Ami Ayalon

Ami Ayalon is running for leadership of the Israeli Labor party, and from there, he hopes, to the Prime Minister's office. We had the opportunity to meet Ayalon last night at a reception during which he spoke about his vision for Israel, Palestine and the Middle East.

Ayalon has a distinguished military career in Israel, including time as commander of the Navy and later as director of the Shin Bet security service. Soon after the end of his government service, and during the time he entered politics, he became engrossed in the politics of pragmatism (his term) in order to find real peace for the region. The core of his argument, learned over the years, he told us, from his wife, is that Israel will have peace and security when Palestinians have hope, and a land of their own. He and Sari Nusseibeh founded The People's Voice and formulated a statement of principles on which to build such a program, which has over 400,000 signatories from members of the two peoples.

It is refreshing to hear a politician with a strong (and, yes, compelling) vision, not looking to appease his listeners, with a strong and realistic understanding of Palestinians' hopes and motivations, talking about what could be. He calls for the citizens of Israel and the putative citizens of Palestine to become activists for pragmatism, to become activists for the peace solution that everyone knows must be reached. He frames a story of Jewish peoplehood that rings out for Jews, and he demands the right for Palestinians to have their peoplehood recognised in just the same way.

My good friend Yossi Abramowitz often says "you heard it here first" in his blog. Well, you heard it here first: watch Ami Ayalon - he will make a great leader for Israel.

Seven Deadly Sins of the VC

Bob Davoli offered me a job at D&N Systems (which became SQL Solutions) in 1989 on the basis of one round of interviews. I have worked for him and with him for at least 10 of the 17 years we have lived in the USA. When he and John Mandile (and the rest of the Sigma team) invited me to join the firm in 2000 it was an easy decision to accept.

Bob is fairly well known in the venture capital industry (certainly in Boston), for his success, his direct style, and for his sharp observations of the VC landscape. Over time I distilled some of his aphorisms into this version of the seven deadly sins of Venture Capital.

I wrote this in an acrostic form using his name (RDavoli): if it escapes into the wild it will always bear his name.


Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is well described on Wikipedia as the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts at the same time. Usually we are aware of the phenomenon through experiencing it. Sometimes a hint of it reminds us how much cognitive dissonance we can cope with, since it seems to be all around.

I ride a bike. When riding, my feet are higher than my butt.
Cognitive dissonance!
This picture might help. You probably knew I ride a recumbent from reading this blog.
More cognitive dissonance (at least for the worried reader): why am I not wearing a helmet in this photo? Rest assured that I always do ... this photo was my first mini-ride just on the driveway when I first brought the bike home. However, I get that cognitive dissonance feeling whenever I see a cyclist without a helmet - what are they doing!? To take it further, because of the shape of my bike seat (effectively a bucket seat), when I start on a ride I often think "seat belt ... you didn't do your seat belt".

Venture Cycling cognitive dissonance was covered obliquely in an earlier post of mine.

Cognitive dissonance is all around, and we deal with it a lot. Here are two numeric keypads:

Notice one is top-to-bottom, the other is bottom-to-top. The left hand keypad is laid out like every telephone and the right hand keypad like every calculator and computer keyboard. Somehow we manage.

How about addresses. Telephone numbers are kind of like addresses - they start with a country, then an area or city, then an exchange and then a number - Sigma Partners is at country (1), area (617), exchange (330), number (7872). Our mailing address, using this convention would be:

20 Customhouse Street
Suite 830
Sigma Partners

However, we know it is really the other way up. Why is that?

For the techies among us we know that an IP address reads like a phone number (most specific on the right): means the 12th host in the 13th subnet in the 101st net on the 27th major net circuit. However, domain names resolve the other way: (most specific on the left: computer called "www" on network "sigmapartners" in the top-level domain "com"). Most annoying in this arena is sub-domain addressing versus sub-directory addressing. We can imagine both these addresses pointing to the same webpage:

You see, we can cope with a fair amount of cognitive dissonance... So, who is buying a hannukah bush this year?

Fifth month, fifth gear, fifth century

My good friend, Jason Glasgow, and I went out for a lovely bike ride this afternoon. We covered the ground from Newton to Weston and back, a 22 mile loop in total. The last two or three rides I have taken have all made me think "this may be the last ride before the winter sets in", and yet we have been lucky enough to be riding today at the end of November.

Today is a day of fives ... all good.

I have been riding now for five months (I bought my bike on July 3rd).

Today was the second long trip with the new chain on the bike, and despite my initial skepticism it does appear to have solved my problem with fifth gear.

Also, the 22 miles I rode today makes my total riding for 2006 just over500 miles (five centuries)!

If today is to be the last ride for 2006, I have five reasons to feel great about it (the other two are more general: how I feel fitter, and my involvement with Hazon).



This post is a rant ... and for the lawyers out there Powerpoint is a trademark of Microsoft.
Powerpoint makes us all dumb ... or certainly dumber after seeing a Powerpoint presentation than before.

I am not the first person to comment on this. Edward Tufte's wonderful short essay, The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint, made a very strong case supporting this proposition several years ago, and has become a classic. For a smorgesbord of other supporting opinions check out this CNN article.

The graphical style of Powerpoint can be overcome with a strong spirit and some reasonable design. The cognitive style is, unfortunately, only overcome through strong spirits (whisky?) which bring the rest of the world into the Powerpoint league. Powerpoint's very design reduces the usable space on which to display information (headers, footers, graphic elements), and then requires such large typefaces that there is not much room for any meaning to be communicated from the slide content. From this fundamental problem flows the awful decomposition of complex thought into tiny fragments. Each fragment is presented linearly. Each fragment can appear to be true, and lulls the audience and presenter into a sense of trust that obliterates any ability to hold onto whether the train of thought itself has any validity.

The best slides have enough information to impart knowledge, but are invariably prefaced by the presenter with "I know this is a bit of an eye chart ...".

Before you know it, you have proved that one equals zero (imagine this proof spread out on a Powerpoint). Audience members who don't get the message doubt their own sanity (perhaps I missed a slide?). Presenters triumphantly bring up the final slide "Questions" or "Summary", as if covering information was equivalent to communicating information.

Before deciding on a narrative version of the Gettysburg address, Abraham Lincoln discarded this Powerpoint version. Thank goodness. Unfortunately, NASA did not discard Powerpoint when they should have (before installing). Tufte's essay includes this scathing analysis on NASA's lazy use of Powerpoint during in-mission analyses for the Space Shuttle Columbia, before making all the wrong decisions.

I live with Powerpoint all the time. Mostly I am a consumer of Powerpoint. Every meeting with an entrepreneur and every board meeting invariably comes with a Powerpoint presentation. (Interestingly, the non-profit boards I am on do not use Powerpoint ... I think I will use that distinction as a mechanism by which to choose which non-profits I support.)

The Powerpoint formula is so strong that, despite its weaknesses, showing up without a Powerpoint makes a person look unprepared. It is a brave soul who brings in financials (printed from a spreadsheet program) and some handouts (from a word processing program), and talks about the business. Instead, alas, everything is wrapped in a Powerpoint slide - even financial tables that suffer from information anemia due to the space constraints, and newsclippings reduced in size from the original to fit between header and footer to such an extent the headline is barely legible.

I, too, (Powerpoint Anonymous moment) have sometimes been known to create and present a Powerpoint. Expect me to do be trying to befuddle you, if you are ever on the receiving end.

My web page with references for entrepreneurs includes pointers to suggestions on preparing a Powerpoint presentation for a VC. I would not be doing anyone a service to suggest they stand out from the crowd by presenting without one. But, please oh please, won't someone be brave?

iPod phone to arrive early 2007

Apparently, the Apple iPod mobile phone is nearing readiness for release (according to Apple Insider). I am not normally one to just report new news, but this is interesting enough to merit comment.

The iPod itself was a bit of a sleeper when released. It was not "eagerly awaited" (certainly not by the masses), and no-one was expecting it to be such a hit. Now, we all have very high expectations for pretty much everything Apple does, including this phone, which has been expected imminently for a couple of years. Given the number of business plans that we see relating to mobile phones and mobile content (videos, songs, news, maps, contact info all on your phone), the presumptively named iPhone is the object of both desire and fear in different quarters.

In the enterprise IT world desktop PCs started with small amounts of storage. Over time they gained larger amounts as prices fell. Now we are reverting to smaller amounts again, this time relying on storing all that data on big, central servers accessible over a powerful network.

The mobile phone might be analogous to the PC, and we are in the phase of increasing the amount of storage available on the phone (hence the ability to make a phone with all that iPod stuff on it). Will this, too, be a passing phase? Will the mobile phone end up with less storage and rely on stored media accessible through a more powerful wireless network (imagine video on demand on your phone)?

In the PC world, the communications network is a cheap commodity and the prices to transfer information have fallen remarkably. In the mobile phone world, the carriers (Vodafone, Verizon Wireless etc) continue to extract high prices for mediocre service to transfer data to/from the phone (compared to wired networks). It will be interesting to see whether the wireless carriers try to avoid the fate of their wireline elders - somehow trying to avoid commodification of the wireless network. Conventional wisdom suggests they will fail to stop the tide of progress, and so I expect some of the carriers (the new or the brave) to embrace lower prices for higher quality and higher bandwidth in order to overtake the current incumbents. If Apple continues to have the brilliance of vision it has shown over the last few years, then whatever happens it will continue to lead. All that most of us consumers can do is hang on and enjoy the ride.

VC:VC 12 Angry Men

Our friends Daniel and Claudia treated us to a trip to the Colonial Theater last night, to see "12 Angry Men" starring George Wendt (Norm from Cheers) as the jury forman and Richard Thomas (John-Boy from The Waltons) as juror #8. The production is every bit as riveting for me, someone who knew the story, as the rest of us, who did not. If you are in Boston and able to see this, I recommend it highly.

Written for TV and then adapted for the big screen in the 1950s, "12 Angry Men" is a remarkable story of how personal psyche can color decisions as important as a capital murder case, and as impersonal as someone else's tragedy. The ancient Greek dramas and Shakespeare remind us that this is not a modern phenomenon, and it certainly makes for a good story.

Twelve angry men can sometimes describe the board of a young startup (although hopefully it is fewer than 12). Something has gone awry in the business plan. Executives and directors are at loggerheads as to what to do next. Just at the time when rational thinking is called for, everyone brings their own biases and prejudices: "I never thought the VP Sales was up to this", "the VP Services is blaming the customers again", "the CFO has no clue who are the most profitable customers", "can the CEO really hack it"... and worse, everyone gets to tell you so: "I told you we shouldn't have expanded so fast", "I told you we should have expanded faster" and so on.

In each case we hope the comments are drawn logically from the facts at hand. Sometimes, unfortunately, they are drawn from personal antipathies, replaying previous patterns from previous companies, or defensiveness to cover insecurity and self-doubt. When an entrepreneur is considering Venture Capital investors, making calls to some existing portfolio company CEOs and asking how the VCs behave in such situations is a very wise part of your due diligence. Of course, the VCs are doing the same about the founders.

In my Venture Cycling world, on the board of Hazon or JCDS for example, it is never 12 angry men - not least because there are women on the board. I think there is room for another entire post on the low participation of women in the startup world (on either side of the table). However, although women are just as susceptible as men to bring outside (or inside) reactions to a board issue, there is generally less anger at the table when women are present. Women seem to be a civilising force (no news here), even if only because of men's vanity (no news there either). This sounds like a setup for a Greek tragedy... but, precisely, that is where I started.

Principles 3.0

Actually, I do have principles, and I am mostly guided by the "full disclosure" principle that if you know what I am doing you can judge for yourself. I discussed this here, and promised never to take advertising on this blog and associated website.

However, as I return to the theme of Web 2.0 on a regular basis, I realised I was getting behind. Now Web 3.0 is on the horizon - in fact it has been so for a year or more (see here, here and here). Part of the power of Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 has been the levelling of the publishing playing field. Anyone can be a publisher and a large industry of what are known as advertising networks (or third party advertising networks) has grown up - starting with Google, but including all the big players and some small ones too. With a third party advertising network, a two-bit publisher (like me) can easily mark out how and where advertisements will appear, and the network displays ads from its customers according to whatever recondite method it uses. The publisher does not know in advance what ads will be displayed, and doesn't have to worry about "selling space" like a newspaper or TV channel. Magically, at the end of each month a check (or PayPal payment) appears for the publisher's "cut" of the advertising revenue.

In order for me to understand this more fully I have decided to experiment with a couple of advertising networks, so you can expect to see small ads on this blog and the associated website soon. Let me know if you find them odious.

Here is my new disclosure, which is found at the footer of each blog page and web page:

This website and the associated blog accepts advertising from third party advertising networks, mostly so I understand how those work. I have no control over which advertisements are displayed, I do not accept paid sponsorships, and I am not writing for income. Any payment I receive from advertising networks is donated to charity. I write for my own purposes. However, I may be influenced by my background, occupation, religion, political affiliation or experience. The links in this blog have my affiliates code embedded in them which results in small amounts of commission payment (which I donate to charity).

Standing at the edge of the spring

I was just reminded that in Hebrew, a spring - a source of water, is called ayin hamayim, literally: eye of the water. In this week's reading from the Torah we hear about Eleazer standing at the edge of the spring waiting to find a bride for Abraham's son Isaac. The moment is full of expectation and of hope. He is about to meet Rebekah and bring her back to Isaac. She will bear Jacob and Esau, and much water will flow about them, between them, through them and down the generations to us.

Tonight, Dorit and I had the privilege to attend the installation as Dean of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School of our friend Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld. It is a remarkable moment and it drew us all in, through its joy and its moment, to the fact that we are standing at the edge of the spring, and something important is about to happen to the Jewish People.

The Hebrew College Rabbinical School is less than five years old. It is formed from the vision of Dr David Gordis, the College's President, and Professor Art Green, who was the founding Dean of the Rabbinical School and is now its Rector. It is a trans-denominational school. Students come to study the depth and breadth of Jewish text in an intense and traditional way. They come from all walks of life, from all denominations and none, and they have a vision for leadership of pluralism and inclusivity that drove them to choose this school rather than the established denominational schools (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist). These students will become Rabbis who will have a major and positive impact on our community.

As Sharon assumes leadership of this Rabbinical School we could all glimse the generations of students she will teach and lead. Sharon's students, and her students' students are still a twinkling in her eye, in the eye of the community, in the eye of the water. Water is soft, and gentle, and yet can carve through rock. Expect great things.

11 miles of bliss

My ever-patient friend at Belmont Wheelworks, Scott Chamberlain, changed the chain on my bike last night, in another attempt to fix the problems I have been having in 5th gear. I was sceptical, but I knew today was going to be a great day for a ride, and I had some time this morning. I picked up my bike and rode it round the block in Belmont a couple of times just to see if the 5th gear problems were still immediately apparent. They were not.

I drove my bike home and went out on my 11 mile route on Commonwealth Avenue ... up to BC, back to route 16, turn around and repeat up to BC and then home.

What bliss! I was a whoopin' and a hollerin' (not bad for a Brit) with the wind and sun in my face and the road flying by under my wheels.

I have found that I love cycling. I love the exercise and the fresh air and ... all the things you can imagine. I knew I was missing it the last month, but only today did I realise how much I was missing it. My next steps are to get a stand for my bike so I can exercise and train through the winter.

Previously, after a fix for my 5th gear problems it has seemed as if all was fixed, and then the problem returned. This morning, I can report 11 miles of so far so good.


VC:VC Good Question

"Tell me about how you plan to differentiate yourself from the 54 other Web 2.0 social network blogging mashup wall clock destination portals out there?" Victor Cool, the VC, asked Eric Enthusiasm, the entrepreneur.

"Good question!" answered Eric confidently, with a grin and a stab of his hand into the air. Eric went on "You see, we interviewed a large group of people who use wall clocks for social networking and we discovered that ..."

Let's leave that conversation there, and consider the oft-repeated phrase: "Good question!"

It is a generally a signal that this is a question which has been asked many times before, or one which was expected, and so there is a prepared answer. Sometimes the phrase is genuinely spontaneous, but often it is like a punctuation mark signaling to listen closely to what the entrepreneur hopes will be a great answer.

Sometimes it is annoying in retrospect because the question does not get answered properly. Perhaps the entrepreneur heard one question (the expected one) but was being asked something slightly different. Perhaps the entrepreneur has a formulaic answer to a complex question, and hopes to deflect further probing through a confident but over-simple answer.

In a way, "Good question!" is like a tell in a poker game, inadvertently giving away something about the player's hand, in this case giving away that the entrepreneur is playing a strong hand.

When I hear an entrepreneur begin an answer with this phrase I will listen a little more carefully. I want to see how an entrepreneur plays to a strong hand, because that should end with a strong result.

Many poker players say you should never let another player know if you have identified a tell, even if they are your friend. A few losses should make them wiser (if poorer). Since I have played the entrepreneur's hand more than once, I identify too strongly to let that stand. So watch out for that tell!

Contrasting this for a moment with my venture cycling life - after all, this is a VC:VC posting (comparing Venture Capital to Venture Cycling). Here, I am on the other side of the table.

As board chair for Hazon, the charity which started me on a bike again (after 30 years), I find myself saying "Good question!" fairly regularly. I am answering questions of friends and colleagues who are intrigued about Hazon's mission and programs. At other times I am talking to prospective donors who are probing before considering gifts to the organization. I find it is a welcome moment to be able to say "Good question!" and launch into a prepared answer.

Sshh! I hope they can't see my tell.

Venture Cycling through the winter

With some new readership seeing this blog for the first time, and some obvious questions hanging in the air about the content of this blog with the cycling season close to ending for the year here in Boston, I thought I would take stock and share some thoughts.

First, welcome to new readers on the Feedburner Venture Capital blogging network, which I have joined through the kind invitation of Brad Feld, the doyen of VC bloggers.

Today I was witness to a funny moment - bear with me, it is relevant. Sitting in Synagogue (not really a synagogue) one of our members stood up to give the Dvar Torah and approached the lectern. She hesitated and wondered aloud whether or not to use it because it seemed designed for people taller than her. This is a beautiful wooden lectern created by one of our members, and someone jokingly suggested, referring to the carpenter, "David's here - he can adjust it". We all laughed. The lectern is clearly not adjustable - the stand is carved to look like a tree. To make it shorter would require cutting down the tree... And then David rushed up to the front, reached under the sloped surface and to everyone's amazement, adjusted it. (Read on ... the relevance is revealed at the end.)

I have been in the VC world for six years (and on the receiving end, as an entrepreneur, for five years prior to that), but I started this blog just in June of this year, and it is about Venture Cycling as much as about Venture Capital. Venture Cycling was prompted by my involvement in Hazon, a Jewish Environmental non-profit based in NY whose board I now chair. I bought my bike in July and by Labor day weekend was at the annual Hazon NY ride - riding 120 miles over two days finishing in Manhattan. My blog over the summer reported on my training and progress towards this great experience. I have also been blogging about venture capital, and comparing the two activities.

As I bring these two elements of my life into public view on this blog I find it a gratifying experience, because it unifies two otherwise disparate parts of my life: my professional work and my community experience and involvement. Like many (most) venture capitalists, I have always brought strong values to my work, but also like many of us, the underpinnings of those values are not the focus of much attention. This blog allows me to muse and mull how intertwined these are. I am also grateful to another Jewish VC who brings these things together in his blog: Jacob Ner David, who is based in Jerusalem and was recently introduced to me by Yossi Abramowitz (himself a blogger who only has one agenda, but writes inspiringly about it). Jacob writes about his life as a Jew and a VC in a similar way, which is great, and there are others out there doing the same (whether Jewish or not, blogging encourages self reflection and a discussion of values which is refreshing and exciting).

Since this blog is centered on venture cycling, what am I going to write about over the winter? I am sure I will write about how much I miss cycling and about staying in shape to be a stronger cyclist for next year. However, I will continue writing about the VC world and my VC:VC series, about the wider environmental mission of Hazon, as I have been all along, as well as my other whimsical postings.

In the 1990s, before Microsoft was really using the internet, I heard from a Microsoft executive who reported on a finding from the product feature wishlines. These were telephone lines which anyone could call to request new features for the Microsoft products (mostly Windows and Office in those days). He reported that 25% of all requested features were for capabilities that were already available in the products. He was refreshingly self-critical about the already apparent feature bloat and the lamentable documentation, but it was nonetheless an eye-opening moment.

Like today's episode with the magically adjustable lectern in Synagogue, the features we want are often already there, and all you have to do is ask for them, or look for them.

On that note, I invite readers to contact me by leaving comments on my blog requesting any features or adjustments I might make, especially as the cycling takes a lower profile over the winter.

Microsoft 2.0 (or is that 22.0)

Continuing my foray into the world of Web_2.0, I saw a recent Techcrunch posting that talks about how fast Microsoft is moving to challenge Google's apparent superiority in this arena.

10 years ago I saw first hand how fast Microsoft can move, when they purchased Vermeer Technologies, makers of FrontPage, at which I was VP Operations. At that time, Microsoft was fighting what seemed to be a losing battle with Netscape (browser wars), Lotus Notes (groupware wars) and AOL (online wars). Bill Gates was also busily predicting the future in his not very good book, "The Road Ahead".

At that time I contended that Microsoft (and Bill Gates) was lousy (LOUSY) at predicting the future, but absolutely phenomenal at mastering the present:
  • DOS: missed predicting (or acting on) the need for good graphical user interface
  • Windows / Office: missed predicting (or acting on) the need for email/groupware
  • MSN: missed predicting (or acting on) the need for open/internet based system
  • Internet: missed predicting (or acting on) the need for good browser
In all of these areas, Microsoft caught up. There are some examples of more forward thinking (Hotmail?), but not many. However, I contend that Microsoft never had to see the future to win, and still doesn't. Microsoft has certainly missed predicting (or acting on) the need for web 2.0, but it seems to be very capable of playing catchup here as well.

We used to hear about "embrace and extend", Microsoft's approach to succeeding in established markets. This was seen as a form of judo strategy where you turn your competitor's strength to your own advantage (see the book blurb).

I contend that Microsoft remains strong at this game. Necessity, we are told, is the mother of invention. Microsoft has for years been able to see the necessity of adopting and embracing new trends, and has turned the market to its advantage by extending (or more) those trends to create a winning strategy. The only difference now is to understand how much of this was dependent on the brilliance of Bill Gates which will be lost going forward, now he is no longer active in the firm.


Green Zionism

Green Zionism? Isn't green Judaism enough?

The short answer is "no, we need green Zionism, too". The longer (but not too long) answer follows.

Quick digression: despite the connotations that the word Zionism has in many places, it simply refers to supporting the national identity of Jews in the State of Israel. There are Zionists who are doves and hawks, conservatives and liberals, religious and secular, feminist and patriarchal, capitalist and socialist, human rights activists and (terribly for the Jews) racists, peace activists and (also, terribly) warmongers.

My view is that modern green Judaism is an outgrowth of Zionism, although strongly grounded in Jewish traditions of caring for the land including the biblical requirement of leaving the land fallow every seven years. Quoting myself from earlier this year: Returning to the land of Israel and building the State of Israel has provided a physical framework for Judaism that was lacking over the prior 2000 years. During that period of exile, if Jews thought about nature or land, it was not Jewish land and therefore not Jewish nature. The State of Israel has made possible that Jews can think of Jewish land, Jewish environment, Jewish nature. In Israel, Jews now look around and see we have Jewish nature, a Jewish environment. As we look, we find that Jewish land is just a very, very small part of the planet earth, Jewish environment is just a very, very small mote in the web of the global environment, and Jewish nature is interwoven with the entire natural world that knows no boundaries.

Unfortunately, the experience of being steward with full responsibility for that sliver of land that is the State of Israel has not been a glowing example of environmental responsibility. Although the Jewish National Fund (JNF) is well known for the millions of trees planted throughout the land, its earlier actions were not always environmentally positive. For example, the JNF helped to "conquer the wilderness" for habitation and agriculture in the 1950s through actions such as the drying out of Hula Lake, which had been one of the most unique and important ecological systems in Israel. Alon Tal has written a book, the title of which tells the story Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel.

So although Jews and Israelis now understand that we do have a relationship with land, nature, the environment, we are not yet great exemplars... certainly not a green light unto the nations (see Isaiah 42:6).

All is not lost however. This year's Hazon Israel ride was held in partnership with the JNF, now a much more environmentally sensitive organization. Also, at about the time I was buying my own bike, this summer the Green Zionist Alliance (GZA) was making progress at the World Zionist Congress. The World Zionist Congress is a worldwide representative body with a fair amount of philanthropic (and some Israeli government) money at its disposal. That the GZA is now a presence in the mainstream Zionist conversation is heartening to a green Jewish venture cyclist. Long may it last.