WEBsessed
Razan Khatib's commentary on life on/off the web

Archive for June, 2008

Cups and Kilos at the heart of supporting local businesses 5

I’ve been noticing that whenever someone talks about globalization and its effects on Jordan and Amman, Cups and Kilo’s gets mentioned. Whenever, a decent local business that can compete with a global brand on our soil is discussed, then Cups and Kilos gets mentioned. Even when they had problems of being shut down in Abdoun months ago, a facebook group was created in their defense and support! Ok, I know that there is a facebook group for every little things these days, but again I think i have a point :)

It appears to me as if the threat of global businesses with strong brands like Starbucks gets Jordanians hot blooded even if some don’t think that global Starbucks are owned by Zionists. I don’t remember that being the case when MacDonalds and BurgerKing opened. People don’t even mention BlueFig, as the incumbent.

Even Fastlink tried to sell on that concept when it created its “minna ou fina” (from us and within us) slogan yet I don’t think it was as successful as the case with Cups and Kilos. It was more of a joke between fastlinkers!

Way to go Cups and Kilos! and a big cheer to all local business owners (including me :D ) that are doing their best to create world-class brands and customer experiences. And no they didn’t pay me to post this!

Arab-based startups at Tech-world popular blogs 4

I was wondering why I keep reading posts about startups from everywhere in the world at the most popular tech/web blogs, but none come to mention Arab ones. So I did a search on the following keywords in TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb and Mashable:

Arab, Arab startups, Middle East, arabia, Maktoob, d1g, yamli, ikbis, watwet, and of course my own startup questler.

and here are the results:

TechCrunch ReadWriteWeb Mashable
Arab 10 Results, 8 with “arab” in “comparable”, 1 with “arab” in “sharable” and one about censorship!!! 57 Results:
1 about Queen Rania YouTube Channel
1 About innvovation in UAE
1 About EgyptianYouTube Channel
7 with “comparable” so I only browsed the titles of rest!
3 Results, one with Ikbis mentioned!
One mentiones flickr being bloced in UAE and the third one has no mention of the word arab anyway.
Arab Startups 0 0 0
Middle East 6 Results, talking about different web companies targeting the middle east, one about Middle East Oil and one about the Internet cables! 2 posts about World wide Internet Penetration rates Just too many to go through! Sorry!
Arabia 5 Results, all mentioning Saudi Arabia 0 1 Result mentioning Saudi Arabia
Maktoob 0 0 0
d1g 0 0 0
ikbis 0 0 0
watwet 0 0 0
yamli 0 0 0
questler 0 0 0

In comparison, there was a long post on ReadWriteWeb the other day about German twitter clones as a phenomenon. Korean startups, Canadian ones, China of course, Philippines, Spain, Portuguese.

So I tell you, cloning or lack of real innovation is definitely NOT the problem here, So is it because of:

  • That the words “Arab” and “Middle East” are synonymous with Internet censorship?
  • No interest?
  • Not many startups to make the news?
  • Bad marketing?
  • Worse of all, low self worth, that many Arabs suffer, thinking that they won’t make it big anyway so they don’t contact these people?

"Up Close" original, crazy and brilliant 0


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Those were the words exchanged between visitors at the opening of Alma Khasawnih’s first solo exhibition “Up Close” on June 1st at LeCentre (French Cultural Center)

“Up Close” original, crazy and brilliant

The art pieces presented did need a closer look to be able to see the magnificent details, actually the artist included a handy magnifier almost with each piece to allow visitors this closer look.

The exhibition included two main types of pieces; paintings and sculptures/installations…something very different and original.

I encourage you to go and take your up close look @ the French Cultural Center in Jabal Elweibdeh, Paris Circle and you will notice more than half of the pieces are sold out!

Here are some photos taken by Rafiq Nasereddin from Makan

See the details??? Yes, crazy brilliant is my friend and business partner Alma :-)

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