the book. An analysis of critical events that result in success or failure (for example – how the assistance of a well-connected consultant in Germany opened the door to a large bid, and how a positive and supportive article in a newspaper can stimulate venomous envy in colleagues). Explanations about the development a technological-marketing vision that a small company can use to grow and collaborate with large corporations. Insights on what really turns the wheels of the high-tech industry. And yes, of course… it is an extremely humanistic book, and enjoyable to read. This management bookworm gobbled it up, and recommends you do as well.
- Buy the book at:
The books in this section are a personal recommendation, and the link to purchase the book is for convenience purposes only (it is not an advertisement and we do not profit from the recommendation)
A list of other must-read
books for managers
An innovation which
surprised the world market and competitors
Solar receptors tend to collect dust, which adversely affects their efficiency. The dust blocks the sun’s rays, slows down water heating, and leads to waste, since we turn on the electric boiler when the water in the solar receptor is not hot enough, waste electricity, and end up paying more money. Apparently, the accumulation of dust on solar receptor costs 500-1300 NIS per year, depending on the size of the boiler and receptor.
In 2007, a group of 9th grade pupils decided to put an end to this waste. As part of the
Young Entrepreneurs project, the pupils developed a simple and inexpensive solution to the dust problem, which enables automatic cleaning of the solar receptor. It is a container positioned at the top of the solar receptor, and it fills slowly (using droppers) with water from the boiler’s water line. Every two days, the container fills to maximum capacity and then empties, spilling its contents on the solar receptor and rinsing off the dust. The principle behind this invention is simple – using elements of the
Closed World (the water in the boiler, in this case) in order to solve the problem (the dust that collects on the solar receptor).
The talented pupils won first place in the Southern Region in the Young Entrepreneurs competition, and even founded a commercial company called Meitarim in order to sell their invention. We don’t know what came out of all this (Amcor and other companies expressed interest in acquiring the invention). In any case, it is undoubtedly a brilliant idea, and these pupils have a promising future! If you know any further details about this topic, please keep us posted and we will happily inform our readers.
P.S. Thank you to Nir Sofer, an industrious and accomplished entrepreneur, who told me (Ari) about the idea.