Guide me to the market : Amad Almsaodi at TEDxSanaa 2012

Uploaded by TEDxTalks on 27.01.2013

When Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) migrated
From Mecca to Medina
He established a bond of brotherhood between the new comers and Medina residents (Ansar)
So, each (Ansari) gave his migrant brother half his wealth
One of the migrants was the honorable companion [AbdulRahman Bin Aouf]
And his new Ansari brother was Saad bin AlRabie
Who offered him half his wealth and one of his wives
To which Bin Aouf replied with his famous sentence;
(May Allah bless your wealth and family..But, I need you to guide me to the market)
And indeed, he went to the market,
Traded several times until he became one of the wealthiest Muslim men
It is even said that Bin Aouf's merchandise caravans would shake the grounds of Medina upon their arrival
"Guide me to the market"
We have a habit of talking much about our Islamic, Arab and Yemeni history
That's bursting with glory, achievements and success
But, rarely do we associate our rich past to our poor present
The status of the Yemeni youth today is quite rough
They're faced with loads of hurdles from the very beginning
Starting with school; you finish secondary education
If having poor grades; you won't be able to attend the college you like
If having good grades and completed university, there aren't enough jobs
Then you are forced to bribe, resort to patronage, and almost beg for a job..
And once you finally get a job, simply the salary doesn't make ends meet..
Then, you'd have to work overtime; drive a cab or worse accept bribes
Some would say; that's it..I'm going to migrate .. I'll go anywhere there are plenty of options..
Unfortunately, almost not a single country grants entry to Yemenis..
Even if qualified and wanting to migrate regularly..
So, what's the solution?
Such a frustrating prelude
But it's extremely crucial to assess the present before planning the future
What's the solution?
I've given much thinking to the subject of my talk today
Some folks asked me to narrate my experience with Aqar map website
the company I own in Egypt
But, I've already talked about it previously
So, I decided to get my talk today down to earth
And avoid the indulging in theories..
In words that leave momentarily impact
I will get realistic today
It is important to know that the internet is the market
perhaps the only open door for the Yemeni youth today
the only gate..and I may further the "gate of hope"
I recall in 2002, I was in an internet café here in Sana'a
Having a problem with my computer
And feeling abnormally helpless
I was capable of dealing with the computer,
The internet and my English was very good..
But was helpless
Hearing that people do actually work, trade and make it big through the internet
And all I had was google yahoo, e-mail and chat…a vicious circle
Not knowing what to do..I felt helpless
I think at that moment I needed someone to "guide me to the market"
Today, after 10 years of my experience with the internet
With all the ups and downs throughout the way
I would like to play the role of Saad bin AlRabie
When he guided Bin Aouf to the market
All I long for is to hear about Yemenis following the footsteps of Bin Aouf shortly
The internet is the market
My talk today will be three-pronged
Starting with education
We all realize how important education is
Some may criticize the curricula schools, universities, teachers..
Yet, education is the crux
If we're going to build a country..a future
We have to improve ourselves
And the internet gives you a huge opportunity to learn
Regardless of all excuses and challenges
"KHANACADEMY" is a website created by somebody named Khan
A Muslim, I suppose, from Bangladesh..
It taught hundreds of thousands of youth
Physics, chemistry, biology, maths, economics, finance..
a very friendly website
You log in and watch simplified lectures on the hard-to-understand subjects
I personally learned through KHANACADEMY
When I created my company, I had a problem with
Stocks, investors and how to allocate shares to the staff as an incentive
So, I logged in to KHANACADEMY from home
And learned many things
It's a fantastic website and highly-recommended
COURSERA is yet a greater website
It's signed cooperation agreements with 33 of the world's most prestigious universities
I'm talking about Duke, Stanford, Yale, Princeton..
Today, if anyone wants to learn there
Shall log in, register and of charge
Attend classes and watch professors teaching in those top-notch universities
Do the assignments and take exams
But, there won't be a certificate
I think we've already concluded that certificates are worthless
So, if you're looking for one, this is not the place
But, if you 're looking for self-improvement
COURSERA is the where to go
It is a new website..the world is changing around us
While we're stuck with the same old dilemma
COURSERA is a brilliant website
If you're studying mechanical engineering and dislike the professor..
Outdated modules..go online and study with MIT students and beat them
Ok, Now I have improved my capacity and learned..
There are no jobs in Yemen Mr. Amad!
What's the point? I've learned and improved and there is no use
No visas even..
I will talk hierarchically
Starting with the simple website that offer simple jobs
"AMAZONmechanicalturk" is a simple website
Providing service to school students or older people with limited potentials
companies with simple work of data entry for instance or file transfer
go to this website and post their projects..
and they offer 2-5 cents per entered datum
equal to 5-10 YR
but they have, say, 10,000 processes
each will only take seconds
if you are a Yemeni student, who needs to generate income,
or with limited skills
You may log in, participate and get paid
"Elance" is yet a better website
Based on the notion of freelancing
There are other websites such as "freelancer" and "odesk"
Here, same companies post their work but usually need higher competence
Creating a website, programming a system, translating articles, editing something
There is even freelancing at the levels of pharmacology, architecture,..
The door is wide-open..
I myself know some Yemeni guys who work through such websites
And get well-paid
Personally, when I was a student, I worked online
And when I established my company, I dealt with people from Yemen
Egypt, Pakistan, India, Russia, Mexico..
I have designers now from Romania!
Nationalities, culture, tribes they belong to, their area of study
All mean little to me ..
They are qualified, offering good price.. that's it! I don't care
What holds Yemenis back from working this way?
I searched in Elance for Sana'a to check if Yemenis are available
And Thanks God, They are!
Mohammed IT
Ahmed- Finance and Management
And Hoda- Design and multimedia
The door is open
"Just Answer" is a brilliant website
It relies on the idea that; if you have a question
And need a prompt answer from a professional expert
Say, I have a question in international law, or pharmacy, or mechanics, computer, religion or languages but I need an answer now..
You may go to "Just Answer" and type your question,
And the website will connect you to an expert who is available at the same moment online
And he will offer you a price of 30, 50 or 100 $ to give a real-time explanation
I tried to register myself in the website as a Yemeni, and got accepted
Just requested my passport number, and asked me few questions to verify my competence
If I prove competent, and that's why education matters, then sure!
Give a 5-minute answer and earn 30 $
Why not?
This is the climax of working online
it's founded on the notion that
global companies such as IBM, Toyota and Shell..
sometimes stumble on significant problems
they fail to solve..
problems of maths, physics, chemistry.. complicated ones..
they hire consultants to solve them, but they fail
so what now?
Either they shut down the project or resort to "Open Innovation"
So they would provoke minds from around the globe
To help them solve this problem..
And announce a reward of 10,000$, 50,000$ sometimes up to 1 million USD
The website has already disbursed 300 million USD in rewards
So what prevents Yemeni professors, scientists and genius minds ..
From taking part there?
There is no government, patronage, customs.. none of the problems we face in real life
"Innocentive" is a brilliant website and I really hope to hear Yemeni success stories there
We've talked about education, jobs and finally I will touch on funding
Once you've worked for a while
You consider starting up your own business
What does the internet have to provide?
Amazing organization
Supporting primarily small and micro enterprises
They may provide from 1000 to 3000 USD
They have now an organization in Yemen
After long being inactive in the country, they are, thank God, working
It is for young people with small and modest projects
They shall present their profiles, pictures and proposal
And then people from all around the world..
Neither organization nor anything
Normal people..each will give you 25$ in credit
With zero interests..
25 $ plus another 25$ and so on until the amount is raised
And you take the money to start up your business..
If it succeeds, you have to repay them to go on and invest in other projects is amazing
We have to advocate for it in Yemen
I went online..searched for Yemen
And there you go..
Yemenis, men and women, mostly from the rural areas
One asking for 200$, another for 1650$ and they've almost secured the needed funds
No profits, no mediation is the last website I will be talking about
It is dedicated to young people with innovative ideas
If you have an idea for a new product , company, project, documentary or even a study
And no one seems to give it weight, no patronage
You think your idea is so good
Make a video..explain your idea to the world
To people like you in other countries
Who may like your idea and hope it sees the light
go to that website and make a video..
I know people in Yemen who gained 10,000$
I know a friend in USA who t gained 250,000$
He had a simple idea of a camera with a slider.. it was such a simple one
I was amazed at how he came up with it..
It was fun
Photographers needed it and it had a reasonable price
So photographers were the ones who raised the money for him
Photographers paid money to see his product
Kickstarter is amazing
I searched for Yemen
And there they were
I liked Amira's experience,
She asked for 4500$ and got 9000$
It is amazing..just go to the website and see her video..she's good
So, now we've talked about all the points
As you see,
The door is open
And the internet is the gate of hope
I'm filled with hope that we'd forget about the challenges, difficulties and obstacles
Instilled by the society
And that are completely irrelevant to today's world and era
The internet era
I'm all hopes that we'd forget our old means
Nepotism..visas for migration
I'm all hopes that our slogan will be, as of today,
Guide me to the market and that's enough
I hope..
And I don't put any hopes on the Yemeni government
nor on the world's assistance and charity
nor the IMF, Friends of Yemen, or the donors
and not even on neighbors who don't appreciate the rights of their neighbors
I don't want my beloved country (Yemen) to be a burden to the international community
I only put hopes on God and on you
The young men and women of Yemen
You are the hope
Thank you