An Interview With Saul Singer, Co-Author Of The Book ‘Startup Nation’ And One Of Israel’s Greatest Thinkers

Over the years, I have done quite a few killer interviews and I am very proud of the long list. Having said that, the opportunity to have interviewed Saul Singer is definitely at the top of my list. If you are not familiar (how are you not familiar?), Saul wrote the book “Startup Nation” along with his brother in law, Dan Senor.

 

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Saul has been a journalist for many years, and has been a thought-leader to the Israeli tech scene through his global tours, speaking engagements, and contributions to leading and influential publications across the web and print. You can and should follow Saul on Twitter here, or join his Facebook community here. What is truly amazing about Saul’s work is that he coined the term “Startup Nation”, which we all use regularly and from which many organizations and initiatives began. Like Start-up Nation Central, to name one example.

But you didn’t come here to hear me talk, so let’s get right to it. Here are the questions I asked Saul along with his answers:

1. Who is Saul Singer? Please provide your background, both personal and professional and how you got to where you are today.

I worked for a while for different members of the U.S. Congress, moved to Israel, and became an opinion editor and writer at a newspaper. In all my work, I have tried to dig into complicated and sometimes controversial things and cut through them in a way that helps me, and I hope others, understand and make decisions. It is all about sifting through sometimes conflicting stories and then telling your own version in a way that adds something useful to the conversation. 

2. When did you decide to write the now world-famous book Startup Nation and what led to that decision?

One day, Dan Senor, who is my brother-in-law, called to ask whether anyone had written a book about Israel’s success in startups and high-tech. We both thought there must be one. We were surprised to find very little written about it in Hebrew or English. We thought it was a tremendous, largely untold, story. So we decided to write it. 

 It was risky, both because most books don’t do so well (like most startups) and because, as family, it might have been awkward if we weren’t able to write a book together. As it happened, we compliment each other so well that it is hard for me to imagine how other people manage to write books by themselves. The constant feedback loop was really important for both of us. 

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