Co-Founder & CEO at Wochit
On Marketing Technology
MTS: Tell us a little bit about your role at Wochit and how you got here. (what inspired you to co-found a video creation platform company)
I’m co-founder and CEO of Wochit, a platform used by media companies and other larger content creators around the world to produce social video quickly and at scale. It’s my second company. The first was PicApp, which we sold to YBrant Digital, also owner of Lycos, in 2011.
I started my career in technology while serving with the Israeli Defence Forces, working in the famous Center of Computing and Information Systems, also known as MAMRAM. It’s here that many of Israel’s greatest tech entrepreneurs have gotten their starts. Before becoming a founder, I’d worked for about 25 years in various senior roles, generally in something relating to online video. This long history enabled me to foresee and get ahead of the coming video takeover.
We identified social video as our focus early on, and that’s proven a great call. Essentially, now that all of the big social networks prioritize it, any publisher or media company looking to engage audiences on social needs to prioritize it, as well. We don’t rest on our laurels, though. We are always looking toward the future, aiming to be first-to-market with new features that allow our customers to leverage trends and drive their business objectives.
MTS: Video is unequivocally the best medium for marketers to create emotional attachments, how do you see this content creation segment evolving over the next few years?
As mobile is increasingly the first – if not the only – screen, I expect short-form content to continue dominating social video. In fact, this “snackable” content will be what people think of when they hear the term “online video.” While the industry is growing more mature, I think there’s still a lot of experimentation and learning going on. But, as we in the industry get our hands on more analytics and develop deeper insights about what does and doesn’t work, the “art” of creating shareable moments will become more of a science.
For longer-form content companies, I see the continued path to differentiation through original content, which will make companies like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube look more and more like production studios or even OTT providers.
MTS: What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
For better or worse, I think the biggest game changer since the advent of the internet itself is Artificial Intelligence. AI is already an important part of our platform, and it continues to be a priority – where it proves to benefit our clients. This is where the “or worse” comes in. While AI has the potential to take the routine and mundane off of our plates, there is such thing as overdoing it. At Wochit, we always caution our platform users about relying too much on automation, lest it look like they let robots create their videos.
MTS: What’s the biggest challenge for startups to integrate a video content creation platform like Wochit into their stack?
Executive buy-in? Really, we’re essentially a SaaS platform that’s incredibly easy to incorporate into their content creation workflow and social media engagement strategies. We’re incredibly user-friendly. After like an hour of training, anyone in an organization can be a video producer after signing on to Wochit.
MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
I’m not sure if it’s really accurate to call billion-dollar companies “startups,” but, since TechCrunch awarded Slack as “Best Startup” just this past February, I guess it still counts! I also find the evolution of Stripe, especially their Atlas product, to be really interesting.
In my industry, I’d say Cheddar, which grabbed onto the live streaming trend and quickly became a unique approach to newscasting that I expect will serve as an inspiration to a new generation of media entrepreneurs.
MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
When it comes to marketing Wochit, we drink our own Kool-Aid, so to speak, placing a heavy emphasis on social content. We create and distribute social video around trending topics to a number of different platforms and channels including YouTube and MSN, and this approach has served us very well as proof of concept. We also have other forms of content and power our content strategy with Hubspot. With more than 30,000 videos created monthly, we are able to author informative eBooks rich with insights with the goal of attracting, inspiring and educating both customers and potential customers.
MTS: Could you tell us about a standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success)
We’ve had great success with our #WochitWins campaign, which we’ve been doing for over a year. Every week, we highlight and promote one of our customer’s Wochit-created videos that has received more than 1 million views on Facebook. Each #WochitWin video is featured on our website and across our social media channels, and since our customers take pride in the honored, it gets a bit of viral boost from their end as well. Ultimately, we’ve found this to be a very simple way of rewarding existing customers while attracting new ones.
MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
As I noted previously, AI is an important part of our platform and it’s a major focus for our future development, with the caveat that everything we do has to be for our customers’ benefit. We don’t just develop to develop, and sometimes keeping that focuses, refraining from just using AI technology to do cool stuff because we can, can be a big challenge.
THIS IS HOW I WORK
MTS: One word that best describes how you work.
MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
With my frequent travels across a myriad of time zones, the basic utilities on my device are absolutely critical to getting me through every day. Navigation, Calendar, and Keynote are the three that I would be lost without.
MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
I have certain rules when it comes to email that I think help me stay focused and productive. For example, if the email involves a task that can be done in a few minutes or less, I take care of it right away. If it will take more time, I’ll assess the urgency and priority and put it on my calendar accordingly. This way, I can get it off my plate in the short term without the risk it will fall between the cracks.
MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
With my crazy travel schedule and limited time with family, I’ve had little time to read as of late. I am a big fan of audiobooks, although I don’t have anything particular in process at the moment.
MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always be thinking about things you can do to make your customers happier and your service more essential. The more your users incorporate a product or service into their lives, making that a habit, the harder it will be for them to leave you for a competitor.
MTS: Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?
My big productivity secret is what I like to call “speed learning” when it comes to customer needs. I think I’ve honed the ability to see what people will find most valuable, which makes it easier for me to get first-mover advantage when fulfilling that need.
I’m also very flexible, efficient and I know how to balance the planned and unplanned to do list. I credit this talent to my ridiculous travel schedule. When people ask where I’m based, I often say “40,000 feet,” because I split my time between Tel Aviv and NYC and spend about 10% of my life in transit.
MTS: Tag the one person whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
MTS: Thank you Dror! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Wochit is a video creation platform that empowers newsrooms, media companies and brands to expand audience engagement through the power of social video. Worldwide media brands such as Time Inc., Daily News, USA Today, Gannett, AOL, The Week, ProSieben, Singapore Straits Times, Focus online and Der Spiegel use Wochit to produce short-form videos around trending topics at the scale and speed required in the video-first, mobile era.
With rights-cleared assets from AP, AFP, Reuters, Getty, Bloomberg, and others, cloud-based editing tools and native uploads, horizontal and vertical videos are quickly created and distributed across all social and digital platforms. Wochit is among the 2016-2017 EContent Top 100 companies in the digital content industry as well as the the winner of both the Gutenberg Prize for its disruptive technology in the field of journalism and Digiday’s Best Video Technology Innovation for its significant impact on publishers’ bottom line.
The Company is backed by ProSieben, Singapore Press Holdings’ SPH Media Fund, Carlo de Benedetti, Redpoint Ventures, Marker LLC, Greycroft Partners and Cedar Fund. Wochit is based in New York, with offices in London and Tel Aviv. Find out more at www.wochit.com.