Submit Conference 2009 – A Roundup Of The Event

| Apr 12, 2009 | comment 9 Comments

Submit ConferenceSubmit Conference 2009, a gathering for entrepreneurs and professionals involved in the Internet industry in the Middle East, was held on April 8th and 9th in the Habtoor Grand Hotel in Dubai.

It grouped a number of speakers from around the world and the region to talk about internet and entrepreneurship related topics, share information and have an open discussion with everyone present.

Among the attendees were investors and entrepreneurs from the Arab region, which made for a great networking opportunity too.

Turnout was good but not as big as I had hoped, and judging from some of the feedback I got at the event and elsewhere, it’s mainly due to the ticket prices, that were still a bit steep even with the discount offered through StartUpArabia. Hopefully the next editions will be more affordable for people who wish to attend.

The following is a roundup of the two days of the event and the various topics the event’s speakers touched upon in their talks.

Day One:

Day one of the conference opened up with the talk by Ray Milhem, Chairman of AdvancedIO, on ‘Hi-Tech Eco Systems’, in which he talked about the eco-system that needs to be in place for entrepreneurship to prosper and grow; and how governments, universities, multinationals, entrepreneurs, investors and others all need to play their role as building blocks to create this striving eco-system over the years.

Then Nabil Alyousuf, who recently left his job as Director-General of the executive office of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, to launch an investment and advisory firm, talked about venture capital in general and the different stages of investment. With the investment fund he’s hoping to launch, he says he’ll be focusing on very early stage investment and looking at sectors like technology and internet for projects.

Cloves Carneiro Jr. & Rida Al Barazi, the guys from SpinBits, and co-organizers of the event, took the attendees through a presentation on rapid development, its benefits, how it should be done, and how costs can be limited and kept at a minimum through it.

A web usability session followed that by Robert Hoekman, Jr., a user experience strategist, who gave an intro on the importance of usability on the web, and talked about design patterns, how useful they are, yet how limited they can be, and introduced the concept of design frameworks that offers templates of how specific pages should be built.

It was then my turn to get up and talk about the different challenges that face internet startups in the Arab world; from the immature online advertising market, to the lack of funding and mentoring, to the low internet penetration, to the non-existence of a supporting eco-system and more.

A panel made up of Tariq Al Asiri, Rida Al Barazi and Ryan Carson, and moderated by Cloves Carneiro Jr., closed the first day by talking about general topics related to the internet in the Arab world, as well as the effects of social networks on businesses.

Day Two:

The second day of the conference started with a presentation by Tariq Al Asiri, founder of Argaam, on the state of online advertising in the Arab world, a comparison with other types of media and with other countries.

Simone Brunozzi, an Amazon.com Technology Evangelist, then took the attendees through a presentation of the various web services offered by Amazon, the flexibility they offer for internet businesses and developers, and how they can be put to good use.

Ryan Carson, founder of Carsonified, followed with a talk about the new age of marketing; which is built on honesty, transparency and value; and in which marketing is moving on from branding & control to conversation & empowerment; keeping an online channel of communication with clients, and empowering them to do what they need to do.

Usability took the stage again through the presentation by Dr. Ashraf Khalil, from Abu Dhabi University, on the importance of usability, its effects on business, how to go about it and more.

A discussion on venture capital, investment and startups by a panel made up of Ray Milhem, Mohammed Alzubi and myself, and moderated by Tariq Al Asiri, closed the second day of the event.

Further notes:

The event was a great chance to hear and learn about really interesting and important topics for internet related businesses, and an opportunity to meet some of the players in the region.

A number of the investors present at the event expressed their interest in investing in internet and technology startups, which is great, and should hopefully translate into more funding opportunities for internet entrepreneurs in the region.

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  • http://www.ahmadfahad.com Ahmad Fahad

    Thanks for the roundup, could it be possible in the future to add some Slideshows from the events? or possibly a webcast as found in SXSW Interactive?

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    You're welcome. For the future I'll try to arrange for live coverage for such events.

    I'm trying to get my hands on the presentations from the event to share them with everyone here.

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    You’re welcome. For the future I’ll try to arrange for live coverage for such events.

    I’m trying to get my hands on the presentations from the event to share them with everyone here.

  • Ray Milhem

    The Submit conference was Excellent. There were alot of very interesting and educational presentations. I enjoyed the conference and met alot of very interesting people.

    Also, thanks to Mohamed Medah for his coverage on it here.

    Regards,

    Ray Milhem

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    Thank you Ray; it was a pleasure to meet you at the conference.

    I really enjoyed your talk on the hi-tech ecosystem and totally agree with you on it. Hopefully we'll see things moving in that direction and falling into place for the Arab world.

  • Ray Milhem

    The Submit conference was Excellent. There were alot of very interesting and educational presentations. I enjoyed the conference and met alot of very interesting people.

    Also, thanks to Mohamed Medah for his coverage on it here.

    Regards,

    Ray Milhem

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    Thank you Ray; it was a pleasure to meet you at the conference.

    I really enjoyed your talk on the hi-tech ecosystem and totally agree with you on it. Hopefully we'll see things moving in that direction and falling into place for the Arab world.

  • ovary2009

    Good info ,Thanks for the post.

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