Archive for Awesomeness

Is this the year of YouTube content creation in Qatar ?

I’ve been talking about the importance of content creation that’s hyper local. Around a month and a half ago, I spoke at Northwestern’s special event about Big Data and the Qatar Media Industry panel before that.
It was a topic that pulled in quite a great crowd. It was surprising to me though how there’s so little data out there. More interestingly though, that there were so few people contributing to the creation of content that actually rakes in results. I thought I’d share a few stats from a slide I presented.

68% – % of users who watch YouTube on mobile (compared to 18% last year)

10m – The number of impressions needed to comfortably monetize (if you don’t have a niche target audience)

6th – ILQ is the 6th most watched channel and 2nd most viewed brand on YouTube

1.6m – The number of views on ILQ’s channel

50,000 views = $30 Yep, Google gives you around 30 USD per 50k views. Not much of a business case if we’re to encourage more local content creation. For a country like Qatar, you’re not going to be making very much since if you’re targeting the local market, you’re not going to make more than perhaps 150,00 views per video. 300 Riyals is probably enough to cover a meal or two for the team.
YouTube should be helping, but they’re not. Actually YouTube sent over a representative to Qatar during an event at QNCC where they spoke about how they would love to see more people create videos in the Middle East, and of course, in Qatar. However it’s all talk in my opinion. They haven’t really done much to incentivise anyone.

1- When people create content, more often than not, they hope to cash out. People want to make money or get famous so that they can eventually make money. It’s not a bad thing, people need to make a living and making money means that people can invest in creating higher quality content

2- As mentioned the revenue generated per impression on YouTube (there’s different ad revenue models by the way) is something like Read the rest of this entry »

The NEW and IMPROVED ILQ Website is ready – How did I get there?

I’m super excited. This has been a project I’ve been working on for ages.

First let me explain where we came from. ILQ was a site that started out as a quick and general guide where I gave people insight as to life in Qatar. It started off pretty simple and as people appreciated hearing about Qatar from a Qatari, the platform grew. I wanted to create a site that people could  have input on. So when some people asked me to create a forum. A forum was created. When people asked for an events section. An events section was created. When people said they didn’t like how many links there were, we created a better menu structure. What had happened in quite a short period of time is that more and more people relied on the content that the site had. We grew exponentially. To cater to demand, I ended up having to literally piece different scripts together. Actually, the old ILQ was a mix of THREE different sites designed to be linked together. Honestly, I’d go as far as to say that in the back end, it was a Frankenstein of a site. It became really difficult to try and migrate to a new CMS because there wasn’t really anything that could handle what we wanted to do. Even more problematic was that we had so much content, it was hard to shift everything over without losing anything.

So then came the challenge from you all. I asked people what they wanted; a site that was faster, less sections, more organized, simple to use, and even easier to share. How do we create a brand new site and achieve all that? Honestly? We went through THREE developers to try and achieve what I had envisioned. I wanted a site looked clean, a mobile version (coming soon by the way), all the old links to still work, and to have a simple back end as well. I was so frustrated with some of the designs that were sent over by different companies, that I ended up putting designs and layouts together myself (self taught photoshopper here!).  The task wasn’t easy. In fact the first development company had to ditch the project because it was too much to handle! However I’m glad to say we found a great development and design team that understood exactly what I was looking for and they are amazing! (Shout out to Oliver and Daria!).

What made things super difficult was the fact that we never released focused on making money. Whatever profit I did get out of ILQ, I used to support charitable causes and the community. It was also hard getting funding and I resorted to spending what I had saved. At one point I had tried getting a loan from the bank but sadly it was hard selling a digital start up here in Qatar. Banks wanted to loan you funds for capital. Physical assets. We’re a digital company. I remember speaking to an incubation panel at one point and I was told “you need to decide, are you a business or a charity” (that was because I didn’t want to focus on money only and focus on the community). It was a turning point for me because I stood my ground and said “why can’t I do both? Why can’t I create a great business AND help others?”. I wanted to bridge the gap between expats and locals, create a resource where the community could share great content, and become a website that could people live (and enjoy) life in Qatar. So that’s where we are today!

The site is by no means perfect, there’s still a lot to do, I’m sure we’ll encounter issues and scramble to fix stuff, but we’ll get there. We’ll get to the point where everyone can be proud of what we’ve achieved. (That’s why I need all your feedback! Thread here: http://iloveqatar.net/forum/content/new-ilq-feedback)

So without further adieu, I now present to you some before and after shots of the site :D Blood, sweat and tears went into it, so inshallah you like it!

Homepage

Before:

 

After:

 

 

Events

Before:

 

After:

 

Restaurants

Before:

 

After:

 

 

There’s load more sections to check out! So please visit www.iloveqatar.net :)

ILQ Radio Demo – We need your feedback (you decide what to listen to)

Updated:

So we came up with this idea of creating a radio station. Something that’s Online at the moment and something focused on entertainment. We wanted to create something that could compliment the awesome QF Radio and focus on the community too.

We’re in the middle of recording some shows and right now we’re testing the capabilities of the streaming server.

This is YOUR chance to let us know what you want to listen to, what type of programming, and basically decide on the whole schedule. We’ve got some of our own ideas but we really need your help. Right now we’ve got ‘The People’s hour’, Random Event Highlights, J/K Pop hour, Bite Size news from Doha News, Sarcastology, and a few other suggestions like a Health and Wellness Show.

So in the comments section below, can you please post what you think about the quality of the audio and ideas that you have?

We’ll be updating the demo with more content so consider this Demo Beta Alpha 3 :D

To make your life easy so you can tune in any time, just visit http://radio.iloveqatar.net If you are on your iPhone, tap on ‘add to homescreen’. If you’re on an Android device, you can either visit the site OR download the app here (ILQ Radio APP).

Oh and help us out by tweeting and liking please. It takes a second of your time and will help us spread the word.

Thanks all!

- Mr. Q (Your friendly neighbourhood Qatari)


Click the link below to play ILQ Radio

Read the rest of this entry »

Qatar’s turning the Desert Green

This is fantastic. The goal is to try an create a new ecosystem in the desert which can then evolve into farming technology that could be used in countries that struggle due to the environment.

I recommend giving this a watch.

 

Hear ye Hear ye! Our new Emir is here – Congratulations! (Now here are my thoughts)

With watery eyes, I had to write this while I watched His Excellency Sheikh Hamad’s address to the people. (I don’t even know what you call an Emir who has stepped down. I’ve never heard that before… Can someone tell me?).

On my mind, all I could think of was how fortunate the Qatari people are. Look at other Arab countries in the Middle East. How many are in the amazingly lucky position to have such a great leader? Someone who acts in the best interest of his people? Someone who treats his people with kindness. I would go as far as saying that his heart is so big, that his generosity has made some people complacent; lazy even.

When I had started iLoveQatar, I had many goals. To help make Qatar a better place. To give people reasons to love Qatar. To make my family proud. To bridge the gap between expats and locals. However in the context of this write up, the way I see it, it’s a civic duty. Sheikh Hamad has put a lot of burden on his shoulders to help bring peace to the Middle East (and help the world). All the while giving the nation a vision and a goal. Oh and let’s not forget, trying to turn the Qatari nation into an educated and hard working one. Has he asked anything in return of his people except to be the best they can be? No. So the way I see it, the least I can do is something, no matter how small, to lift the weight of responsibility from his shoulders.

All of a sudden I’m reminded of various lyrics from Hailie’s song “Sometimes it feels like the world’s on my shoulders… This boulder on my shoulder gets heavy and harder to hold, and this load is like the weight of the world and I think my neck is breaking. Should I just give up or try to live up to these expectations?” Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, this is probably the only write up you’ll read that has The Emir, Ali bin Abi Taleb and Eminem quoted together.

The Emir, although I’ve never had the honor of meeting him (and kissing his forehead), is like a second father. In 18 years we now have new airports, Qatar Foundation, Education City/HBKU, Exhibition Centers, Charities, proper infrastructure, new cities, malls, the beautiful West Bay, Katara, the Souq, QMA, the list goes on and on.
We thank him. We thank those who have supported him. We thank him for trusting others to help build Qatar too.

 

So what did his address say?
Translation summary of speech given by His Excellency Sheikh Hamad (going a bit by memory so forgive me if it’s not perfect).

Photo by Lornss Al Naimi

“Today I will be addressing you as we are coming into a new era of history for our country. I wanted to address the good people of this country because this is your country. God knows that I have not desired power for the sake of power and never for personal motives. It has always been in the country and people’s interest. I hope that I have been seen to have worked hard for my duties and this change means that I will still be serving my homeland and its people.

Quoting Ali bin Abi Taleb the Emir said, “Teach your children other than what you have been taught, as they have been born for another time.”

I declare that I will hand over to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

[Sheikh Tamim] I am sure you can handle this responsibility, remember to fear God, work hard, and always seek out the truth/knowledge.

Work hard always, be there for your country.”

 

So what’s next?
In the next few days, traditionally, senior officials and tribe leaders will visit the Emiri Diwan to show their support for the change.
This event is called a Mubaya-a.
Update: Al Jazeera has just uploaded a video of the process with Abdulla Al Athbah (@a_alathbah). Click here

 


“The time had come for a new generation to assume responsibility to progress this country.” – Sheikh Hamad
Sheikh Hamad was true to his words and obviously has proven that what he said was honestly from the heart. That was a quote from when he took over the reigns in 1995.

 

Congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad who is now the Emir of Qatar.

God protect Sheikh Hamad, Sheikh Tamim, the people of Qatar, and everyone with a good heart.

What does this mean for Qatar? (A question I’m asked quite a lot now)

Honestly? We’ve got a roadmap. If anything it just means things will progress faster. We now have young energy. We all know that a young person (with ambition) wants to change the world (for the better). I’m excited to see what legislations will change, what measures will be taken to progress human rights, and what Qatar 3.0 will look like.

I don’t know why everyone keeps asking the question of ‘what’s he going to do next?’. How about we stop speculating and just wait to hear what he has to say.

Every ship needs its crew. Sheikh Tamim is at the helm and we’re all on the same boat. If we all do our part, we’ll get to our destination faster.
What do I think?

I think this is a day of happiness and sadness, but let’s not forget that Sheikh Hamad isn’t going anywhere :) He’ll still be with his son, doing what any good father would do; giving guidance and support. Qatar is being a responsibly country. It is amazing that we have a transition plan, the Crown Prince (now Emir) has been in the process of shadowing his father for quite a while now. He doesn’t ‘know’ the Qatar Vision 2030, he IS the Qatar Vision 2030 now. This isn’t going to be an easy journey for him, but since when is leading any nation easy? As I’ve said before, just as I trust in Sheikh Hamad and Sheikha Moza, I trust in Sheikh Tamim.

I think that Qatar is setting precedence and making history by this transition alone. Did you know that Qatar is the first country in the Middle East to have had three leadership changes while all three leaders are still alive?

While countries are trying to build the World’s tallest, biggest, and fastest. Qatar is trying to build the best.

If you’d like to read a bit more click here for my other blog post. (Qatar gets ready for a leadership change)

 

Finally, I wanted to share a quick message to the expat community.

Dear expats,
Thank you for helping to build Qatar. With these announced changes, Qatar will continue to develop, we’ll see even more growth, and I hope you continue to see Qatar as home.

I know (and hope) that most of you share the Qatari people’s excitement. These are exciting times and you are a part of history.

Inshallah Qatar will make you proud and become an admired country.

Take care,
Mr. Q
Your friendly neighborhood Qatari

 

Have any questions? Post them in the comments below :)
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Kite surfing – Qatari Style

I had to share this awesomeness by fellow EO member Khalifa Al Misnad.

THIS is Kite surfing; Qatari Style.

We’ve partnered up with Red Bull to launch ’60 Seconds’

Screening Date: December 6, 2012
Time: 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Venue: HBKU Student Centre, Education City

Red Bull 60 Seconds is coming to Qatar to give all university students the opportunity to show how creative they can be, in 60 seconds, with the “WINGS” concept. Students compete individually or in teams of three and film a 60 seconds clip with any HD camera / smartphone. The competition’s theme is “WINGS” so it is up to the teams to figure out how creative wings can get. All the submitted clips will be screened on December 6, 2012 at HBKU Student Center, Education City – THE CINEMA.

Clips will be judged on:
- Creativity
- Theme relevance
- Music integration

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

- All students must submit their student ID number upon registration
- All teams must ensure that content filmed respects Qatari laws
- Maximum number of team members is 3
- At least one member from the team must attend the screening on December 6, 2012
- Clip may be in any language
- Profane language or content will lead to immediate disqualification

SUBMISSION DATES

November 25, 2012: Entry Opens
December 4, 2012: Entry Closes
December 6, 2012: Clip Screening and Judging

To register: redbull60seconds@qa.redbull.com
Technical queries: +974 66004820

RSVP on Facebook to attend! Click here

The Qatar Choice Awards Gala Dinner – We all did it! The people chose their favourites!

Hey everyone! We’ve finally finished the Qatar Choice Awards video thanks to a great ILQ supporter alexklim.com (please show him some support and visit his page).

Please share this video! ^_^

We told you that we’d put together a fabulous event and award ceremony and we hope that you feel that we kept our promise.

The video celebrates the winners and hopefully we’ll see more of you attending next year!

The ILQ – iloveqatar.net, Qatar Happening, and Diyafa Qatar are already planning next year and of course we hope to give you all an even bigger voice :)

Now head on over to the forums and join the great community! Stop hanging out on facebook all the time. –> ILQ FORUMS

Red Bull Flying Bach in Qatar – Check out this invitation

I received this from RedBull Qatar. It’s for their upcoming Flying Bach event which sold out almost instantly. It’s happening at Katara (ILQ’s home). www.katara.net

Check it out! We need more of this ajeebness to spread around Qatar.

Qatar Dream 2030 – Animated Video – Must watch

This is pretty awesome. I don’t know why I never noticed this video before but it was submitted to ILQ after it was found on a Japanese blog no-less.

It’s a great video brought to you by the National Day Committee. It is part of a live action series for children produced as part of the Dream 2030 campaign. The goal is to encourage the youth to work towards the 2030 vision! 3ajeeb!

Platige  Image (www.platige.com) was chosen, from a group of leading postproduction studios all over the world, by the representatives of the government of Qatar to cooperate with them on creating the promotional animation for “Dream 2030″ – a social campaign directed at youg children.

The campaing is organised together with the State National Day Committee. It’s objective is to promote loyalty, solidarity and unity amongst the youngest Qatari — values important to the development of this relatively young nation. It also wants to promote creative thinking and motivate the youngest to hard work. It is a longterm project, it has been planned for the next 19 years.

I think it’s cool how it’s Disney style.

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.