Completing the initiative

21 05 2010

Source: (

“80% of people are plain wrong – democracy is in trouble” – Dan Kennedy

I have recently campaigned to close the misplaced u-turns on highway E11 and from the experience I learned a lot about psychology of motivation of people. Over the years I had taken up many leadership positions which gave me a chance or glimpse to notice about what people say and what they actually do and it reminds me of the quote “People say what they think and do what they feel” which is true in most cases, marketers and sales people try their best to cater to the emotional side of the customer. One sales advice I remember was “try to go for close before the customer’s buying temperature wanes away.”  In layman’s lingo, try to switch off the logical mind and amplify the emotional side of the customer and use this spike to sell the product or service to the customer. Why use emotions to sell? Isn’t it manipulative? Well politicians, advertisers , negotiators and many other professionals have been using these tactics when they needed to get something done from the people.  The emotions can be of fear,  seeking happiness , love or fulfillment of desires.

Logic vs emotion

“When logic and emotion come into conflict, emotion always wins” told to me by a professor.  I have observed people in clubs, politicians and friends make promises and resolutions during news years and pre-election times, I intuitively could tell who would see through their promises and who would flunk. Over the years I wrote down in my journal 15 such instances and out of them, I was right 14 out of 15 i.e. 93 percent of the time I was right! How did I  notice it? I noticed by past trends , what words they used, their body language and emotional state when they made their promises.

Nagasaki bomb (source:Wikipedia)

Fission or Mission?

Using plain emotions to get things done especially long term is like blowing an atom bomb to generate electricity. Bombs gives high rate of energy in short amount of time whereas “controlled fission” you see in nuclear power generating plants, energy is generated in longer amounts of time and is controlled through various procedures. The point I want to make is this, using only plain emotions or people who talk, talk and talk without a plan to complete a goal, it is hard to get things done. Logic and self-discipline has to be applied overtime to complete tasks, emotions helps in hooking to the tasks given or gives energy to overcome any obstacles faced during the mission but emotions in itself can be plain talk with less action. I faced the same problem when I wanted to close the u-turns which killed my sister, initially I prepared and resolved to take the initiative to close them, then overtime I got involved with my other daily tasks and this initiative just remained an initiative, 5 months after stating the petition when votes were still low, I read about the accidents which occured in the same place one year before my sister’s accident. It was surprising to know that there have been many accidents before in this place, thats when I used my action plan to complete the petition and meet up with the concerned authorities to close that u-turn down.

80 comes from 20

Over the years I have motivated many people in club to take some action whether it was losing weight or getting a twitter account or making goals , I had luxury to monitor people and followed up with them. Over time I usually found percentage of people who really took action were in the ranges of 19.3%, 22.1%, 21.2%, 18.5, 20.2% etc i.e the standard deviations between various activities showing people who really followed up were small. When I was trained as marketer I got to know Pareto’s principle i.e 80/20 rule which says 80 percent of the results come from 20 percent of the efforts. I have observed this trend many times and that is one of the reasons why few people see through the initiatives they have taken, to do things while the rest observe whether it’s in club , team or community level.  This explains the wealth distribution of one of the richest country on earth – USA where 20 percent of the population own 80% of financial wealth in USA. Below you can see the wealth distribution of people in USA done by William Domhoff.

Wealth distribution in America (Source:Who rules America)

Why the gap?

Many take initiatives but it needs decision, discipline and determination to see it through where many flunk. In my previous post – “Fry or die“, I address this trend. Scarcity and poverty are not due to lack of abundance or resources, it’s mainly due to lack of people who are determined to get things done, people with “I can’t do” mentality. When people who get things done reach peak, things usually becomes easier for them and they get resources easily example rich people associate themselves with other rich people and get to know opportunities through which they invest and get richer while rest of the population work hard for money, rich people have money working hard for them by investing and making others work for returns. This explains for the gap in wealth, productivity and power in a nation.

Realizing this gap, I doubled my efforts to spread the word of petition to as many people I could get to help support the common cause to make that highway safer via internet, meetings and community and finally got word from the authorities that they are closing the u-turn.

Power of luck

What is luck? According to me, “luck is a set of positive factors beyond ones control aiding to help complete an objective“. Usually when somebody is new to something (like new to business), they randomly do things and some work and some don’t but with experience you can get to know the factors and use them to “make yourself lucky” this is the reason why there is gap of performance in sports , business and academic. Let me give you an example regarding academic performance, it has been shown that the study methods used by brilliant people are different compared to average. Mind map has been developed by Tony Buzan by studying the notes of Leonardo da Vinci and other brillaint people. They follow a methodology to grasp and assimilate things which had given them edge over the rest and as a result they controlled those positive factors and “got lucky” most of the times. Luck is playing with probabilty, if you study the backgrounds of most of the rich people they tried many times before they made it big, which seperated from them from the rest of the population who gave up just because they could not figure a way to overcome an obstacle without analyzing factors.

(source: Stock)

Do animals go to Heaven or Hell?

Another thing people blame is fate at least the religious ones. Einstein once said “God does not play dice” when he meant most of the outcomes are deterministic. Then the big confusion rose by deterministic – did he mean that the outcome or the fate of somebody (religious perspective) was known beforehand? Physicists, theologians, academics and others debated heavily over this, except they made wrong assumption of word “deterministic”. In religion especially in Islam, God is ubiquitous and All-knowing, knowing this many people assume fate, profession and character of people are predetermined. Then a problem rises, if a person is a killer or criminal and if his fate was predetermined, why would he go to Hell when his character or fate has been predetermined by God Himself? Many flunk after this question is posed. It has been written in Bible, Quran and Torah that humans are the species given the power to choose , decide and manipulate therefore as a price for the gift, he is responsible for the actions therefore Heaven and Hell have been made. By determination of fate, I guess it was meant that if one chooses to do certain things they will have certain outcome, as a result humans are responsible for their own actions. Similarly Einstein when he meant “deterministic” he meant if one follows certain laws of science or probability they will get certain outcome which has been discussed in my post – “Fry or die“. Realizing this people who take initiatives and are determined to complete it, usually end up by luck finding them.

It was the will…

Unfortunately people in some parts of the world, especially here in Gulf believe the former version of “deterministic” to be true and for this fad many do not take ore believe in preventive actions and mistakes start piling up. “It was will of God” they told me when my sister passed away and did not do much to study from accidents and take preventive measures. My sister was alive after the accident and it was four hours after accident she passed away in hospital – internal injury was the reason cited. The hospital was known for a series of medical mishaps. In fact many doctors in Gulf have immunity against prosecution and the law makes it difficult to persecute them. What does government do? Blame on external factors or powers beyond their control and the outcome and business is as usual.  This is one of the main reasons why government do not really believe in preventive measures and the reason why UAE resident is 7 times more likely to die in road traffic accident than in UK.

Why am I doing this?

I heard an economist say (cannot remember) “Humans are selfish and usually put their needs first“. The main motive to do something may be to seek material, reputation or spiritual gains. I have almost completed the first phase of road safety campaign i.e closing of u-turns and am moving towards forming a foundation whose mission is to “save lives by preventing accidents by reckless drivers by spreading sticky messages through media that changes the attitudes of  unsafe drivers making them adopt safe driving principles“. The foundation is named Suraya Foundation ( after my sister. “Suraya” means Pleiades which is cluster of seven stars so I will use seven principles to make messages which will change the attitudes of the drivers.  I am devoting a lot of energy and time in this foundation even when I do not have regular stream of income and money is shrinking. I have a feeling that I have to do this, start this and keep it rolling and show the goverment there is another way – spend full time campaign on something preventive. May be it will work or may be government may not accept it but knowing I had taken the initiative to rectify an epidemic, it would surely increase the momentum and need for undertaking preventive measures.  In the end I may end up being broke financially but it will surely make me mentally and spiritually rich as no good deed goes wasted.


Dubai from 15,000 feet

15 04 2010


I met up with a friend from Canada two days ago, it was great to see him after long time. When I asked him “How do you find Dubai?” I got the same form of answer for umpteenth time. “Dubai is like fake Las Vegas”, “It is so artificial out here” . Even my ex-idol of relationship management Keith Ferrazzi did not have anything new to say.

It is easy observing Dubai from what it is now and comparing with system you have been brought up. The system basically the social and justice system you have been acquainted with most probably took more than 100 years to develop. I am telling this to citizens of western countries where for example it took States about 300 years to really get to apply the wisdom in Declaration of Independence – the declaration where black and white man are equal. It was just in 60’s Martin Luther King , Malcolm X et al fought for rights of black people when Dubai was just a barren desert inhabited by only 40,000.  From 1968 to 2009 the population grew almost 300% ! Did people find gold , black diamond like El Dorado in America?

Wild Wild East?

Dubai to a westerner is a city of 21st century infrastructure with 18th century social and judicial fabric as States was when they imported lots of immigrants (Chinese and Africans) to work on rail roads and coals building the backbone of industrial America.  Similarly, Dubai didn’t have the workforce to implement the dreams of shiekhs who knew that oil was going to dry up and UAE being a federal country , Dubai had to plan ahead and rely on it’s own to become partly self-sufficient. Immigrants were brought in mainly from South Asia which gave them a chance to improve their standard of living and living in a safe environment compared ot their home countries.

Recent census polled in 2009 showed the population of the emirate was 1,771,000 as of 2009, which included 1,370,000 males and 401,000 females . Yes, UAE has one of the highest sex ratio in the world for a reason (second after Qatar)- most of the men are laborers who stay away from their family and cannot afford to bring their family here and dont see them for 5 years some even a lifetime.

Social IQ difference

The social IQ between these laborers and so called equality minded westerners is so high that it is difference between a complete idiot and Albert Einstein. It is for reason clubs do not allow single men and enforce “couples only” policy which is unheard of in western world – to keep away socially inept men who have been deprived of taking sniff of their opposite sex. No wonder when a woman walks by (mainly westerner) it seems like a doughnut rolling in the ground of Ethiopia.  If these men would have been in present States it would have taken them 100 more years to enforce equality laws because of the difference in mentality of various groups of people.  West legally takes in only people who are educated who are more likely to adjust and assimilate to the “dominant West culture” – melting pot. Compared to this UAE is mosaic NOT a melting pot of different cultures where people of one race usually stick to their race as each race usually has certain purchasing power, social skills, implicit or perceived status – we as human beings associate ourselves with groups certain  status or class, people left out of the class may cry out ELITIST , NARCISSIST group but the fact is would you feel comfortable if one of the laborer dropped by your open party? Obviously your first reaction would be to get this weirdo out or your party will turn sour with some of your friends excusing themselves (taken from real life experience from a party of some so called social worker).



There have been people in this city who had taken action to help these laborers but most were and are low profile organization compared to Emirates Autistic or Arthritis Foundations eventhough less than 5% of UAE residents have been affected by autism or arthritis. The reason is authorities of UAE have been trying to suppress any information which shows UAE abusing laborers. Many have been documented in videos and denials in the newspapers leaving the blames on unscrupulous recruitment agencies who promise laborers one thing and do another. The issue is the authorities are not enforcing any laws which punish these recruitment agencies thus the circle of crime goes on. These injustices and schism have been there and resemble that of 18th century Wild West like Canada to Chinese – Canadians or Americans.

Sheikh Zayed Sultan Al Nahayan (Sr:Eu)

Rise of a Leader

It is unfair to dismiss the contributions of UAE for what it has done in terms of betterment of lives of locals and residents in such a short span of time i.e 30 years. Dubai has less natural resources than some of the African countries like Nigeria or Congo. Compare the regions and you will find the efficiency with which the charismatic founder Shiekh Zayed Al Nahayan merged this region and enabling the clans , families to put aside their differences and come together as seven emirates. The region has so many clans and families who were bitter rivals that if they hadn’t merged they would have been wasting their private wealth in West like any corrupt African nation and having civil wars filling the coffers of some western defense industry.

Graph showing improvements during Shiekh Zayed's time (

Sheikh Zayed modernized the country after he deposed his brother . Due to his contribution the mortality rate of infants decreased and longevity and purchasing power of locals increased which is stated by Hans Rosling in his famous speech in TED Feb 2006. In 30 years this region has seen massive growth in infrastructure and industry that improvements in social institutions and judicial systems did not keep pace with the rise of skyscrapers. “The laws seems so backward and upsurd here” quipped an American lawyer who works for ADIA (one of largest investment groups in the world)  in a business social gathering in Dubai recently.

I remember the wisdom from the saying “Water is unknown to fish until it has found air“. The problem is what may seem important to you may not seem important in the eyes of rulers as they have been socially programmed in a different way and wont realize the importance until after the luxuries bestowed by natural resources, great marketing by making superlatives and boom had given way. It is then the nation’s leaders will realize that a nation can prosper for sometime by building skyscrapers but will sustain by building and investing in people.

So next time you visit Dubai and observe the sky high skyscrapers , try to remember & appreciate how long did it take to build the city on sands and enjoy for what the city is, not what it could have been.

Did you have your ET salad today?

5 04 2010

E.T. salad (source: Stock image)

Did you hire the services of one of the most expensive and low benefit (compared to cost) ISP’s and telephone provider in the world? ETisalat. These guys with permission of government is doing all the work NOT to make UAE one of the leading providers of internet business as their rates are preposterously high especially for business.

Competition improves service?

After emergence of so-called competitor called DU, they got better according to newspapers but according to 90% of feedback received they got far worse. Even after charging ridiculous amount, they restrict bandwidth , provide bad customer service and does a bad job in updating DNS servers.

Killing the future

The fourth of the deadly business sins is slaughtering tomorrow’s opportunity on the altar of yesterday.” – Peter Drucker (5 deadly business sins)

Do you know why you still use trees,  roundabouts and buildings as landmarks like your ancestors used North star for navigation? Did you know this can be remedied using geocoded address like they use in States and Canada? Did you know it costs the federal government less than Dhs 10 million to make this? Well if they do then your parcels would be delivered right to your door and Emirates Post would lose business charging ridiculous prices on empty boxes.

Similarly Etisalat thought VOIP would damage their looting from public so many years ago they spent thousands to get technology which stops VOIP like Skype. Then they assured public they would release their VOIP system. It’s been three years even Burj Khalifa didn’t take long, what is Etisalat waiting for?

Slow DNS

Three days ago I tried moving the domain name from one domain name provider to another. It’s been a week since I transferred, I tried getting into domain from etisalat internet and it showed domain parked, when I used VPN to access internet via server form States it took me to right site. I feel bad for complaining my new domain name hoster for bad service which was the fault of Etisalat.

So what’s lesson learnt? Use to host your domain names and use them in your browser for browsing the internet.


27 03 2010

parody of (Source: photoshop)

Just read an article where many glamorous projects in Dubai were put on hold. These empty buildings reminds me of days when there was huge debate going on whether Dubai would be hit by economic recession. Many so called experts were singing the tune of  eye of tiger and were claiming Dubai was invulnerable.

Those days I used to read advices of sages on (now discarded from my  rss reader). They posted claims from authorities without any analysis . One of the example is Dubai debt claims were overblown until it blew up their faces on October when Dubai government distanced away from Dubai world. There were also many claims from so called industry experts that Gulf markets would withstand global slowdown without providing any evidence. Arabian Business also has so called analysts like the senior editor Anil Bhoyrul whose barrage of articles against the so called real estate agents angered the readers not because he was providing apocryphal story but because he didn’t provide any analysis in a so called business magazine. Here is one of this post where he claims to hit back at one of the agents. Below is a GREAT feedback from one of the frustrated reader AJ,

I feel what has been suggested by the author here does not hold solid ground without a summation of the scenario in some other industries in UAE. My experiences with people in many other industries like media, trading, retail, F&B, etc over the last many years has led me to believe that there is a dearth of talented, skilled, or even educated people that we see or deal with on a daily basis.

In fact this belief even raises some questions on the authors credibility as a journalist. The article & reader comments together, to a great extent, display a feel of jealousy more than anything else. Not to defend the real estate sector or the people working within, but the author & readers should look at the bigger picture if they really want to greater good for the country and its societies.

Mr. Bhoyrul has a great colleague named Damien Reilly, here is an example of his post “Where has all the optimists gone?” where he provides no kind of value or analysis instead hits back at old optimists. Another great feedback from reader “Sam the Sham”:

You say “Where have all the optimists gone?”
I say “Where have all the realists gone?”
How about putting someone on the cover who can deal with the facts, not the fantasy and the delusion?
Why do you always post stuff that has you ridiculed? You should (as a journalist) be dealing with hard facts, not chasing rainbows. Or are you posting this kind of silliness to attract more hits for AB at the expense of your own reputation?

You can measure his “ingeniousness” by reading this article which hit the nail and after which I stopped reading In this article “3D: A gold rush about to happen” he is all over the place and in one part he mentions “Anyone who has seen Avatar in 3D – and that is a lot of people judging from box office figures so far ($1.14bn in three weeks) – will attest that two dimensional film making is over“. Wow great analytical skills which will make movie critics like Roger Ebert peck his cheek. There was another GREAT feedback from Mr G, wish there were virtual tomatoes to throw at the author.

Reilly’s article’s all over the shop – it seems to start out as a broad ranging critique about the sheer number of film festivals in this region then laments the lack of a viable indigenous film production industry stemming from it…. the link to 3D production is tenuous at best? Also, his comment about Egypt being the center of the film making universe sums it up really – if you don’t know otherwise, why not do a bit of research mate? BTW – I can only guess he’s trying to be ironic with the French art house line.

I could write better articles for free than those sitting in taking exorbitant salary (yes, yes readers feel free to forward this article to them).

Importance of origins of advice

23 03 2010

Value for money (source: Micheal Sellars)

Two weeks ago my eyes were flickering like romance candles and I happened to pass around Karama near LuLu supermarket. Given that I do not frequent that area due to traffic jams, I saw an optical shop and stepped inside to inquire about replacing my eyeglass lenses. The owner’s name was Kishore and I looked in his business card that he had a degree in  optometry. Surprising many optical shops in Dubai dont have qualified eye doctor and curiously I asked him if he could explain why my eyes were flickering.

He provided free eye test (most do when you buy frame or glass) and took pains to explain for 30 mins the anatomy of eye and why was it flickering due to stress. Note that he didnt have any assistant that time and I saw many customers walk away after waiting. Later he found I had been wearing lenses with high power which was unrequired given to me by a unqualified optometrist. He warned me to see only qualified optometrist. I decided not to buy any frame instead have my lenses changed. Next day he provided me an immaculately looking eye glasses which looked good as new.

Kishore provided great value for money and I would be more than happy to visit him next time. More importantly I realized the importance of scrutinizing advices based on the source. Due to wrong prescription I wore a wrong lens fore a year which created blurred vision of outside world. Similarly in business and relationships people usually provide free advice which when followed can cause many untold troubles and hassles. It is important to understand the history and track record of the consultant or consultancy firm if you are hiring one for business advice same thing goes for relationships. I implicitly ask questions  “have they been in this similar situation before?” , “do they have any qualifications?”, get testimonials from people whom they advised, search their names on google and read their articles and responses received.  If at any point they become self-conscious or self-promotion praises like “I have been in cover in top magazine” when you asked for any testimonials or track record of their accomplishment it raises a red flag and I would advice to look for someone who takes time to explain you of their work record than being narcissist person.

RTA and Google maps

2 03 2010

Google RTA alliance

Well you be surprised if you find it difficult to navigate under the provided maps given by RTA. I found it non-user friendly and it’s shame for one of the world’s most expensive transportation not to have user freindly map until now.

Google has incorporated the RTA transporation map in its Google maps. You can visit the gulf news site for brief tutorial here.

Update: Google has teamed up with RTA and decided to show the RTA bus stops on Google Earth (seperate software ) which is a great software for visualization of the landmarks located within Dubai.

Now you can use Google Transit website to plan you trip even in Dubai, great move by RTA to incorporate into the Google maps.

Waiting for the rainy day

1 03 2010

I was stuck yesterday for 2 hours on Emirates Rd E311 between Sharjah – Dubai road for 3 hours at night from 12:30 am to 3:15 a.m. I tried taking the exit but it was jammed by cars which had broken down as they were partially submerged in water.  The rainfall was the heaviest in 12 months, given the evidence of extent of damage. I once asked a municipality director in Sharjah (located in northern emirates) why is the city not investing in proper drainage system. His reply was “It rains only 2 months in a year in UAE so I guess it is no use allocating resource to it.”  It was lackadaisiacal reply and the same year in 2008 it rained cats and dogs flodding most of the industrial area of Sharjah and costing millions of dollars of damage which coud have been averted had they noticed the extent of loss flooding causes to the economy.

Broken down car (Dubai)

The same approach can be seen in business decisons. One decision I remember from my friend Andrew who formed lucrative business with a partner. I asked him if he had the papers which clearly stated his assests in place, he said he “knew and trusted his friend and partner” and had genterman’s agreement with him.  One of my guru once said, “Pulled by women and world strengths of friendships at times slowly wither away”. Andrew had hard time claiming his assets once the alliance dissolved. His partner was smart man and got some credible paperwork and lawyer to claim most of the assets of the businesses they had which comes down to moral of the story –


have contingency plans and look the big picture , what if this incidence happens , what will be the extent of damage? is it worth investing on the solution or prevention plan? According to news sources, there have been 170 accidents resulting in 4 deaths and causing millions of dirhams of damage to economy plus government has to pay for drainage of water. There have been reports that there will be more rain…government didn’t announce any initaitives to prevent the mess …….so they are still waiting for rainy day.