Purim is a great Jewish holiday, so good in fact that when someone's having too much fun, or a lucky streak, and you just have to cool them down, use the Hebrew expression "Not every day is Purim". Hint hint, tomorrow you're going down, pal.
So, what's the essence of this holiday: I'll spare you the historical background. These days, we celebrate Purim by dressing up - a masquerade - similar to Halloween, but without the trick-or-treat-junk-chocolate-bar-collect activities. But there certainly are special holiday foods to be devoured and the atmosphere is as joyous as can be. One of my favorite pastimes in the past few years has been to visit the Bnei Atarot school, right next to MyHeritage, on the morning of Purim, every year, with a video camera. It's great fun and I also feel as if I'm on an important anthropological quest: to document the generation. For you can tell a lot about the generation from the dresses and costumes that kids dress up each year. When I was a kid, not that many decades ago, but still in prehistory as far as Internet Time is concerned, those were naive times indeed. It was quite simple then, boys were cowboys, Indians or Popeyes, and girls were princesses or Queen Esthers. But it all went downhill in recent years. Mutant Ninja Turtles, industrial costumes from China, punks, hippies and drop-outs. But occasionally you can spot a unique, home-made, totally original costume that makes it all worthwhile. Years from now as I grow older I will prepare a 50-year research on this topic. But for now, enjoy the pictures below from our own celebration of Purim at MyHeritage, yesterday.
PHOTO: Purim 2007 at MyHeritage - click to enlarge.
Guy and Jaiel again, with Nir "Taekwondo (Take & Undo) Master",
Shmulik "Ross Parrot", myself ("how did I get that small hat over my horns?") and Ran "Don Corleone"
I remember meeting Yossi Vardi a few years ago. A well known entrepreneur, he's considered the father of the Internet scene in Israel. On his jam-packed desk was a printout of an old presentation he gave after selling his company Mirabilis/ICQ to AOL. Its smug title was along the lines of "Getting the first 100 million users is always the hardest". The achievement seemed impossible for me to grasp at the time. But, here we are at MyHeritage, on a much more modest scale, celebrating the addition of our 10 millionth subscribed member today, hardly a year since our Web site went live.
What does it mean to be a member of MyHeritage? I'll start with what it doesn't mean: receiving spam. We abhor spam and do not abuse the trust that our members have placed in us. Our members enjoy our cool face recognition features, and many of them use our genealogy products: the free Family Tree Builder, the free genealogy search engine MyHeritage Research, and our family network - Family Pages. We are hard at work to add new products and features for the benefit of our members.
Our 10 million members come from all over the world. To celebrate the diversity of our member base, we are about to launch a unique Member Map to allow you to explore the MyHeritage community geographically. Here's a sneak preview of it, the screenshot shows only Europe, Asia and the Middle East, but every corner of the globe is covered, and you'll be able to meet members from each country, and in the future see how family trees from different countries connect on the map.The size of each figure represents the relative number of members from that country. Nope, we don't have that many members from Afghanistan - it's one of the remaining bugs we still need to fix!
We've got great stuff in store for you for 2007. Stay tuned!
PHOTO: MyHeritage team, December 2006. Standing from left to right: Uri, Guy, Shmulik, Jaiel, Nir. Sitting: Gilad, Simon. Missed the photo-op: Gal, Shalvia, Chris. Credit: Gabriel Baharlia.
Click photo for a larger version.
In this blog my co-workers and I will shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes at MyHeritage; we'll share our thoughts on genealogy and technology, and try to unravel one of the greatest mysteries of our time: how to have fun (not to mention a life) when working so hard in an Internet startup.
Enjoy our blog and be sure to send us your comments!