New Years with the crowd…

In 1995 I went to see Devil in a Blue Dress, starring Denzel Washington, with a group of friends in Denver, Colorado. I laughed hysterically, while the crowd I went with laughed casually, while the other guests watched unmoved by the scenes as I was. I thought it was the funniest movie, and a few year later I watched it again, laughed, but not as strongly as the first time. In 2014 I went to Guardians of the Galaxy twice. Once with friends, and once with the kids. The first time I went with my friends the entire cinema was laughing out loud, hitting every note, climax and joke. When I saw the movie again with the kids, They laughed, but it pails in comparison, and those were my kids doing the laughing, the crowd made me feel like they have all watched the movie before. They were unmoved. You see, New Years celebration is only as good as your crowd, and the bigger crowd you surround yourself with and their vibes.

saadiyat

Safina Restaurant

We kicked it off with a 6 meal course dinner at a restaurant called Safina, at Saadiyat Beach Club. The food was delicious, Every piece was succulent. My compliments to the Chef! The DJ was building up a storm, and the crowd was lining up. We ended up with a lobster, the desert was OK, but in general, it would be someplace I would go to for a special evening. It also seemed like a place we should not have moved from. It was outdoor, a bit upscale, the only issue is that the music sounded more of the 80s and 90s. The only thing I would watch out for is the taxi. One group had the taxi take them off course by 5 Km, and had to return back in reverse. The other taxi driver, dropped us off at the Saadiyat Golf Course Club where we would have been stranded for sure.

We then moved tOne Yaso the One, in Yaas Island for the final destination and countdown for the New years. At 11:30 it felt like we were the first ones in. What a shocker! The inside was beautifully done with white as if it snowed. The Big screen TV all around the club had no impact on me personally, but I could see what people spoke of. The screen lacked the details that we see today on the new generation TV sets. At 12:00 we had to scream at the DJ to start the countdown, and even then it was not as full as I expected it. The bouncers were polite and on point. The bathrooms were clean and well serviced. The DJ I would personally throw out if it was my club. He just could not get the people to want to dance once they decided to sit because that great song just got played. We stayed till 3 pm, then we decided to leave, to find out that finding a cab, would be another big task!

The next day we continued with a Lunch/Brunch at the Mangroves, IRISBOA Steakhouse, and dinner at Iris at Yaas island. BOA Steak houseBoth had exceptional food quality. We could not complain except for the long wait on the food at the BOA steakhouse, for us to find a steak well done, instead of pink on the inside, which they corrected in 15 minutes. I had a grilled sea bass. Nothing was left from it! The manager was a french guy how was very friendly and took a great deal of time to make sure that everything was up to par.

Ritz BrunchWe finally ended our new year celebration the next day with a brunch at the Ritz Carlton hotel. If you like brunches, and hotel food, save your time and money and try this brunch for size. It is exceptionaly divine. This is our second time. It is pricey but worth it, around 120 USD per head if you go dry. I would elaborate further, but i would not want to hurt the surprise of those attending the feast. Make plans to have a crowd and to stay till 5 pm, and be there at 1 pm. Remember it is only on Fridays, and you need to make a booking especially for outside seatings.

Happy New Years to you all. A happy 2015 to come and to happen with Gods blessings, to have a healthy life, admirations and positive goals. Keep the good smiles coming. And remember that places and the food is not what makes or breaks the celebrations, it the good people you surround yourself with.

Enjoy 2015!

Who are you catering to?

I enjoy developing businesses. I enjoy developing businesses and looking at different angles on how to approach a business or influence a team to reach an objective, or to alter a behaviour. One of the worst things a person can do is denial, or believe that there is an excuse to mess up. I have news, that is no news at all. Everyone has problems in business, and everyone faces daily challenges, and most probably everyone thinks they are unique withe their problem. They are not. A problem has always been simple. It is a combination of constants and variables. It boils down to having the right people to find the right solutions. You see a company is not made of cash and assets.  A company is made of people. Investors bet on people. A great idea is worth nothing without the right people behind it.

I am helping a friend build his business. We worked on getting a deal in logistics from Kuwait to Safwan, Iraq. He specialises in low cost logistics throughout the GCC. He owns a fleet of 40 units, and a workshop. His work scope is logistics and maintenance, and project development. He is down to earth and has a winning spirit with the drivers and labours in the business. So we get a project, where the first delivery in on a Tuesday and we get notified on a Sunday. I ask him to visit the facility, and get things in order. On Monday I reiterate the importance of being there, and to get things in order, and walk through the operational process. Long story short, the transporter misses his window on Tuesday, and on Wednesday misses new requirements and specifications from the company. He is lucky to get a third chance if any.

I have discussed with him the situation and his downfalls. In the beginning he came with all kinds of excuses on why the delivery did not go through, and what other transporter problems have been with the company in the past. I explained, neither myself nor the company cares for any of the excuses. Then i asked the question: “Since you messed up twice, did you go and apologise, and obtain the details they need directly from them?” Unfortunately the answer came back negative.

You see my friend missed business common sense. Who are you catering to? The company as a whole, that is true, but most of all, your are catering to peoples ego, prestige and politics. A good businessman realises that they all play a part in developing the company, and will make decisions from the small clerk, the accountant and the security guy towards your benefit or against you. Building the business is about winning the deal, keeping the business is about catering to the individuals that work for the company, and with you.

Foreign leash

Kuwait Times headline read today: “New investment law aims to attract more FDI to Kuwait” it also states that the 2013 law that regulates investments is in full effect. Wikipedia states, that A Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a controlling ownership in a business enterprise in one country by an entity based in another country ( FDI).
In my opinion this is a necessary evil. It is necessary because we need to upgrade the level of workmanship, and work efficiency and ethics. Evil due to the fact, that the training and positions they provide is not “real” but a matter of fulfilling a quota. In that regards, a Kuwait engineer may have a job, may end up traveling for training, or may be a field agent. But will he ever be a regional director working within the GCC or MENA region? Are they specific on what it would take to be that person?

Local companies have the funds to build and operate, and invent if need be. So the question that comes to mind is, why don’t they? Another question is, what is available for FDI except oil related businesses? We know they will not be able to set up manufacturing plants, because we have no industrial lands available.

I would like to link this subject to yesterdays post. The middle east is rich with manpower, land and funds. Where it lacks in caliber they can import the brains, efficiency and ethics from Germany, France, Japan, China, and USA in the form of professors, educators, and businessmen. Start inventing and building within the local market for today and tomorrows problems. You knew since the 1920’s about the potential of oil and gas, after 100 years, why would you still need a foreign company to build the process for you? Invest today, to release yourself from foreign leash tomorrow!