Yaron Galai, Co-founder & CEO at Outbrain
Age: ~48, I think
Lives in: New York
Significant others: Married to Tali + 3 kids
Company’s main offices: New York, Netanya, London and ~12 other cities
What does your company do and why is it unique?
We help people discover interesting content, namely – stories and videos. We power content discovery on the biggest publishers in the world, such as CNN, FOX News, ESPN, Guardian, Condé Nast etc.
What are you most proud of in your company?
1. The people who have chosen to join our journey.
2. Our core company principles – which we call our Lighthouse – which I believe makes us different from all other companies in our space.
Who inspires you/who do you admire and why?
The person I admire most – and who is my inspiration for leadership – was my commander in the navy, Yossi Korakin. David Ben-Gurion was also an incredible entrepreneur – lots to learn from him.
Which other companies do you admire and why?
I have a weird obsession with a Japanese company called YKK. They make pretty much all the zippers used in our clothing, backpacks, etc. I love how they take one small “boring” thing, and quietly do it better than anyone else in the world. Iscar from Israel is also like that.
I also admire Disney as a company. I can’t imagine how you run a massively complicated operation like that at such a high level of execution.
What do you do for fun?
Read a magazine or a book; sailing. Or my favorite – read, while sailing…
iPhone or Android? iPhone, of course
Labaneh, but I am very particular in my taste, so I don’t actually enjoy most Labanehs…
Favorite TV Show:
I absolutely loved Connections by James Burke. Changed my life.
Favorite technological gadgets/apps right now:
I’m a very slow adopter of gadgets (and I don’t wear watches) so nothing too exciting:
I love my iPhone 5s (except for the battery!)
Favorite go-to websites/blogs for news on your industry/technology:
Jason Hirschhorn from MediaREDEF finds fantastic stories – his newsletter is a great starting point for me
Re/Code is the site I trust most for news in my industry
Non-industry, I love NY Times and Haaretz
The best business advice you ever received:
The best piece of advice for entrepreneurs has to be Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech:
What do you think would really surprise people to learn about you?
I starred in the movie Beverly Hills Cop (alongside my lesser known co-star, Eddie Murphy)! It was the start of a promising Hollywood career, but then I chose to leave all the fame and glory behind to pursue a career in entrepreneurship instead.
How I (almost) became a movie star: Basically, I spent a year of high school at Beverly Hills High School (yes – the 90210 one). One day after school a bunch of us were asked if we wanted to stand on a nearby sidewalk for a car chase scene in some movie (only months later we found out it was Beverly Hills Cop). If you’re really really good at pausing videos at precisely the right frame, AND deciphering very blurry images – a few of those pixels behind the car chase are me!
[Editor’s Note:] Incredibly, not only did I find the car chase scene from Beverly Hills Cop 2 (1987), but I also pinpointed Yaron’s impressive debut as a Hollywood actor (while wearing my glasses and sitting very close to my screen). Yaron stars in the frame from 0:52-0:53.