My Story

I had dreamed of starting and running a company since I was 17. As a senior in high school in Israel, I saw friends lose their lives in the middle-east wars. I was looking for purpose and meaning in my life, and for me it was starting and building my own company. It was to be the act of self-expression. And for many years, for better or worse, it became the central activity of my daily life and the primary source of my personal identity.

My desire to build an organization and lead people based on my own values was reinforced during my military years. As a Sergeant Major in the Israeli Air-Force I learned about people and leadership while under significant pressures and stress. But the authoritarian military style left me unsettled. I wanted to lead an organization based on respect for the individual.

Yosi was an advisor and board member from when I had founded the company, and through difficult times. I greatly valued the business expertise, wisdom, perspective, and balance that he contributed in his role with the company. Yosi's personal qualities and professional depth would make him extraordinarily qualified as a CEO's mentor and confidant.

— Founder & CEO

My dream was realized when I founded Individual Inc. (The name was a play on the organizational philosophy, and also our business, which was to deliver personally customized news to each client.) But living my dream of starting and running my own company became a roller-coaster ride. My personal identity and self-esteem were closely tied to the success of the venture, and I sometimes lacked perspective. At crucial moments I was emotionally entangled - with swings from high to low on this exciting and wild roller coaster ride - but in the end, this lack of grounding cost me millions.

Within that swirl I was unable to smoothly handle my board relationship. Though my ideas for a rapid acquisition strategy with the start of the Internet boom were right-on, I did not communicate them or manage the board relationship effectively. This resulted in my getting pushed out of my own company. It was a tremendous personal and financial loss for me, my employees, and our investors, as the stock price collapsed upon the announcement of my leave of absence.

This personal crisis was a blessing in disguise. It was painful but led to three critical changes. First, I learned of the importance of separating my own identify and self-esteem from the success of my business ventures. Second, I learned the importance of achieving and maintaining balance in my life. Building a company is a marathon, not a sprint. Hence, having other interests and sources of pleasure and release is critical for managing the pressure. And third, I recognized the importance of building a network of resources that can offer me perspective. As a result of these three changes, my second major CEO ride (at Valicert) was much smoother. I was more effective in managing relationships and in making decisions, while I also had more fun personally.

During my CEO years, I also helped form and build several other companies. My role was not an employee but sometimes a co-founder and sometimes as founding investor. I helped several entrepreneurs build their management teams, and provided CEO coaching (sometimes on a daily basis). In few cases I worked with the entrepreneurs to hand over the reigns, helping recruit outside CEO talent. As I mentored these CEOs I again experienced the importance of perspective and balance.

In 2002, after 14+ years in my CEO role, I decided to pursue this new line of work as my primary focus. My role as the confidant, coach and counselor for CEOs is a confidential and background one, exclusively for the benefit of the CEO. To do so more effectively, I am currently pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology.

My studies in psychology help me draw on my experience as a CEO, while integrating a more holistic understanding of people. This allows me the privilege of making a difference in the lives of few, who as leaders can have a positive impact on many.