Raviv Nadav of Kino

    We Spoke to Raviv Nadav of Kino

    As part of my series about the “How Businesses Pivot and Stay Relevant In The Face of Disruptive Technologies,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Raviv Nadav.

    Raviv Nadav is Founder, CEO and Chief Solutions Architect of Kinetx Co and creator of Kino, a video conferencing space that provides an organic and personal virtual experience. He is a strong believer in IT solutions that do not become IT problems. Kinetx Co builds affordable IT solutions customizable to businesses in any industry.

    Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

    Back in March the beginning of COVID, I went on a video call with a friend and his friends trying to stay connected while social distancing. The experience was not great cause of the business meeting format those video conference tools are structured by.

    I dropped after 10 minutes and started thinking about the experience I had and how can it be better. This led me to design the Focus feature we have in Kino which increases the prominence of the video and audio of a desired participant and reduce the prominence of the rest. This allows a video call to become a video space where distance is perceived by the change to the video and audio prominence.

    Also, please provide a brief biography (2–3 sentences) and a large headshot photo of 800 or larger. An additional industry or technology image will be considered.

    I have been in tech for 16 years professionally in the IT field as a “solution architect”. That is a big term for someone who can imagine the result and pave the way to it by inventing new technologies or use existing ones for an end goal.

    Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take-aways’ you learned from that?

    I wish I could tell you! My mistakes have taught me many things — and I am sure have been a source of amusement for some of my colleagues — but I tend to take my mission of human engagement very seriously. I even have a background for my video experience technology platform, Kino, that shows me sitting rather seriously behind my desk. However, whenever I duck away and show the duplicate “me” then I have a good laugh.

    Mistakes I did make in the past taught me that transparency, honesty, and freedom are great values for business and simply being a human. And apparently, I think the simplest pranks are the funniest ones.

    None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

    Back in my 20’s I couldn’t find a decent job until I got in touch with Ira Rozenweig (a gadget store owner back in the day) who accepted me to be a tech support person for his store despite having no experience (other than managing home computers as a kid). He believed in me and set me on the path of tech. Much of what I have accomplished since then happened because a very kind small business owner gave a curiosity-driven young man a break.

    Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

    Well, honestly that experience I had on that Covid video call was painful. So, if real life experience is the best teacher, then I would say my enterprise launched from my learning that typical videoconference systems are woefully inadequate for our human interaction needs.

    I was not planning on launching a new product I just discussed this experience with my development colleague. We just started playing around with developing it and quickly learned how powerful it was to be able to engage directly with people in the digital-video world. Now here we are 😊

    Thank you for all that. Let us now turn to the focus of our discussion. Can you tell our readers a bit about what your business does? How do you help people?

    Kinetx is a technology group guided by the values I mentioned above to ease the pain-points technology sometimes brings while also, easing our lives with the opportunities which technology presents. We developed Kino to help people connect in a more natural way so they can interact and engage better. We are moving towards a more involved technological era and remote is becoming our new in-person for many young generations. This is even more true for the world of work, which will, I believe, never return to the old days of 9-to-5 in crowded office “bull-pits.” The efficiency, cost savings and productivity gains of remote work have changed this equation.

    Which technological innovation has encroached or disrupted your industry? Can you explain why this has been disruptive?

    I have been working in the IT field for 16 years. As an IT professional you usually start with repairing minor glitches in computers and systems. More than not, I had to set out to clients’ sites to repair an issue with as little as few clicks of the mouse.

    Throughout the years there had been a major shift in the IT field to remote work. IT professionals simply remote to the systems and apply corrections in minutes vs hours or days when we had to go to visit our clients’ sites.

    The trend was slowly sipping into other industries and usually young companies that realized there was no need to force employees to come to the office. Even more so, company members could get access to all the company’s data remotely and work while traveling out of the office.

    The pandemic accelerated the remote trend. Now even the “older” companies are incline for remote work to save cost on office spaces, hire nationally and internationally which reduces cost as well and keep the value and productivity required.

    With Kino, hybrid remote and in person is now possible. As a video tool that allows participants to roam around the video space and engage others in real time, a simple task as walking to the next office became as easy as a two-clicks-of-a-mouse while getting an immediate face to face interaction with a colleague.

    What did you do to pivot because of this disruption?

    What we see now that is disruptive is the emergence of true personalization and connection in remote working technology. Exciting, because it allows people to be productive and still feel engaged as a team.

    The technology at my company, Kino, for example, gives people to remain in a group but conduct real, one-to-one, focused conversations without having to “leave” the conversation and disappear into a room.

    The ability to focus in and have conversations as needed means video conference communications is now much more natural and we can behave just like we would in a group when we have one on one conversations.

    I believe we will see more and more innovation as people respond to the workplace disruption of remote work with ways to create more personalization and engagement.

    Was there a specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path? If yes, we would love to hear the story.

    Back in March the beginning of COVID, I went on a video call with a friend and his friends trying to stay connected while social distancing. The experience was not great cause of the business meeting format those video conference tools are structured by.

    I dropped after 10 minutes and started thinking about the experience I had and how can it be better. This led me to design the Focus feature we have in Kino which increases the prominence of the video and audio of a desired participant and reduce the prominence of the rest. This allows a video call to become a video space where distance is perceived by the change to the video and audio prominence.

    So, how are things going with this new direction?

    People that see Kino get to share the “Aha moment” I had when we were just playing around with developing Kino. We have a growing user base that really cannot see another way to engage with one another. It is very exciting to see people “get” the power of personalized, one-to-one communication instead of the awkwardness of trying to get a word in during a group video call or the abruptness of leaving for a separate room.

    Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this pivot?

    My high school reunion!

    I had a successful high school class reunion on Kino during the pandemic– and not just because we did not have to hang out in the old high school gymnasium.

    My high school friends are scattered and with kids and Kino gave us the option to talk to each other as a group, enjoy focused one-on-one chats with each other and simply have a much better sense of interaction and engagement.

    What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during a disruptive period?

    Stand firm in the face of “no”. Not everyone will get your product or be willing to use it — which is fine. Believe in yourself and in your product and keep on going to the next opportunity.

    When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate, and engage their team?

    Well, being on remote is an issue for morals and connections. With Kino we work remote but are never alone. The option to hop around and have the background ambient noise from the teammates makes us connect as if we were in the same space (minus the inconvenience one of the strong cologne fragrances.)

    Sometimes we get together just to hang out and have a good laugh on the Kino space.We also do companywide meetings where we share thoughts and the vision of the company.

    Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?

    I am the principle and CEO of the company. I share the days with the team every day through Kino.

    Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make when faced with a disruptive technology? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?

    Some ideas:

    Yes, businesses are very much like people, and we all tend to respond reflexively. Because of this, the top three mistakes I see when disruptive technologies or situations emerge is to:

    1. Keeping your head in the sand: businesses often do not want to adjust to disruption because it means time, learning and sometimes money is expended to adapt to change. Unfortunately, refusal to adapt and keeping one’s head in the sand means companies can fall behind and not innovate.
    2. Panic attacks: not in a literal sense, but some businesses go to the other extreme of ignoring change and respond without thinking things through. It is easy to go in the wrong direction or make a mistake if you panic and “leap before you look” in the face of sudden change.
    3. Taking the easy way out: great disruption can create great opportunity. I would not have launched my business if I were not feeling the pain of unproductive and unsatisfying video conference communications. By the same token, some businesses do not look for the opportunity in disruption, they look to make a quick fix and get back to routine as soon as possible. This may not hurt them terribly, but they will also miss what could be a market-defining opportunity.

    Here is the primary question of our discussion.

    Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to pivot and stay relevant in the face of disruptive technologies? Please share a story or an example for each.

    1. Let lightning strike. When you realize there is an unfilled business need, move quickly! As soon as I realized I was disengaged and unhappy in the way that videoconferencing calls were structured, I got to work immediately to fix the problem. I asked myself: what were the pain points? and how could those be resolved? — and launched Kino in the process!
    2. Listen to others: I have a global team and each person brings very important perspective. When we get together over Kino during our workday, I listen as much as I speak. This is how I learn and discover better ways to approach things and solve problems. Besides, Kino’s Focus feature we developed is all about being a listener rather than a speaker. Developing Kino has made me a better listener for sure.
    3. Integrity matters: this is the most important thing to remember when a new opportunity arises from disruption. Taking the easy way out — such as grabbing data from customers or taking short cuts on privacy and security — may have allowed us to get to market faster or to get more customers — but I believe such actions would have ultimately cause us to fail. We put our personal ethics behind our solution to remote working disruption and this is a big reason we have earned subscribers and funding. Kino is a safe space in terms of our user’s private data and the end-to-end encryption our technology is based on.
    4. Play well with others. In a nutshell, I know as an entrepreneur and technologist that I am not the only individual creating solutions to disruptive market situations. I had a great conversation with another entrepreneur in the videoconferencing space and the exchange helped me identify a cool new feature for my Kino platform. Also, we try to partner with our industry colleagues to provide a wholesome solution at a high level from every angle.
    5. Have fun. Change and innovation are exciting, and the pace can be incredibly fast. To succeed, you need to nurture yourself and others and being positive, enjoying laughter and taking breaks is the key to staying viable. Sometimes on the Kino I notice what I call “coffee break” when my team members have a casual conversation and jokes which are great team and morale builder!

    Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life? Do you have words that you live by? How has that affected you? We can talk through if you are thinking about this.

    “Better together” which is what Kino is all about. Our company team members and our business partners are those which makes Kino an AWESOME product. All these peers helped me shape my view of Kino and set the tone to a truly unique and unparallel experience the product brings.

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