In Chapter 9 of 13 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, technology entrepreneur Idan Cohen answers "What Does It Mean to Be a Leader in What You Do?" Cohen shares what it felt like to realize that moment when others see you as a leader. He shares what it was like with his employees and what it meant for him to be mindful of that responsibility and what it was like as a startup going into meetings with industry giants who saw him and his team as leaders.
Idan Cohen is a technology entrepreneur and product management leader at Samsung Electronics. He co-founded Boxee, which was acquired by Samsung in early 2013.
Erik Michielsen: What does it mean to be a leader in what do?
Idan Cohen: One thing is reminding yourself sometimes that other people look at you as a leader and view your thoughts, opinions, knowledge as, you know-- look up to it and wait to hear what you have to say. So eventually for me, I think one thing is reminding yourself that you have that power and that actually that you have that knowledge, that you've managed to acquire some understanding of this specific domain that other people don't have and you can lay it back and you can form opinions and you can set the agenda. I just-- I find myself a lot of times just needing to remind myself of that.
Erik Michielsen: At Boxee, when did you realize that you were looked upon as a leader?
Idan Cohen: I think pretty early on, but the difference was that, you know, we were always viewed as a leader when it came to, like, being on the cutting-edge of the TV experience and understanding what the future of TV is going to be like, but we never managed to really penetrate, obviously, kind of the mass-market exposure. And so in a way, I think that was what was a little harder for me, understanding that even though other companies are 100, 1,000 times bigger than you, they're actually still looking at you, and definitely when they meet with you, then they are looking to see what you have to say.
And it was interesting. Like, you would go into meetings with people who are, you know, much more senior and run huge operations and have a lot of power, way more power, and you need that power, that control that they have, you need that. You need their help. And eventually, you sit in a meeting, and you see them kind of, you know, kind of just taking whatever you are saying and really drinking that and appreciating it. And then you understand that actually, you have that power over them, not the other way around.