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 »

We’ve launched a new show! #QTips

I’m excited to share this new YouTube show that we’ve been working on called QTips (we’re actually launching three new shows and this is the first). It dawned on me and Hamad one day (during a recording we were doing on ILQ Radio) that there’s a lot of people that simply don’t know what’s considered ‘right’ or polite in our culture. When I travel to a foreign country, I actively ensure that I am as respectful as possible of that country’s rules and way of life.
I remember that during a trip to Japan I had visited this World Heritage marked temple. I entered by standing on the doorways step and suddenly heard screams, “No No! That’s rude!”, so I quickly jumped in (I didn’t want to extend the length of my disrespect) and heard “Noooo! You shouldn’t enter with your left foot!”, so I jumped out thinking that I could give this another go and heard gasps and one woman told me that “it’s rude and bad luck to exit from the entrance”. There was no winning here. I might as well have slapped a monk in the face while I was at it.

Anyway! I thought it would be great to answer questions that the expat community asked and the response was amazing! A few questions were:

  • What do you wear under your thobe?
  • Is it alright for men and women to shake hands?
  • Can you explain arabic coffee etiquette?
  • What’s the story behind nose kissing?
  • Why do you wear different color thobes?
  • Some men carry beads in their hands, why do they do that?
  • Why do men dress in white and women dress in black?

Of course the questions go on and on and it further supported the fact that although we think that some things go without saying, people simply don’t know.

So here’s the first episode of #QTips, we’re starting off with something nice and light.

What do you think? Like it? Have your own question? Please do share and comment, because that’s what keeps me going :)

Check out our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/iluvqatar or our VIDEO section at www.iloveqatar.net

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 :)

Dear Laborers, Security Guards, Stay at home moms, People in the Office; everyone. Thank you.

Over at ILQ HQ, we’re always trying to think of fun and new ways of getting our message accross to people. Yeah we can do the usual Tweet or Facebook post, but I think that people appreciate the extra effort put into creating guides, microsites, and videos.

For National Day 2013, His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani shared something with everyone. It was going to be about #onelove and making an effort to show appreciation to the expat community here in the country. After all, we’re all coming together to build the future of this nation and help achieve Qatar’s 2030 vision.

With the video, of course we couldn’t cover all segments, but we wanted to highlight the contruction worker, the security guards, the western workers and the Qataris all coming together. Together, we’re building Qatar.

I should mention that the people in the video are considered twitter and online friends, I myself have friends from all national and occupational background. The message in this video, is that we need to support each other. We need to appreciate each other.

Oh and one more thing… Thank you.

We are all White and Maroon [Guest Blog]

This is a Guest Blog by ILQer Yousef AG. You can follow him on twitter at @yousef_ag

 

Qatar Largest Flag

The 18th of December is a day of unity, pride, but above all, nationalism. This is the day national unity was achieved when Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammad Al Thani won autonomy among the many local tribes under his leadership. This is the day to recognize and celebrate Qatar’s forefathers, the heroes of hardship and endurance that worked hard to ensure the unity of their nation.
I am, without doubt, privileged to take pride in this day.And I am not alone.
This is the day that marks yet another year of progression in the realms of politics, economics and social affairs. We, as individuals who live in this country, look at the white and maroon flags that stand high above us and smile with pride. We are the heart of this country. We enrich this country’s essence with our diversity and cultural attachments. We understand this country’s stance because we are in a position to do so: we live here. This is our home. For some, home is temporary, and for others, it is permanent. But the statement still stands.
This is home.

All About Qatar National Day – A day to feel pride

Qatar is building on the number of events to celebrate National Day year on year. There are a number of huge milestones and events that have lead up to this as well. Qatar’s definitely in the spotlight thanks to mega event after event (World Cup, COP18, Arab Spring involvement, Katara expansions, etc… etc…) and Doha will continue to shine bright as long as changes keep happening.

Why are Qataris so proud? Well we haven’t had that much to be proud of for a long time. Our Emir has brought so much change and development to Qatar that it’s something to almost brag about. A typical Qatari will gladly sacrifice a lot for his country. The Emir has done so much to make our lives better, so why don’t we lift the burden off of his shoulders a bit and try to help?

So whether you’re Qatari, American, British, Indian, Philipino, Japanese, Korean, Lebanese, Pakistani, Chinese or any other nationality (let’s face it, Qatar is a melting pot of diversity), please celebrate National Day with us! Let happiness flow through you like a rush of energy. Think positive and have hope for a fantastic future. Think of each firework that goes off on December 18 as the sound of the country’s heartbeat. WE are Qatar.

One common question I’m asked is how is it that Qatar changed National Day’s date? It never changed. They’re thinking of Independence day, which is on the 3rd of September. Here’s some more info about National Day (from QatarNationalDay.qa):

On 18 December 1878, Sheikh Jassem bin Mohamed bin Thani succeeded his father as the ruler of Qatar. With that, Qatar became a country with a vision… a country that would find unity, grow rapidly, and reach toward ever higher heights.

National Day, also known as Founder’s Day, celebrates the rise of Sheikh Jassem as the father and founder of the State of Qatar. And yet this holiday is a mere two years old: it was founded in 2007 to give people an occasion to honour the history and identity of their country, and to commemorate those who have worked and continue to work to make Qatar a great nation.

The 18th of December is a special day – a day of unity for the people of Qatar. We want you to be a part of it!

This year, the country is making an extra effort to thank the expat community here too for all their hard work to make Qatar a better place :)

We’re working hard on www.qatarnationalday.qa again this year (5th year now?) so you can find all the events and great content for National Day.  Until then we’ve got a temporary list going, click here for Qatar National Day event list 2013

a23742d6abff4922abe8a798d60c70e5
Have an event or activity you want to make sure is listed? Drop the team an email at contact@iloveqatar.net


First look – Al Wakrah Stadium – Video, Pics, and Goals

Alright everyone, a lot of people have been talking about the World Cup 2022 happening in Qatar and one of the most exciting things is the development happening around the country. One of the stadiums that a lot of people have been interested in is Al Wakrah Stadium. Especially since it was one of the final stadiums to be unveiled. Mystery is exciting right?

So I now present to you Al Wakrah Stadium! A 40,000 seater and cooled stadium located 15km south of Doha in Wakrah. (Interesting fact, that’s were fishermen and pearl divers based themselves).

Al Wakrah Stadium 2022

Al Wakrah Stadium 2022

Video:

Also, the Qatar 2022 team shared some stuff with me. They wanted to let everyone know what their goals are (heh heh pun intended). Remember these goals everyone. They’ll have to stick by them!

1- Drive and deliver an outstanding Fifa World Cup Programme. (Yes! I want people to admire Qatar!)
2- Build high quality talent and establish a centre of excellence (Nice, who’s going to be the Qatari Pele?)
3- Deliver an exceptional national and international experience (Not entirely sure what they mean here)
4- Support economic diversification and business environment development (That’s a pretty big mouthful, but it’s related to getting the private sector involved).
5- Promote football and healthy lifestyles (nice, my recommendation is to have more places for people to play football. Like literally, I should be able to call up my friends and say, let’s go play, and then find a field to play in. Right now, I couldn’t even play at Aspire park if I wanted to.)
6- Improve environmental sustainability (They’re committed to LEED, GSAS, and reducing the Qatar carbon footprint. I’d like to know a bit more on the how. The fact that it’s a priority is fantastic though.)

The stadium is also going to be harnessing solar energy to help power as much as possible.

Some other fun facts in numbers.

24-28 is the range of temperature that the stadiums will be at
50 is the maximum number of km between stadiums.
1981 is when Qatar reached the final of the Fifa World Youth Championships for the first time (defeating Brazil and England).
170,000 the number of seats that Qatar will donate to countries in need of sporting infrastructure following the world cup.
50 million the expected per annum capacity of the new Hamad International Airport by 2022

Anyway, I’m excited for what’s to come. I can’t wait for even more projects to be completed. On the way to making the world proud? Hope so!

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 »

Start ups and SMEs in Qatar here’s your first step

Dear Startups and SMEs. It’s time to take your first professional step! First of all I wanted to say congratulations to Enterprise Qatar on the appointment of their new CEO. His name is Abdulaziz Al Khalifa. Don’t know him? Ask around, you’ll hear nothing but great things about this guy. What’s more exciting for me, is the fact that he’s all about supporting Qataris and encouraging start-up partnerships in the country. I get excited when there are people who want to empower the youth that get put into these great positions.

I wanted to share something that EQ call the Jadwa program. I’ve gone through their documents and their website and thought it would be nice if I put together the main points (or al zibda in Arabic). Honestly, there are many people (myself included) that have been burnt and demotivated by ‘incubators’, investment schemes and grant programs. Honestly, I kind of felt like it was all for show. “Hey look at us, we’re helping startups”, and then they just sit there.

I’ve seen other organizations (not necessarily in Qatar) that have spent MILLIONS on publicity and luxurious events. Honestly, all I could think was “Wait… why don’t they just use those millions to actually invest in startups?”. Common all you other youthful entrepreneurs, you’re thinking it, I just said it.

Anyway, now EQ has caught my attention (about time!) and it’s with this Jadwa program.

What is it?
You know what I’m bad at? Numbers. I get a great idea and go with my gut instinct. You know what would have given me even MORE confidence in my ideas? Understanding the potential of the business I’m trying to run. Now if I was going to pay a company or consultant to help me put together a feasibility study, it could cost an arm and a leg.

What Jadwa does is they will cover the cost of up to 70% of conducting a feasibility study. Before that, they’ll help advice you as to how sound your businesses idea is before actually moving forward with the feasibility study (that’ll help save you cash).

What’s included in the feasibility study is Market analysis, potential for profit, legality, and more. The goal is to look at the opportunities and weigh them in with the risks. Put simply, they’ll help you assess the cost required and the value you’ll be getting.

More info here on what a feasibility study includes.

Why should you do this?
Well, I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Different entrepreneurs have different styles. If I was asked to be a part of a program where the program organizers controlled my time and told me what to do, I’d ignore them. If someone made a service available to me that I could use when I wanted to, then I’m interested. So it depends how you want to get started with your business.

Who can apply?
If you’re a Qatari great. You’re one step closer. If you’re an expat, find your Qatari partner and you’re one step closer. (Don’t get sensitive please, this is a program focused on supporting Qataris in Qatar set up businesses in Qatar as a priority first :) )

Here is the online Application form for Entrepreneurs
Here is the online Application form for SMEs

Not what you’re looking for?
Don’t worry. I had a chat with the EQ team and they told me that they’re launching different products and services. There’ll be investment support, advisory services, office space, etc…

My advice

I’m about to impart some words of wisdom here. Take it from a guy that has business idea after business idea.
1- Focus. Pick something you’re seriously passionate about and believe in and go with it. Don’t get distracted. You’ll fail. If you don’t beleive in your own idea, why will others?
2- Be prepared to take some financial risks. Even if you DO get funding, it can be a while until you actually receive anything. Do you want to sit around and wait?
3- Partner! Find the right partners, whether it’s another business you can work with or someone that you want to work with in your own company.
4- Even if you are a small business that has already started for a while. Think like I do. Your business is just start-up with a head start. (It’s important to get into the right mindset).

Another note specifically for expats:
One common thing I hear is, it’s not fair that a Qatari gets 51%. Let’s set this straight. It doesn’t mean that a Qatari takes 51% of the profit. It’s 51% legal responsibility. That means that if the expat he is partnering with or sponsoring takes a loan for 1million riyals and runs away, the Qatari has legal responsibility and can go to jail. So just as an expat might worry about the Qatari sponsoring them, we Qataris also have to worry about the possibility of getting screwed over.
So to set things straight, you could have a legal partnership where the Qatari has 51% ownership but 10% equity or is 5% share plus a fixed salary. (These are just examples).
You want to know why there needs to be Qatari partnerships? We’re 8% of the population! It would take less than a couple of years for people of ANY nationality to just come to Qatar, set up shop, and take all the opportunities away from Qataris.
Then there’s the argument of “Well if they don’t want to do it, then why stop other people from doing business?”. Who says Qataris don’t
Some may say “it’s not OUR fault, not enough people have the entrepreneurial drive or skills to set up a business.” Qatar is a NEW country. Give my people a chance… :)

Any comments? Feedback? I’m pretty sure EQ will probably be checking this blog for your ideas and comments.

Get a 10% discount on tickets to Dralion by Cirque Du Soleil in Qatar!

 

Alright everyone, here’s a nice supruise for all you ajeeb ILQers. If you’re interested in attending Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion, you can now get a 10% discount on tickets! Like the thought of that? Want to know more I hear you say?

Here’s what you need to do!

  1. Go to the Dralion ticketing website www.cirquedusoleil.qa
  2. Click on the ‘BUY; button
  3. Choose the date/seats
  4. Review your purchase and click ‘Continue’
  5. Type in the discount code “ILQ” (has to be all caps)
  6. One you apply the code the price will change and the green check mark will appear. And that’s it!

Want to find out more information about these great event? Click here for timings, the flyer, and details.
Oh and incase you didn’t know the event has been extended too! It now ends on the 28th.

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.