Guest Column: Key takeaways from the IAA CEO Tech Tour in Israel: Janak Sarda, Deshdoot Media Group

The idea of organising the CEO Tech Tour took shape when Pradeep Guha was the President of IAA India Chapter

e4m by Janak Sarda
Updated: Jul 31, 2017 8:56 AM

Shalom – Israel!

I vividly remember every day of my trip to the Valley in 2012 as part of the second edition of the International Advertising Association (IAA) CEO Tech Tour. Spending a day each with the who's who of the tech world from Facebook, Google, Microsoft , Twitter and to Youtube was a high we craved. 

The idea of organising the CEO Tech Tour took shape when Pradeep Guha was the President of IAA India Chapter. Since I missed the first tour, I decided to never miss one again. The best decision I've ever taken.

Neeraj Roy the President of IAA, proposed Israel as the destination for this tour. After the experience at the Valley, I wasn't sure what more could be expected and what would Israel have to offer. The delegation, a comfortable mix of senior members representing Print, Television, Outdoor and Digital, was in for a very pleasant surprise. The experience was as good as being in the Valley. 


We had almost 25+ interactive meetings and one mega India- Israel Tech summit. The line -up of interactive meetings was fantastically curated with Big Data, Retail Tech, Digital Creation, Interactive Publishing Platform, Personalised Self Service ( Customer Engagement Solution ), Interactive Wearable technology - a step further than Google glass, something which is already deployed in the commercial space, Consumer Behavioural Biometrics, Immersive Digital Story Telling, Autonomous Driving Technology, Notification Enrichment Platform and then the bigger one's Google and Intel ( VR & AR were a part of Intel presentation ) all of these topics covered in four days.

A little more about the evening sessions, which were completely different from the above, an exchange of views, ideas and an interaction with the highly recognised leaders of the Tech Industry in Israel.

Mr Yossi Vardi - for all of us who remember ICQ the first chat messenger, it was his creation. His start ups have mostly been acquired by the likes of Microsoft, Cisco, Yahoo amongst others. A 90 minute session with him was enough to understand how the start-up culture in Israel took off, the life cycle of a start up, the current global scenario in the start- up space and its future . 

The second evening we had Mr Shmuel Eden (Mooly) from Intel. Understanding the DNA of Israel Tech world from him was a wonderful experience.  

And then there was Mr Michael Oren the Dy. Minister in the Prime Minister’s office of Israel who spent the evening over dinner with the delegation. Among other things he shared with the group his experiences with PM Modi. When quizzed why PM Modi was often referred to in Israel as a rock star he replied that the way Mr. Modi carried himself, the warmth he exuded, the camaraderie he effortlessly established all pointed out to great possibilities for the two countries to have a mutually beneficial relationship in many areas ranging from agriculture industries to surveillance systems and defended based industries. 

One of the highlights of the tour was the Israel - India Tech Summit organised by Our Crowd to facilitate interaction between the members of delegation and over 300 start-ups from Israel spread across various sectors. Since the rest of our interaction was all about our industry, this was in its own way a platform for us to interact and understand innovations in other areas like FinTech, Agri Tech etc. 

Panel Discussions during this Summit were on the topics of Trends in Innovation and Frontier Tech - Indian Panelist Neeraj Roy and myself,   Digital Revolution - Megha Tata (BTVi) and Siddharth Roy (Hungama ), Israel & India Blazing the Collaboration Trail- Avinash Pandey (ABP) and Abhishek Karnani (Free Press Journal ) 

While we did enjoy the interactions and meetings, there was also the fun element attached to the trip. The city of Jerusalem has a lot of history to offer so it was a rich and stimulating overall experience. The Dead Sea was also one of those unique experiences for the delegation.

Neeraj Roy and Abhishek Karnani compliments to you, I believe by the end of the trip we already had a few of us taking the business level engagement to the next level. In fact over half a dozen members of the delegation initiated dialogues that could lead to fruitful business endeavours and that in itself validated the success of the Tour.

(The author is Director, Deshdoot Media Group and a member of IAA)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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