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| Issue 53 |
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Ari Manor, CEO, ZOOZ
An interview with a senior executive
Benny Bachrach, Chairman of S.Z.P
- Number of company
- We provide: Software services.
- I have been in my
position for: Since the company was founded 27 years ago.
In 1958, when I finished the army, I started working as a computer operator at MALAM, which was a government company back then. After a few years, I got my high school diploma and starting studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Economics at Hebrew University. After completing my Bachelor’s degree, I worked at the city treasury in Eilat. The job proved to me that economics was not my cup of tea and I went back to computers. In 1966, I set up the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s computing unit. In 1967, I started working as a systems analyst at the Ministry of Transportation, and in 1973, I was appointed to Manager of the Ministry’s Computer Department. During this period, I completed my Masters degree in Public Administration (also at Hebrew University). In 1977, I went to work at a healthcare service provider as an IT Department Manager. In January 1982, I set up Elad Systems together with a partner (Danny Dayan). Concurrently, between 1982 and 1984, I was IT Administrator of the Ministry of Construction and Housing. Between 1984 and 1986, I served as VP of Solmel, a subsidiary of Solel Boneh for computing services. In 1987, I returned to Elad Systems as CEO. In 1994, Gilad Rabinovich, the first CEO of Elad Systems arrived, and since then I have been the company President.
- What I like about the
job: The feeling that I do everything inside the company. I am privy to every bit of information and every incident that happens in the company. I come to work every day and more than anything, I feel like the company’s spiritual father. The employees consult with me on every matter, and I feel that I foster a family, social and pleasant environment in the company thanks to my awareness of all that goes on in it. I know the names of all the employees, know a large portion of them personally, celebrate birthdays. I have no secrets. My management style is the friendly sociological approach. I’m not strict, I know how to listen and how to make quick decisions.
- The most difficult
part of the job: There is no such thing.
- Goals I want to
attain: Many. I want to be among the top five companies in the computer services industry in Israel, and I think that I am quickly moving in that direction.
- Our vision: To cement our place in the history of the IT world, to be found immediately in Wikipedia or Google. It’s important for me to give to the company and I love people. I donate large sums of money to academic scholarships (on condition that I know where the money is going and how it is being used). I help in hospitals and anywhere I can give a helping hand and also to individuals in need.
- An original product
in the field: I’ll mention two products. 1)
Share Docs – for managing documents in offices. A product that saves a great deal of paper and makes it possible to manage all the office correspondence on the computer. Almost all the institutions in the country have bought this from us: The Knesset, the courts, Police, The Electric Company, the Negev Nuclear Research Company, Israel Railways, the ports, refineries, El Al, and more. This product is very popular among large organizations and close to one hundred organizations use it. 2)
Chameleon – for managing patients’ medical files (exists in Tel Hashomer, Kaplan, Ichilov, Schneider and other hospitals). This very successful and unique product enables us to be significantly competitive in price and service.
- Sources of
innovation: An important source is our employees, who read a lot of professional literature and are always up to date. If you’re not an innovator, you’ll always trail behind everyone else. It’s important to keep up and do what the leading competitors are doing. When a need is defined, I’m always there. We understand the market needs even though the market in our industry is very sophisticated and always becoming more complex.
professional book: I would love to recommend a book that I wrote:
This Boy will Amount to Nothing. The book depicts my life story and describes how I managed to achieve where I am today, all on my own, despite what one of my teachers at school said in front of my parents that “he will amount to nothing…” I decided to write the book two years ago when I celebrated my 70th birthday. I gave it employees, customers and friends.
Anyone interested in the book can contact Hana, Shlomo’s secretary, by email:
- 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 7 Irrefutable Rules of Small Business Growth / Steven S. Little / Wiley Publishers
Published in The Marker
Magazine, October 2007, in "The
Management Bookworm" column written by Ari Manor, CEO of ZOOZ.
Steven S. Little, as the surname perhaps suggests, is a small business consultant. He helps them grow quickly, after he himself managed and grew 3 very small businesses at a rate of more than 500% per year (!), and brought the largest of them to revenues of more than 12 million dollars and to a size of 100 employees. Steven has been a senior consultant for the prestigious magazine Inc. since 1998. He also lectures to thousands of growing organization owners each year, including large corporations such as UPS, Microsoft, and Sprint. The desire to help small businesses develop and grow is a life mission for him, which is evident in his book The
7 Irrefutable Rules of Small Business Growth,
published in 2005 by Wiley.
Similar to other “doers”, who mainly learned by trial and error and hard work, his book is original, deviates from the conventions in academia, and it addresses some taboos along the way. It’s difficult to argue with Steven’s success, and it is very worthwhile to listen to and learn from him, since a wise man learns from others’ experience. Fortunately, Steven’s unique and direct writing style is simple and to the point and only makes the reading experience that much more enjoyable.
The book is actually a dialogue with the amateur entrepreneur interested in establishing a small business. Steven does not tell the entrepreneur what to do, but gives him some insight, food for thought, and questions that he must answer. The first chapter of the book refutes myths pertaining to managing small businesses. For example, apparently small business owners are no more independent than employees in a company (they work more hours and they actually have numerous managers – the bank they loaned money from, the clients that keep demanding more from them, and even their employees…). Self-employed and small business owners do not earn more than their employed counterparts, unless their business truly grows. Despite this, Steven gives several indications that it is easier to establish a small business today (entrepreneurship is currently perceived as “cool”, it’s easier to borrow money from banks, the government is more supportive, and more).
In the second chapter, Steven describes the necessary traits for an entrepreneur that starts a business. These include perseverance, the ability to be assisted by others, daring, ingenuity, the ability to improvise, and credibility. The message is simple: not everyone can be an entrepreneur and certainly not one that manages to establish a growing and thriving business. Those endowed with the suitable traits are welcome to read the rest of the book.
The remaining seven chapters describe seven rules that must be followed in order for a small business to grow rapidly. These are not clear and explicit DOs and DON’Ts but important issues that must be considered when starting a small business. For example – the second rule says that you must know the market very well, and Steven is not talking about conventional market research methodologies. Instead, he offers several ways in which an entrepreneur can independently (and without investing money) research his customers, the trends, and the competitors. For example – Steven recommends that every entrepreneur read two magazines a day (50 per month) in order to bolster his knowledge and identify trends and opportunities. After reading the recommendations in this chapter, the entrepreneur is invited to choose the best ways to research his industry. But just to make things clear, Steven stresses that it is the entrepreneur’s full obligation and responsibility to know the market well, and if he doesn’t, then there is little chance that his business will grow rapidly.
The seventh chapter, which talks about the rule of “utilizing the power of technology”, is especially interesting. This chapter explains how you can use the power of computers and the Internet (accessible to small businesses in today’s day and age) in order to grow rapidly. Several ways to do this are described, here but the main message is that the entrepreneur cannot shirk this responsibility under the pretext that he is not technologically savvy. Technology in general, and information technology in particular, have become the main growth engine for small businesses, and you must learn how to use them wisely. Steven demonstrates that he himself is very knowledgeable in information technology and the implications that it has and will have on the future of small businesses. We will let you read the instructive examples he brings and the extremely non-trivial future implications that he predicts. But we will stress that this is a must read chapter for managers in large corporations, and also for those that are not afraid of technology.
Fifty percent of employed people work in small businesses. Many of the employees in larger organizations dream of starting their own business. The management bookworm warmly recommends this book for both these groups. It’s fun to learn from others’ experience.
- Buy the book at:
Note: 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
In 1865, Dr. Joseph Lister read Louis Pasteur’s research about bacteria and decided to apply it to reducing contamination in operating rooms. Pasteur proposed preventing contamination in three ways: heating, filtering and chemicals. Since the first two methods are inappropriate for operating rooms, Dr. Lister focused on disinfecting using chemicals, and he developed a new procedure to perform surgeries, which included disinfecting the surgical instruments, the cloths used to cover the surgical area, and the incision made on the actual patients, using phenol (carbolic acid), and the instructions given to surgeons to wash their hands prior to surgery. With the help of this procedure, the percentage of deaths caused by surgery-induced infection dropped from 50% (!) to approx. 0% (!!), and Dr. Lister managed to keep Glasgow Hospital uncontaminated for 9 consecutive months.
The drop in surgery-induced mortality rates attracted a great deal of international attention and in 1869, 400 physicians and pharmacists came to Dr. Lister’s lectures from all over Europe. Influenced by Lister, one of the attendees - a pharmacist named Robert Johnson, developed the sterile gauze bandages, an invention that led to the establishment of the Johnson & Johnson corporation.
In 1880, Lambert Pharmaceutical developed Listerine, a product named after Dr. Joseph Lister, and marketed as a general disinfectant. Listerine was used during the First World War, but when the war ended, product sales plummeted. As a result, Lambert management discussed how sales could be revived. Lambert’s chief chemist mentioned that Listerine could also be used to prevent bad breath. Therefore, it was decided to focus on marketing the product to dentists, and later directly to the general public. The product’s purpose was successfully shifted and Listerine sales soared from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars within a few years time.
The sequence of events described above shows how medical
studies (in this case, Louis Pasteur) are translated to
useful inventions (in this case – a liquid disinfectant for
operating rooms). It is also important to note that Dr.
Lister provided a comprehensive solution to the problem of
contamination in operating rooms, which included not only
the liquid disinfectant but also the work methods themselves
(hand washing, etc.). The above story also teaches how to
successfully change a product’s designated use (in this case
– from a liquid disinfectant to a mouthwash).
Naturally, Listerine mouthwash underwent additional changes and improvements over the years, including adding ingredients that prevent dental caries, expanding the variety of available flavors (mint, orange, and more), and adding a safety cap that children cannot open. Unfortunately, many adults also have difficulty opening the cap. If you encounter this problem, the solution is simple: press firmly on the smooth parts on both sides of the cap and then turn and open it. Happy gargling!