SphinnCon Israel coming up…and not a woman to be seen (on a panel)


SphinnCon Israel is sold out! SphinnCon Israel is a SphinnCon networking event focused on search and internet marketing, and is taking place this coming Tuesday, February 5 at the Jerusalem College of Technology (also known as Machon Lev). This event is exciting thanks to the incredible lineup, with representatives from well-known international companies like Google, TechCrunch, Kenshoo and Yedda (see my previous interview with Yedda’s Lior Haner, who will be speaking at the conference), and thanks to the location: Jerusalem! For once I don’t have to schlep to Tel Aviv for a great event, and I am thrilled.

SphinnCon IsraelThere are also some really interesting reps from lesser-known but really professional Israeli companies: Tzvika Avnery will be there from Tagadam; Tzvika is a pro in the social media sphere and his company develops apps for social networks, among other things. Eli Feldblum from RankAbove will be there too; Eli is actually pretty well-known in the SEO world for his expertise, and his company services clients from all over the world. I’m mentioning these guys because I know them, but I hope I’ll get to meet the others on the panels too.

The main guy behind the whole thing is Barry Schwartz, the Executive Editor at Search Engine Roundtable, and President of RustyBrick, “a Web services firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales.”

Here is the speaker list as from Barry’s latest post on the event at Search Engine Roundtable:

SEO Panel

PPC Panel

Social Panel

Cool, eh?

Here’s what’s not cool: not a woman in sight on the speaker list. Not one. It’s a celebration of testosterone. I’m not against testosterone, but it would be nice if it was toned down a bit by at least one representative from the other 51% of the human race. And it’s not like there aren’t impressive women in the industry: how about Tamar Weinberg, who works at Rusty Brick and writes the amazing Techipedia blog? Or Tzvika Avnery’s partner at Tagadam, Orly Izhaki, who has a really impressive background in web-related ventures, and writes at smo.co.il (Hebrew)? Don’t tell me they were unavailable as an excuse. I’m sure there’s at least one woman in the web industry who could have been available.

Anyways, I’m really looking forward to this event, and I’ll hopefully fill you all in on how it goes. If they have internet access, I may even Twitter and live-blog the event like a good lil’ social media geek should.

  • Just landed in Israel… But I just want to say, I did not even think there wasn’t a woman on the panel. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. 2009, we wont make this mistake.

  • Sorry :) I am not in Israel this week :(

    Next time I’ll make Barry send me!

  • Tamar – I’m also sorry that you won’t be here. You have to make Barry send you next year, and I’ll be happy to remind him about this too!

  • Hi Miriam,

    I can assure you that the lack of women on the panels was not intentional.

    We actively pursued female panelists. We chased after a prominent female Israeli blogger, who we assumed would be on the panel, but never got back to
    us. For the few minutes where there was a chance Tamar would come in, either through Barry or Avi, we were ecstatic. In general, this is primarily an Israeli show. Avi is flying in and the show was initially planned around Barry’s visit to Israel, not vice versa.

    Most of our speakers were chosen from those who applied to speak, and only two of those applications were sent from women, one of which came late. We are unfortunately not able to accommodate everyone who applies, even when they had interesting topic on which to speak.

    Many of the panelists were provided to us by major Israeli companies and sponsors or hosts. We didn’t ask specific people from those companies to speak; they sent us speakers. In many instances, they sent us their best English speakers (some companies didn’t send a speaker at all for that reason). I’m fairly certain that Tzvika is speaking instead of Orly on behalf of TAGADAM because of his English skills.

    As I wrote, we didn’t get many speaking applications from women. Hopefully, as this show gains popularity, we’ll get a lot more applications for the full SMX
    show–as well as many more topics on which to speak.

    I’m also working on bringing other search and internet marketing shows to Israel, and I hope to continue to hear from you about them.


  • Hi all,
    First is first- Miriam thanks for the compliments,
    You made an interesting point, it is sad we don’t have more women representatives on the panels.
    As you mentioned in the post and i most agree, my amazing partner Orly Izhaki is definitely pro enough to join such a panel. Her English skills are excellent and i find no reason or capability for me or any one else to speak “instead” of her.
    As a fact I am sure she as other women in the web marketing filed (yap great marketers just like you Miriam..) have much to contribute to the conference as much as any other male.
    I most say i would love to hear some of the female pros you mentioned in the post above, including my own partner, and i would love to do so strictly due to their professional experience and know how and not due to the fact they are women.
    But Miriam i think you missed the main sensation: “SphinnCon Israel coming up…and not even one black Isro-African to be seen (on a panel)”…what better proof does one need to prove racism? :)

  • It would be interesting to see demographics of those in executive positions in Internet companies. If the pool of applicants for women is dramatically smaller than of men, the speakers will be proportionally as small. However, I suppose not having a single female speaker is a little absurd.

  • Dara – There do seem to be less women in the technology industry than men. However, there are still women out there, and they should be represented according to their percentage. In any case, my rough estimate from the conference is that at least 10% of the participants were women, so at least 10% of the panelists should have been women. Even just one woman would have been enough.

    Apparently this is a global issue. See Jeremiah Owyang’s post on this, and the comments there too.

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