Saturday 23 March 2013

For all women entrepreneurs

I read a lovely article about women entrepreneurs that says that us women are the reason for not being able to grew our companies. We all tend to ignore social inequalities, pretend not to be women, and are afraid to say our own opinion. its time to change.

Here are excerpt from the article (, I think all women should read it not just entrepreneurs

we need more men investing in women. But we also need more women sitting at the investor table. Women are very comfortable donating to nonprofits; older women give a whopping 89 percent more of their income to charity than men, according to a study from the Women's Philanthropy Institute.

Here are 10 other ways women can take action right now:
  • Stop talking about being a victim—words become beliefs that become reality. Be a positive voice in the gender conversation, and look for the gratitude and lessons in every situation.
  • Smile and say “thank you” when complimented.
  • Practice having honest and open dialogue—start with family or close friends and then move outwards. Be mindful of appropriateness, but eventually this kind of authentic vulnerability and boundary setting will feel seamless, natural, and empowering.
  • Don’t wait for an invitation—ask for what you want (watch this for inspiration). Nobody can read your mind, and life becomes much more fun when it’s interactive.
  • Stop discrediting your achievements, and do not apologize your way out of the discomfort you feel as a result of your growth. Own it.
  • If you’ve been talking about wanting to do something for a while, seek support and GO DO IT. Your taking action gives others permission to do the same (watch this for inspiration).
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself, and let go of the desire to be perfect. Watch as your frustrations with other people’s imperfections ease (read this for inspiration).
  • If you feel competitive with another women, reach out and offer to help her out. It’s amazing what counter-action (and a little kindness) can do to dissolve negative feelings. Do this for yourself—resentment is toxic only to the one harboring it.
  • Stop obsessing and talking about your guilt. This self-centeredness stalls needed progress. Instead, use your emotions as a guidepost, allowing you to course-correct at anytime.
  • Raise your hand, and keep it up.
Continue the conversation at LeanIn.Org.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Education is a commodity

Soon we are going to have an education stock exchange. I guess the billions of dollars that are being spent on education around the world will trigger the establishment of a new Wall street- Education or Nikkei-Education.  We will find the big four in education. The Merrill Lynch and the Goldman Saks of this world in education trading and barters. There will be regulators like the SECs and the Nasdaq's and the London stock exchanges etc.

However this will only happens when few conditions pre exists:

1. Governments are dealing ethically and the best people will do the work in education not those that have an uncle as a minister or a cousin who is the head of the department

2. Industry who is truly caring about the people in our country and want these people to have the best education

3. We have the appropriate regulatory framework for the qualification. And when we choose systems from around the world we look at the whole system and not take a part only even though we know that it will not fit our situation

4. The parents are involved in the improvements in the education because they know if they didn't their kids lives is in jeopardy

5. Teachers become teachers because they are passionate about the work and not because they couldn't find a job

6. The kids have the drive as they know that without good education he or she will not have a chance in life

7. Vocational education is considered a stream in Education, instead of a choice for those that fail to enter Tertiary education.

8. Children have a say in how they are being taught.

When all of these things are evident, then people will trade in education stocks.

Saturday 16 March 2013


This company built the nicest communities in the world and the promisses of even grander communities are underway. We all love to go to Palm Jumeirah and wonder how on earth did they think of that. The hotels that are built around the crescent are having 100% occupancy day in and day out. Every person that bought a villa is happy with their privacy and their own beach.

This is the glossy cover of "The Nakheel Book" as I would call it. When you start reading the story a lot of mishaps start to uncover. Bad workmanship, attrocious charges, bills that never reach you and when it does it has late payment charges. The number if people that attend to the clients are 6 and the rest are managers in closed offices. 

A simple transfer of title took me six agonising months, there is no person on the face of UAE that I didn't use to complete my transaction.  The Deed itself wasn't even with them but no one knew that,  they were looking for it nevertheless.  Until one day I remembered that my building was subcontracted to another company so I tried to look for their address and voilĂ  got the deed after four months of lies by the staff. I didnt want to brag to them and show how upset was I for wasting 4 months of my time; I just wanted to complete the process!

The next step was the NOC! you might as well change the word to NUKE!!!! This simple document took another two months!!!!!! yes because you need to first clear all the charges and any future charges that may or may not occur and once you've done that you can get it.  Of course in the process they neglect to you that once you had paid for everything take the receipt and give it to the person that had worked on your NOC so she scans it in the system and the next day one can collect the most valuable document in the world. 

What system? do we have two different systems? One takes your money and another spits out the required documents?  the irony is that both the receipts and the NOC are given by the same department!  so why do we have to scan the receipt one may ask? 

So what happens is that you wait and wait and when you go to enquire that fact is told to you?  its as if some one had given you a slap on the face?????  All you need is to take a deep breath and give the receipts,  smile with the girl and hope for the best. that smile handed me the NOC the next morning after waiting for another two months? 

Finally got all I needed from Nakheel so I am fulfilling my promise to write about my experience.  Of course I am not going to keep quite as I don't want the prettiest places in Dubai to be stained by a lausy management and wrong processes.   

It is my duty to make the place works like a charm,  and its not very difficult.  All we need is to know what every staff dreamt about of new torture to the clients and build it in the system. 

Jokes apart, I pity those that have to go to Nakheel day in and day out instead of enjoying the view of the beach and the house or the flat. Everything can be made online and no one needs to go anywhere.

We maybe able to build the nicest buildings but gray matters that run the processes are beyond repair 
so my advice is to be persistent and ask every question that comes to your mind even if you think that
 its silly;  you never know a silly thought can be your saviour. 

 And last but not least every time you clear one step ask them: what next?

Friday 1 March 2013

Social Media and its pros and cons

If I want to compare Instagram with the rest of social media on a scale of one to ten, Instagram will score ten while twitter is 9 and the others will score four. Why? Because of its simplicity and effectiveness. It allows 1000 words to be said silently and through a photo.

Also promotion of the photo is simple, all you need is to tag it with the words. Of course I don't know who created the hash tag concept, but it's genius as one can find millions of things just by the simple use of a hash tag. 

So in fact I almost stopped using facebook as it became too crowded for my liking, also I almost stopped using linkedin as its very intrusive, so the only two social media forums that I use are twitter (only if what I want to say cannot be depicted by a photo), and Instagram. 

I also use Instagram to promote my company, and it's working.  I feel people on facebook are just there because they want to see your news and stalk you, in Instagram you are giving your news and your interests in a photo so the curiosity of the people that follow you is almost instantly killed, and what you put there satisfies them, and they will move to another photo instead and so on.  In facebook one has to sift through screens after screens of data and information in order to find what he or she want to see. 

LinkedIn has become a pain in the neck as all I receive is job requests, requests to purchase someone's products and services and other requests for collaborations.  It has become a very pushy space for hard sale.  I don't like that at all. I think sales of ones products and services should not be pushed to the clients, one should first know the clients and know their needs and then suggest if they want to use his or her product or service.  I am getting umpteen number of emails from LinkedIn on a daily basis which is sometimes stopping me from doing my job in helping my students and finding the best place for them to be in. I personally prefer soft sale because it is only disclosed on needs basis. That is why I hate those unsolicited phone messages and emails that try to lure you to buying a product or a service without thinking if I really need that product or service.

So until another genius thing comes to life I will be sticking to these two social media products instagram and twitter. 

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are very clever as they didn't only create this Magnificent media in isolation, they gave us ways to link our news (pictures) to other social media which is great as now we can really just use Instagram to do our work and spread our news and with few presses on the share buttons we have all our accounts populated with what we want to say.  Incredible really.

Jack Dorsey who created twitter is another genius who taught us how to be very subtle in what we have to say. If you don't know how to use twitter then I must explain it. You have to write only 140 characters, which is not a lot of course when you think of how much we the human beings love to talk, so we (tweeps) became concise and had shortened our descriptions to fit the required characters.  So twitter had made us rule abiding bunch of course so I wish the governments find a similar way to make us rule abiding people! Of course some times some hooligans use the 140 characters to say bad words, swear, show some muscles and make everybody upset, don't forget that twitter accounts are hacked and a virus is sent to the tweeps if they open it the computer will blow up.  

My feeling: we the human beings are very social, even our products and services are mostly sold due to word of mouth. So these social media are trying to depict what happens in real life.  Sometimes this succeeds but sometimes it doesn't.  To me LinkedIn didn't succeed.