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Real Life Superpowers

Real Life Superpowers



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E15 - Tal Zubalsky (Eko formerly Interlude)

In this episode we speak with Tal Zubalsky, Co-founder and CPO of Eko (previously Interlude) - the only streaming service in the world where stories are shaped by viewers as they unfold. Listen on RealLifeSuperPowers website: Eko is a mini-cosmos where any series of choices that people make affect the outcome of the plot. The story of how the company was founded and got to where it’s at today is no different. Tal’s background is creative. He studied animation in Tel Aviv, and was part of a music band, together with the rest of his Co-founders. It all started when the band members wanted to create a music video for their audience that would be original and different. They created an interactive video, got great feedback and realized they may be onto something big. From very early on Tal and his co-founders weren’t afraid to take risks. Before they had any technology they pitched to the Israeli version of American Idol and committed to creating an interactive video for the show. When getting a “yes” they then had a very short time frame to deliver. This risk paid off - they were able to create what they had promised and were then ready to turn this into a real business. Talk about “overnight ten year success” - for a while, they worked on this as a side project and didn’t go all in. Tal had another startup and the rest of the team also had other projects they prioritized. Once they tested the waters enough they gained confidence and made the life changing choice of dropping everything else that they’re doing and focusing on this project solely. For Tal this meant having to leave another startup that he had founded. As in any good story, the startup he left become very successful. No regrets though, Tal didn’t make a bad choice in his storyline - to date Eko has raised over 70 million dollars and has super high level investors on board such as MGM Studios, Intel and Samsung. The Eko team has been keeping a very agile approach along the way, pivoting and changing business models as they evolved into what they are today. There’s much to be learned from their agility and resilience. They’re driven by passion to bring a new medium to the world. Tal describes their journey as a roller coaster ride. “10 years in, it’s the craziest it’s ever been, being an entrepreneur is NOT easy”. Now a company of 80 people, one of his main insights is that as a growing startup you don’t necessarily have to hang onto the culture that you had when you set off. The key is to evolve and to constantly learn and improve how you communicate and how you set processes. When you surround yourself with people who share the same mindset, the “how” is adjustable. And how do you find the right people? In order to assess a good fit, a cool tip Tal shared is to start out with hiring people as contractors and test out how you work together. If things don’t work out it’s much less painful that way. Another fascinating point in the interview is learning how the dots and previous experiences in life connect. Tal and his co-founder Yoni, struggled writing down the core values of the company. They resorted to asking themselves what the core values of their mutual band are. This was easier for them to answer and through that they created the values of Eko - in their special way they ended up writing this as a poem they called “We Are All Artists”. There are many more gems in this interview such as Tal’s 3 golden rules for succeeding in making a product that works. We hope you enjoy your listen. We really ARE all artists. Zooming out, if you like listening to this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss new conversations with peak performers, serving as a reminder we can all tap into the best versions of ourselves. You’re also welcome to follow Ronen and Noa on Linkedin • Ronen Menipaz on Linkedin • Noa Eshed

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