The inspirational story
The great German footballer, Franz Beckenbauer, spoke about the unifying power of the sport and how it is the world’s best means of communication. When I read his words not too long ago, I was reminded just how fortunate I am to have had a career focused on the sports industry. Moreover, it made me realize just how fitting it is for me personally, given how communication across diverse cultures is such a key part of my identity.
My mother was born in India to Iraqi parents. My father was born in London to a Polish father and a Russian mother who met in Germany and escaped to England when the Nazis came to power. I grew up in London and moved to Israel in 1999 to marry a woman of Yemenite descent. Diversity lives within me from before I was born and continues to be an integral part of who I am, and I feel that this truth is being further solidified as a clear value through our children.
After working in the sports broadcast industry for a few years, my wife and I founded Redwood International Sports, a company dedicated to a more meaningful exploration into what is happening at any given time on the sports field. We break down the performance of teams and players to gain the truest picture possible about their strengths and weaknesses and deliver data feeds and services that add value to various sectors of the sports industry. From the start, we investigated how we can combine objective data with a subjective layer to gain deeper insights. With the advent of more advanced data technologies over the last few years, these efforts are delightfully ongoing as we understand that there is no end to the exploration of performance analysis, especially in a sport as complex and dynamic as football, which continues to be our primary focus. It has long been clear to me that dealing in questions that are difficult to answer provides us with far greater purpose. “Difficult” is GOOD. From my point of view, I prefer taking on a difficult proposition every single time.
In the last year I have turned my focus to investing in sports technology. These are fascinating times in the world of sports as COVID has pushed us all to rethink the way the industry works. Through the challenges of the pandemic and all the struggles posed to rights holders and sports associations, innovation has been called forward more than ever in order to solve significant problems and help create new and unprecedented ways for sports fans to engage with their passion. As with all crises, we must learn to adapt, to survive and thrive. And we must learn fast!
Through investment in sports and the strategic advisory services I now provide, I continue my journey in a field that is close to my heart, and my gratitude for that knows no bounds. I believe, as with all of our paths, that we must constantly learn, rethink and move forward. I have learnt two key lessons on my personal journey. Firstly, that you must develop your own core values, and base your efforts around them. This will give them a more robust basis from which to surge forward, and they will be based on truth and on who you are. This takes time. Most of us don’t really know what our core values are when we are young, and we must develop them through our experiences and a constant reflection on what it is that makes us tick and what is important to us as individuals. Secondly, that the more we embrace and surround ourselves with diversity, the better we will be. Both as individuals and as a community. Our perception of life is only ever a small tranche of what is true. Through experience, we can widen that tranche, but it will still only ever be a sliver of the whole. By connecting with people of different backgrounds, gender and ethnicity, we can create a fuller understanding, together, of how to create progress for ourselves, for others and for the wider community. This holds true when it comes to business, for social impact and to support global initiatives that I can’t even imagine yet.
I am excited to see what the future holds, and I look forward to being able to play my role, whatever that may be.