Monday, May 25, 2009

Yossi Vardi Walks into my Life

Yossi Vardi Walks into my Life

Yossi Vardi is an enormously successful entrepreneur who spearheaded the Israeli internet hi-tech revolution of the past fifteen years (and before that he had an amazing career as well). We met several years ago, through the auspices of Prof. Dov Lichtenberg (Yossi's classmate and my Dean at the Medical School). For whatever reasons, we hit it off. Yossi connected me with the HED big band, and I even performed at one of his international internet conferences (without either of us knowing!)

When Yossi began inviting me to his un-conference camp for the weird, "Kinnernet", I didn't attend for several years, as I did not feel competent enough in the internet world (most of the participants are internet mavens and aspiring leaders) to attend. But when Alon Amit joined my team, I asked him to bring me 'up to scratch', and he did his best. So although I still don't twitter much, I do have over four hundred facebook friends, have several active websites ( ,where children can read and listen to all my children's books for free
and, which cotains many research articles and facats about bad breath and body odor and, where people can read everything about me and many dormant ones (such as, just waiting for the right moment.

I attended my very first Kinnernet in 2007, and was amazed. There were heads of major corporations there swallowing swords, walking tightropes, playing amazing music, cooking cholent at midnight, etc. etc. I phoned my wife "Honey, if you thought I was 'bad', you have to come see these guys!". My daughter Assif puts it like this: "Once a year an alien spaceship lands at the Kinneret, and Dad hangs with his 'other family' for a couple of days". These people are all over the place – they make robots that make robots and fly toy helicopters and play computer games in real helicopters. And when they're not at kinnernet, they're busy shaping our world.

You can't apply for Kinnernet, you only get invited. And you only get re-invited if you're out there, running workshops, singing and dancing, inventing gizmoes, and making a public spectacle of yourself. I just participated in the first Kinnernet in the US, organized by Yossi Vardi and the indomitable Jeff Pulver. Amazing! Smaller and more intimate than the Israeli one (100 participants instead of 200), cushier (high class rooms and toilet paper), less doodads (some, like the real helicopter, or Didi's clock made out of ten bicycles, are head to bring on the plane), but the same lateral people doing their mishigas. What a wonderful world of the weird!

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