2.0 November

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How this couple works together inside and outside the office

Feeling Stuck? Switch Careers With These Steps


Nathan Hecht on the power of the journey and building a multimillion-dollar company

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November 2019



t wasn’t too long ago that we were standing in shul, unified in prayer, thinking about our plans and goals for the year ahead. Now 5780 is well upon us, and we’re already moving swiftly through Cheshvan — a month dedicated to implementing those changes. We take all

B4. Taking the Leap

the newly available moments — which we now have due to not having any holidays — to

In a career rut? Make an

actively work on all the objectives we set out to achieve.

effective switch with these tips

If you need any additional inspiration to get started on those goals, whatever they may be, we’ve got you covered. If any of your aspirations include starting a new job, opening your own business, or even rebuilding and working on your marriage, the articles in this month’s issue may just give you the specific tools and the right motivation to get going. Nathan Hecht, featured in our cover story, has started no fewer than four different companies (his most recent being Rodo, a car-leasing app), trying anew either when one of them didn’t work out or when a new idea just popped into his head. He wasn’t intimidated by change; rather, he was exhilarated by what could be.

B7. Breaking It Down What InsurTech is and how it applies to your life

B10. Spread the Word Marketing company 14Minds teaches you how to get advertising benefits for free

In our Big Questions section, career counselor Tzvi Broker shows you how to jump into a new job when you’ve realized the path you’re on just isn’t for you. And in our “Dynamics of

B12. Dynamics of Duos

Duos” column, Devorah and Jay Feder, the masterminds behind Jay Feder Jewelers, explain

How the couple behind Jay

that they didn’t always have things easy. They went through bumps in their business — and

Feder Jewelers succeeds both

marriage — that warranted both a new start and location at various times throughout their

inside and outside the office

now nearly 20 years together. They opened up to 2.0 about how that change, combined with hard work, can make all the difference. I saw a quote the other day that said, “Don’t be afraid to start over again. This time, you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.” It so perfectly encapsulates both the people on our pages and the place we’re all in right now. Each year around this time we get to start anew. But it’s important to remember that we’re not actually building from zero. Each year’s challenges and wins, struggles and successes have led us to where we are now and will allow us to continue spiraling upward, creating exactly who and what we want to be. You’ve got this.

B18. In High Gear Entrepreneur Nathan Hecht on his journey to start Rodo, the first-ever car-leasing app

B24. Life-Changing Gadgets These products will make your workday calmer and less stressful

Alex Abel, Editor in Chief P.S. We love to hear your feedback! E-mail me any time to share at alex@20magazine.com. Editor in Chief, 2.0: Alex Abel Chief of Staff, US Office: Michal Frischman | Production Manager: Esti Vago | Production Assistant: Hadas Stern Graphics: Devorah Cohen, Chaya Perel Nojovitz | Copy Editors: Chaya Baila Lieber, Shainy Borenstein, Malka Winner | Proofreaders: Shana Halpert, Chaya Leeder E-mail: EDITORIAL@20MAGAZINE.COM • ADVERTISE@20MAGAZINE.COM

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Making a Job Switch By Tzvi Broker

HOW DO I MAKE A CAREER CHANGE? For many, making a career change can be so daunting that staying in the same profession becomes the default. But it doesn’t have to be.

The Talmud tells us that one’s drive for a specific type of work is

Through my work consulting with mid-level career professionals, I’ve gleaned insight into the red flags that indicate that one should be considering a career change, and which steps are essential to crossing that bridge successfully.

connected to the epic mission of a

The core “symptom” that I hear from people considering a jump is best described as “work frustration.” So to go deeper and understand whether a move is really necessary or if the dissatisfaction can be resolved, I created a three-step process of awareness, analysis, and alignment. Let’s break it down.

in which we will impact the world.

interests, and skills were hardwired into us to serve as an internal GPS to guide us to the specific work situations The “drive disappearance” in one area and growing interest in another area is playing out the calling of another chapter in one’s life. But this doesn’t mean that everyone who experiences a lack of work drive


job is aligned with something they


deeply care about.


person (Berachos 43b). Our drives,

When work drive starts to evaporate,

should switch careers. The first step is awareness of its root cause. After all, a lack of this

Success in any field is born from a drive

it’s very often a sign to look for another

clarity may lead a person to abandon

for excellence. News reports these

position. Sometimes, however, the

their job — only to find a lack of

days reveal stories of a global work-

dissatisfaction runs deeper, into the

satisfaction in their next destination.

disengagement crisis, with seven of ten

fabric of the type of work itself, which

My in-depth assessments with

U.S. employees more interested in taking

calls for making a career change.

professionals sometimes reveal

a coffee break than doing their jobs. Some people are naturally driven

Professionals often wonder how

that the root cause is a specific work

they could suddenly lose a passion that

environment or a particular work

to excel in anything they do, but most

drove them for years. Interestingly,


are only motivated when their work

the inner dynamic of a mid-career

enables them to use their strongest

change was revealed in Jewish thought

needs to ask to dig deeper and discover

talents and develop their skills, or their

thousands of years ago.

the right course of action:

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Here are three starter questions one

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1) What are my strongest talents? How often am I being given the opportunity to use them in this position? 2) What type of work am I feeling the

your next career will be the right fit. If you already have a specific

progression of a proactive career builder and not as making a career U-turn.

career in mind, research the core competencies of professionals in this


most motivated about doing? Some

career through LinkedIn. Once you find

Josh was making the career switch

examples are leading, innovative

potential matches, use your network to

from computer programming into the

thinking, managing, organizing, or

speak with professionals in these fields

world of finance. Creating a personal

problem-solving. What percentage of

to get an inside perspective of what the

brand of a “passionate problem solver

my time is allocated to this type of work?

work really entails.

and innovative thinker” enabled him to

3) Was there a point at which I was

If you aren’t sure of the next step

show how the same ambition that led

more inspired to excel in this job or field?

because you see yourself as having

him to generate growth in the hi-tech

Is there something that changed in my

many or diverse talents, or different

sector was now driving him to look for

job description, work environment, or

directions, a career professional can

new opportunities to use his talents in

work relationships since then?

use assessments to identify the best

financial markets.

The answers to these questions

careers that match your skill set and

provide clarity on whether the root

previous experience. I’ve seen many

Creating a narrative that confidently

problem is the specific job, work

professionals pigeonhole themselves

explains one’s career journey becomes

relationship, or industry.

simply because they have a limited

the basis for writing a compelling

vision of what they could do.

resume, handling effective networking,

SCENARIO ONE Michael was feeling unsettled about

and presenting oneself in the interview.


If you’re considering a career change,

the idea of leaving 10 years of work in

David gained the clarity to leave

start with building the inner dynamics of

communications, but he had simply

behind his career in dentistry, but he

clarity, confidence, and communication.

lost all motivation. Through reaching

had a hard time considering something

While many people find that the thought

greater awareness, he realized that the

outside the familiar field of medicine.

of making a change is scary, the rewards

root cause of his frustration was the

Through coaching, he identified that

of being involved in engaging work that

increase of independent assignments

his analytical problem-solving and

facilitates your success is well worth the

in his last position. Instead of

effective communication skills were a


changing careers, he decided to confer

perfect fit for working as an actuary, a

with his manager about his need for

field he now thrives in.

more team interaction and feedback. Assuming the next step is a career

Tzvi Broker is the director of Pilzno


Work Inspired, under

change, we now have what we need to


the leadership of Rabbi Yehoshua

move to step two, analysis.


Gerzi. The organization, dedicated

Alignment is streamlining one’s

to upgrading the financial success

previous professional experience into

and work satisfaction of Jews, is


another industry through a smart

making a global impact through its


rebranding strategy. The key is to create

publications, workshops, courses,

With the clarity of the skills, type of

a personal brand that is more expanded

and partnerships with major Jewish

work, and environment you are looking

than a specific job title or industry,


for in hand, the next step is making sure

so that a career switch is viewed as a



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BREAKING IT DOWN InsurTech By Orli Katz


INSURTECH Insurance has been sold in much the same way for the past hundred

For consumers of insurance, the

years. Like many industries, though, technology is changing the

impact should be mostly positive. By

game. While these advancements are making the insurance value

applying newer, faster, tech-driven

chain better, cheaper, and faster, they’re not without complications. Ed Stelzer helps disruptive companies — like those offering new insurance technology — navigate the regulatory and political landscape as new technologies emerge. Here, he answers the

methods to underwriting insurance policies, and also by making the payment of claims more expedient, insurance will become, overall, a more pleasant and efficient experience.

tough questions surrounding these new developments to help you


understand the industry and learn how to navigate it seamlessly.

The traditional model of purchasing life insurance, for example, typically involves a long, arduous process of


innovative insurance products that have

reviewing health records, conducting

Generally speaking, InsurTech, as its

never been seen before.

medical exams, and extracting

name implies, is the application of new

bodily fluids. This tedious and often

technologies to the age-old industry of


unpleasant experience turns many

insurance. These advances stem from


buyers away.

the availability of massive amounts of

This is the wrong question. It’s not

digital data, combined with modern

an issue of who needs InsurTech, but,

through so many proverbial hoops,

computing power that can analyze data

rather, who will be impacted by it. The

there are cutting-edge insurance

with what we colloquially call “artificial

long-term answer is: Anyone who

companies today that are issuing

intelligence,” or AI.

buys or sells insurance of any kind

policies, often within 24 hours, after

Applying this technology, along with

Instead of making people jump

will be impacted by these innovations.

requiring the policyholders to answer

apps on smartphones that track daily

Ultimately, that includes almost

just a few short questions online.

living patterns, insurance companies

everyone, since we all either have or

now have the ability to sell insurance

will need various forms of insurance —

insurance policies so expediently by

in faster and better ways than ever.

health insurance, car insurance, life,

deploying what’s called “predictive

Additionally, they are able to sell

home, business, and so on.

analytics.” Predictive analytics involves

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Insurers are able to offer these life

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sold, as well as information about the insurance applicant. This AI computing technology dramatically speeds up and simplifies the process of buying critical insurance, so that new business owners can get started right away. Another example of an InsurTech innovation is what’s known as “ondemand insurance.” Previously, if you wanted to insure a motorcycle or a speedboat that you only use occasionally, you would have to purchase insurance for the entire year, or, minimally, a whole season. Now, with an app available on your phone, there are insurance carriers who offer to insure your car, bike, and even drone specifically for the time you use it. On-demand insurance makes it much less expensive for consumers to own insurance because they’re able to buy the specific protection they need, when they need it. Until recently, this type of using AI computing power, along with

Under the old insurance model, the

insurance was inconceivable.

well-devised algorithms, to combine

business owner would need to find a

responses from online questions with

broker who sells insurance specific

company that began in Israel, called

other available data. This allows the

to her particular business, fill out

Lemonade, which offers renters’

companies to price policies with extreme

lengthy applications, go through credit

insurance. It’s not sold through

accuracy and speed.

checks, and then wait patiently during

brokers, nor is getting it a time-

a laborious underwriting process.

consuming process; all it takes


(That’s the process in which the insurer

is a five-minute application on a


determines how much coverage they

smartphone app. This company also

Yes, for instance, in the commercial

will offer a given business and what

claims to be breaking world records for

context, imagine a small-business

they will charge.)

expediency in paying claims on losses.

owner setting up shop for the first

Now, however, with predictive

Finally, there’s a new insurance

This can be accomplished today

time. The owner will need to purchase

analytics tools, companies are able

because of advances in technology

business insurance as protection

to streamline this approach by

that are eclipsing the slower, paper-

against customers’ slip-and-falls,

algorithmically combining information

driven methods. But, like any new

potential injury caused by the products,

about the type and location of each

development, there are downsides

and the like.

business, data about the products being

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analyzing it may make choices that

to change, or perhaps be enforced using

Not all tech is created equal, and

render that business uninsurable. It

a different approach, which requires a

sometimes, things don’t go as planned,

could place too high a risk on factors in

human dimension.

especially in the early stages. With

the public domain about that particular

something as crucial as insurance

business due to its location or the


coverage, hiccups in the technology

ethnicity of its owner, and could then


could potentially be a cause for

“decide” that insurance could only

InsurTech will bring about a more


be issued at a very high premium, or

streamlined customer experience,

even denied. The laws and regulations

better, more personalized pricing, and

concerns that crop up when people’s

Additionally, there are real privacy

against discrimination must be adhered

innovative insurance options. We are at

personal data becomes part of the

to, even by computers.

the inception of this burgeoning field,

insurance sales process. For example,

and exciting innovations are being

there are now insurers who offer


discounts to drivers who agree to install


monitoring devices on their vehicles

Insurance is a highly-regulated

that check driving patterns.

industry, with regulators located in

While this technology may offer

all 50 U.S. states as well as across the

deeper insurance discounts, it could

globe. One of the most important jobs

also penalize less conscientious drivers.

of insurance regulators is to protect the

The information being collected,

buyers of insurance.

including data location, is in the hands

Until recently, regulators were

of the insurance company, for better or

accustomed to the “old” paradigm of

for worse. Providers of insurance, like

doing business, but many are striving

all businesses that handle sensitive,

to stay current and keep up with the

personal information, must use this

latest insurance innovations. These new

information ethically.

products and possibilities raise all sorts

There are also questions cropping up

of never-before-considered issues, and

about privacy issues involving social

cutting-edge regulators are scrambling

media. Say, for instance, a young man

to stay abreast of the new technology.

applies for life insurance online, and

explored all the time.

That’s where I, and other people, will

after answering affirmatively that

still come in. Part of what I do is help

he lives a healthy lifestyle, he posts

companies that are disrupting old-

pictures on Instagram of his reckless

school industries through innovation

skydiving. Can the insurance company

to successfully navigate the laws and

he’s applied to use that information

regulations that haven’t yet responded

corporate counsel who specializes in

to deny him coverage or raise his

to the changes that technology brings.

harmonizing the intersection of legal


This type of tension is happening all

and strategic risks with technological

over the world in regulated spaces

innovation, including the areas of

analytics” could raise possible issues

such as InsurTech, financial services,

fintech/insurtech, blockchain, data

of discrimination. Here’s an example:

medical technology, and elsewhere.

privacy, and cybersecurity. He can be

Additionally, using “predictive

Say a business wants to open in a low-

To keep up with these fast-paced

income neighborhood. The AI algorithm

technological advances, laws may need

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Ed Stelzer is an experienced strategic adviser and

reached at ed@blockAIchain.com.

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By Tzivia Cohen


MARKETING 101 14Minds By Tzivia Cohen




es! It’s called word-ofmouth marketing. Word-of-mouth recommendations are

something that occur in a natural sort of way. On the other hand, word-of-mouth marketing (or WOMM) is an intentional, organized effort to compel people to talk about your business or nonprofit. Here’s an overview of how you can implement WOMM in your company’s strategy. CLEAR THE PLAYING FIELD. Before you start trying to instigate positive conversations among clients and potential customers, look out for negative ones. Always monitor and swiftly address any criticisms or complaints, whether they’re found online, over the phone, or in person. Clients whose concerns were addressed via excellent customer

Meet Tzivia Cohen: Tzivia runs 14Minds, a marketing agency that specializes in implementing strategic marketing

service will probably recommend you more often than those who never had a problem at all.

campaigns for forward-thinking businesses. This column will provide advice and answers to entrepreneurs to help them navigate the complex process of growing their business.

MOTIVATE YOUR BEST “TALKERS.” Identify the people most likely to talk about you, and make them a part of your inner circle. They can be your most loyal patrons, industry


experts, or anyone in a position to make recommendations to potential customers. Give them exclusive early access to discounts, updates, or opportunities; invite them to participate in private events or to join ambassador or

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VIP programs; and request their feedback on new products and opportunities. GIVE ‘EM SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT. An excellent experience with your company will likely lead to repeat business, but it isn’t going to be enough to spark a conversation. To get people to talk, you need to incorporate something completely

A LITTLE WORD–OF-MOUTH INSPIRATION Casper broke into a crowded market by allowing customers to sleep on their mattress for 100 days before deciding whether to keep or return them. Air New Zealand replaced boring airline-safety videos with bizarre short films that are so entertaining, they’ve been viewed on YouTube millions of times.

unexpected in your operations. It doesn’t have to be difficult or costly to do this — take a look at the sidebar for some great WOMM

Headsets.com sells headsets and phone accessories, but they’re best known for including a Tootsie Roll in every order they ship out.

triggers. Choose something that is relevant to your business, sustainable over a long period of time, and not over-the-top. People who find out about it should never

Umpqua Bank has 300 branch locations, each of which has a silver telephone that customers can use to speak directly to the bank president.

be suspicious that your spiel comes with a “catch” of some kind. MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO SHARE.

online, you can use Google analytics

an easy way for your “talkers” to

If someone wants to spread the

or more sophisticated tools to find

spread the word — and for you to

word about your business, give

the source of new visitors.

monitor the discussion and extract

them the tools to help them do it.

Here’s a helpful tip: Don’t use

Distribute multiple discount coupons

monetary rewards for referrals. Even

or free samples at every possible

though they may be easier to track,

opportunity, so existing customers

paid referrals are viewed as artificial,

can give some to their friends. Add a

or even deceitful, and can actually

share button to every page on your

lead to negative word-of-mouth

website, along with refer-a-friend


forms, with space for multiple names.

insights for business growth.

Tzivia Cohen is the founder and CEO of 14Minds, a marketing agency that specializes in growing businesses

Before we conclude, you might be

and nonprofits with innovative,

wondering where social media fits

results-driven campaigns. Do you


into word-of-mouth marketing.

have questions for Tzivia? Send

The simplest way to track the

Conversation on social media is not

them in to tzivia@14minds.com for

results of WOMM is to ask each new

the end goal of WOMM, but a by-

a chance to see them appear in our

customer where they heard about

product of having a business worth

next column!

you. For referrals that take place

talking about. Social channels provide


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DYNAMICS OF DUOS Jay Feder Jewelers By Yael Dorfman


All photos taken at the Boca Raton, FL store B12 |

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im Working with your spouse: the ultimate in marital bliss or a downhill


path to inevitable disaster?


Yisroel and Devorah Feder of Jay Feder Jewelers have been doing it for



years — and here, they’re refreshingly candid about the good, the bad,


the ugly — and the strikingly beautiful — of the “co-preneur” life.




and the young couple settled in Israel


Jay Feder Jewelers was founded in

for a short time. In 2001, Yisroel


1979 in Denver, Colorado, by Jay and

and Devorah moved back to Denver,

Celia Feder, Yisroel’s parents. Today,

intending to remain for a year or so,


JFJ is an industry-leading business

but that “year” wound up stretching to

with locations in Denver, New York,

eight. In 2008, the elder Feders made

and Boca Raton. They source, design,

aliyah, transferring ownership of the

and sell custom and artisanal pieces,

store to their son and daughter-in-law.

offering a curated collection of jewelry

“Denver is a great community, but


enabling the store to run smoothly after their move, but Yisroel still spent

to satisfy virtually every client’s taste

it wasn’t working out for us there as

the first few years traveling between

and budget.

a family,” Devorah says. She explains

his new home in Passaic and Colorado.

that it was mostly older couples living

During that time, he was only home

only one of the family’s offspring

in the community, so it was hard for

for two weekends a month.

(he has two brothers and two sisters)

her to find her place. With all of her

The time apart put a strain on the

with an affinity for the company; he

family on the East Coast, she began

family. They ended up arguing more

absorbed both his parents’ love for

to feel homesick. “We hadn’t planned

and had to figure out how to rework

jewelry and their scrupulous approach

on living there for so long. We had

the dynamics of their relationship.

to business. A particularly memorable

dreamed of expanding to New York,

second-grade show-and-tell session

but we didn’t have a clear idea of what

Devorah confesses. “At the time, I

had little Yisroel (and his mother)

we wanted to do there. We decided

worked on social media, marketing,

displaying a massive diamond to

to move to Passaic, which offered a

and vendor relationships in the New

his classmates. He also worked in

short commute to the city and close

York store, and we were constantly

the store as a teen and enrolled in

proximity to my family in Brooklyn.”

clashing over the business — whether

Growing up, Yisroel Feder was the

a Gemological Institute of America course at 17. After learning for several years at

“I’d always wanted to join the wholesale jewelry trade,” says Yisroel. “We opened an office on 47th Street —

questioned her involvement in the company. Despite the friction, both

Devorah Bakst in February 2000. Devorah was 18 and Yisroel was 22 —

The Feders had an excellent management team in place in Denver,

Dynamic Duos_Jay Feder.indd 13





Yisroel and Devorah fiercely loved the business and refused to give it up. NOVEMBER 2019


to y

Of course, there were times Devorah

expanded to include customization.”



spilled over to the whole operation.”

the hub of the diamond district — and



it was my ‘job’ or his. The tension

a yeshivah in Israel, Yisroel married



“It was extraordinarily difficult,”

Ner Israel in Baltimore, and later at


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“We committed to making both our marriage and our business work,” explains Devorah. “We wanted to show our kids that we were able to work together as we resolved things.” As they were coming out of that dark period, the Feders found a bright spot in a weekend away together. In May of 2015, on a quick jaunt to Boca — inspired by a visit Yisroel had recently

Jay Feder Jewelers


taken for a Shabbos — Devorah and Yisroel were drawn to the sunny,

and to respect each other’s decisions.

anniversaries, birthdays — as well as

stylish city, and they found themselves

We are honest about our own —


considering a fresh start.

and our spouse’s — strengths and

Within three months, the family relocated — leaving the New York

One unforgettable client was a young

weaknesses. It’s been a humbling

man with a devastating diagnosis

experience, but also a liberating one.”

whose only wish was to propose before

store in the capable hands of the

“Working together is all about

highly trained staff — and began

balance and recognizing our strong

the Feders’ help. They feel incredibly

to build a brand-new branch of Jay

points,” Devorah explains. “We’ve

privileged to take part in their clients’

Feder Jewelers as they committed to

reached a place where we can give each

most significant life events.

strengthening their own relationship.

other a long enough ‘leash’ to exercise

THE WORK-LIFE BALANCE Yisroel and Devorah now spend most

he died, a wish that came true with

Another vital (and perhaps the

our own capabilities, but also rein each

strongest) weapon in their arsenal is

other in when necessary.”

humor. “We laugh about whatever we

“We’re a car-and-driver

can,” says Devorah, “even in stressful

days operating as one unit. They drive

relationship,” she explains. “You

situations — and there are a lot of

to and from work together; their

can’t have one without the other. We

those in our line of work. We don’t take

offices are situated within feet of each

know what we’re good at, and we

ourselves too seriously, which is a breath

other and they make critical business

have a strict rule not to encroach on

of fresh air in an industry that tends to

decisions — in addition to personal

each other’s territory. As business

be stuffy and formal. The unexpected,

decisions — jointly. Their lives are

owners, we each have to know how

hilariously memorable moments — like

inextricably intertwined, and they’ve

to do everything in the business,

when I discovered a solid gold tooth in

finally figured out how to make it

but that doesn’t mean that we’re

an envelope that Yisroel had purchased


good at everything — so we do our

as part of an estate sale — carry us

best to stick with our strong points

through the tougher times.”

With time and maturity, the Feders discovered that the key to working

and not mix in with each others’

harmoniously with one’s spouse is


mutual respect. “Now, we’ve come to

The Feders relish their role in their

KEEPING IT TOGETHER One of the most common pieces of

realize that, as a team, the mistakes

clients’ most monumental moments,

advice given to couples who work

are not mine or hers — they’re ours,

pouring their energy into connecting

together (and even to those who don’t)

and it’s okay to make mistakes.”

with customers on a profound

is to separate work from family, taking

Yisroel confesses, “We’ve learned,

level. Their client bonds are forged

the time to go out (or stay in) and talk

together, to trust each other implicitly

through happiness — engagements,

about anything but work or the kids.

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“We’ve kind of given up on that,”

we need a new pool pump — the

other,” Yisroel says. “After all these

laughs Devorah. “Our lives are so

most serious to the most mundane.

years, I am grateful for Devorah’s

intertwined that it would be impossible

During the day, we don’t have time to

instincts, her positivity, and her sense

not to bring work home with us or

talk about big things as much, and at

of style. She balances me out perfectly

bring family matters to work. Our best

night, we are usually too tired.”

— both professionally and personally.”

CEO decisions are made first thing in

As for date night, the couple doesn’t

the morning, after we get the kids off

get out much in the evenings and


to school and while we’re getting ready

never manages to sneak in lunch

Today, the Feders’ lives are brimming

for the day.”

during their hectic workday, but they

with activity. Devorah travels regularly

often stop off for breakfast on their

to New York, a brand-new Denver

gamut from tough stuff like letting

shared “commute” (total time: 2.5

showroom is slated for completion

people go and budgeting decisions

minutes) to work.

in November, and the Boca store is

Their work conversations run the

to marketing ideas and planning upcoming events. “Pretty much anything that goes

To keep their personal relationship alive and healthy while working

operating at high capacity. Their four children, aged seven

together professionally, Yisroel and

to eighteen, are — as their slightly

into running a business is discussed

Devorah focus on the positives and

biased parents describe — outstanding

in the morning,” Devorah shares. “We

work hard to foster an optimistic,

kids who are true gifts from Above.

also talk about family things — our

encouraging, and upbeat environment.

However, as all parents know, even

children, how they’re doing in school, vacation plans, and whether or not

“We try to start every day by saying or texting something nice to each

the most angelic children need time, attention, and love (in addition to NOVEMBER 2019

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Jay Feder Jewelers

clean socks, signed permission slips,

well — they frequently come to

and their parents’ attendance at

the store and attend events, and

milestone events).

they’ve even been given a hand at

Admittedly, the couple’s schedule can be grueling, and that affects the

decorating. “Our store looks and feels like a

entire family dynamic. So Yisroel

cross between our living room and

and Devorah carve out much-needed

an art gallery,” Devorah explains.

family time on Shabbos and Yom Tov,

“While it’s sophisticated and

when they eat most meals without

up-to-date, our kids’ drawings

guests for maximum bonding time,

are also on the walls and our

and they take family vacations in the

son’s intricate crayon sculpture is

summer and winter.

proudly on display.”

Their home runs smoothly thanks

The art-gallery-slash-living-

to plenty of household help and online

room description is an accurate

shopping, which frees up time for the

one. The Boca store is elegant

duo to take the kids to the bus stop,

and chic, glittering with crystals

tuck them in at night, and simply

and exquisitely striking jewels.

budget bracelet while Yisroel works on

enjoy their company without worrying

Every element — from the saltwater

an extremely high-end necklace for

about cleaning, cooking, and errands.

seahorse tank to the scent of lavender

a different customer, and we’re each

to the fluffy stools at the showcases

giving our projects — and all of our

want to be,” declares Devorah, who

to the lounge area and custom-snack

other current projects — the same level

picked up the art of delegating when

bar — was painstakingly researched,

of attention and care.”

she learned to recognize her assets and

designed, and positioned to exude

limitations. “Friday and Erev Yom Tov

finesse and friendliness all at once.

we’ve learned to recognize what’s

are always the craziest times in the

The new Denver store’s planned décor

really important,” Yisroel adds.

store, and our family was surviving

achieves the same effect, albeit with a

“People ask us why we’re not open

on pizza, macaroni, and takeout until

more rustic vibe to suit the locale.

on Shabbos — there are heterim on

“I’m not Superwoman, and I don’t

I hired cooking help. Now when I

“Buying jewelry can be

“In a fast-paced business world,

which we can rely — but we operate

come home at 7:30 at night or an hour

intimidating,” says Devorah. “We want

on the philosophy that success comes

before Shabbos, I’m able to focus on

our customers to feel right at home

from always doing the right thing

my family.”

and to have a fun, exciting experience

and treating every client as our most

no matter the size of their budget. At

important client.”

The Feders work hard to include their children in the business as

the moment, I’m working on a low-

There are no perfect businesses; there are no perfect marriages. But


the fun-loving, cheerful, committed, and hard-working duo at Jay Feder Jewelers is admirably close to achieving co-preneur perfection. [The Feders can be reached at sales@jayfeder.com and on Instagram at @jayfederjewelers.]

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Rodo By Alex Abel



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Sometimes you meet a person and you can just feel the entrepreneurial spirit radiating from him. That’s the vibe you get when you meet Nathan Hecht. He’s a person who’s greatly motivated by his long-term goals, though he finds the journey of working toward them to be just as thrilling. After talking to Hecht for even a few minutes, you get the impression that while the idea he’s building is important, it doesn’t matter as much as the impact he wants


he experience he’s referring to occurred when he tried to lease a Nissan Maxima advertised for $269 a month. After spending a full day completing an application, he was told the car would actually cost $300. Frustrated,

he Googled around to try and find other places or resources that might help, but was only met with more applications and forms before he could even get a quote. So Hecht started learning everything he could about the industry and created an app to solve the problem. That app, called Rodo, lets you see all the cars available in your area, review prices, and order the car right then and there. If you live within 25 miles of the dealership, the car can even be delivered to your driveway for free. So, if you know what car you’re looking for, you can complete an entire transaction and close the deal in just a few taps. The beta version of the app initially launched in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut in November 2016, with a select group of dealers and users. When it was officially released, the service expanded into California as well. And Rodo remains the only place you can actually lease a car online, Hecht says.

to create. Hecht has proven that

Now, Rodo has grown its operation to 32 U.S. states and has

through the variety of industries

expanded and improved through several updates. In addition to

he’s worked in — moving from entrepreneurial ventures in the

car leasing, customers can now sell their used cars through the service. They’ll get an offer, and once the deal is done, the car will be picked up directly from them. The app is also now giving

military sphere and cryptocurrency

users the ability to negotiate the lease price with the dealer. Hecht

to, currently, the auto industry, with

emphasizes, though, that the price you initially see is always

his app, Rodo (known as Honcker

incredibly low — “actually unbeatable,” he says. In Rodo’s early days, Hecht was a one-man show — he had to go

until recently). He follows each

into car dealerships, explain and pitch the idea, and convince them

passion closely, noticing where

to join. “It was an industry I knew zero about,” he says. “But you

opportunity lies untouched.

have to start somewhere.”

“When I saw a problem in car

between offices in New York City and in Petach Tikvah, Israel, as

leasing, I couldn’t not do anything

well as external sales teams that work across the United States.

about it,” he explains. “I had a difficult personal experience trying

Today, Rodo boasts a group of nearly 60 employees split

“We’re up to almost 1,000 dealerships across the country,” he shares. “The app has had 375,000 downloads and all are organic. We have thousands of transactions a month, which will hopefully

to lease a car in New York, so after

turn into tens of thousands soon. We release new app versions

that, it was a no-brainer to start

pretty much every few weeks with updated features. The business

Rodo. It happened very quickly.”

is growing very quickly.” Since launching, the company has received $3.6 million in seed funding and then received another $23 million in Series A from NOVEMBER 2019

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InterActive Corp (IAC) in February 2018. (Series A generally refers to the first round of financing from venture capital firms.) The company is valued at over $200 million today.

BACKING THINGS UP Hecht, 41, was born and raised in Forest


Hills, Queens, to a large Chabad family — he’s one of 14 children. “We’re

growing up, so this was my thing, I was

to maintain its contracts. Hecht decided

incredibly close,” he says. His mother is

drawn to it, and took to it very early on.”

to sell.

a second-grade teacher and his father

Throughout his time in Israel, early

He was okay with the move, though,

is a pulpit rabbi who also runs the

on as a bochur and later as a newly

and after selling the business, he

National Committee for Furtherance of

married avreich, Hecht learned a lot

started his own virtual currency, called

Jewish Education (NCFJE) in Brooklyn.

about tech. Although he spent the first

Kurrenci. That may seem like a big

NCFJE was actually the first Jewish

two years after his marriage (at age

jump, but Hecht’s wheels were — and

outreach organization in America, and

21) at a Chabad kollel in Jerusalem’s

always are — turning, and this idea was

was started by the Lubavitcher Rebbe,

Old City, Hecht’s time in Israel was cut

something he had been thinking about

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, and

short by the second intifada. The young

for quite some time. “This happened

Hecht’s grandfather, Rabbi J.J. Hecht.

couple returned to the United States in

literally at the birth of Bitcoin,” he says.

Many of Nathan Hecht’s siblings are now

2001. When they got back, Hecht began

“I looked at the Internet and thought,

shluchim all across the country, so they

building his own company through a lot

‘It’s its own universe, it should have its

work to support each other financially

of hard work, grit, and tenacity.

own currency.’ It was bizarre. I invested

and, of course, in other ways as well. Hecht had spent time in Israel as a

“I think the intensity of learning

a lot of my own money into that

in yeshivah prepares you for the

company to get it off the ground, but

bochur. He had observed — and been

complexity of engineering and

unfortunately it didn’t end up working.”

inspired by — the country’s emerging

tech development,” he comments.

tech scene in those days. “I saw it in its

Incredibly, Hecht built a business

the timing. “It’s critical in tech,”

embryonic stages,” he says. “It was the

that worked on semiconductors for

he explains. “We were early, so we

mid-to-late nineties and I caught that

the military and aerospace industries

couldn’t get adoption quickly enough

technology bug.”

called Components International (CI).

to rationalize it as a business. The

It took a number of years, but when

technology was really difficult as well,

the seed for innovation was planted in

you’re curious and ambitious, anything

so it was an uphill battle every day.” He

Hecht early on. He says his exposure

is possible, Hecht says. “It was a very

worked at that from 2011–2013, before

to the tech world was limited as a

interesting niche that we found,” he

jumping into a new industry again

child, but he still found his own ways

says. He did that for awhile and did

— this time starting a cybersecurity

to explore it. His father once brought

achieve success — CI spread to five


home a computer (in the early days of

countries, employed over 200 people,

home workstations) that he describes as

and earned more than $100 million in

a privacy software firm aimed at

“a brick.”

annual sales. Then, at the beginning

providing business and consumers a

“It was a huge,” he recalls. But he

of 2008, the company was growing so

way to share files digitally. Once they

was fascinated. “I was a bit introverted

quickly that it needed more resources

did, the file would self-destruct. While

While that may have been the spark,

20B |

Hecht attributes the downfall to

His company, called DSTRUX, was

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Hecht enjoyed his time working on

will prompt people to share with others,

1-10, and are always trying to move up

that — he stayed for two-and-a-half

setting in motion an upward spiral — or

that scale. Your long-term goal is that

years — he left when the idea for Rodo


every experience should be a ‘wow,’ and

popped into his head. DSTRUX is still in existence today.

“There are two extremes,” he shares. “Customers have a horrible experience and they’ll tell people about that, or they

elicit an emotional response. If an app can do that, then we’ve made it.” In addition to marketing, Hecht


had an amazing experience and want

explains that trust is a big area that

Being a serial entrepreneur (although

to talk about it. The people in between

needs to be earned in their line of work

he hates that term), Hecht has learned a

don’t do as much to proliferate it.”

— or when disrupting any long-term

thing or two about building a company

Hecht has used traditional marketing

industry. The automotive industry

and engaging people in the process.

tactics as well as a billboard campaign

is one that has been around for quite

Creating an idea is one thing; getting

along major highways in certain states,

some time, and the processes have

others excited about it and on board is

but he always goes back to the experience

been in place for years. Even if they’re

another entirely.

as the number one way to grow.

not always smooth, people see these

Hecht says he focuses on the process

“It’s challenging,” he says. “We are

procedures as the way to do things, so

and experience of the app first and

constantly looking at ways to improve

getting clients to change their ways is

foremost, because it’s that feeling that

our product. We look at it on a scale of

hard. NOVEMBER 2019

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a Chumash, Tehillim, Rambam, Ein Yaakov, and a sefer on chassidus with him — a variety of texts. Hecht relates that he was recently studying a ma’amar from the Tzemach Tzedek, learning about the commandment to believe in G-d. “It’s not something you would actually learn every day,” he says. “It’s a long discourse that’s hundreds of pages long; this is snippets of it.” While he didn’t choose to go the traditional shluchim route like some of his siblings, Hecht shares that he’s still quite connected to it, and lives the lifestyle in a different way. “I think any Chabadnik or Lubavitcher has a the run, then it makes things harder.

shlichus,” he says. “Even those of us

this is real and the price they see is

If you enjoy things while you’re doing

who are in business, we’re motivated by

legitimate,” he says. “They need

them, then it’s easier to take it when

tzedakah; we’re doing what we’re doing

to know that when they put their

you don’t win.”

for a reason. You can’t get it out of your

“We need people to trust us that

information into the system [which

system. It’s amazing. There are quite a

includes personal data like their social


few Lubavitcher entrepreneurs doing

security number], it’s encrypted and

Despite the great amount of time Rodo

some really interesting things and,


takes up, Hecht is adamant about his

hopefully, there will be more.”

A third challenge is raising capital. He explains that you need a tremendous amount of money in order to build a

Jewishness being his number one priority. He rises early, at 5:30 a.m. “latest.”

Hecht’s brother Moshe runs Charidy, an online-fundraising platform. “They’ve brought tzedakah

company like his. “Just figuring out the

Then he davens, learns, and continues

to the forefront of the 21st century,”

right balance financially to have what

learning on the train from Woodmere

he explains. Another of Hecht’s

you need for the company to grow is a

to Manhattan. He’ll usually be carrying

brothers, Eliot, is also entrepreneurial

challenge,” he says. “And you need to find exceptional talent.” Despite the hiccups, or perhaps because of them, Hecht enjoys the journey — bumps and all. “It’s a matter of perspective,” he shares. “I think the statistic is that 99 out of 100 startups fail, but if you enjoy what you’re doing, then I don’t think the end result has the same impact. In other words, if you’re only working toward the goal, or if you’re a runner and not enjoying 22B |


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— he heads a construction company in New York. Hecht wears his Yiddishkeit proudly — always seen in a yarmulke and tzitzis, and tefillin at Shacharis. This isn’t just something he does by routine either, it’s a point of great pride and passion. “I walk with the yoke of G-dliness on my head,” he says. “I’m very conscious of that, and I run my business that way. There’s a certain awareness that everything happens for a reason. My whole life is a story of Hashgachah pratis so far, and I think it’s only the beginning.” Family is also very important to him — Hecht has seven children at home. “My kids are everything to me,” he says. “Me and my family all spend a lot of quality time together.” Even when he’s at the office late, his kids will FaceTime him first thing when they come home from school, and they’re actually the ones that came

going on in transportation globally,”

jealous type. “I’m not comparing

up with the company’s first name,

he says. “There are self-driving

myself to anybody,” he says. “I use it


cars, electric vehicles, ride sharing,

as motivation.” He explains that he

scooter start-ups, bike start-ups;

actually seeks out great technology and

many things, one being patience. “I

Hecht tries to teach his children

transportation is changing so

success stories as a way to learn and

would tell this to my younger self if I

much. We see ourselves as part of

grow personally. “You dig deep and

could,” he explains. “Time works in its

that revolution for the segment of

understand how those people got to

own way. When you have a complete

consumers around the world who will

where they are. The fact that you can

appreciation for the bigger picture,

still have a car in their driveway in

persevere, keep pushing and trying,

you realize you’re one cog in a massive

some form or another over the next 5,

that’s incredibly motivating.”

wheel. It doesn’t mean slowing things

10, 20 years.”

down, it just means to be present with where you are.”

Hecht’s goal is to become the place

And that determination is a trait that seems unwavering. “There are

they go to for everything relating to

entrepreneurs who get to a point in

their vehicles — not just leasing, but

their business and say, ‘Look, I’m


also insuring the car, trading it in,

never going to be Facebook or Intel.

Looking ahead, Hecht’s vision

buying a car seat, eventually buying

Let me at least turn this into a good

reaches way beyond just car leasing

the car, and… the list goes on.

business.’ I don’t want to stop there,

— his goal is to expand to all areas automobile. “There’s a revolution

When it comes to competition, Hecht emphasizes that he’s not the

though; I want to do something huge. I want to be Facebook.” NOVEMBER 2019

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LAST BYTE Product Reviews By Rachel Tesler

Ready to Launch The startup world is all about getting the most eyes on the latest products — and then turning those eyes into loyal customers, of course. We gathered some of the buzziest items on the market right now that promise to make you your best, most efficient self.

Smart Health Cushion

Muse Meditation Headband

$199; darma.co

Are you sitting for this? You can finally prioritize your health, while prepping for your 9 a.m. status meeting. Darma is the first smart cushion that monitors your health while you work. Literally sit back and relax while the cushion uses smart sensing technology to assess your posture, monitor your sitting habits and length of sedentary periods, and measures your stress. Updated through the Darma app, the cushion alerts you to meet your goals through vibrations, and redirects you to the app for instructional stretching videos, vital signs, and stress reports.

B24 |

$199; choosemuse.com

Reusable Smart Notebook $27; getrocketbook.com

Psychologists have long argued for the value of writing notes by hand rather than typing them. With this Smart Notebook, you can handwrite all the information you need without losing the convenience of having it stored digitally. The Rocketwave Smart Notebook can upload your notes to Google Docs, Dropbox, iCloud, Evernote, Box, and e-mail. The coolest part? To erase your pad, you toss this book in the microwave. No, we’re not kidding.

Whether you’re working on davening with dveikus or learning to live more mindfully, the Muse meditation headband will give you actionable goals. By measuring your neurofeedback, this program allows you to review the success of your meditation sessions and set goals based on this information. With the Muse app on your phone, you are able to guide your meditations with music or nature sounds, which adjust based on the strength of your practice; when calm, users hear peaceful sounds, but when your mind wanders, the weather sounds intensify, guiding you back to a calm state.

Portable Projector $100; amazon.com

For documentary enthusiasts or superstar teachers, the ability to project video instantly is a silver-screen dream. Captivate your family or your whole classroom with this mini portable projector by sharing your phone or computer screen with a USB connection. While some streaming services may be protected from viewing, TOPVISION is an important educational tool and can take presentations to the next level.

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App Store

Health and Fitness The app store can be an overwhelming place, so we’re saving you scrolling time by highlighting some of our favorites that can really make a difference in your life. This month, we’re focusing on fitness. Try these digital resources.

Portable Mini-Humidifier $30; satechi.net

Frequent travelers may find that staying hydrated and healthy is difficult when transitioning between cities, altitudes, and sleeping environments. This portable minihumidifier turns any water bottle into a device for cold and sinus relief, and adds welcome moisture to the air just by connecting through a USB.

The Habit Tracker

The Speed Workout

In seven minutes you could send two e-mails or schedule a meeting. With the 7-Minute Workout app, you could meet your fitness goals in just as much or little time. According to research from the app’s creators, as published by American College of Sports Medicine, high-intensity circuit training (HICT) exercise in seven-minute sessions as often as possible during the week is just as effective as occasional 60-minute aerobic workouts. For just $3.99, the app offers 12 exercises at high-intensity to maximize your time and increase your metabolism long after your workout.

Live your best life with Streaks, which quite literally allows you to track your streaks — the good and the bad. Whether you’re trying to incorporate positive practices in your routine or break habits that no longer serve you, Streaks provides the infrastructure for change. For anyone seeking a healthier lifestyle, the app syncs with Apple’s iOS Health app to track fitness and vital-sign data. The app allows users to set up to 12 goals at a time, which are all accessible by phone or Apple Watch. Alerts to complete goal tasks transfer across platforms, and the goal’s streak extends when you complete the task to become a new habit. The app costs $4.99, but the payoff of building new positive habits could be well worth it.


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