Normunds and I attended GITEX DUBAI with 3 key goals in mind.
GOAL 1 - TRUST IN TEAMS
Despite having worked with each other for over 12 years in the last year we have only met each other 'in person' a handful of times. We needed to spend some quality ’free from distractions’ time with one another. I have 2 kids and Norms 4!! Hence, getting such time can be challenging.
GOAL 2 - TASTE THE LIFE IN DUBAI
Gain a brief overview and insight into what it must be like to work, live and play in U.A.E.
GOAL 3 - GETFOCUSED @ GITEX
Present GetFocused to people attending, exhibiting and presenting at GITEX and learn from their reactions / feedback.
Quality Time = Trust in Teams.
Without a doubt spending 24/7 with Normunds for a week helped create an even stronger bond between us. Which is critical for Co-Founders, during these early stages of our entrepreneurial journey together.
The first piece of advice, for anyone contemplating starting a business, would be to share the highs (and pains) with a person to whom you trust and respect.
It is effectively like getting married and having a kid…and I think many ‘wannapreneurs’ ought to think about starting a business in the same way. Creating a company is like giving birth and we now have a toddler that needs to be raised and nurtured. Fortunately we both have experience with raising kids and companies. Like any ‘couple’…. we begun to accept our own little quirks and have time to go deeper on the core values, vision and mission behind GetFocused so that we can go that extra mile for our valued customers.
For all teams working remotely- spending some time all together-even if it is solely 1 or 2 days would really help build another level of trust a respect in your team. GetFocused suggests saving money on office space by enabling a fully remote or hybrid workforce (+ adopting GetFocused in to your organisation), and investing this money in to '3-T Team Development - Training, Travel and Team Building.
Remember - Trust is a habit, it takes time, work and consistency!
Life in Dubai
If I had to sum up Dubai in 3 words..they would read BIG, BOLD a BLING.
It is certainly a very exciting and dynamic city.
For someone, who values the simple things in life, I was bewildered to see very few people appreciating the 'outdoor life'.
Yes it was hot, but not unbearable, hence why we had the beach, park and riverside boardwalks pretty much to ourselves surprised me. Saying that, it was a real pleasure to randomly bump into an old buddy of mine Givoanni Gambardella on the beach. Serendipity is a wonderful thing.
However, we are creatures of habit, hence, for those that live there, opting to transit from an air conditioned car into an air conditioned building is one that is hard to break.
I have not drank alcohol for the last 6 months, therefore not being able to drink a glass of wine or beer with a meal was not an issue for me. But for some it could certainly be a challenge. However, in many of the hotels there are bars that serve alcohol, but at quite a considerable expense. We were simply happy to eat well and chill by the pool in the evenings. Temperatures remained at +30 at midnight!
I have a sense that the saying.. “if it is too good to be true... then it probably is" applies to Dubai. The growth is so dramatic, one has to hope the foundations are strong enough and there is enough ‘magnetism’ to fulfil the supply. In my mind, to attract talent, the city has to promote a lifestyle not just a big pay cheque. Then it could become the 'Tech Mecca' it aims to mature into during the next 20 years.
The exhibition certainly lived up to its billing as the world's biggest Tech conference.
It was huge, catering for early stage start ups to major players in the industry.
We gained great feedback from @Dan Bowyer from Superseed Ventures, potential customers and @Rita Monteiro from Amazon. She gave some really fascinating insights in to how the ‘godfather of effective meetings’ AMAZON conducts their meetings. I plan to follow up with her and share some of these details with you soon.
Special thanks has to go to @Joe Foster who gave a remarkable and inspiring insight into his entrepreneurial journey. Founding Reebox and scaling it to become $900million business. I am thoroughly enjoying the book and look forward to reconnecting with Joe in the short distant future.
My 3 key takeaways = The '3-P Priorities'. Product, Preparation & Persistence.
1) Create a remarkable 5-Star PRODUCT (you cannot put lipstick on a pig!)
2) Be PREPARED to take risks, have fun and adapt (it will be a bumpy ride but it is always important to keep your hands on the wheel, your foot on the pedal and EYES on the road)
3) Be PERSISTENT. (It took Reebok 11 years to crack the US market...this IS the market to focus on due to size and cultural similarities.)
Looking forward to 'walking the talk', one step at a time, and i will share my review of Joe's book 'Shoemaker' very soon.
Highlight from Day #3 at GITEX Future Stars.
Meeting Christopher Voss aka 'Mr FBI Negotiator'. The 4 key takeaways!
1) We are all human - that is one thing that will never change - in these rather disruptive times.
2) Radical empathy and relaying all the other parties concerns will help get to ‘you’re right moment’.
3) Always start with a warm intro and 'cut n' paste' this pleasantry to conclude / sign off.
4) Actively listening is the key secret to negotiate effectively.
Looking forward to reading Chris’ book - Never Spilt The Difference - Negotiating was if your life depended non it!
Book review will follow.
Other takeaways - the impact of high value 'wearable' give aways. Normunds a I very much enjoyed and appreciated wearing Red Hat's (enterprise open source software solution) - ‘Red Hats’ as we visited the Expo on our last day in the heat. The pictures above providing the sufficient evidence how much we appreciataed them in the midday sun.
A visit to the Expo, in itself could have been a 5 day holiday! We managed to visit 10 or so pavilions in a day…incredibly biased but Latvia's pavilion certainly topped the list! :)
The opportunity to connect will other innovative companies from Latvia was also a real bonus. It seems a little ironic that we have to travel half way around the world to connect, communicate and collaborate…. but if this is what it takes... then so be it :)
Stepping out your routine (and comfort zone) helps view what and why you are doing from completely different perspective. We have gained more clarity and excited to commit to our routine once more, here in Latvia, but on a higher level.
For GetFocused it is time to get BIG and BOLD…..Perhaps we might skip the BLING....
...or maybe not :)
Special thanks for LIAA for the support.