Google chairman Eric Schmidt, who visted Israel last week, posted some thoughts on Google + to elucidate about his trip and his perceptions about the “oversized impact” Israel could have on the future of world technology.
In his post, Schmidt specifically avoided discussing the Middle East conflict and instead praised Israel for its developments in technology, science and engineering. Schmidt made similar comments last Monday, when he spoke at the Big Tent conference in Tel Aviv.
“After a long trip through the Asian trouble spots, Israel felt very peaceful, and very much like Silicon Valley,” Schmidt wrote in his Google + post. “I won’t comment on the history, conflict or opposing views in the region which are well understood, or at least well covered if poorly understood. To see the tiny Old City of Jerusalem, crucially important to three world religions, is to understand why people have fought over centuries for this land.
“Israel has few natural resources and has about half of its GDP tied up in export oriented businesses. The country is simply too small and with little opportunity to cooperate in traditional business with its neighbors, Israel has become a high tech hub. Google has a large engineering and sales operation in Israel, whose achievements are definitely world-class.
“In our meetings four things became clear about Israel as a high tech, innovation engine,” wrote Schmidt, particularly “it’s commitment to universities and science… [that] The universal military service is integral to this process… [that] Israel technology benefits greatly from the Internet… [and that] The security situation may actually help as some told us that there is a ‘live for today’ attitude, taking more risks in business than other countries would.”
“We should expect much more investment in high technology in Israel, and many more startups as the next generation of the Internet unfolds.,” Schmidt added. “… For a small country, Israel will have an oversized impact on the evolution of the next stage of the technology we all use.”
During his address at the Big Tent conference last week, Schmidt made similar remarks, praising the quality of Israel’s engineers is very high, which he attributed to to the level of education in the country- though he suggested there was room for improvement – and to the training acquired in the army. He also praised local salespeople as among the best in the world, saying they continue to contribute to the company’s profits.
“We love Israel,” Schmidt told the crowd at the conference.