Launchpad Israel: The Aftermath – 2006 and Beyond

(also see part 1 and Israeli Tech Scene)

(for a continuation see True Perps: 29 July 2021)

updated: 30 October 2021

In Israel, I believe or rather know that I was “downranked” within that society in late 2006 via extensive personal observation. This continued for many years. It is a conscious effort to neutralize someone’s influence in society… and quite possibly much, much worse within an “orange-ray emotional blockage” context.

This was done utterly unfairly, I feel, and corresponding to my experience street-drumming where gangs could “start on me,” I think it was a way to assert dominance. This “downranking” was done from the top-down and of course unbeknownst to me. The judge, jury and executioner never knew me, or barely, with lies probably making up for solid information – if they even had any.

I suspect it came after a series of 3 blog posts (from late 2006) I wrote about interactions with VCs that I had had at the time. They weren’t critical blogposts I feel, more “matter-of-fact here’s how my experience went that day.” The posts might’ve been something like you’d find on thefunded.com (launched early 2007) – but in reality much less innocuous.

I don’t even think they were critical at all – but people can believe what they want to believe. The main, or rather only reason the posts went up was to create new content and to write something from a boots-on-the-ground, fresh perspective. The Launchpad Israel (LPI) blog was unpopulated at the time. If I visited or spoke to a VC about my startup, why not write about it?

Moreover, the blog posts came in context with the work I had already started in Melbourne in 2003, for which I had even previously met a VC firm there – Momentum VC. I met 3 individuals at that firm at the time, with the main contact being Tim Ingram. I also met Ron Finkel very briefly and also saw Doron Ben-Meir who many years prior was my tennis coach.

source

And I retained this vision into my Israeli VC meetings a few years later, and below are screenshots of the VC-specific vision I was working toward in 2003: Awarenex.

[1] [2]

Phase 1: Awarenex is a venture capital brokerage firm utilising the Web to match opportunities with investors. Essentially, AwareNex aggregates startup investment opportunities and matches each one to its network of angel investors. Startups companies pay AwareNex a commision for each investment made by any angel in its network. 

Phase 2: Awarenex creates and manages a venture capital fund that pools its investors' money over the web from a cartel consisting of high net-worth individuals who are clients of Awarenex's alliance partner banks. The fund partners with top-tier, venture capital firms to co-invest in their syndicate deals.
 
~ source

Part of the problem in Melbourne was that the VC scene was practically non-existent, perhaps Awarenex could’ve changed that. Also, perhaps it was a mistake to mention Awarenex in Israel with VCs as that would invoke rivalry – I was meant to be an entrepreneur and not coming in from a financier’s perspective. Often I wasn’t sure if I should be pitching GrooveTip, Awarenex, LPI or simply for a job. I pitched both GrooveTip and Awarenex to Tim Ingram and his suggestion for Awarenex was to start with a newsletter and with GrooveTip to first find revenues.

Launpad Israel wasn’t Awarenex, but it was aimed at adopting this vision specifically for the Israeli VC scene after funding and customized software development. LPI had multiple functions with a blog being only one. It was also meant to become a database of companies, people and events.

Another site, StartupIsrael.com started very soon after LPI launched. However, according to this post (and shown below), StartupIsrael launched first – in November 2006 – but I dispute that. LPI launched in October as already mentioned here and shown below [see post]. I also don’t consider it a competitor.

TechAviv, a still-running startup community which I joined, even began during LPI’s operation.

I listed one angel investor on LPI who was based in Monterey, California and he said he received multiple leads after being on it. I think he made two investments because of his listing, I am not sure. My concern was that after seeing MySpace take-off, I realized I missed that opportunity because GrooveTip used off-the-shelf software and really needed proper custom development to integrate its components – which I was looking to do anyway, but I wasn’t a hardcore programmer.

Continuing on, I even removed the most controversial post – the one about Mr Dibner (with its one sentence about being rejected)  after I was queried on the post by Jon Aizen who later said in an email “The issue was dropped when you removed the post.” However, it turns out it wasn’t the case. Removing the post and even taking down the blog in hindsight was really the mistake. It was never about the post… I think it was about me.

After this, Jon and his CEO Eran uninvited me (and someone else) to his startup’s (Dapper) NYE party and I had been providing solid feedback to them up until that point. I think Jon was even interested in having me as an employee. Over email, Jon asked me for an apology for Mr Dibner, but instead I just removed the post about him (and the other 2 VCs) about 4 days later. To this day, I have never met Jon in person, or even spoken to him verbally and lost contact soon after.

Being uninvited to Dapper’s NYE party was the watershed moment for me. My blog even received around 80 visitors in the space of a few minutes while the VC posts were up – Israeli visitors. The posts had caught the attention of people – negative attention I suspect.

pic

And when I finally left Israel in late November 2018 with my belongings, I received many visitors in a very short period of time at the beginning of the month.

Those photos were posted on the 5th of November and taken at the Dizengoff center. The influx of visitors probably had nothing to do with me leaving. Or was it because the Ormus King was escaping with his life?… nahh.

Continuing, Dapper was acquired by Yahoo in 2010. And as with Yedda and Moshtix that were also acquired in those years, with all 3 I had been providing solid feedback and help to those firms in their startup period only to be eventually ignored – or worse. But if nothing’s in writing, that’s part of business I suppose… to a certain extent.

Interestingly, my twitter account @bitrific (since renamed @adrianboron1) I feel was instrumental in promoting Bitcoin in its earlier years, with content drawn from Hacker News.

source 2

Hackers and other users were using this account to chime in on conversations about Bitcoin on Hacker News.

Also, my other @btcprice account linked every tweet to the following price page that I created especially for that account (although the first June 2011 tweet did not.)

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I was in contact with Meni Rosenfeld and Vibhu Mohindra back then too.

At the same time I setup some very pro-Israeli (and US) unofficial twitter feeds including the all important debkafile and a number of others including israelnatnewsisraelnatbriefs, israelnatopin, investisraellpijobs, globesbiz, stratforintel, globesec and amthinker. I still run these to this day.

In 2009 I also wrote an interesting piece on regime change in Iran (and also on the Two State Solution.)

source | 2

I was in contact with the editor at American Thinker for the Iranian essay, but for some reason it was never published there after some emails. Perhaps my heart was in the right place, but my vision was not. Maybe I was “checked out” beforehand. Today, in 2021, with barely any real changes to each of these wars, I am more of the view that they are staged for political gain or armament sales – aren’t many wars?

Also, while I was developing Cleanzap.com in 2007/08 as a business directory for the CleanTech space to run alongside its own blog, Crunchbase was also launched as a directory to run alongside the Techcrunch blog, with both acquired in 2010. It’s like I was doing R&D for Michael Arrington. CleanZap started as the next iteration of LPI to be a database alongside a blog.

screenshot: 23 July 2008

In view of all this, I am not surprised Disney used Ormus King as a starting point for The Rise of Skywalker which I elaborate upon here. That film had a box office of $1 Billion, and I suppose it could’ve been much worse without its emulated vision. At present I have many fashion and music industry followers – yet I have never been publically acknowledged by them – even after acquisitions.

Interestingly, I don’t think I was the only one that experienced such a “downranking” thing. It must be part of Israeli life. At a tech conference, a fellow sitting next to me pointed out another person literally following him around and talking – ie spooking – everyone he spoke to almost immediately afterward to turn them off him. He described some sort of bizarre situation that led him to that one, and I quizzed him, “but why don’t you confront him on it?” and he said “then there’d really be trouble.”

During another situation, at Entrepreneur Perspective as a VC (7 October 2010,) the speaker (Eden Shochat) asked if there was anyone that preferred English, and I raised my hand, yet Mr Shochat  still ran his talk in Hebrew. The slides were in English. There was another person that only spoke English at the front of the room. Someone (from Intentia.co.il) gave me a lift home and said it was really odd.

My blog (Launchpad Israel) was removed from the blogrolls of Daniel Cohen (Dec 2008 -> Jan 2009) and Roi Carthy (Feb 2009 -> July 2009.) But by that time, my blog wasn’t in the same form as it was when originally launched.

By mid-2007 I was back in Melbourne living with my mum (after ~1.5 years in Israel) and helping a solar startup with SugarCRM customization. That firm (Energy Matters) was eventually acquired in 2014. Interestingly, during this period I also worked for a small Israel/Europe VC firm for 3 days but the spreadsheet work wasn’t at all creative. I covered the firm’s launch on LPI and this led me to the job – which I tried so hard to like – but at least I did it though. By the end of the year I had started a new site, “Adrian Wajsbrem Blog” that covered similar topics to LPI but with more music and hobbies.

[pic 3]

During this period in Melbourne I was always thinking about returning to Israel. I started reading Torah everyday. I held Skype conversations with two Israeli entrepreneurs, with one almost leading to a board position for a blog-search site (strategicboard.com.)

I eventually returned to Israel in early 2008 after going through Canada for further Heartcarve research, which continued at Mount Buller in 2007 and started in 2002.

Lastly, my trouble could well have been related to non-conformity whereby I documented here “Price Tag” activism sprayed on a wall near to where I played drums in 2016. In decrypting it years later, I realized I could have (and could still??) “DISAPPER.”

One reason this whole drama is pertinent today is related to the Trump de-platforming:

"I think there has been lots of deplatforming of conservatives and I always think that the actual censorship that people talk about is just the tip of the iceberg and the real problem is the downranking. One of the top Google executives used to always say 5 or 6 years ago we never sensor anybody we just downrank people and the downranking was the far more insidious way to sort of tilt the playing field of the discourse. But there has been outright censorship, outright deplatforming and when you do it with the President of the United States, that does feel like you really crossed some kind of rubicon where you know I’m not sure you declare war on half the country but maybe a third, forty percent of the country and that seems really crazy. When you have Angela Merkle and Obrador from Mexico saying that the tech platforms have been too anti Trump, too mean to Mr. Trump that tells you you have probably really overreached.

Peter Thiel - vid here

So with my 2006 “Israeli downranking” (or worse) – and I have vast notes on what took place with those starting off as unpleasant memories – the problem is that a sort of war on liberty is declared with everyone who once knew me, or wants to know me. Someone is telling them: you can’t freely associate with that person, you might have to deplatform yourself or even go into hiding in order to elicit a response from the target that we can then ideally prosecute. That is, legal prosecution; or alternately execution. And even if you disagree with all this, do it anyway.

Mossad is responsible for intelligence collection, covert operations, and counter-terrorism. It is separate from the democratic institutions of Israel; because no law defines its purpose, objectives, roles, missions, powers or budget, and because it is exempt from the constitutional laws of the State of Israel, Mossad has been described as a deep state. Its director answers directly and only to the Prime Minister. ~ Wikipedia

 

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And so then that person becomes submissive (or faces the same fate.) So the question becomes, is all this top-down fear justified, is it healthy? Will a society like that even survive long-term? Why do it?

Perhaps it was because I was Australian and I could be used as a whipping boy (hurt me to hurt an untouchable other) or just as some type of scapegoat. For example, during the British mandate period, 1917-1948, members of the Jewish underground were imprisoned in Jerusalem in the Russian compound (below center and right, Ormus King 2) and then executed in Akko.

In this way, the Union Jack could (sometimes) be seen as a blessing to Israelis, but also a curse – due to the Balfour Declaration. However, if I were to resent something, it would be that Israel is referred to as a State (מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל‎) and not a Country, and this reinforces my view that Israel could be renamed to “The State of Israel-2B” – but to eventually be called “The Kingdom of Israel.” And to assist with this, I created an epic tale (documented here) that takes Israel in its current form to this idealized Kingdom which Jews around the world yearn for in their daily prayers, as enabled by a black messiah with his sidekick Adrian Boron.

So the reason for the downranking in 2006 could’ve been anything – or nothing. It was likely used for self-gain or sick sport. In the end, I started my startup BopGig in 2010 with American talent. “Too Bad” – and that’s the key phrase that no one seems to know how to use within this situation. And perhaps ironically, Indiana Jones actually saved me.


 

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