An Interview With Amir Shevat, ex-Microsoft, Google, Slack, and Twitch

When I think of the entrepreneurial journey and those from whom I can learn the most, Amir Shevat is at the top of the list. He’s worked at some of the most successful tech companies in the world in leadership positions and has built some truly impactful products over the years. He even started the Google Tel Aviv campus.

I was fortunate to get some time with him to pick his brain. Lots of gold here. Enjoy! 

1. Who is Amir Shevat?

I am an entrepreneur and an angel investor living with my wife and two kids in Palo Alto, California. I’ve worked at Microsoft, Google, Slack, and Amazon Twitch. 

Today, I lead product and engineering at Reshuffle, an integration engine for developers.

2. Walk me through your career and the companies you’ve worked for. 

I started working at a few small startups around the year 2000, experiencing the great dot-com crash, and then worked at Microsoft helping developers build applications using .NET. 

After that, I joined Google to help developers build on Android, Maps, Chrome, and Google Cloud. I built the startup program for Google called the Launchpad and the Developers Experts Program. 

With Google, I moved to Silicon Valley and led Google’s scalable developer program around the world. Then I joined a small startup called Slack and helped build that platform. It was a great experience seeing Slack grow from 50 to 250,000 active developers. After that, I joined Amazon as the VP of the developer platform at Twitch. About a year ago, I came back to startup land to create Reshuffle.  

3. Developers, developers, developers. You and Ballmer. Why the love of developers?

I love innovation, and think developers are at the heart of it. After a lot of internal exploration, I realize that what makes me the happiest is to provide others with the ability to shine and innovate. I am a one-trick pony, but kinda like it. 

4. Tell me about your new startup.

We are building an open-source engine that lets developers build integrations and workflows for their businesses. We think that automation and productivity are the future of work, and want to empower developers to be at the center of it.    

5. What made you go from corporate to startup?

I love working at both corporations and startups. I find that switching between them from time to time helps you be productive and alert, because they require very different skills and ways of thinking about things.  

6. Where is Amir Shevat in five years?

Empowering developers (see, one-trick pony). I also love angel investments and want to build great startups with amazing founders. 

7. Israel or Silicon Valley? Why?

Both! Both have amazing innovation and people. Israel has the chutzpah and the ability to think outside the box, and Silicon Valley has the scale and access to capital.

8. What are the main differences between the two ecosystems?

They have radically different ways of looking at building a startup. This is how I look at it:

Silicon Valley startup: pitched an idea for a time machine, raised $100 million, secured $50 million in customer orders, now need to build a time machine.

Israeli startup: built a time machine, now need to raise $1 million and find clients.

9. Your biggest challenge?

Time. I wish I had 48 hours a day. I have a fiction book that I wrote and edited and do not have time to put in the final touches. 

10. Three tips for entrepreneurs.

Know and love your customer.

Stay focused on the most important things, and say no to the rest.

Help others and it will pay back 10-fold. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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