Quality Friends


Friends, not the tv series, but the friends we have in our lives and who are divided on many categories. Every now and then we look at these categories, we try to sift them and mostly we move friends from a category to another given the moments and experiences we have lived and this behavior looks so natural as humans.

Then you meet 1 new person, in a social gathering or at your workplace or thru common friends.

At the beginning, you are cautious then with time you start discovering how good this person is and how much value and positivity he is bringing into your life. With more time, you get to know how ethical and transparent he is to this friendship, and how this person sometimes becomes a mentor on many and different subjects (life and/or business), then you realize that all these positive qualities and attitudes are given to you without expecting anything in return while he keeps pushing you all the way up by being extremely supportive and without judging you.

Yes, quality friends can still be found! I have found one.

Dear Brian Acton & Jan Koum

whatsapp founders

Dear Brian Acton and Jan Koum,

I would like to thank you for bringing the Whatsapp application into our lives, on Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia but there is one big problem you did not pay attention to.

Your problem are your Lebanese users.

While I am not sure how many users you have in Lebanon, but i can imagine they are a lot and these are dangerous users. Because instead of driving safely, they are busy using your application.

Since forever, whiskey, beer and other alcohol producers used to market the sentence “consume responsibly” or “don’t drink & drive” in all languages, because people believed that alcohol is the main reason for car accidents, but I don’t think it is anymore and especially in Lebanon.

Lebanese are so busy Whatsapp-ing while driving and this is becoming more and more dangerous, it is becoming so obvious when a car is zigzagging that its driver is not focused on the road but trying to find the right letter to type on his smartphone keyboard.

Now that Whatsapp is owned by Facebook after your $19 Billion deal with them, maybe it is time to try coming with an option to disable the application while in motion inside a car.

My idea might look weird, but surely will save lots of lives.

Thank you
a Whatsapp user

For Wine Lovers

Click to see and download bigger size infographic

Click to see and download bigger size infographic

Retailer Bag

Photo Credit: Evgeny Feldman

Photo Credit: Evgeny Feldman

The above photo appeared originally on the Mashable website post entitled A Glowing Russia Resurrects Soviet-Era Parade After Crimea Conquest.

When scrolling the post, i stopped at the photo where this old lady is proudly wearing a t-shirt showing in the background the Chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin and on the front the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev but also at the same time carrying a BILLA bag, a European supermarket chain originating from Austria.

A contradiction. [Difference Between Communism and Capitalism]

When younger, this same lady had to wait for hours to buy a product from a retail store, a block of cheese, some bananas or cigarettes, this is the kind of stories I used to hear when I was a kid about the Soviet block when we used to enjoy living in a free market and had the chance to buy anything we want as long as we had the money for it.

Nowadays she can visit any retailer in Russia to buy anything she likes without having to wait, except at the check-outs, but the question is, can she afford it?

I also remember a Slovak friend, telling me once over a dinner in Bratislava, “when i was a kid during communism, i used to spend time with my friends dreaming about what we might be possibly missing on what is behind those mountains, and now all i have to do is to drive behind those mountains for a dinner or some shopping or anything else”, and what is behind those mountains is Austria.

If you ever visit Russia, you will easily realize on the streets, that it will be hard for the communist system to have its come back, but nevertheless, some have the right to dream about it (what is called Democracy).

And if anyone can translate what the t-shirt of this old lady in the photo is saying , that would be great.

Gulfood 2014 & How I Categorize The Visitors

Gulfood 2104

Gulfood was held in Dubai this year from the 23rd till the 27th of February. And like every year thousands of suppliers, exhibitors and visitors from all over the world come to the show to meet old clients and seek new leads in their businesses.

Below is my short analysis about the visitors profiles (with a little sarcasm for some categories).

The catalog collectors: people who just go around all the exhibition halls to pick up every single catalog from all companies and after going home, most probably these will end up on the garbage, without mentioning the effort they put in place to carry them from hall to another.

The free food seekers: people who visit this exhibition or any other food related show just for the food they can get for free while strolling around the halls and end up sick because they eat more than their stomach can take, but simply because it is free.

The sample collectors: this category mostly attack on the last day of the show, but you can meet them everyday in the halls of the show, just dropping by and asking if any free samples are available to give away. the last day is catastrophic because of this category.

The bag collectors: 1 bag can take another 100 bags inside of it, these people have the hobby of collecting lots of bags, to be used on a later stage for different purposes and these can also be from the catalogs and samples collectors categories.

The Mobile Suppliers: different products suppliers who do not participate in the show, but come over as visitors and try to catch the maximum number of clients by going from booth to another and offering their services. At one point, they become very disturbing.

Price Shoppers: these are mainly traders and wholesalers who would like to buy specific products, but visit the show and move from a stand to another and try to make quick deals (which is not why such exhibitions exist), they stop at every booth for few seconds, ask about the price of a specific product and move on, always annoying visitors.

Smart Ass Businessmen: this is a funny category for me, because every time they enter any booth, most probably they are quickly spotted, because of their approach and the quality of questions they ask, losers and good luck for them.

The real businessmen: of course this is the category every exhibitor is seeking to meet during the show and there are plenty of them. Once they enter the booth, you can identify them because they behave differently and once the conversation starts, you can quickly tell they are serious and you would like to pursue business with them for the long run.

When In A Moment Of Anger

anger management

Sometime ago I was reading an article over the net about managing your moments of anger and how to reply to angry emails and keep the life and business ethics running smoothly without ruining your relationships. The writer of the article was proposing to start a new email and writing in it all what you are feeling, good and bad things (but most probably you will include the bad things) then not sending the email to the person in question but instead to save it in your draft folder and come back to it after a period of time, till you cool down.

Few days later and luckily after reading the article, I had to deal with someone (will keep calling him someone in the blog post instead of losing time finding him a more appropriate word, as it is not worth it). This someone behaved in a very weird way (and not for the 1st time) and I was so angry that I wanted to say many things I felt just in his face and suddenly I remembered this famous article and I directly went to my Gmail, and started writing until I decided that it was enough and without reading back what I wrote I saved the email in the draft folder.

I came back to it few times later and it was so interesting seeing what people can say in a moment of anger (no matter if what you are saying is right or wrong), at one point I really felt relieved because I did not send the email, not because I am afraid of this someone, but because I think some people will not change no matter what you tell them, or how nice or bad you are to them.

And because those who don’t understand your silence, will never understand your words. Cheers To Life!!!

What If Success Needs Time To Reset?

estee lauder We should take a time to reset. From everything that is surrounding us, not because we are weak or we are afraid, but sometimes it is better to take a step back to have a look from a wider angle after being drowned deep and deeper in the moving sands of our everyday routine.

Then everybody wants to be successful in their work and life, and to be successful we should try, try hard and even harder. Success does not come while you are sitting back having a beer. You need to work hard, try, learn, fail and then try again and again. Lots of people will try to stop and discourage you, VCs will tell you things you don’t want to hear, they will send you to burn in hell with all your excel financials that you spent days and night fixing meticulously. And you say to yourself, I will keep trying.

And suddenly something bad happens in your life, a family issue, you lose money in the stock market or even get fired from your job and the only choices on the table are between awful and shitty. So you are standing alone with no idea what to do next.

And this is the time when you need to reset.

When a relationship ends (no matter what kind of relation it is) it is a matter of fact. You don’t face a gradual ending, it just stops and ends. And it takes you long time to reflect on what happened and why it happened. But believe me, the more you reflect on the reason, the more you will be delayed in doing more interesting things. And this brings a quote from Mad Men: “Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened”.

Take a mental break from all your ideas, projects and dreams and try to come back with a fresh mind. This looks easy to write in a blog post, it’s hard to do, but not impossible to achieve and then make a heavy comeback and most probably you will think that what ever went wrong was one of the best things that could have ever happened to you because you were so focused on the end that you missed everything in between.

After feeling energized, enter an empty room, and write every idea you have on a white paper and place them on the floor, take a wide look at them and start prioritizing by numbering them and then plan how you want to achieve them. If you have tried previously on the same ideas and failed then try a different way that may lead you to the same result.

But you will be vulnerable at this stage in your life, because telling people what you believe in is quite hard and it takes lots of determination. And it won’t happen overnight, but surely you will find some people to connect with.

Most important is to make choices that can make you happy in life and always remember what Tony Gaskin said: “If You Don’t Build Your Dreams, Someone Will Hire You To Help Build Theirs”.

Clever Boss, Stupid Boss

clever stupid

If you are an employee, it means you have a boss. No matter at which level you are working, it means you have a boss. If you are a newcomer to any business or holding a managerial position, then you have a boss.

And as we would all agree, bosses come in 2 different packages: the clever and the stupid.

If you have a clever boss, then you are in heaven. And most of the times, you would wish you are as clever as your boss is. You admire his personality, his attitude, his character. The way he is managing people around him, taking decisions, playing smart games, giving you the option of having a brain exercise every day, for every case or business situation and the best part is when you learn from him. This learning would be your asset, taking advantage of him or even abusing his cleverness (that is fine for a good cause). Leaving the office every day and taking home with you something new originating from your clever boss and feeling happy because he is challenging you to find solutions, to come up with decisions, the right ones.

This is the ultimate dream of every employee, being respected and appreciated by his boss for the job he is doing, for the effort he is putting in place to make things happen and when you find out that your boss is aligned with you then you will be happy employee.

If you have a stupid boss, then you are in hell. Things will by themselves become hard to achieve. It would be almost impossible to convince such a boss with anything you know or you experienced. And it is quite weird that stupid bosses are most of the time stubborn people (but luckily you might also find a stupid boss who is ready to learn, good luck). These stupid bosses are hard to please, no matter what you do or the result you present, they are always not happy and they want more without taking into consideration the variables involved in the story.

This is the ultimate nightmare of every employee, being stuck with a stupid boss and trying hard everyday to keep his mood the same or doing things he is not convinced in 1st place to do, but just applying the orders he is receiving, without mentioning the tiring mental situation he has to survive with such a boss.

You might be wondering what kind of boss I am dealing with???

Photos Credit: http://www.neatoshop.com/product/Clever-Stupid

10-Month-Old Startup Buys 93-Year-Old Business

Before Jeffrey Raider and Andy Katz-Mayfield even launched Harry’s, an online service for men’s grooming products, they had their eyes set on a first acquisition. The pair wanted to buy an old German razor factory for $100 million.

That isn’t how most new startups operate, but then again this wasn’t Raider’s first time around. Raider was one of the cofounders behind Warby Parker, the popular e-commerce service for eyeglasses founded in 2010 and currently said to be valued at around $500 million.

In 2011, Raider received a call from Katz-Mayfield, a friend, who complained about his experience buying razors and shaving cream at a store. “Could you do it better?” Katz-Mayfield asked. That conversation sparked the idea for a company that would sell high-quality shaving products for a reasonable price to compete with more established businesses like Gillette and The Art of Shaving and upstarts like Dollar Shave Club. But it turned out to be harder than they thought to find high-quality razors.

Read full story on Mashable


Books for 2014

In random order, below are the books I have started and will be reading in 2014. My target is a book monthly but I will do my best to finish these 12 books in 6 months, If my target is achieved, will be posting another 12 new ones.

books 2014

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup – http://amzn.com/0470929839

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2014: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers – http://amzn.com/1607743620

My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on His Journey Through Silicon Valley – http://amzn.com/0787996130

The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Turning Dreams into Profits – http://amzn.com/1118178440

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months – http://amzn.com/1118509234

The Power of Why: Breaking Out in a Competitive Marketplace – http://amzn.com/0544026888

Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) – http://amzn.com/1402264119

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters – http://amzn.com/1937077594

Fit to Bust: How Great Companies Fail – http://amzn.com/074946013X

The Business of Venture Capital: Insights from Leading Practitioners on the Art of Raising a Fund, Deal Structuring, Value Creation, and Exit Strategies (Wiley Finance) – http://amzn.com/0470874449

The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup (Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship) – http://amzn.com/0691158304

Modern Manners: Tools to Take You to the Top – http://amzn.com/0770434088