by Hussein Hallak
In case you didn’t know, one of the most interesting events in the region took place in Dubai last week.
CoE, Celebration of Entrepreneurship, took the world of business by storm as it brought together over 2000 of the region’s pioneering, serial, and aspiring entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and angel investors.
I felt really bad about missing the opening, I was out of town and arrived late the first day, however, I had no time to think about that, as I was engulfed with waves of people I knew, knew off, and some just seemed like I knew, or else why would they be smiling and nice?! After all in other events everybody is always busy doing business, selling, or just looking for important people to meet!
Here every one was important, every conversation was interesting, and there was something happening in every corner, you could just feel it.
Put simply, I was impressed, blown away with every aspect of it, it was remarkable.
What Was Not So Good?
1. Videos of the event are put on Wamda and cannot be embedded, this takes away from the social and open nature of the event. Entrepreneurs and bloggers have nothing to share but a link, and they have to direct their followers to Wamda, instead of bringing Wamda to them.
2. Wamda website, though nicely done, is difficult to use.
3. Although inspirational and admirable, many entrepreneurs are not great speakers, so having a moderator would have made their talk clearer, more focused and much more interesting.
4. A few people were so out of sync, they even kept their ties on. Nothing against ties, I love them and ware them often, however, the event was “casual”
5. I still do not have access to the contacts collected by Spotme, the communication device I used in the event, and so I can’t connect with the people I wanted to connect with as fast as I hoped to.
6. Two days were not enough, a lot of great people were speaking at the same time, and so I had to miss many talks to attend one.
7. I lost my Spotme device in the event :S
What Was Remarkable?
1. The personal touch was screaming from every corner of the place. Abraaj team brought to the space things they liked and experienced themselves, like Batatee5 and Wild Peeta.
2. I bumped into someone remarkable at every corner.
3. Amazing, completely free, food and fresh drinks were everywhere! I forgot my wallet at the car and I didn’t even notice it till the day ended.
4. No business cards = No problem; Spotme, a communication device that I got at the reception, helps me search and find people, send them messages, and find my way around.
5. If you are not a techee, you can still use the printed version of the program, the guide and the map to find your way around, who is going to speak, where, and when.
6. You could sit with people, eat, attend a talk, tweet and browse the internet, all at the same time, and while seated in the same place!
7. There was some great performances, stand up comedy, and music.
8. The people working at the event were very nice, helpful, informative, and most importantly they cared…
9. Almost everything; the branding, the design, the seating, the food, the organization, the openness, and the positive energizing atmosphere.
10. This was put together within a few weeks!
What Is Ugly?
1. Every other event that is not like this one or better!
2. Explaining CoE to those who weren’t there…
3. The fact that I will compare all events I attend in the region to this one, and they will suck!
4. Not having an excuse to sit and do nothing anymore
5. There is no CoE2011 to look forward to :(