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I started Idealist in 1995, and I am still here. I was born in Israel, and grew up in Peru and in Mexico. I was a precocious child in many ways, a news junkie by the time I was 10, and ever since I can remember, I was obsessed with a sense that with all the resources we have now, we – all of us – should be able to do much more about all of our of social and environmental problems. The question, of course, was how, and that was not an easy one for a 10-year-old to figure out.
Years later, in 1985, I was traveling in South America, trying to decide what to do with my life, when one bright day the answer become totally clear: using modern technology (phones, PCs, and fax machines back then) there had to be a way to build a network that would make it easier for people everywhere to connect and act on any issue that concerned them, large or small, local or global. That was the initial flash. But I was just 24, I knew nothing and no one, had no money and no contacts, and the invention of the Web was still several years away.
So I went back to Israel, worked as a waiter, a translator, and a marketing manager for a software company that a friend had started, all the while continuing to think that there had to be a way of solving that big problem of doing more with everything we have. Finally, in 1993 or '94 I saw the Web for the first time, and the first thing I felt was, "Oh my God, this is what I've been waiting for all these years!". Idealist flowed directly from that.