Here We Start

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Dear Sail Readers,

Here we go again with our fourth issue of Sail magazine. It has definitely been an amazing ride so far, it does get a little tough on the way, but it only takes a bit until we are back on our journey and sail along.

We appreciate all the feedback we got from our readers. Your feedback is highly valued, and we are working on them. Please do keep your feedback coming in, as this magazine is aimed for you to enjoy and think upon it.

During the past month, Sail magazine had a presence in the UAE BarCamp, in which, interesting discussions stemmed on the topic of regional content creation. This led for the magazine to be featured on The National newspaper, which we are proud of, and are overjoyed with our readers’ excitement for it.

In this issue we will discuss the importance of regional content through Think Aloud, then we will have the first part of a two-part interview with Qais Sedki; an Emirati author of the first Arabic book done on Japanese Manga style.

In this issue, we are glad to announce the introduction of a new column under the name of “Blunders of a Wannabe Entrepreneur” by Rooda Al Neama. Rooda is a starting up entrepreneur, who will be writing about her ups and downs in the entrepreneurship journey. I hope you would enjoy it and find the value in what she has to offer.

We also have an opinion column this month, by our executive editor Shaima Al Tamimi. Her column will be talking about the cultural exchanges. And Finally, we will end our issue with a TED video by no other than the legendry “Sir Ken Robinson”. All I have to say about the video is that it is a must watch.

Hope you enjoy the read!

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah

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The Importance of Regional Media Content

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

By Iman Ben Chaibah,

There are certain things in life we tend to take for granted; we consume them without thinking of other possible subsequences that may stem from them on the long term. The same applies to media consumption.

Media content can be any sort of created content; written, heard, or visual content. However, in the context of this article, I will be focusing on the visual media.

Back in the 80’s and 90’s, media had a limited influence on the generations growing at that time. At first we had minimal number of channels, with an actual starting and closing time for them! We started with domestic channels then moved on to have international channels. It may be safe to say the content available back then was limited to couple of hours cartoon, 2 or 3 TV series, news, camel races, and a few other shows.

TV shows were very modest back then, they demonstrated genuine values, depicted our true essence of right and wrong, and represented our culture through our words, thoughts and people. Due to minimal TV content back then, people actually had time to interact with friends and family, and they were able to live the real world outside what is just streamed through the media.

Naturally we tend to choose role models from the people around us and from the media. Back then we had good role models whether from the elderly family members or from the media like Hayat Al Fahad, Souad Al Abdallah, Mansoor and Mohammed Al Mansoor, Fatin Hamama, Rushdi Abatha, and the list can go on. Those were looked up to for what they represented from respect, honor, dignity, and humbleness.

However, this started to change in the late 90s and onwards. Satellite channels started expanding, new channels were introduced, and the paradigms were changed. We moved from channels that had limited operational hours, short intervals of different shows’ categories to a network of channels that is 24/7 operational, with more specialized channels for each category, i.e., series, movies, cartoons, etc.
The availability of those channels meant creating more content, this led to higher consumption by the viewers, longer hours spent watching, less time communicating, more values absorbed from the media, and eventually this starts to form an illusion of what reality is.

Sail magazine published a survey during the last week on the impact of media, 30 people at the average age of 19 have responded. Although this cannot be generated as a stereotype, nonetheless, it may represent a segment of the society.

The research revealed that the majority of the respondents watch an average of 4 hours between live-streamed TV channels and online downloaded content. The most watched types of shows are either movies or series according to the respondents. And, here is the painful one, 96% of them prefer their shows to be originally western.

Evidently, the surveyed age-group has higher consumption of media content that is not originated from within the region, leading to absorption of values that may not necessarily reflect our identity. If we need to strengthen the national identity, we might need to target the channels that appeals to the targeted audience.

Media projects have to be studied from all angles before running them into production and distribution. The study must focus on projects’ content, appearances represented, values instilled directly or sublimely, and so on.

In order to produce media projects that are successful to the region, we need to find the overall pattern or mold of successful shows, and seek for the common factors. From there we should try to leverage on the learnt concepts and develop our own projects that reflect our reality or the reality that we aspire to. This is a common business approach, so why not cascade it on media projects.

Last, if we realize that the audience prefers English shows, we might need to look into producing shows that are in English. However, the shows should still be a representation of our values and reality. When they prove to be successful, we may start the Arabic version of them. But at least we would have provided the audience with varieties to look at within their preferences.

In conclusion, I would leave you with this quote by William Bernbach: “All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.”

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Interview with Qais Sedki – Part 1 (@qsedki)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

By Iman Ben Chaibah,

Qais Sedki is the author of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award winning book: “Gold Ring”, the first Arabic book done on the Japanese Manga style. This interview is divided into two parts and is published on June and July. In this part the interview you will be reading about Gold Ring the book, and about the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. The next part will be the personal and inspirational side of Qais Sedki.

  1. Define Gold Ring in your words
  2. Gold Ring as a product, it is the first classical Arabic graphical novel done in an authentic Japanese Manga style. Gold Ring is also the first series title under PageFlip publishing brand.

  3. What do you aim to achieve through Gold Ring?
  4. I think of “Gold Ring” as a vehicle to accomplish a lot of things beyond just selling a book. I would like to use Gold Ring to instill a lot of positive values in the youth, and I think the best way to do that is through entertainment.

    I also hope that Gold Ring would encourage more people to join the scene, and enrich the writing industry with more varieties.

  5. What were your initial steps towards endeavoring into Arabic Manga books before the actual production?
  6. Manga is like a movie in a book format, you can feel the action, the tension, and the ups and downs. Looking to the fact I was not an author, I realized that I would need to learn more about script writing rather than book writing.

    The next step was to write stories synopses; one-pagers summaries of different story lines. I wrote around 8 different synopses, each representing an idea for a series. From them, I picked the Gold Ring as my starting series. In general, my synopses are very distinct in their content, but they have similar lines. My goal is to establish my style as my trademark. I want people to see a PageFlip product, and know what to expect.

    One of the initial steps that I had to do was to find the artists for this project. I was able to find a self-publishing company of a huge giant in Japan. They have the contacts of the artists, the editors, and so on. When it came to artist selection, we were lucky that the recommended international Manga artist, Akira Himekawa, have agreed to work on the project after looking into the synopsis and concepts of Gold Ring.

  7. What are the steps of creating a volume within the series?
  8. The first step is to decide on a brief storyline. Then once that is decided, slowly I expand in the story line and start to develop the characters and give them personalities. Once this is done, the Manga artists team would draw the actual characters based on reading my characters’ description, this is a fun ride because it is the start of the project’s manifestation.

    My part then, is to expand the story line further into a narrative form so the artists can build the storyboard accordingly. I have to say that the artists’ team played an instrumental role in the success of Gold Ring. The novel is a graphic novel, so the illustration is an important part of it. They know how to hold unto someone’s interest. There was a lot of collaboration and discussions, in which, they contributed greatly to the structuring and ordering of the book’s events.

  9. Are there any visual values you try to implant in the series?
  10. I definitely want to set a good example with Gold Ring. One of the essential values I focused on was the hijab. This was specifically through Aisha, Sultan’s mother. She is a very loving mother and she is understanding. I wanted to show a very positive motherly role. It was important for me that Aisha would appear with hijab most of the time, and without it sometimes when she is at home. Everything has its time and its place. I want to show that there is a human side of our culture.

  11. Tell us about the Sheikh Zayed book award that you won for year 2010 under the category of children literature.
  12. It is a very significant award. It is not restricted to any region or nationality as long as the work is submitted in Arabic.

    The award is highly respectful and credible, because they have high standards and criteria, and they have the authority to withhold an award in a given category if none of the applicants met their criteria.

    The award was the greatest form of acknowledgment. With all the financial expenses and work I have invested into this project, the award was a like a pat on the back and saying you did a good job.

    Also the amount of the prize award is significant and unheard of; this is a clear indication of how the government is trying to support the industry in the right way.

  13. How did you spend the financial prize award?
  14. People’s reaction to the first volume was very positive. To summarize the reaction I got from most people, it was: “I love the book. When is the next one.” So before the award, I decided I will go ahead with the second volume, regardless of the fact that the sales of the first volume did not yet compensate for the investments made, I thought I will try to manage the financial part along the way. I started negotiating with the same company again and worked on the content of the second volume. Then reached the point in which I had to agree on the contract value of the second volume. I read the cost, the number was scary, I looked at the balance in my bank account, and it was even scarier! I literally had no way of even paying the first payment. I decided to put my trust in God and just go ahead. I got cold feet later because I had no idea how am I going to pay it, but then I thought to my self I will forget about it for now and it will get sorted hopefully. Four days later, I got the call from the award committee. “Qais Sedki? This is … from Sheik Zayed book award”. I tried to prepare myself for either a “hard luck” or “you won”. So the person goes and and says: “I wanted to be the first to congratulate you…” I do not even know what did he say after that, I started crying like a baby, it was a very emotional moment. And the prize money was a perfect match for the production cost for the second volume of Gold Ring. So yes, thanks God for everything.

    Stay tuned for more on Qais in Part 2 in July..

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Swamps, hurdles and persistence: the entrepreneur’s journey

Rooda Al Neama (@ThinkDubai)

Rooda joins Sail Magazine to explore the different viewpoints of current issues. She hopes to share her thoughts and experiences through her column. Passionate about writing, Rooda wants to build up her writing portfolio to eventually include a novel.

Latest posts by Rooda Al Neama (@ThinkDubai) (see all)

By Rooda Al Neama,

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn: It can be stabbed to death by a joke or worried to death by a frown on the wrong person’s brow.” Charles Browder.  This quote resembles everything that is the birth of an idea, like a match that is flamed by an instant spark, and then put out by a blow, a wind or the A.C in the corner. Everyone nowadays is dreaming of being an entrepreneur, wanting to create that spark, if only its as easy as thinking it up.

Dreaming the idea and creating your empire in your head holds the most motivating feeling, pushing you to thrive and create it by any means necessary.  I, myself want to create my own empire, my own business, that reflects the things I am passionate about and care about and in going through that journey I realized its so much tougher when you go out in the real world to make it happen.

We always hear of the success stories that motivate us to go and see if our idea will turn into a success story, and feel the sense of achievement they felt.  But before the success comes the trap infested meandering road of the entrepreneur. Tough to navigate through, and at any moment you can get stuck in a swamp, fall through a hole, or hit a brick wall.

I am now stuck in a swamp in my phase of taking my idea into reality. After working on various aspects and visualizing launching, soon I found myself stationary and trying to find a way out.  Looking for guidance I went through the success stories and how all of them were also stuck in a swamp at some stage and eventually got through it.

I came across “The persistence test” which comes from the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, and he believes that “there is a hidden guide whose duty is to test people through all sorts of discouraging experiences.  Those who pick themselves up after defeat and keep on trying arrive and then the world cries, Bravo! I knew you could do it.” The hidden guide makes sure that you only enjoy great achievement if you pass the persistence test. Upon reflecting on it some more, I felt that maybe the test was to see if you really are passionate about your endeavor, maybe its also showing you a different path, that you may be unhappy doing X, but will be happier exploring Y or Z.

I asked a few of my friends who have started their own businesses about their experience with the swamp and how they got over the hardships.  Jinanne Tabra founder of ARABOH.COM said she felt as an entrepreneur she is doing a little bit of everything, and sometimes it seems as though everything is a challenge. It can be very overwhelming, until you break it into smaller tasks. I definitely felt the same way about trying to manage everything, it would get so overwhelming that I practically walked myself into the swamp.

Jinanne also said that “the biggest challenge is the learning curve, you have to learn everything, and you have to learn quick. You will make mistakes.  But at the end of the day, you are learning by doing.  So in a way, you are lucky that you get to keep making mistakes and keep learning. Overall, I have learned that being successful does not have to mean running one of the biggest companies in the world. The best feeling of accomplishment comes when a single customer tells me that ARABOH.com has made a difference in their life.”

Rana El Sekhawy founder of URBANSOUQ.COM also shared the same hardships when starting up saying “one of the hardest and most rewarding things I ever experienced, is to start something completely new and have people put you down and not believe in you is extremely hard and frustrating. But the end result of proving them wrong, contributing to the society and getting great feedback from your audience makes it all so worthwhile.”

Both Jinanne and Rana reached a point where the positive results of what they do motivate them and help them overcome the hardships. They both mention difficulties at the start before there were any customers or results, that is the stage where I believe you get your first taste of the PRESISTANCE TEST.  I definitely want to reach the stage where the results make it worthwhile but until then, I get to see if I pass the test, or have the test divert me into other things.

For all those wanting to start their own business believe in your idea so much, so that when you get to the swamp you will have it there to pick you right up!  If not then find a post it and write down S.Honda’s quote, “Many people dream of success.  To me success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection.  In fact, success represents one percent of your work which results from 99 percent that is called failure” and remember that is one percent gone out of the way!

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Words to Consider In Globalization

Shaima Al Tamimi (@iamshaima)

Shaima Al Tamimi (@iamshaima)

Shaima, a 20 something year old who loves to immerse herself in all things fresh and interesting. She loves to travel, observe people and experience new cultures. Her quarterly column “Food for Thought” discusses important social topics from thought provoking perspectives. Shaima is also a food blogger
Shaima Al Tamimi (@iamshaima)

By Shaima Al Tamimi,

No word has been as popular in the twenty first century than “globalization”. It is no longer an idea but an active mechanism were all sorts of people come together to discover our differences. The essential reason behind this was trade but now as time grew it has become our new way of life.

In the United Arab Emirates alone, there are more than 220 different nationalities coexisting together. With their ongoing efforts under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayid Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, Emir of Abu Dhabi, the UAE has blossomed to one of the leading economies in its region. This is proof that globalization works. But with change comes greater responsibility.

Allow me to ask you this as an example. If someone said all Muslims eat pork, and pray at a mosque every Sunday morning would you investigate this, or would you rush to your new neighbor’s home, who happens to be Muslim, carrying pork on a Friday morning welcoming him into the neighborhood? Please do not, since mass prayers are held on Friday mornings and consuming pork is strictly forbidden in the Muslim religion.

That is why exchange programs are important. It gives people the opportunity to discover one another and break free from the intolerance that have once hampered humanity instead of aiding it.

It is not enough to acquaint ourselves with new cultures to say that we are friends, allies or even partners. We must portray gestures of good-will; and most of all we must listen to learn. This cannot be accomplished by old prejudices, stereotypes or prideful arrogance. It does begin however with cultural tolerance.

Another expression which grew immensely popular in the twenty first century alongside globalization is “melting pot.” Not to get the phrase confused, melting pot means tarring down all cultures within a domain making it resemble its native host. That is not what many people envision as globalization. We believe in a world as different or as natural as tradition. It is western culture and belief which made way for the invention of the locomotive. China gave us gunpowder, Africa innovated the warrior drums.

No one can ever say his or her culture is more sustainable than another’s. And no one should say they are the pillars of human civilization. We are so many people, fulfilling many accomplishments, sharing one world.

Sir Ken Robinson on Learning Revolution!

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

In this TED* talk, Sir Kin Robinson follows up on his first TED talk in 2006 on education. If you have not seen that video, watch it directly after you get impressed with this one ;) He is a great mind.

*To those who don’t know about TED, please check it out on TED.com. Its simply life changing for those who are ready for it!

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