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Joshua Burgin Reflects on Israel’s Tech Economy

When it comes to technology, Joshua Burgin knows what he’s talking about. From his experience developing software for Amazon to his work as the VP of Product and Strategy at cloud computing software provider VMware, Burgin has been in the technology game for a long time. Living in Seattle, he was one of the first employees at Amazon.

He has over two decades of experience developing technology businesses and consults with and advises startups around the world. 

Burgin is also quite connected to his Jewish faith and is a big supporter of Israel’s technology economy. Although he has spent his career so far based in the United States, he has also spent many years as an advisor for Israeli-based technology startups and visiting the country with his family. He feels deeply connected to Israel and to his Jewish faith. In August 2023, he sat down with the Jerusalem Post to discuss Israel’s expanding technology scene and entrepreneurial culture.

Joshua Burgin Sits Down With The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post wanted to learn about Burgin’s take on Israel’s post-Covid tech economy. Burgin, who has traveled to Israel almost every six months for the past ten years, believes that even with some of the country’s internal conflict, its economy, especially in the technology sector, remains strong. With the country’s swift, effective response to the pandemic, Burgin said he saw no major slowdown in entrepreneurial expansion. He believes that Israeli tech companies continue to set the standard for innovation and problem-solving with their tenacious spirit. For example, he discussed his work with the web development platform Wix and the marketing analytics company AppsFlyer, both of which are seeing lots of growth of late. Burgin feels that the creativity and bold innovation of Israeli startups such as these reflect the “Israeli spirit.”

The publication was also interested in Joshua Burgin’s thoughts on the country’s sustainability practices and the extent to which the country is fostering a more eco-friendly world. Burgin noted that some Israeli companies are on the cutting edge of climate innovation. For instance, he discussed Watergen, which extracts water from the air to help provide clean drinking water in areas where it is scarce. He also praised the country’s sustainable approach to living, with its bike-friendly cities and green spaces. Burgin believes that it is Israel’s global business perspective that helps such companies thrive and continue to shatter expectations. Israeli companies seek to make their solutions and innovations accessible to global markets, which helps not only their economy but supports countries around the world in becoming greener.

Burgin’s Admiration for the Israeli Spirit

In addition to the global outlook, Burgin also emphasized his belief in the positive impact of Israel’s mandatory military service. He thinks that this service helps produce strong, mature leaders who are able to create innovative startups that address complex problems. In particular, he discussed intelligence Units 8200 and 81 as exceptional “breeding grounds” for technological intelligence. Avishai Abrahami, a co-founder of Wix, served in Unit 8200, Burgin pointed out, and many people refer to Israel as the “Startup Nation.” Burgin thinks that this reputation is in large part due to the famous compulsory military training and how it interacts with the culture’s strong, entrepreneurial spirit.

Burgin has lots of hope for the technological future of the “Startup Nation” and emphasized that the country’s impact on innovators around the world should not be overlooked. As Israel’s leading technology innovators look outward with their solutions, Burgin suggests that the rest of the world should look toward Israel, as its dedication to entrepreneurship is creating tech solutions that address all kinds of world challenges. The country’s resilience to adversity and tough times like the pandemic also demonstrate the power of perseverance when it comes to business and how perseverance can lead to innovative technological breakthroughs. Read his biography here.

About Joshua Burgin

Joshua Burgin began his tech career in the early 90s. His major in philosophy at Haverford College outside of Philadelphia may seem an odd start to what has become an extensive career, but combining his love for reflection and innovation with his love for technology allowed him to begin his career at a small start-up that sold books online. Though friends and family believed this company would never survive, Burgin believed in the other 99 individuals working for the company that would soon grow into the industry giant known as Amazon.

Even in the early 90s, Burgin knew that the challenges were only beginning. Thankfully, Amazon was starting in Seattle, where an endless supply of another international staple, coffee could accompany long nights of working. During these long nights, Burgin would be working on new innovations that would allow for enhanced purchasing for consumers while marveling that the rise of the internet was merely one short decade ago.

Eventually, Burgin would leave Amazon, albeit temporarily, and help a series of start-ups and other entrepreneurs chase their own tech dreams. He would help consult and grow these companies to build their own foundations. Eventually, he found his way into a new space, a small gaming organization by the name of Zynga. This company challenged the tech space again by helping to develop programs that could run not only on personal computers but also on handheld devices with the rise of apps.

Afterward, he found his way back to Amazon, where he worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in developing their cloud services. These services would soon help Seattle gain the nickname of Cloud City, not because it was featured in the latest Star Wars, but because it became home to the cloud services for tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Oracle. For eight years, Burgin worked on these projects, helping to build the foundations for what is now a part of everyday life for consumers, whether they be large corporations or a grandmother hoping to save unlimited numbers of pictures of her grandkids.

Now, as the Vice President of Product & Strategy at VMware, Burgin has again seen new growth in technology. His humility, however, will limit the credit he will take for changes in technology, as he refuses to take credit for industry innovations. However, throughout the history of his prestigious career, he has always remained at the cutting edge of the newest and greatest technological innovations by having a keen ability to look for what he calls inflection points. These are the moments when opportunity exists and breaking the next thing needs to happen.

Even as recently as the early 2000s, technology was a niche market that only appealed to those who could afford a computer, companies looking to take the next step in organization, and even governments looking to function more consistently. Now, Burgin recognizes that technology is more than that. This niche market has moved fast and changed what was once a privileged convenience into an everyday reliance for everyone. Projects that Burgin has been involved in have allowed technology not to run life but to integrate seamlessly into it.

For individuals like Burgin, the last 30 years have defined what a technological revolution can look like, and seeing it grow at every stage can still amaze even those who witnessed it firsthand. In a short period of time, technology has made extensive changes in science, business, healthcare, government, and nonprofits. In essence, technology has changed daily life.

Burgin may not have thought about what technology would look like today when sitting in philosophy class in college, but in a way, it is comforting to know that those charged with impacting everyday life are thinking about the fundamental truths of human life. Burgin’s presence in the world of tech means that designing the next great technological advancement is not always done with the bottom dollar in mind but rather with how to improve human life.

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