Talk about Inspiration #TiECon
I am not big on conferences. As an entrepreneur, I am much too busy to take off a full day to do just this and nothing else. So it has to be really big and really attractive. I have to be honest - I am a TiE Charter member and as a PR agency in the group, helping them with some media relations and press releases etc.
Like all my clients, I am devil's advocate as in just because they tell me they are the best, I ask them to prove it to me. The team at TiE are hard working. In addition to juggling successful jobs and their own businesses, they take time to help other entrepreneurs (at least the Charter and Board members do) within the organisation get the most out of the organisation. Anyway I digress.
Today was the first day and the line-up of speakers were fabulous but three persons stood out for me and these are my takeaways from their sessions.
Opening keynote by Osman Sultan, CEO of du: The answers are there, the knowledge is there, you have to ask the right question to start meaningful conversations that make sense for the success of your business and enterprise. How very very true. There was a lot more insight during his charismatic presentation but this was what I took away from it. It wasn't just about what they were doing for smart cities of the future but the opportunities that were there for the entrepreneurs in the City of Tomorrow.
A presentation by Arunachalam Muruganantham (a mouthful and I promise I had to look up the name as well): Oh my word! You had to be there. Yes he is gush-worthy. He made us laugh and he poked fun at the VCs (that's finance speak for Venture capitalists - don't you know) and the Management graduates. He did not apologise for the fact that he can't speak English well or that he was a school drop out. What I took away from this man were a lot of things but the one thing I learnt was that if you are not solving a problem in real life, you are not going to get very far. He very proudly (and with very good reason) talks about his vision to make sure that at least 10% of rural women will wear sanitary napkins in the next 5 years. Apparently in the last 60 years of independence, only 5% have managed to do this. He asked the graduates to become job creators and not job seekers.
Fadi Ghandour: He is known for being a fabulous speaker and of being a serial entrepreneur. Everyone wants a piece of him. My takeaway from his presentation (in addition to the staggering possibilities and the numbers he threw at you regarding the potential of the Middle East market), is that to succeed you need to be in UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. And you need to make sure that you don't give away all your equity. If an investor wants too much of your business/company for the money he/she/they give you, then look elsewhere. He also had messages (as did ALL of them) for the authorities on licensing, legislature, red tape, you name it, he hit that nail on the head.
Lets hope that these messages are getting to the ears that need to hear them. Can't wait for tomorrow. Will you be there?