Search Interviews:

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 14:08

You know, you already mentioned Nick Pena, who helps some of these companies with partnerships and relationships. I’m wondering, and I’ve seen in our business and other businesses, some of the fastest growth comes from partnerships and these relationships. Who are some of the high volume seller groups that are big advocates of gotta out there? 

Yoni Mazor 14:29

Oh, there’s, there’s a whole handful of them around the world. There’s Wizards of E-commerce or Wizards of Ecom in Florida, Miami, Carlos Alvarez. I think that’s probably the largest Amazon Meetup group in the world. I think they have over seven or 8000 sellers that are members of that’s pretty big and call it body count or seller count. There’s also definitely the Titan network with the theme and then ashburner at the severity and Dan Ashburn.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 14:55

I think I saw them post about you recently. We, I thought I saw something she shared like some of the two of her dogs were the cutest dogs I’ve seen in my life. So I commented on it. And then I saw Oh, there’s good Tina.

Yoni Mazor 15:12

Yes, Yes, we will partner over the years and once again, we go on, we do training to train the Titan members how to do themselves and of course, some of them from most of them probably partner with us to help them with the recovery process. So they’re, I think, about 1000 members strong. That’s pretty strong also. So you got Carlos Alvarez with Miami 7,000. And then you gotta network with 1,000. There’s also a million dollar seller, they call themself or MDs, I think they’re about five or 600, sellers strong. The caveat there is only if you do over a million dollars a year on Amazon, only then you kind of can join the program with wizards of e-commerce, it’s actually it would call the servers, it’s free to join. And there’s a pretty robust telegram group and meetup groups and stuff like that. So it’s free. Hence why it’s probably 7,000-plus, but it’s still very active, very, very resourceful Titan, it’s paid. And it actually acts more like an academy, I would say more like a university, we have five or six levels of classes based on your position in the market. 

So if you just want to launch the LP, you do market research and source all that stuff. If you’ve already launched, you’re getting your you know, your feet wet, they have the you know, the grade or class or group for that. And on and on. The goal is if you already are doing, let’s say over $50,000 a year, and you want to scale, want to start hiring and stuff like that, they have that class layer for you as well. So it’s really built impressively as an academy where the structure there’s mentors. I think they have over 200 staff members, they’re my mentors, so it’s really as close as you get to a real bonafide university or Academy for selling on Amazon. So if the sellers, entrepreneurs that need that structure, it’s available. With MDs, it’s more like you know, these businesses are already kind of established and volume, they can know what they’re doing. So they’re able to cross pollinate with each other by being this more of a high volume kind of environment. So that’s worth mentioning, I can go on and on, but I don’t want to overwhelm my stamina.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 17:00

No, I mean, I think it’s interesting because people are always looking for groups or resources. So if there are any more that you like or recommend, that was another one that comes to mind for me, I had Andrew you Darien of e-commerce fuel on the podcast episode. That’s another amazing group. Any other groups that you recommend people check out in the e-commerce space?

Yoni Mazor 17:20

I think that’s a good coverage, you know, with econ fuel, that’s a bit more of the DTC. So it’s more or less than Amazon, it could be on Amazon, but it’s more like you have your Shopify site. So the ones I mentioned earlier, it’s more on the Amazon side, you can definitely feel a partner there. That’s also with the DDC there, Steve Chu. He has a very — it’s called Seller Summit. He wants you to be a mastermind. He has a very popular podcast, and blog over a decade, right. My wife quit her job. I don’t know if you know him or not. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 17:46

Yes, I had him on the podcast. And yes, he talked about his journey and, and you know about his brand, my wife quit her job. 

Yoni Mazor 17:58

So I’m gonna give him a shout out for his book because he just came up with a book this year. It’s a Wall Street Journal bestseller. It’s called family, what’s called Family First entrepreneur. So we had to buy hundreds of them, and we gave them to our staff and we gave them in shows because I think it’s a very good narrative for entrepreneurs to obviously try to make that money. But Family First Family First entrepreneur, so highly recommended.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 18:23

You know, along the lines of resources, you know, in the tech stack, someone was asking me the other day, Jeremy, they have a very successful business. And you know, this probably happens a lot. They want to start putting stuff on Amazon. I’m like, You’re a little late to the game. No. Never. No Yoni did back in the day because Yos three cents, you pay three cents for PPC and you make $500. 

Yoni Mazor 18:53

I started before the BB Sarah, you don’t even know why I got traffic I just put on the Amazon was approved. It just gets bought. And then I think 2015-16 the advertising again and kind of started or launched. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 19:05

So yeah, yeah, I remember, I put some products up and I was spending three cents and it was generating $350 in gross revenue, that’s not profit. And I was like telling my friends like, no, that’s not right. I’m like, I’m telling you. That’s what’s happening right now. So not anymore. It’s more competitive. But what and I, the person asked me and what are some software and tools you recommend? And I’m like, you know, honestly, I kind of automated a lot of things. So I don’t know right now. But what are some of the ones that you’re finding popular in space?

Yoni Mazor 19:38

So we’re talking about advertising at this point. The advertising could be just anything could be product research.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 19:42

Could be keyword research, it could be anything. What are some of the tools that are out there that you’ve seen that are? They’re popular?

Yoni Mazor 19:51

So I’m gonna go back to the fact that Scott Nedam is a smart scout. It’s a really cool, you know, suite of tools where it gives you kind of an extra vision to understand. I listened to Ken category or your niche, how the sellers are doing, where they are located, and their volume and what’s working, what’s working, what’s not working. So they call it an extra kind of approach. So that’s pretty cool for market research and the standing of the competitive landscape on Amazon. So that’s kind of the market research for advertising. There’s, I would say, three to four notable platforms that are kind of leading the market in terms of it so this is one of the sellers kind of know what they’re doing. But they need a platform to help with optimizing it and keywords and all that stuff. 

And automating things. So you gotta take the metrics. You got quartile, you got Perpetua, and who am I missing a bit x, okay, these are at least Oh, you know, three or four worth mentioning platforms for advertising. If you guys are sick and tired of advertising, it’s like, you know, its value, you know, it’s important, you have a budget, but you and your team are sick and tired of it. There’s agencies instead of a tool, there’s kind of agencies out there that can help you with that. Some of these platform tools like ticker metrics, and CT and auditing, they actually can do a service managed service for you. But on the advertising side, I think Rito, Java and PPC ninja are pretty powerful. 

They do a pretty good job as an agency, but there’s a whole ocean and breed of agencies. But I guess I’ll stay with that. What else is good on the tools and sides over there, and the market Data Dive there are there but Brandon Yang is doing pretty cool things I think the essence of it is, is really helping you narrow down the top performing, you know, keywords you want to, you know, be bid on, you know, because once you have so you know your budget can spread so thin or so, so wide. So overtime, you got to hone in on the ones that really work. So I think that that was doing, you know, impressive things there. Hopefully that’s kind of enough email.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 21:49

Email for sending follow ups when someone buys through Amazon, there’s a couple platforms out there.

Yoni Mazor 21:56

So like, follow up, just say, Hey, I was your purchase, gonna review I think feedback five, that’s what I used to use back in the day, but you can mention, definitely you can manage it as they have the restock Pro, that is a really cool, interesting solution. I mentioned. They’re veterans. They started around. I think I had Jay le guard. He was the founder and CEO. Yeah, totally. I had him on our show or prime talk once. But I think we started like 2005 or six. And I was like, close to 20 years in this game. And the tools they make really study. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 22:26

Love it. Anyways, people love tech stack stuff. So you are only thankful for sharing some of your favorites. So anyone listening, check those out. And then back to roles. Okay, so talk about the shifter roles between Max and you got it all early humble beginnings is that.

Yoni Mazor 22:43

You know, when I used to kind of reconcile all the MBA transactions in my company, I just did it myself. And like I mentioned, the spreadsheets were kind of breaking. So what we did was, you know, we were kind of lucky that some of our team members from the shipping department or the warehouse department, where students are learning computer science. In other words, they’re aspiring developers. So I assembled three or four of them together, one of them happens to be my cousin. So listen, this is everything I’m doing manually. 

And it’s just not working. I cannot do this at scale. It’s too much time and energy, everything’s just breaking. What can we do to kind of start automating this and making this work at scale with technology. So they sit down and criticize flimsy, but nevertheless useful, which took me a few steps ahead and created the technology, the early, early, early seeds of the technology. And so once again, for Inner Inner years, but once we had the opportunity to help others in industry, things had to kind of become more serious, because we have to charge them an invoice and all that stuff. 

So we need more operations. So we started building that. So it was very involved with that with the technology, the operation and everything. Max was more like he’s very intrapersonal, very friendly, sometimes friendlier than I am. might shock a few people here that might not have known me from the industry. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 23:56

But yeah, so that’s why I’m on the front lines. He’s like Max’s friendlier than me. Let’s put them out in front of people. 

Yoni Mazor 24:01

Yeah, he’s just out and about doing business in closing deals and bringing, you know, sellers in and that’s pretty smooth. That’s pretty good. And that’s what happened, you know, anywhere between 216 1718 and even 19, early 19. What happened during 2019 actually was that I guess we’re making headway, so to speak and the industry. So Chris McCabe, I’m going to shout out give a shout out to Chris McCaleb. I don’t know if you know this or not, but I don’t know if he knows this or not. But we had a great relationship. And he said, You know what, I want you to come meet a speaking boss. And I have a middle group. I want you to come speak guys, you know, I think offer to max and then max. Now it’s me, Max. We’re like basically, we’re both offered, you know, we were offered. So start with Max, but then I’m like, I don’t want to do it. 

You should do it. I’m like, No, I don’t think you should do it. We basically we never spoke before the point of pointing fingers at each other. So I said, you know, I’ll tell bikeable I’ll just do it. I’ll make that I’ll I’ll make that effort. So we drove all the way to Boston and we sat there and I Sorry satirized, I stood up there and spoke a proper presentation and stuff like that, and content, and education based on all the stuff that we know. And it was really good, it was really impactful, the vibe was really good and strong. So I think that moment Max was like, You know what, I think you should go out there and engage and educate and be with the sellers, because it created a lot of because a lot of the soldiers like, I want to work with you guys and be with you guys. And we’ll learn from you guys all that stuff, almost like a magnet. So Max, like, you know, let’s do that, let’s pivot I need you know, let’s, let’s put you out there. And I’ll go to the team and do more of the ops and this and that. 

And that was a pivotal moment, then he himself wants to get his very good max with doing business. He brought a lot of the best. So in the early days, he kind of booked me to say like, like, you know, like Ray Charles had his or all these famous singers or whatever. I like their, you know, their agents. Yeah, for a few months I acted like an agent, like he started booking me all these places. So Weren’t they and on and on and on. And then I met all these relations. I know, once I came in and started on sending the environment and connecting, then it was like natural grounds, then I kind of took off from there. And he was able to really kind of settle in with the operations. And actually, we kind of switch roles. He actually was a COO, he was CEO. And then that pushes us a few years forward into when a trans age of 18 came in, we had to relearn everything I can touch on a ton in a moment. 

But today, the way it’s aligned is that I’m the CTO chief growth officer. So our transitions for operations to growth. Yep, that’s myself. Scroll down. I don’t know if you can see that. Okay. That’s Max on the left. Yep. Yeah, that’s max. And that’s it. And so, yeah, so I transitioned to Chief growth, Max transitioned into operations where I was and a time settled as a CEO. 

So once again, Matt, maximum CEO became CEO. And we kind of all honed in and settled on the rules that we believe that we’re passionate about, we’re capable, and we can lead. So that’s kind of the ultimate today, a 10. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 26:56

Story is, we have you know, people say, BC, right before Christ now, B, E, and F for a term. And after a time before a time era.

Yoni Mazor 27:07

Yeah, so Aidan in a nutshell, he’s been in the Amazon e-commerce Industry, since I believe 2008, kind of a veteran. And he in this industry created two world class organizations, the both of them, so two public companies. One of them was a retail company, right in his brands under the quantum networks, you know, group, he sold it to advantage solutions. It’s a public company, you can check out the stock. And then the second was the PROSPER show. He Co-founded it with Chad Rubin, shout out. James Thompson shout out and Joan Johansson, I believe, is also James Thompson is a partner with Bobux expert agency, they also think so to springtail, dropping names. Anyway, they are the four founders accredited prospector and that soul to Emerald exhibitions, which is another public company. 

So in short, he created two world class organizations in our industry, which boats or the public companies. And I think 2017 or 18, we met at the PROSPER show he met, you can take a meet and greet us at the booth. And he’s like what you guys do? What do you guys do? Okay, let me give you a guy. So he was also obviously a seller, like, let me give you guys a shot. And he got good results. And the thing for him is that in 2011, he actually built a tech and a solution for himself also to fulfill all the reimbursements. And whoever is in and the person you partner with to actually create his own business for it before Tito’s era calls it. And you ran off with it. It’s all good. So he knew a lot about it. And then he tried the others, he really kind of tried to all the others in the market. And we stumbled upon us you got all of us on this lift is like how could this be that there’s a lift to return? Well, you know that we’re focused on this , we go deeper, we extract more value. 

So you have to make an impact. So what he did was I guess very well connected, he started to kind of recommend his industry friends to try it out. So they had a good impact. So it was a good impact snowball that happened over the years. And then what happened was once he sold both businesses, and I guess he had cash in his hands and time on his hands, he kind of looked around. And I think he realized that you know what, maybe it can come in and add all these good interactions, good impact, maybe you can come in as an investor and a partner and a CEO, and create further impact for Getida. And that’s what kind of happened in 2021. That’s when he settled officially as investment CEO. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 29:27

And as the NA tenera you’re obviously there’s a lot of value from his expertise, a lot of strategic value as well. I mean, how did you and how did he and you approach that conversation? Because obviously you’ve been running a Tita for many years at this point. So you could have been like, listen, cool. You know, we don’t have your money, we’re doing good. We’d love to have you on the board, but you decided to have a deeper relationship. How did you navigate that conversation between the investor CEO and where to even go with it? What were the other options on the day?

Yoni Mazor 30:03

There’s some level of divine intervention. Or I guess the secret to that one thing. I didn’t share it, I think. But here’s where I’m spilling the beans. Here’s what’s happening, guys, here’s what happened. So what happened was 20 2018 was kind of sunsetting his positioning with the companies that he sold. And during March, we all know the COVID COVID-19 Boom happened. And what happened was that the offices that they had in New York City shut down, and everybody’s working from home. Our office is in Teaneck, New Jersey, which is literally two minutes from where he lives. So, you know, he was working from home and got very noisy during the, you know, COVID, where I had an empty office, but I was here. So it is very hard for me to work at home, I guess it was also very hard for him to work at home, because it got very noisy. 

So I came to the office, it’s a whole building with all these chambers, my own domain was great, and privacy. So we’re in touch with data and data. And if you want you only live two minutes away from here and get your own chamber, and your magic and do what you got to do no problem no, no, no fee, no charge. And he did, he took me. He took me up on this offer. And he settled here, and then did it there. We were kind of you know, engaging, interacting. And then I guess he started kind of sending more and more of what we do and the value that we deliver. And he provided lots of good information and insights and direction. So we’re just kind of molded and gelled together on a daily basis unintentionally, because of COVID. And the consequence of COVID, I guess, after a few weeks already kind of seeing each other because, you know, you have that isolation, and we all and you know, so we became like a family circle. Right?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 31:40

It’s like he’s like one of four people you’ve seen on the planet? Yeah, all the family.

Yoni Mazor 31:44

Nathan’s gonna watch it or, you know, so that’s what’s gonna happen. And yeah, so just, you know, after a while, it just made sense to have him come in, it was very natural, much less friction than one would expect where he’d say, you know, I have an idea. Let’s try this out. It’s more like where it kind of did a day engaging, almost like partners, or at least on intellectual and professional exchanges, to say, I want you to come in and invest money and take a role and take leadership, we believe in you. I think we have good chemistry here. And we went for it. So thank God, it was very successful.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 32:16

I’m curious, Yoni, about some of the lessons you learned from a time but before we get there, I’m curious, how do you know, when someone’s investing, you obviously have to have a valuation right to base it on something. Right? How did you decide? I mean, if you’re not selling the company, there’s no point right? You don’t need to evaluate it, or if someone’s not investing either. How did you go about getting a valuation for your company, at that point, so that he, you know, what, was fair?

Yoni Mazor 32:46

Like anything, you know, what’s the value? Are you trying to fund you know, you try to compare its comps. And like anything when you bought a house at the bank comes to assess it or looks for houses not in if you’re buying in New York is not gonna look for a house Viola was in Cuba, as you know, like for I was always around in New York, similar, you know, similar score force Alexa score for to sound like that. So we kind of look out in the market for, you know, for companies that will have similar ingredients of size, revenue or profit, technology service, those combinations, and based on that, when we have a few points of measurement, we kind of balanced it out and say we think it’s fair on both sides. And that’s what we came to with the lawyers that Laura has also helped with.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 33:23

Do you consider yourself I guess I would kind of carry with you as a tech enabled service. 

Yoni Mazor 33:29

Is that how you go about this? Yeah, I have a joke about this, because a few things. First of all, I want to mention and throw this out there, gotta anybody listening, watching, we’re not a software. And we’re not a tool? You know, we are, we’re a solution. As a solution. We use software technology, but a dedicated team to service you. And together that powerful combination of technology, and the dedicated service team creates a solution. What’s the solution? maximum recovery, you plug and play, we take care of the rest you focus on business, we focus on archaeology, looking into the past and delivering you golden coins from the Roman era, and only if we’re successful then we get awarded. So that’s kind of what we are, what we do. And what was the original question? Sorry? 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 34:09

Well, I just wanted to strengthen detec, I would define you Oh, yeah. 

Yoni Mazor 34:14

Yeah, so we’re a solution. And you know, obviously, there’s a SaaS kind of styling which software as a service, meaning you use a software you pay monthly for it as a service. So we actually call this ourself Swenk S, which is software with the service, SW as SaaS or SaaS and SaaS. So we came up with and we coined the or dubbed that as well as we’re SaaS. So I hope that helps answer the question.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 34:37

I’m curious and you don’t have to talk numbers, but like, we’re companies were tech enabled services where they were finding multiples of EBIT? Ah, what were people selling? How are people valuing those types of competence?

Yoni Mazor 34:51

So it’s on the buyers honestly, in the investor, if anything, for anything, obviously there’s standardization and common commonalities between sectors but in the south This road as far as I understand, yeah, there is an element of evaluating based on revenue. High level, once you get this is one layer. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 35:09

This definitely is why everyone wants to be evaluated on SaaS, because in revenue when you talk about some other companies is based off of the EBIT. 

Yoni Mazor 35:16

Ah, so, yeah, no, but there’s always exceptions to the rule. I’ll give you a small, small, tiny example, which is a big example, actually, Google bought waze Israeli tech Israeli company for over a billion dollars. Right? It had zero literally $0 in income and revenue, not even profit, zero. But at 55 0 million users, a lot of data, a lot of tech, even though zero income is zero revenue, they paid over a billion. Why Google was strategic, they can grab it, gather all these data points and optimize up advertising, which is a major revenue and profit generator for them. So always exceptions to the rule, how did they evaluate that they came in, they said, We’re gonna get all this data, we see on the backend, we’re able to generate more revenue and more profit, so willing to pay a billion. 

So once again, always an exception to the rule. So don’t make any life-changing decision based on what I share with you with all these things. But in SaaS, in general, when, you know, they want to do a calculation of you know, the enterprise value based on revenue. So typically, and in that there’s a Delta of meaning that some investors, they want to buy you for three to 5x on your revenue. So let’s say if your revenue is a million dollars to buy your, you know, your business for 35 million, hopefully, they’re gonna optimize it, and then going to be able to kind of get other investors to come in, or maybe if it makes it public for 10, or 15, or 20x, on revenue, wants to get their period three to 5 million, and then they’ll be able to, you know, sell for 10 million, or 15, or 20, or sky’s the limit, by the way, if you blog, the blog. 

But that’s kind of a common thread, domain and SaaS, software word, the service, some of them might come and say from a strategic, I’m okay with it because of other things I can do with this service or technology. So I want to pay it based on revenue. But some scenarios I’m more interested in today with so it’s a whole spectrum of options. Depending on the buyer, you can probably shift the dynamics if it’s like this or like that. So if you ever want to get strategic investors stuff like that shop around that’s definitely a certain advice that I do have for people listening or watching.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 37:21

What are a few lessons from thanks for sharing that a few lessons from a time that you learn, it could be leadership, it could be e-commerce, whatever it is.

Yoni Mazor 37:30

Yeah, this is a handful, because we work extensively together for years, right? At this point. So key points for me from him is understanding how to deliberately focus and pay good, really honest attention on creating a world class organization. So from every department, if it’s from operations, if it’s HR, FS technology, if it’s sales and marketing, really understand that a you need the best human capital, the best talent you can get in Don’t be cheap with that and be generous and really a shoot for the stars, we’re, you know, worst case, you’re gonna hit the moon, but he wants down the ground, you’re gonna lift yourself somewhere and get somewhere so and critical in gelling the culture as much as you can together. 

So once you have this high performing, by very, very ethical, high class, world class people, from different cultures from all around the world, it’s something that I never really thought about when we first started going back into 15-16. Like, you know, it’s gonna be a nice shop, it’s a nice side, hustle, nice, whatever. But today, it would tell me, you know, 20 or 40 employees, 12 countries, I think a lot of it stems from a town’s vision of things, and deliberateness on getting there. So I’m like, Whoa, you want to get there again, I’ll show you how to do it. And I’ll show I’m going to do boom, boom, boom. 

So it takes all these actions all these moves and brings us all this high quality talent that I would say, hey, these people will work for me and I came to America and was only to $700 since people with doctorates or you know, Ivy League school, stuff like that, working for me and making these these salaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars and getting stock options, all that stuff. Oh, like, I got fresh off the boat, which I would never even imagine. But it was his leadership that made much of the data become a reality. And not only that, I’m comfortable. The reality is because I learned I matured, and I excel and advanced in it. So definitely a big lesson of narrative, learn from data and listen to other men and many, many other more.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 39:24

You already know what life looks like for you? You’re in the US, right? You came from Israel. You’re 22 You have 700 hours? What does your life look like? At that point? 

Yoni Mazor 39:38

No. You know, I didn’t come here. Oh, you know, what, Darius? I want to clarify that I am an American. So I’m an American born abroad. So even though I’m an American from birth, mentally because I came from another culture to this culture because I was raised in another culture. I feel like an immigrant. So mentally I’m like an immigrant but legally, I was never an immigrant. So no, I was born. I got my Social Security, my passport, and always had it. I’m gonna hear everything from my grandparents. So, language. So not much of a culture shock in terms of you were born in Israel, but you’re born in America. Correct? Correct. So my mother’s American was after high school, she went to Israel for a year. She said, I like this place. She went to volunteer in a kibbutz like these villages where there’s agriculture. And they said, You know, I want to actually do my degree here. So she signed up for university, they’re over there ship, my father, they fell in love, they got married. And she stayed there ever since. And most of our lives she’s actually been in Israel.

So, when I was growing up, I always had family here, my grandparents, uncles, aunts. So I used to come every year, or sometimes a few times here to go to camp. So on the cultural side, not much, not a big shock, as all good. But I would say on the professional and business side, total, I have no clue No, no clue what to expect about how people do business, you’re not taught to kind of learn all together. And a lot of how to I had a lot of hunger, I realized, obviously America is the really embodies and holds the American dream, where if you really, really work hard, and really, at the bottom of it, create real value for people, you will be able to really succeed and make a decent living or have a decent life. So that’s what I carry with me coming in. And day to day, day in day out. It’s been, what, 17 years or 16 years since I got here, it definitely fulfills itself. And for me, even though I was born an American, but feeling like an immigrant, I do feel like you know, the American Dream has been true to form for my, you know, in my experience.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 41:27

Were you thinking when you were younger, and you were growing up in Israel, that you would eventually move to the US

Yoni Mazor 41:34

all was an option or was in the cards, nah, not immediately actually went to I was finally in the army. You know, my father, he was in the army for you know, usually you go when you’re so here’s the deal. And so everybody goes to the army, nothing special. When you are 18 men or women, they all go to the army medical for three years, women go for two years. But if you want to stay longer make a career and a career in the army become an officer. And then you kind of, or there’s also other options for officers but you can kind of build your career. My father, actually he was a military lawyer, he had a kind of high ranking in a way. And he made a, I would say semi career in the Army because he was here for more than three years was I think, five or six or seven. 

And then he is a military lawyer and I gave him a lot of experience. So when he became a citizen, Baca citizen, as a lawyer, had good experience, because he was in the army and also paid for his law degree. So I had this history, where a kind of a merely kind of, you know, gives you that structure and pays and, and then you grow yourself as a professional. So my father has been through that. So I actually also had that kind of desire. So when I was a soldier, I really wanted to kind of become an officer and you know, serve and build a career there as much as I can. 

That was definitely an inspiration for me. But I was a part of a very small unit, a very unique unit that only had the allocation to go become an officer every two, three years. So it wasn’t my cycle. My year, it was like four years above me. So one of them took that location, and never really had a real chance to do so. So America wasn’t immediately in the cards. I was back then more on the army side than the military side. That didn’t happen. So America was a secondary option.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 43:05

You decided you only at one point, I’m going to learn Arabic. Talk about that, and why? 

Yoni Mazor 43:14

Yeah, so obviously, when you go to the army, there’s plenty of roles you can fill. Right? Everybody thinks the army is like, I’m gonna go on guard and go and run to fire. That is true. But as a minority, I would say maybe 10 to 15% of the army personnel actually go into combat and become part of the community. Same thing, I think even goes to the US Army, for example. Not if let’s say the US Army has a million people, right? 70-80% of them are just back end. That could be intelligence, it could be generals, it could be logistic. Logistics is huge, by the way. And it could be marriage, it could be so many things. So you only really have 100,000 or 200,000 on the ground during things. That’s probably what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq, when they came in a video rack to cover, they didn’t bring a million soldiers into about 123. And that’s it on the ground. 

But even the ones on the ground, they’re all. They’re all going to battle, they do the logistics and the cooks, and the doctors and the nurses, and whatever, you know, the computers and the intelligence, it’s all structure. So imagine, imagine any big corporation that delivers, no manufacturing company, General Mills, makes a lot of cereals. So most of the work is actually the factories and the actual production, everything around it. But then you have the salespeople. So I would compare salespeople on the ground, shaking hands and opening doors of General Mills, to our big organizational structure. So like the army always like that, not one for one, but most of it is like really the product is crafting the security measures or whatever is needed for a defense or assault. And then you have the salespeople on the ground or the soldiers on the ground actually engaging in creating that friction to create the reality that the army is intended to create. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 44:49

So, that is a scary moment for you while you were serving.

Yoni Mazor 44:55

Yeah, not only in the US, so I want to go back to Arabic. Why did Arabic so Just to complete that third thought? So realizing that, you know, there’s many options of things that can be done in the army. I know even though I was good at sports, I was pretty athletic. I was like, I was actually in the army doing things with my brain and thinking a lot. So really it was me towards intelligence, thinking critically, and also really understanding the culture. And the language of the other side is good for a career in the army. So like, but also they’re my neighbors. Right. And hopefully, there will be peace plus, you know, full disclosure, my father’s originally from Tunisia, North Africa. 

So my family and Tunisia were there for hundreds of years. So there’s definitely a legacy in Arabic nations there. So my father spoke Arabic with his family. So he stood, I heard a little bit of I didn’t really know. So it came to me that you know, I want to be in intelligence in order to be the intelligence that I Arabic, so after high school, actually dedicated a whole year to learn to the special like school in the north, to learn Arabic and really immerse myself in Arabic and that really, and going to all these tracks in the army where you can get tested, and to get accepted to these intelligent units. And that was successful. 

So that was kind of a first early on direction that I appointed myself in life, where I put a lot of effort and sweat and tears into something and it fulfilled itself and it took me to a domain in the army, which for me was fascinating. And there’s so much not only the language and cultural side, but also a big systems work, critical thinking and real time later on in life and business gave me a lot so I figured that can give me a lot but also obviously being on the ground troops can be a lot you gave me a lot but that’s what I chose the intelligence a narrative and thank God it was it was okay.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 46:41

Are you still fluent? 

Yoni Mazor 46:43

Okay, so I never really wanted to be a street hustler, just walking on the street and interacting with everybody. It’s more like listening and absorbing a lot of military jargon. So yeah, a lot of it is still there, but it’s not so useful in the street. But yeah, definitely I could do the basics. I get a lot of pleasure, you know, I’m here in America traveling and when I meet Arabic speaking people. I just love brushing up my Arabic and you know, every country has its own dialect. I’m able to recognize a dialect if they’re from Iraq or from Egypt or from Syria. It’s like a shock. 

How do I know because I will say Oh, my I will my ear was trained to to understand that it’s almost like knowing in the United States even though it’s the same language you have like, accent so if you’re you’re if you’re from New York, you’re going to like me, you’re talking you know, like you’re very very odd. But if you’re from Texas, you have a twang or you’re from the Midwest you’re more correct. You have, you know, the same language and a different kind of narrative. So then flavors.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 47:33

Um, scary moments. Right? 

Yoni Mazor 47:37

So We had a war with Lebanon back in 2006. That was definitely not simple, I would say my whole family in the north right so they had to kind of migrate from the north over to the center to where we lived actually for a whole month because there were so many rockets being fired. So even those rockets were being fired on the center where I was living. So you have to go to the bomb shelter stuff like that. Never pleasant. kind of shocking that a whole country needs the whole population to kind of hide itself from rockets coming in from a hostile place. One of the ships was actually from the Navy, which is a very sad story, they actually got hit by a rocket by surprise so for soldiers that are actually new to them, another rocket admixed Mr. Another ship, but thankfully, it wasn’t on any of those vessels. So that’s when I was a soldier but I want to take you back to me before that, growing up in Israel, obviously, a great, amazing country, great, amazing society, great, amazing people. 

The neighborhood is kind of rough. So you’re from Chicago right to the Chicago area. Jeremy You’re amazing city really one of my favorites, Midwest beautiful, clean brush, amazing city amazing people, but as some rough neighborhoods, Southside they call it in a way it’s like that so lots of do lots you know you can definitely live a full rich life in Chicago but some areas are you know they’re they’re problematic may be best not to be there but if you’re there you have to kind of be tough and struggle and and survive it. Certainly in Israel anyway. So when I was growing up, it was during the Second Intifada. So you want a quick history lesson? Summary of the conflict Okay. Depends where we want to mystery when we started Abraham the Bible or passport. Let’s fast forward to the 80s. I know that everyone in the stands got most of the components 1987 Right, which is 20 years after 1967 When Israel won the Six Day War and took over and expanded its lands, right. 

So part of these lands, one of them was Gaza, and one of them is the West Bank, the West Bank of what Jordan finds. So we expanded we took over those territories in those territories of West Bank and Gaza there’s people who identify them as Arabs as Palestinian Muslim Arabs and you know, from 67 to 87 You know, we’re living target 87 they what they call the call the call the anti fire the uprising, they said we’re gonna uprise we’re gonna throw rocks and stones and and we’ll be in civil unrest and create violence because we want more riots. We want to have independence. You want to basically see we’re not we’re not Israelis. In a way I can borrow a little bit from Spain and Catalonia. 

And if you have the whole story to even the Spanish speaking Spanish, they have their own language of identity. They want us to see it and go, you know, separate the ways from Spain. That’s a whole nother topic for another podcast. But anyway, that’s what happened at seven, the first uprising. So they started with rocks and stones, it was very unpleasant to say no, okay, bring your leaders for your leaderless talk. So they brought their leaders we talked and then during the 90s, we had to the Oslo agreement, they met in Oslo in Norway, and tried to make this agreement of you know, creating, you know, their autonomy and from the autonomy will be a country or state on rewards recognize state of Palestine or SFO. So early 19 was kind of euphoria, because we always had the conflict anyways, it was always attention. Without maybe now we’ll be able to have the chance to really settle into peace, peace in the Middle East is to have a slogan, and everything is good and rosy.

It didn’t happen. There’s all these peace negotiations in very close a few times to closing on a deal, but it blew up. And then year 2000 basically said, You know what, 87 There was a first intifada with rocks and stones. The second intifada now is gonna be with guns and bombs. And you name it. They did. It’s a suicide bombers stabbings of so when I was growing up, I was in high school. And almost daily, everywhere he goes, you know, Russians blowing up buses blowing up. So I was taking a bus to school every day. So every time I took the bus, I used to kind of think, okay, when I sit in the bus, where should I sit in an angle where if it blows up, I only lose my arm or leg and say other dying stuff like the restaurant. So it was very embedded in me at an early age, that situation is volatile, there’s violence around. So I was kind of wrong. You know, I grew up with that. And then as a soldier, that’s why also being a soldier, you’re very, I guess, motivated and inspired to serve. And because somebody else’s servitude is because we’re fighting this struggle, even though we’re established a culture for 70 plus years. Things are volatile, and we don’t take our existence for granted. 

Because somebody’s constantly. So that puts into Israeli culture in general, it’s a side discussion, discussion, or some level of intensity like no other. How do you prosper from almost constant stress from all these directions all at the same time. It’s a, I don’t think there’s any other cultures in the world that experienced this kind of level of intensity. And say, be successful and thrive and have happiness alive. Israel wanted to do all these surveys of, you know, the happiness of a nation, we always rank at the top. It will, I’ll tell you this much. We rank above many Western countries like the United States and other European countries. So it’s, everything’s that kind of paradox. It’s like things are amazing. And you’re super happy about it, while at the same time, a lot of dark things around you are happening. So when he asked about scary, definitely growing up, also being a soldier, even now, there’s a war there. So things are scary, even though I’m not physically there, my family’s still there, or my friends are there. I go visit all that. So it’s a burden, or this kind of big way that I carry everything out? Because I know it just.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 52:56

Do you still find yourself when you are getting on public transportation or bus even in the US? Going back to that and still thinking it through in your mind? You know, you’re obviously super aware of your surroundings? Being in New York, right? Are you still thinking about taking a bus, or train, and many years?

Yoni Mazor 53:16

I know because that’s a good question. Now that he asked that maybe it could be the reason why I shy away from it. But no, I’ll be honest, when I do I don’t I don’t think about it much. But there is a level in general and public places that maybe because of that, I’m just more than my wallet. I don’t pickpocket. I’m like that. I mean, I’m a bit more paranoid and my surroundings. Also after the army, I traveled in South South America for six months, with my best friend. 

And also not in a volatile society over there. So when you walk, you know, walk around all the cities, you’re so we are always gonna walk in together and try to back up each other to always be very alert to the surroundings of a threat could be violence or robbing or stuff like that. We’re always I always have that kind of element embedded in me says growing up in the army, South America coming to the United States. Even in Chicago, I think I’m more than the average person probably but definitely not traumatized from being able to take a train or a bus or stuff like that. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 54:14

You only I know we’re at time. I have another question. If you have to go then I will leave it at that. If you have a little more time. I will go down to Washington. Okay. You know, I want to talk about some of the misconceptions that we hear about Israel, right. So especially after October 7, you lived in Israel. Right. You live there. You have family there. What are some of the misconceptions for people listening that we’re hearing in the US about Israel?

Yoni Mazor 54:47

Yeah, so I’m just gonna use a stat that I just, you know, recently came out that shocked a lot of people in the country. I think maybe even the world that the stats said that, you know, in America, the people in the ages of 18 to 24 I believe 51% of them 51. Right, check this out, believe that Israel should just be handed over to Hamas and Hamas, you just take over 18 year olds 18 years old to 24. And then as the ages grow up a US person becomes, I guess, more balanced or more firm in their understanding, and then you see a job like dramatically, then you see overwhelming support towards Israel. So you can clearly see those, there’s a volatile age group 18 to 24 that are trying to understand the world. And over there, the terrorist organizations, they it’s easy prey, and they poison their minds, to think, yeah, just to go to Hamas, Hamas is like, it’s like, it’s like France, just like Spain, it’s a modern, European, democratic, pluralist society that should should just get what it deserves, which is freedom and rights and all that stuff. 

And because Israel is a colonialists imposing born alien army that came from, from a different planet, and just impose rules and laws and actions, and apartheid, and all these things, on this group, or in society, which is, if you go down, down down to the drill, and go through the reality, you’ll see there’s none of that. They also said, genocide, stuff like that. So you know, somebody uses it, it’s always really useful to use data to understand a narrative. So if we’re talking about data and narratives and genocide, you know, when you do a genocide, let’s say well populate, you know, so we were the worst, this is the worst genocide in history. Why? Because 75 years ago, they had a population of, I believe, 600,000, something like that of the Palestinian population. Today, they have three to 4 million. 

So in seven years, we did a really lousy job and erratic because that means you can eradicate the whole population, none of that they were growing physically numbers, also, money economy, you know, that the average Palestinian, you know, GDP per capita makes more money than an average Iranian person in Iran. I believe they make about $3,000 per year, you know, in, in, in incomes that’s far beyond and above many other countries, especially in the third world, like in Africa. So in other words, nobody’s day to day, killing them or hurting them. 

They’re actually growing in numbers, because they have places in societies, the communities that they live in, and they have their own areas and their own autonomy Really, guys, its own autonomy. Wesbank, for the most part, has a lot of autonomy. So Jews data, if you’re at 24, they tell you all these things, and all these slogans and all these things, and you’re very volatile. My suggestion is just look for data. What does the data say? Or suggests the reality of things? If they really genocide, I want to see, you know, you know, let’s use the Holocaust. It’s an unfortunate benchmark we can definitely use, you know, the, I think the Jews in the world before the Holocaust, World War Two, were about 18 million, I believe, and I’m mistaken, and then 6 million perished in the Holocaust, the genocide, so they went down to 12 million. You know what it is today, Jeremy, it’s only 50 million, meaning 75 years after we’re still trying to get to the numbers before World War Two, and we’re not successful yet. 

That is the depth of the tragedy and the Khashoggi catastrophe of the genocide, a real bonafide genocide if you like, unfortunately, so in this case, none of that definitely a conflict, territorial religious culture. There’s casualties on both sides. Okay, we’re stronger. So we, we have this overwhelming advantage of getting more casualty but it’s because by design, because the enemy is cynically using a civilian population, to create as much damage as opposed to the Saudi population to to create this political pressure to stop all these tricks in this and that so misconception is lots of false information. These terrorists who are drilled down to the end of the day, they’re against the Western countries. They’re really against any other religion, they don’t want to share the earth with anybody who’s not like them, just like Hitler in Germany Nazis so the Western world isn’t we’re not violent by definition, we’re tourists we want everybody to have something but the world unfortunately came to a conclusion with the you know, with World War Two and Hitler that you have to eradicate our when I say the, the ideology completely, because it’s still new, Neo Nazis today, right? But you have to eradicate the ability of such extremism to control a population and armor itself. 

That has to be deconstructed. So that was just deconstructed in Germany, and a generation later, the Germans were realigned, they came back to the nations of the world, it’s all good. And Israel and the Jews were great, great allies with Germany and shows you a lot about our ability to forgive, reconcile, and move forward together. Not easy, but we did it. So we are more than confident that we have the ability to create or everlasting peace with any nation, any community or whatever in the world. And on the other side, there are lots of complexities there. My advice to them will be if you want to have one again, you’re still growing, they’re still probably going to grow the population we’re gonna grow. But the conditions are very bad. They’re not optimal because of their weapons and schools and mosques and anywhere on their kids beds. It’s not a normal way to go because you’re preparing an arm yourself with such a violent conflict. why? It’s because the ideology like Nazism has had the power to create this to the culture. So you have to dismantle that if that is success. 

As far as maybe just chance, maybe there’s hope. But once again, if you’re 18 to 24, look at the numbers, look at their reality go visit, if you really have a strong opinion and you’re protesting, do it after you went to underground and visited both places on both sides and be serious about it, don’t just take all the slogans and then, you know, if you’re, you know, gay or lesbian, if you’re from the LGBT plus community, and you raise a banner says, I support Hamas, or from the river for the sea, oh, this thing that they say, You have no idea at all the lines are blurred because you as a as a as an individual, as a as a gay or trans or whatever it is individual will not survive a second in that culture, because you’ll be slaughtered. Because it’s unacceptable. 

They don’t want to share the earth with you, they simply don’t. So when you have this kind of extremism, you have to kind of eradicate their ability to, you know, hurt anybody that doesn’t want to who’s different from them that there was does not want to share that you know, that because they don’t want to share their wisdom. So lots of say, it’s very loaded, but use data visit. And if you’re not sure what’s going on, just say I’m neutral. I’m still learning and that’s fine as well.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 1:01:04

Yoni Thank you, thanks for sharing that. And who are some of the people you follow in this realm to get information? Or, you know, in this, what’s going on? I know, I like to keep it and it’s so dark and so depressing in so many ways. So I like to fall for Ilan Gould, who is a comedian. 

Yoni Mazor 1:01:28

Yeah. But he, you know, he

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 1:01:29

talks about it in a way that I don’t want to cry every time I hear it, but in a way that’s educational. So I love him. I do fall like Hillel fuld. As you know, he puts out a lot of interesting statistics like you’re talking about or any people that you follow in this respect.

Yoni Mazor 1:01:48

So I, I don’t know if it’s helpful because I read Hebrew. So follow the jelly kind of figures. I’m not sure it will be helpful to many here listening and watching because it’s a different language, it’s an APR, but on the English side of things I do. I’m an avid reader, I honestly have the Wall Street Journal. As you know, they’re balanced in a good way. I would say it’s almost tried to take it at a neutral level. So even from you coming from one side, I know I’m on one, we’re clearly on one side, I get the glimpse of on selling myself, but also kind of sentiment interesting elements on the other side. I think it’s good. So Wall Street Journal and other reporters there. I guess Ben Shapiro, very, you know, very direct, very sharp, boom, boom, you know, he’s like a king of arguments. So it’s hard to compete with that. So he’s very instrumental. 

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 1:02:38

There’s a lot of videos of him on college campuses, actually.

Yoni Mazor 1:02:41

Yeah, the debate Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I, you know, the, I also follow on the Arab side, because they do an Arabic so it doesn’t it’s not, it’s not too helpful there. So if we’re really passionate about it, really want to learn about it, you know, read through the history of it on both sides. Be honest, just be honest. Just read on both sides. And over time, you’ll see what this really makes sense to you. And you’ll see that if you are, if you believe in pluralism, and other and the rights of other cultures, species believe credos, to exist in harmony, and really be fair and equitable. They’ll see that just like Americans ask of the American culture, you’ll see Israel just really it’s almost like another state of America. This really isn’t in our core, we’re like that, if you’re gay, or if you’re religious, wherever you are, you can flourish and live in Israel. It’s not even arguable, just go and see it. 

But then go to Gaza. Gaza, show me if people are likely or not like you are what if it’s more magenic or pluralist I do like the world to be. So if you’d like the world to be a certain way and you support them, and they actually support the opposite of what you represent. It’s a discord you have to align. So don’t be too passionate before you check that out. Because it’s like shooting yourself in the foot in a way. But if you did everything and you, you know, I respect that and you have your position and you believe in it, it’s fine. You know, it’s all good. But yeah, that’s as far as I can contribute to this argument.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz 1:04:00

Thank you. Thanks for sharing your journey. Thanks for sharing the lessons everyone, check out To learn more, and we’ll see everyone next time.

Yoni Mazor 1:04:12