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

Archive for the 'Life' Category


Can capitalism be re-invented? 2

Funny how my first and longest post in months is about capitalism of all topics! I promise it’s worth it.

I was forced to be made a defendant of capitalism in more than one occasion, where in a social gathering some  business/capitalism-hating individual or the other had to make remarks, like

What value do you bring by opening a business? You help those big corporations turn this planet into ruins and turn us into consuming junkies? oh so you help employ people…mmm…what do they really get out of it but end up being consumers for your existing or wish list of clients? How can someone be creative in a 9-6 job?….

If you take the ignorance out of these accusations and see them at face value, you might see a point somewhere or the other. I kept my defense at calling what I do “Human-based capitalism” as my partner Ahmad Humeid calls it. The act of eventually creating value that makes the human at the center of the creation process rather than profit alone.

I’ve always been weary of public corporations rather than private corporations or limited liability companies. Public corporations in my view eventually loose the human value and focus on the profit they are generating for their shareholders. Regardless of what their must-have CSR activities are about or all the money they donate to charities on the side. “On the side” being the problem here, that doing good by it self is not always at the heart of their operation.

Some see the ugly face of capitalism in the notion that a separate legal entity is a person though unnatural. And the bigger that person becomes the more people hide behind it to do all sorts of deeds.

Until I read “The New Capitalist Manifesto” the above is where my thoughts usually ended without any resolution in mind other than sticking in the small/medium sized human-based-capitalism world.

It’s one of those rare books that offer a paradigm shift, you will never think of business, marketing and competition like you used to before. It helps you make a better case for opening a business in this new century as it provides a set of practical principles into what thick value is, how to create and sustain creating one as well as how to keep evolving this value to create more with less.

The book talks about how 20th century capitalism which was born on the back of the industrial revolution doesn’t work any more. Evidence in point are the financial crisis of 2008 and climate change amongst others.

Umair Haque the author describes it as follows:

The twenty-first century capitalist’s agenda, in a nutshell, is to rethink the “capital”—to build organizations that are less machines, and more living networks of the many different kinds of capital, whether natural, human, social, or creative. And, second, to rethink the “ism”: how, when, and where the many different kinds of capital can be most productively seeded, nurtured, allocated, utilized—and renewed. What we need, then, is a new generation of renegades, laying deeper, stronger institutional cornerstones.

Haque sites examples of what he calls “Constructive Capitalists” from companies that exist today and per his assessment are already leaping into being 21st Century capitalists. He asserts that none of them is perfect or have it all but state they are on the right track. The book details 6 steps to guide you into what it takes to be a constructive capitalist, I’ve summarized them below:

1. Creating value cycles rather than value chains, by actively renewing resources, instead of depleting them whether human, natural, social or creative. Example here are Walmart.

2. Creating value conversations instead of value propositions, by creating a direct link [Responsiveness, participation, association] between the supply of your product or service to its demand. Example here is Threadless.

3. Focusing on deriving an overall business philosophy rather than set a strategy every few years, example here of course is Google’s philosophy.

4. See where you can complete a market rather than keep protecting it through 2oth century competitive tactics. Example here is Tata with its revolutionary car Nano. This is similar to creating a blue ocean instead of swimming in a red one.

5. Create difference rather than differentiation, see where your you can help people, communities and society. Example here is Nike, look at their recent Nike Better World website to see what their new business philosophy is  are all about.

6. Grow smartly, locally or globally by focusing on creating thick value that brings really lasting benefits for people, communities and society, nature, and the next generations. Examples here are Whole Foods, Apple’s iTunes, Nintando’s Wii.

Its fast addictive read, and it will help you to know how to build/rebuild your business to be constructive from the ground up on all aspects and not only focus on compliance when it comes to CSR, or having it as a separate department. It should be instilled in everything you do from what you sell, to how you sell it to what you produce and how you produce it and what happens to it after the sale? Are people gaining real benefits from your product or service? Is it making them happier or just blind consumption? …

Obviously, i highly recommend this book to those who lost their faith in the ugly, fat, greedy capitalism, those who always hated it  and most importantly those who -like me- want to make the world a better place and neither want to be called naive anymore or have to be part of an NGO to do so.

On Jordan’s court decision to “control” websites 2

While a significant and growing number of Jordanians are/have been working very hard for over 10 years to put Jordan on the global map of innovation in building and maintaining web communities/tools of all sorts and purposes, comes the Jordanian court’s decision last Wednesday with a big blow to our faces.

Yahoo! comes and invests in our own creation, Maktoob and what does our government do? A court decides to censor the web. Rendering each website, portal, blog, wiki, tweet, tumble, stumble, photo, video…etc an entity that can be governed under the aging Print & Publishing Law that is making our print media obsolete to a certain degree.

Not only do Jordanians bloggers as the print media Journalists alike practice self-censorship online in fear of being harassed or imprisoned, now they want us to talk about the weather all year long!

Thanks to people like Hajjaj for his brilliant caricatures and the analysis of Bassem Sakejha the existing law and how would it would apply to electronic media the absurdness of the situation appears there so well.

But let me try to speculate what will happen. This decision will be overturned somehow[I am no legal expert], instead the decision will be magically reiterated to put the real target of last week’s decision; increasingly  popular news sites like Ammon News under that law which will be bound to fail so miserably. Maybe some IT vendor here in Jordan or elsewhere is already making plans to supply the technology needed to make that seemingly impossible task possible! Maybe a catching-one-fish-at-a-time policy will be used instead!

But let me end with this, amongst other freedoms we don’t enjoy in Jordan, this is something we actually know what it tastes like, something we love so dearly, we nurture and are leaders in our region because of it. So this time around, we will not let that freedom be taken away from us so very easily!

Say Hello to Sofian (RIP) 1

I was freaked out yesterday while browsing Facebook, when the following suggestion was listed:

Sofian (RIP) our dear friend who we lost almost two years ago. Technology is weird. I posted a hello on his profile.

We miss you.

Stuff that bugs me – Take I 0

- Someone eating something that obviously tastes bad, and then asking you to taste it too!

- Bartenders that keep pouring drinks to their customers, knowing that they will be the ones driving home!

- “BUT”People, the ones who decide not to use the words, yes or no to answer a question that obviously needs a yes/no answer.

- Drivers that decide to drive in the wrong direction + FAST + Annoyed by the cars driving in the right direction!

- People who decide they to give an un-asked for opinion based on a bestest-friendship in their heads.

- People you flirt with once, and think later that you owe them a relationship-in-the-making!

- Drama queens that think they are the victims of everything that happens to them, and have no brain power to take note that in most cases, you are in control of your own destiny, whichever f***d up way it turns out to be.

- People who claim to be liberal for the smallest liberal mini-ideology they have decided to adopt.

- Last but not least, Know-it-all folk. need I say more?

Goodbye Julianna – Rest in peace 2

Lighting a candle in memory of Julianna, who lost her long battle against cancer yesterday. A battle fought so well until the very end. Thank you for everything. We will be forever grateful.

Goodbye Julianna RIP from Razan Khatib on Vimeo.

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Technology, going back…then going forward 1

I happened to watch this funny video earlier tonight about what the pilot of 24 would’ve been like in 1994…

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the file is too big, its about 3 floppies!!

Then later as I was browsing I watched this video of Microsoft’s 2019 Future Vision Montage,

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don’t you want to read your news papers like that?

I often think that one main reason I would want to live beyond the age of 75 was that I want to experience as many technological innovations as possible. Most important of which is my long time favorite “Beam me up. Scotty!”

Freelancing + Jordan = Drama 4

Freelancing is great, we surely need more freelancers in Jordan and everywhere else. Designers, programmers, accountants, copywriters, translators, event managers…you name it; all companies need it.

There are numerous problems with freelancing in Jordan:

  1. Most people claiming to freelance have actually full-time jobs that prohibit it.
  2. The above will cause you delays by default, because as there jobs are demanding you will have to be put as a second priority and suffer delays in your job request.
  3. If they are actually 100% freelancers chances are they haven’t found someone to pay them for a full time job yet, and they will work with you until that dream job comes to life. Then, you get screwed over with delays and half a$$ed work.
  4. Companies look to save with freelancers, elsewhere in the world a freelancer/contractor gets paid very well for a contracting Job to make up for the lack of full-time employment benefits. Which is a fair deal.

I think there should be an initiative to make self-employment a valid choice in the country:

  1. Pay fair rates to freelancers while committing to pay on time.
  2. Freelancers to become more professional and committed in their engagements.

I think a time like now with the economical situation everyone is facing, freelancing can save lots of companies. Most of which are not confident about expanding their employee base for fear of stable revenues, can really use a professional freelancer network to still satisfy their current projects and not commit to a larger employee base if the economical situation worsens and they their revenue levels decline.

People who prefer a relaxed and personally managed time can use freelancing jobs to help create the lifestyle they seek, working for few months, then taking time off and so on.

World Water Day Video from charity: water 0

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love, life and Ramallah 1

Alma moved us today with her stories and experiences during her art residency at Qattan Foundation in Ramallah Nov-Dec 2008 where she collected love stories from people there.

Artist Talk by alma Khasawnih

Artist Talk by alma Khasawnih

She talked about love.

Telling a tale of Mohammed the 40 year old divorcee who’s still in love, then another Mohammad, the tormented lover, then a third one too. Connecting and disconnecting. The deserted lover’s park, the lonely benches. Observing lovers. Romantic Indian films watched by men in the cafe.

Alma’s passion ignited hearts in the room. We  laughed, we contemplated about our own love stories, we were moved.

This event by far, was the most entertaining event I have attended in years.

Goodbye 2008 – Bad Hair Year! 2

A reflection 2

Been reflecting about my premature come back from Canada 2.5 years ago continuously all through since then. For all the mix of reasons I thought of then when I made the decision, coupled with the numerous disappointments the move brought with it; I thought I’d be forever haunted by that decision. The big what if?

Recently however, I came into a self discovery that stopped this thread of thought forever I think.

I discovered that my heart was and forever will be in Amman.

And no matter what Canada, the US or the west offered. Its here in Amman where I want to make it. Turned out not a 50-50 of a great life. More like 40-60 with the latter for Amman.

This discovery brought peace into my mind and regardless of any future decisions to move or not. I know I will always come back to Amman and its where I will grow old amongst family and friends.

east, west…now weast? 1

For as long as I remember, I wanted to live in the west where I can find like-minded people around me, where I was free to live whatever kind of lifestyle I wanted for my self.

The problem was defined and the solution was known.

I didn’t belong in Amman, so I managed to leave to Canada.

Yet with all the fun and great experiences I had that year; I still felt like a stranger in a strange land.

Coming back to Amman, nothing changed either, I still don’t belong here as well but that escape, that doorway is closed now. That solution of just leaving Amman and finding my self elsewhere has lost its magic. Its a done deal. This realization that you can never live the kind of life you want 100% anywhere is a bugger and now its going to be a lifetime bugger, the never ending Quest of liberal Arabs to find a place for themselves…

So a fusion of Amman and Toronto? for now its more Amman, and the bit of Toronto I can create every now and then!

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