David Michaelis: Why Waze CEO Paved the Right Way for Startups

Written by David Michaelis

Our David Michaelis on the wisdom of Waze. It made the right decision to preserve its corp culture and stay in Israel as opposed to move to Silicon Valley. In the end, it’s a win-win-win — for Google, consumers and startups of the future who want to preserve their identities.

aNewDomain.net — Finding the right track for a company doesn’t necessarily involve making everyone richer than Larry Ellison or lining the pockets of bankers, lawyers and various players on Wall St. Why did Waze find its way to Google, for instance, and not Facebook? Waze CEO Noah Bardin, the exec who was instrumental in blocking the earlier Facebook acquisition, explains.

On the company blog, Bardin wrote:

Disruption means doing much more with less, via radically different methods like the deep collaboration of Waze’s Wiki-style map making system …”

As to why Waze didn’t just keep churning along independently, Bardin wrote:

Choosing the right  track for the right way one is often diverted by attention to bankers, lawyers, and to the satisfaction of Wall Street. We decided to dedicate our time to the community of users. Google is committed to helping us achieve our common goal and provide us the independence and resources required to succeed. (to)explore many alternatives. We believe that Google is the best partner … editors for maps, regional managers, and about 50 million worldwide users of the application.”

But a main factor in avoiding the Facebook bid had to do with Waze resistance to move its offices from its Ra’anana, Israel-based headquarters to Silicon Valley, as we’ve noted here at aNewDomain.net.

CEO Bardin, a hands-on Waze exec who manages the firm, will return to Israel at this point and make sure the Google-Waze integration is not so integrated that Waze can’t continue to operate more or less independently.

Analysts estimate that Google will fully subsume Waze within three years, after Wise’s commitment to stay on board has expired.

Watch for versions of Waze for Android — and for the crowd-sourced tech to be integrated into Android writ large.

Disruption works as long as a startup isn’t integrated with  a huge operation. Scrappy companies innovate and disrupt best. But, by staying in Israel, Bardin assures at least some independence for Waze.

The deal is in everyone’s interest, that much is certain. Waze will help Google ensure  its lead mapping position with the innovating tech Waze brings to the table.

In the end, the Google-Waze deal is a win-win for consumers and startup innovators who want to do the right thing in the future.

For aNewDomain.net, I’m David Michaelis.