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,

I’m honored to present the 5th issue of Sail Magazine. The acceptance and pride our readers are taking in Sail is simply thrilling. You are the fuel for constant new issues. So for that, I thank you all for your constant support.

In this issue we have:

  • Think Aloud: the topic of Social Media, which may have been talked a lot about already, but we’ll shed some light on it from different angles.
  • Interview: the second part of the interview with Qais Sedki. In this part we get to know Qais on a personal level and learn from his experiences
  • Blunder of a Wannabe Entrepreneur: Rooda AlNeama’s column is back with a piece on the everlasting journey of trial and error.
  • Society of Tomorrow: this will be column name for the pieces written by Mohammed Al Junaibi, who previously wrote about Nasa (in May’s issue). Mohamed’s pieces revolve around technologies but from a daily life perspective. In this month he will be talking about the knowledge economy and what really happens behind the scenes.
  • Spotlight: with yet another TED video. Hillel Cooperman talks about his new passion for Legos and about a whole community of grownups who happen to share the same passion.

Here We start –  Think Aloud –  Interview –  Blunder of a Wannabe Entrepreneur –  Society of Tomorrow –  Spotlight

I hope you enjoy reading this issue. If you have ideas to share, suggestions, feedback, columns to contribute, discussions to spark on the topics, please be our guest.

We appreciate all your words. Many thanks.

Enjoy the read!

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah

Social Media Yet Again

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 (@ImanBenChaibah)

Social Media (SM), a term some people think of as “worn out” and abused because of the constant reference to it. To be honest, I felt the same when asked to write about it. However, it appears that this term seems exhausted for those who are in it the most, yet unheard of to many people out of this domain. So in this article, we will talk about Social Media itself, its main categories, some statistics, reality stories, and finally the business side of it.

Many websites define social media; a summary in a nutshell is the following. Social media is any sort of media or content, be it text, audio, picture, video, etc. The special aspect about this media content is that regular people produce it rather than institutes, and it revolves around social interactions. Another main asset of SM is that it builds on the ability of multidirectional communication between content creators and viewers, therefore, creating and co-creating value.

SM is divided into many categories, each is amazingly resourceful in its own way, and the main ones are:

  • Publishing, often referred to as blogging, examples: Blogger and WordPress.
  • Social networking; facebook and LinkedIn
  • Video sharing; YouTube
  • Micro-blogging; twitter and posterous
  • Photo sharing; flickr
  • Social news; digg and reddit
  • Social bookmarking: delicious

Individuals who are savvy in a certain category tend to think their category is the most used. Statistics shift around very frequently; Currently, the records according to Google’s top 1000 visited sites for April 2010 show that facebook (social networking) ranks first of SM with around 570 Billion visits. Followed by YouTube (video-sharing). After that comes different publishing websites, then micro-blogging and the rest of the list follows. It is very interesting to examine different demographics and their different usage patterns to different SM categories.

There are so many statistics and observations that are derived on the different SM consumption of different demographic groups. Here are some: According to a certain report, in MENA region, there are 55,000 twitter users compared to 15,000,000 facebook users (which is less than 1%). On average, the majority of facebook users are 35-55 years old, while the majority of twitter users are 25–35 years old.

Now, I am sure non-SM consumers are wondering what is in it for them, and if they are really missing out anything by not taking part of it. So here are some reality stories on SM.

  • When the Haiti earthquake hit in January 2010. “Doctors without borders” could not get planes to land in the area to proceed with their rescue mission. One of the members posted on twitter that frustration, and in no time the message reached the right people, and the needed support was given to enable them to proceed with their rescue mission.
  • When the typhoon hit Philippines in 2009, the community needed support and abroad relatives were aching for updates. Traditional media can broadcast certain parts but would not give live updates on personal levels. Different categories of SM were leveraged collaboratively for communication and getting the support. This was achieved via: updating statues through facebook and twitter, locating individuals and major issues through Google maps, videos of the crises through YouTube, and publishing the detailed stories and cases through blogging. These sorts of updates and support could not have possibly reached this timely with any other medium.

SM can also be a great help for businesses in so many ways. SM can be a very economic and consumer friendly way to get the right public relationship penetration, and get customized marketing campaigns to a very segmented market groups. SM also assists business to communicate with their customers, receive their prompt feedback and reviews, leading the customers to belong to that company and take an active part in marketing it on SM as well. This cannot be ignored by businesses, because if the right strategies are in place, the gain of investing in SM can be repaid in terms of customer loyalty and revenue in no time.

SM had bridged gaps between family and friends who may have fallen out of touch because of distances, it broke down so many boundaries between people, liberated and democratized so many thoughts, connected people of the same interests who would have never met in real life, kept many individuals up-to-date with so many news especially about actual communities, and finally brought so much values and revenues to businesses who leveraged on them.

SM is not a passing trend or a fad. I tend to believe that it is more of an irreversible shift and evolution in communication. Its one of those shifts that we do not step back from, instead, we build on and integrate them as parts of our daily lives.

Here We start –  Think Aloud –  Interview –  Blunder of a Wannabe Entrepreneur –  Society of Tomorrow –  Spotlight

Interview with Qais Sedki – Part 2 (@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

The last issue of Sail Magazine had the first part of an interview with Qais Sedki. The man behind the “Gold Ring”, the first Arabic and Emirati comic book with Manga style. Part one covered the actual production of Gold Ring and the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. This part will be about the personal side of Qais and some of his learnt experiences.

  • How do you describe the family support you got for starting Gold Ring?

I do not intend to use clichéd phrases, but I literally mean it when I say I could not have done it without them. They were fully supportive when I told them about my decision of quitting my job for pursuing this. Being responsible towards my wife and kids, I had to prepare them for taking few steps back financially. Amazingly, not only did they accept it, they also found the strength to support me.

Everyone’s support was important, but specifically my wife, Amna. She has been a superwoman in this with her immense support. My kids were supportive in their own way; blunt honesty whenever I ask for their feedback on anything new, and I take their opinions very seriously because they could represent my actual customers who are of their age.

  • What is the most touching story that happened so far around Gold Ring?

One of my distributors once called me for an urgent restock order, when I delivered it, I found that the day before a lady came in and bought 200 copies of Gold Ring. We did not know who or why. A month later, I found that it was a schoolteacher, who distributed the book to her 5th grade student-girls for a home reading assignment and then discussed it in class. When they completed the discussion, they wanted to meet the author, and so invited me for a day.

On the event day, they started chanting beautiful melodies as I walked in. This was followed by the students walking in a line, each with her copy of the book and sat on stage. They then started discussing the book with me and asking questions that were hitting the essential parts of Gold Ring. The girls knew every part of the book by heart, they were very proud of it, and they were extremely happy with it.

We concluded the event with taking group pictures, and then one of the girls gifted me a greeting card, with her picture and her own hand writing in it. I cannot even start to describe how the whole thing moved me. It is these sorts of reactions that are my ROI of Gold Ring, it is not the profit or the breakeven point that I am looking for; I know these are not in the horizon yet. These stuff are what I look for, and the pride they bring to my family.

  • How did your family feel towards the Sheikh Zayed Book Award?

The ceremony was to be attended by dignitaries. Accordingly, children were not allowed to attend the ceremony. When Abdulla, my son, found out about this, he really got upset and started pleading to come along, but there was very little I could do about it. Few days before the ceremony, I coincidently met the manager of the award, so we started chitchatting and we started talking about Abdullah not coming. He insisted I bring Abdullah along despite of the condition. Of course needless to say, Abdullah was ecstatic about the news and was emotional out bursting for attending this. He is a sensitive and compassionate kid.

When the ceremony was finally over, and when the media and press started to clear out, I saw Abdullah coming my way and I just knew. I dropped down on my knees, he run to hug me and started sobbing and crying his heart out, so I hugged him tighter so he can release all the emotions he had. He was so happy and proud by the award beyond what I could feel for myself.

  • What are the future plans for Gold Ring?

The immediate future plan is to publish the second volume of Gold Ring in Arabic, and the first volume of it in English as concurrent releases.

I am looking forward to build the intellectual property of Gold Ring and diversify the revenue generating streams. Harry Potter is a classic example for this approach, it started with a successful book, then it did not stop there, it became a movie, video game, merchandises, and so on. It becomes a brand, and this helps sustain the business and progress it.

However, I would like to wait on that, I would not want it to undermine the initiative of reading itself. So I will definitely delve in that when I am almost done with the Gold Ring series.

  • How would you describe your goals?

I have very big goals. My goals are huge, life changing, and earth shattering. I do not think I am the first to dream them, but people sometimes expect quick results when approaching such goals. That cannot happen. The bigger are your goals, the longer you have to hold your breath. I am not expecting to see the results in my lifetime, but you plant the seed today for future generations inshalla (in God’s willing).

  • How was your journey in terms of hurdles?

Hurdles were everywhere. I did not know anything about writing, printing, Manga production, or anyone in Japan for that matter. I only knew I wanted to produce a Manga.

You should not expect a journey without hurdles; such a journey would be pointless and lead nowhere. People should develop the mindset of facing hurdles and learn to overcome them. Develop an attitude of “why not”. This is a very enabling mindset once adapted.

  • What are the main lessons you learnt so far?

I learnt to be flexible about things. You have to keep your fingers on the pulse, be reactive, and examine how things are changing and change along.

You learn to move from being dependent, to independent, and then to interdependent. First you depend on others to help you, then you depend on yourself, and finally you have to depend on the roles of others. You cannot possibly know it all, so you have to build on other people’s strengths.

  • What advice do you want to pass on?

A lot of times, some people with the best intentions end up bringing you down. So surround yourself with the right crowd, and things will become much easier to achieve.

Believe in god and his power to support you once you put your trust in him. Things will miraculously fall in place along the way just to help you reach your goals.

There will be challenges that I will still face. Just because I succeeded on the first volume, does not mean it will be any easier. I can only try my best in making the most out of it.

Here We start –  Think Aloud –  Interview –  Blunder of a Wannabe Entrepreneur –  Society of Tomorrow –  Spotlight

Trial and Error – The Planet that an Entrepreneur Orbits Around

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 (@thinkdubai)

Being an entrepreneur means plunging into new areas that you may not be an expert in.  Hiring experts in design or getting the best suppliers would be too expensive and you need to bootstrap. The next best solution is to find a newbie just like you; someone that needs a break, someone that is ambitious, creative, excited and will help without the big bucks the experts are asking for.

The method of trial and error exists from the first step you take in making your vision a reality. From the colors on the walls to the 50 times scrapped logo, and the name.  It is important to note that trial and error really comes with an added cost.  As you are trying to find the perfect supplier that you ‘click’ with, that shares your vision, that has the standards you want for the price you want – unless you are lucky that will not happen from the first supplier you find.  You may make a wrong decision regarding hiring someone only to be disappointed. Causing you to lose time, money, and emotional frustration!

I personally did what I do best when faced with a problem or question I do not have the answer to, and that is Google it.  I googled, like any professional googler would do.  I found the Dubai Yellow Pages (which I did not know existed) and went on to type what I was looking for and a few companies came up; it felt too easy.  The second task was to call each of those companies and set up meetings to see if the ‘click’ existed.  One of the guys that picked up the phone even asked me where I had heard of them, I simply said “the yellow pages” to which he replied in a very emotional voice “Thank you, I want to thank you for taking the time to read the yellow pages.”  By no means did I read the yellow pages but I did not want to burst his bubble. I never heard from that guy again, nor did we meet. I guess he figured he would get many more business transactions from the yellow pages!

After meeting many of the companies (newbies included) and discussing what I needed, I realized it is so much harder to determine if the ‘click’ existed.  I realized some of the ‘clicks’ I felt were merely a ‘one time click’ and was disappointed.  This led me to feel that wrong decisions were made but I realized that those ‘wrong decisions’ made me clarify in more detail what I was looking for.  I lost some time and some money but I am hoping that in the end I will find the perfect match for my business (which I realized is harder than matchmaking for yourself!).

If you are getting yourself down over decisions you have made that seem to be going in the wrong direction, remember some of the greatest that were in the same position at the start.  Pixar for example started by focusing on selling their high-end computer hardware, only to realize they were not going very far.  They began producing computer-animated commercials to cover low sales, this in turn made them realize what they are good at and the rest is history!

Realize your mistakes and correct your path and hope you get “to infinity and beyond!”

Here We start –  Think Aloud –  Interview –  Blunder of a Wannabe Entrepreneur –  Society of Tomorrow –  Spotlight

Behind the Scenes of Hype Media Advertising

Mohamed Al Jneibi (@maljunaibi)

Mohamed, an IT Professional with a background in web development, database administration, technical support, and project management. His work includes enhancing corporate systems and designs, and further enhancing current business strategies and processes.
Mohamed enjoys reading literature and political commentary, with a love for Sci-Fi reading and writing. He’s also a big Formula 1 fan, and also heads the Mercedes GP UAE Fan Club based in Abu Dhabi.

Latest posts by Mohamed Al Jneibi (@maljunaibi) (see all)

Mohamed Al Junaibi (@maljunaibi)

Isaac Asimov once said: “If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.

What is knowledge? A teacher once said to me that knowledge is simply knowing the truth and what is true. He did continue to say that wisdom is like knowledge but with something extra; it is knowing what is true and why.

People have so many times committed the mistake of interchanging the two somewhat similar yet very distant concepts. Today, we have a wondrous marvel in front of us. We are at the crossroads of what many people are now calling the “knowledge economy”; an economy solely based on the selling and trade of “intellectual properties” (in many cases non-tangible items) and later sold to others for profit, like any goods organization. This economic model is not small in size, but rather a constantly growing model for businesses. Unlike the traditional forms of economics, there is usually a finite supply of whatever is being traded.

The development of “knowledge goods” and gadgets are constantly marketed towards humanity in many ways. We are told that we are part of something revolutionary that we must all share. One needs not to look any further than the usual big name companies like Apple and Microsoft, unveiling today’s technology, promising us towards a better world. A world where we are all networked and connected via the many outlets where you become a part of the mega media machine.

Now hold on to that thought. What does this have to do with me? This scope of business does not end there. Normally, we would think that our role would have nothing to do with such a model of business but in this day and age, 99% of the social networking sites and applications tend to be driven by the advertising aspect. Companies are now able to selectively market items to the select and distinct category of people, simply because we have allowed them to have a good bulk of our personal information, likes, and dislikes. You name it, and they would probably know about it by now. People can now Google themselves too and are usually associated with such outlets.

You have become a part of the knowledge economy. Albeit, the other part of it. Though at the will of a select few, the majority of us are the ones now being constantly bombarded with the latest trends that they want to export, to the target market of which we belong to. It virtually costs them nothing to do that. Yet, their returns are quite high and I am pretty sure they have broken even already.

While the knowledge economy can sometimes be a destructive force to reckon with, it is a level playing field. Yet, through involuntary ignorance, we seem to not be able to grasp the full picture. In a world that is supposed to be heading towards a better a truly global economy, it is quite sad to see some people seem to feel the brunt of it all. This is supposed to be humanity’s stride towards the better.

Thank you Isaac.

Here We start –  Think Aloud –  Interview –  Blunder of a Wannabe Entrepreneur –  Society of Tomorrow –  Spotlight

Hillel Cooperman on Legos for Grownups

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)

The TED talk for this issue is for Hillel Cooperman. He talks about his new passion for Legos and about a whole community of grownups who happen to share the same passion.

You can check TED via their website: www.TED.com for many more ideas worth sharing.

Here We start –  Think Aloud –  Interview –  Blunder of a Wannabe Entrepreneur –  Society of Tomorrow –  Spotlight