Hello Yehuda, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Sure. I’m 17 years old (almost 18, actually). I am the Chief Executive Officer of Twanos, a strategic marketing-consulting firm I started almost four years ago. I also serve as the Chief Technology Officer of Made In Jerusalem, a community-based non-profit organization that is working tirelessly to connect grow and empowers Jerusalem’s startup and tech ecosystem. I am also in my last year of high school.
What would you say are Twanos’ focus areas?
Over time, Twanos has developed an expertise in helping early-stage projects and ventures build a big-picture online marketing strategy. We also have a strong track record of helping social projects achieve meaningful impact using digital tools. As a matter of fact, my work for Made In Jerusalem stems from my knowledge in precisely that area – helping non profits leverage tech.
How do you describe your journey in few words?
Well, to be honest, I don’t think my journey is quite over yet. I would even venture to say that I am at the beginning of my journey. But so far, I can most accurately define it as one of growth. Growth in knowledge, growth in maturity, growth in skills and more.
Where do you think you are making an impact?
I think our impact is largest in the non-profit sector. Non-profits have quite a bit of issues with normal service providers. This is largely due to the astronomical fees they tend to charge and because of their template-like approach. Because of how young Twanos is and how young I am, we are able to provide a better price and return on investment to our clients. Furthermore, because we are a boutique service with a fresh perspective, we work with a result oriented approach that far more effective both financially and result-wise for our clients. It is this approach that allows them to succeed without breaking the bank. Because of my age, I am also able to take for more risks than your average digital marketing firm owner. For example, a client who doesn’t have the budget to pay us for running a crowdfunding campaign can opt for us to only get paid if it is successful. Even the more cutting-edge firms today usually take some form of payment before.
Do you think your young age serves an advantage or disadvantage in your work?
It’s hard to say. On the one hand, I have definitely experienced lots of challenges because of my age. But in parallel to that, I have learned to recognize that it often serves as a unique advantage as well. For example, as a 17-year-old, I have little to no expenses. This allows me to save money, take financial risks (as I mentioned previously), and not only focus on profits but also values. Another great example is the failure-factor: I can afford to fail. I have so many more years to try again that if it doesn’t work out, I can still consider it a success purely because of the experience I gained. I think that if approached correctly,youngsters can leverage their age and use it to their advantage, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its price.
What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered while building up “Twanos”?
I think that there were two major challenges that I had to face in building up Twanos. First, the challenge of age. As I said, despite all the advantages, my young age also had a price. Before I had a strong reputation, many didn’t take me seriously and even tried to take advantage of my lack of experience. Second, the challenge of pivoting and growing. When we started out, we provided basic web design services. As time passed, in order to expand and grow, I was forced to leave my comfort zone and try many new things that were often nerve-racking and scary. Ultimately, they all served as important learning experiences.
Where do you see the company in the next 5 years?
To be honest, I don’t know. After I finish high school, I will be drafting in the Israeli Army, as most Israelis do (either immediately or after differing for a year of preparation). I am exploring a number of options with regard to the future of Twanos, but regardless of what happens, the experience I have gained will undoubtedly play an important role in my future.
What can you tell young people who are pursuing their dreams?
I will keep it short – be bold and take risks. You really have very little to lose, and so much to gain!
What are you most excited about at the moment?
I’m extremely excited about the upcoming HackJLM event on November 30th! HackJLM is a new project we have been working on at Made In Jerusalem. I feel deeply connected to it because it combines my passion for helping non-profits and for technology and translates them into a vehicle for achieving some good. We run bi-monthly events where we connect developers, designers, and marketers to NGO’s to help them utilize technology to achieve social good. It’s actually an expansion of a model that we saw worked really well for Made In Jerusalem.
10- Any last words or final thoughts?
Well, I just want to say thanks, It’s been fun!