Announcing Coffee Meetup + Basics of Digital Marketing Talk

This Wednesday, the StartupQ8 Coffee Club Meetup will take place at The VIVA Coded Academy, Kuwait’s first coding school. The meetup is a chance  for local entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts to meet, network, share ideas and collaborate.

This week, the Coffee Meetup will proceed a talk on the Basics of Digital Marketing by Abdulaziz BuKhamseen as part of the VIVA Coded Academy’s speaker of the week event.

Abdulaziz is the creator of, one of the top blogs in Kuwait. He has worked as head of digital marketing for payment startup Next Payment, and is currently handling major parts of online marketing for the Al-Babtain Group.

The talk will be most useful for those who want to understand how to best utilize paid online marketing via search engines and social networks. These basics are a must for anyone involved in a startup, so don’t miss it!


Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, August 19th, 2015


7.15 pm- Coffee Club Meetup (More info here)

7.45 pm- Basics of Digital Marketing Talk (More info here)

9.15 pm- Networking and, of course, pizza!

Where: The VIVA Coded Academy in Al-Tjaria Tower 35th floor (Al-Soor Street, downtown Kuwait)


See you all there!

How American is Your Country?

This post was supposed to be a simple comparison of the top 10 most visited websites of some selected countries. However, I ended-up finding some very interesting data that I thought it’s worth to share with everyone. 

I think we all agree that the US is considered the leader and the pioneer in adapting to new internet startups and new social networks. I also believe that other countries will eventually converge and follow whats happening in the states.
My question is “Who are the fast followers?”. In other words  “which countries currently have the closest internet behavior to the US?”.
I made a comparison based on the ranking of the most visited websites. I chose the following websites to make the comparison:

I used to check the rankings of the most visited websites in the following countries:

The raw data looks like this:

Now if you plot the data you’ll get this ugly chart. This chart shows how the rankings of social networks varies across different countries. For example Pinterest ranked 17 in the US, in Kuwait it ranked 219 !!

Again, the question I was trying to answer here is “which country has the closest internet behavior to the US?” To answer this question I calculated the Standard Deviation of the rankings of each website in these countries using USA as the base point (finally the CFA came handy).

Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what does Standard Deviation means, just remember that “the lower the number, the closer the country is to the US”.

As expected, UK was the closest to the US. That means UK is one of the early adaptors, and other european countries follow. Spain comes second, slightly behind UK  (interesting to see how language barrier is getting less significant).  Japan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are lagging what’s happening in new the world. I think we can also conclude that there is a huge language barrier to enter the Japanese market, which gives enough time for copycats to take advantage.

After crunching some numbers I found some other interesting insights:

1) The most visited website: I was shocked to find that Facebook was visited more than Google in a number of developing countries such as UAE, Uruguay and Jordan!!! I’m also shocked to find that Yahoo is still out-preforming Google in Japan!!!

2) Twitter and Politics: There is a positive correlation between political turbulence and the ranking of Twitter. Twitter made it to the top 10 lists of all featured Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Jordan) + Spain.

3) Linkedin, I’m impressed with your performance: I was amazed how well Linkedin performed in most listed countries. Linkedin made it to the top 15 list of most countries, and it even surpassed Twitter in some countries such as Sweden and Hong Kong.

4) Pinterest replaced Flicker: Pinterest already replaced Flicker in 5 featured countries. And it’s obvious that this shift will happen soon in the UK and Spain.

I think Pinterest is blocked in Saudi Arabia, our readers in Saudi Arabia please confirm if this true? Another interesting finding here is that Pinterest ranked 190 in Japan!! I was totally misled with the US$100M Rakuten investment in Pinterest.

5) Tumblr is eating WordPress: Tumblr already passed WordPress in the US. We already agreed that the US is the future, then you can see how Tumblr will soon surpass WordPress in UK and France. Interestingly, Tumblr is doing a good job in some laggard markets such as Saudi Arabia.

At the end, I want to advice all Kuwaiti startups (especially startups focused on women such as to be fully prepared to use Pinterest as one of their main marketing channels. Also Tumblr is getting more important, but probably more in a personal level than business.

Eid Mubark everyone, talk to you soon 🙂

Note: The data numbers only cover traffic from desktop PCs. The data doesn’t cover traffic comes from mobile. However, the data still can be used as proxy of the total traffic in these websites.

Should you do an MBA or start your own business??

I did my MBA in Hong Kong at HKUST (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology). The school is amazing and currently ranked#10 worldwide by the Financial Times. Moreover, I learned many things in many fields and I built a great network spread in all five cotenants. I also had a great opportunity working and living in many different cities (Hong Kong, Montevideo in Uruguay, Granada and Barcelona in Spain). So the experience was simply awesome. However, I realized that the MBA as a studying curriculum was not that useful for people trying to start their own business, especially if the school is not focused in the Entrepreneurship field. If you are between starting your own business and doing an MBA, then I’ll strongly suggest to start your own business.
After finishing my MBA, I thought I know everything in the world in every field. Seriously, you’ll think that you are better in marketing than a guy who worked 15 yrs in marketing, just because you took 3-5 marketing classes. I thought I knew a lot about strategy and management just  because my professor used to work at Mckinsey.
Basically, you know many things and you want to use what you learned. I have a bad news for all of the MBA’s, your MBA is not that useful in the Startup world. What you learned can be applied in big companies, not in startups. Startups are not a small version of big companies. In a big company you have a proven business model with a known customer, a known market with a known product. In a startup everything is unknown, and you will not learn until you try and fail. In the MBA they teach us how to avoid failure, while in a startup you should fail to learn.
Even if you are doing an MBA just to learn new things, then you’ll probably learn much more things if you started your own business. If you want to do a full-time MBA then consider working in your startup full-time. Investors and people working in the Startup field appreciate a guy that failed 1-2 times with previous startups 10x times more than a regular MBA guy. As a matter of fact we are embarrassed sometimes to say that we have an MBA, especially in front of VCs and investors.
Things that I wished that they taught us in the MBA:
Still I don’t regret doing my MBA at all. I made a lot of great friends all over the world and I also met my colleagues and co-founders that together founded our first startup in Spain.
By the way, my friend just arrived from Hong Kong with my MBA degree and I’m going to receive it today, I hope he will still give it to me after reading this post 🙂
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