Montag, 25. März 2013

Dov Moran On Success

Dov Moran, The Israeli Who Sold The DiskOnKey For $1.6B, Shares His Thoughts On Success, Startups And Working Until The Very En

Guest post by Paul Sánchez Keighley

You know those child geniuses who, instead of brandishing toy-soldiers and erecting Lego fortresses spend their childhood carefully taking electric devices apart, reassembling them and even further befuddling their parents by improving them? Well, Dov Moran wasn’t one of them.

Dov Moran is the founder of M-Systems, the company that created the USB Flash Drive (DiskOnKey) and went on to sell it for $1.6 billion to SanDisk; he created modu, which made modular cellular devices a reality and sold it to Google for $4.9 million; and, most recently, Comigo, to develop an Android-based TV platform and Smartype, which developed a smart keyboard.

Dov Moran is a fountain of creative output who, according to his workmates, doesn’t sleep (“This is incorrect” he states “I do sleep sometimes…”) and who devotedly heeds his family’s advice (Answering the question of whether he is involved in charitable donations, he says:  “My wife gave me a very good lesson: if you talk about your charity work, it isn’t charity anymore. It’s PR.”)

Still, during an interview with NoCamels, this tireless tech giant good-humoredly shared with us his clumsy beginnings. He indeed remembered himself, “at the age of ten or so, buying electronic components and digital watch parts” from a supplier published on the last page of MAD magazine. “But,” he blushingly adds, “I cannot state that I overly succeeded doing something with those parts…”

The inner inventor waiting to pounce


As his childhood memories prove, the inventive spirit of the entrepreneur lay inside little Dov Moran and all it lacked was a means of revealing itself. And so it did, for a twist of fate awaited this child who filled in his home address in the blank squares of MAD magazine’s purchase forms.

“I was sent when I was 16 to an annual course in computers held in Tel-Aviv University.” He reminds us that “these were the days” in which “to write a program you needed to mark cards dedicated to that with a pen.” After three months of strenuous efforts to see eye-to-eye with this primitive system, Moran wrote his first program.

But this self-described “futile creation” was but the first toddles of a programmer learning the ropes. Moran cruised through his computer courses until obtaining a Bachelor of Science at the Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology. It was during these days that Moran decided “[he was] going to open a company” and “the feeling strengthened when [he later] served in the Navy.”

“My dreams were to create company that would succeed in generating revenues of $1 million. I didn’t think about a billion!” he says M-Systems, his first company. But Moran, an unsatisfied personality by nature, didn’t have enough: “When we passed that, the desire came for a company that with annual sales of $10 million. We then strived for a company with annual sales of $100 million and then the $1 billion just happened…”

Dov Moran, the man, who never sleeps
In 1995, M-Systems created the world’s first flash drive (DiskOnChip) and, in 1999, the first USB flash drive (DiskOnKey). This invention, which revolutionized the world of technology and clicked all computer devices together, heaved the company’s value over the billion dollar mark and was sold in 2006 to SanDisk for $1.6 billion. “It just happened,” says Moran.

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going

When Moran began his career, two concepts we can all come across nowadays by perusing any business publication were not yet at home in the Israeli lexicon: he claims the word “high-tech” wasn’t really common and no one knew the meaning of “raising money”. “Raising money?” he mimics the engineers of old “You can raise flowers, but money?”

First published at