Beirut, With A Splash Of Color

Recently, more and more creative minds have been trying to search for new ways to better the city they live in and the space they love the most. A new project surfaced recently, ambitious and quite interesting, called بيروت ناقصها ألوان Beirut Na2esa 2alwein (Beirut Missing Colors).
Described as being a new platform for Lebanese people who believe their city is too gray and misses colors, this project aims at putting a creative, personal and interesting touch around the city and help in making the environment more friendly and eye-friendly.
Tanios Abou Khalil, Patrik Abdel Sater and Vladimir Kurumilian
 Last weekend, the Rmeil area in Achrafieh hosted, a green and environment-friendly car free day with the participation of the Beirut Na2esa 2alwein team who added a creative and colorful touch to the area. A great initiative to spread the message and get more people involved.

Support the team and follow them on Facebook here.
Follow them on Twitter here.

 
The project is slowly building momentum and needs all our support to blast away color tones and personalize a city that is slowly losing its identity and the personal human touch. With a bit of color, time and effort, we can make the place more personal, more fun and give it the real identity of its people. Below, a few pictures that describe what its all about. Let's help this city get back its lively colors and let us all help the ambitious team in making our place, ours.








The Radio Revolution

Finally, the digital revolution, after taking a bit of time arrives and reworks radio to its core. Radio shows became digital bits, shared all over the net and platforms (ipod, ipadm cell phones....etc) and are now delivered through many ways, from Web to satellite to cell phones.
Listeners no longer have to tune in at a certain time to catch a show. They are the decision makers, they tune in, out, choose what songs are played at a certain time, interact with the radio staff & presenters...Listeners are simply finding alternatives to what they want.


As digital forms of radio proliferate, listeners are enjoying an abundance of new programming with much of it still lacking a proven business model. In other words, radio is still losing its revenue models. For radio to make money, execs must be as innovative with the business model as they are with technology. Satellite is losing money, but its subscription approach (think OSN now with the premium package subscriptions, HD box service...etc) is expected to pay off in a couple of years. Now, Net radio players and cellular services are experimenting with subscriptions, too.

As old-fashioned radio struggles, listeners are creating the future: Podcasts (which are starting to get more and more sponsorships) are a big boom around the globe and a sure way to try and get more listeners.
The revolution also will follow TV with the HD sound. Yes, high definition sound will be a key in the revolution of radio itself. Subscriptions to HD channels, choosing your own sound, and getting things your own way are just a few of the options that go with this change.

Thanks to the new technology, more people than ever will be creating and listening to audio programming in coming years. The radio industry is turning into a free-for-all, on this note let's take a look at the 3 major English speaking stations in Lebanon:

Firstly, I'd like to start with a messy NRG: NRG started well but suddenly it was overshadowed by the two major stations and in two different ways we will discuss below. But it is important to note that playing "good music" on your airways nowadays will not cut it! Interaction and communication with your audience is key in addition to separating yourself from the crowd, something NRG is still stalling with and not really doing well.




A major player in the scene and a personal favorite is Radio One. They're doing it right! They have a full schedule of weekly shows that spans a staggering 12 hours with interactions on several digital social networks, they are in a constant conversation with their listeners, adapting to what the listener wants. They give and take and have successfully managed to get the advertisers and sponsors on board! The introduction of the Apps and the creation of a "Network of Music Stations" have made of them a great leader in the business and given them the insights they need to grow and develop even more! The radio has become much more personal and people can relate to it in a much more human way. From the way things are developing it sure is looking good for Radio One!

Another player on the scene is Mix Fm. They have taken a different route, but are still trying to follow on with the digital boom of radio. They weren't the first to successfully interact and promote their shows on Facebook or Twitter but they sure were the first on the Events front. They plan and produce some of the best events in the region something that needed to be developed further with the introduction of the Mix Productions company. But with this came a major stalling on radio production and programs (and they still are a radio station no?)....something I find really sad since they could've clearly aced it all to rapidly become the only leading player. Something that could have forced all the other players to follow the same path: imagine owning radio and events together...

For now, I'm keeping an eye out on things and how this whole music business is developing. What do you think? Will we, the people, get more power and influence? And what do you think of the stations in Lebanon?

Boy In The Shadows

"He was younger than I was...I remember he looked up all the time,
I don't know...he could stare at the sun longer than anyone I've ever met.
And like, he was part of his surroundings rather than being overwhelmed by them.
He showed a lot with his aunt. She traded him with the intelligence he deserved.
He didn't play with friends. He had a gentle presence.
You almost didn't notice he was there but...you hoped he would be.
He always covered his collar bone, he made a point of it. As if he didn't like the feeling of wind against his neck.
He always carried a camera around his neck, just for the act of documenting what was happening to him, who he shared moments with, as if interactions with people were rare and out of the ordinary."


I know I posted the video of this amazingly twisted yet beautifully done video, but its worth checking out once again. Click here to watch it to know what this whole text above is about.

Recommended music after that: Bliss - Silence (Listen here)

Age Of Distraction

We live in messy times, in periods of intense uncertainty. We live in what is called the age of information, in days where distractions are so voluminous, so overwhelming, so intense, and so persistent.
Ringing phones are one thing, but email notifications, Twitter and Facebook messages, an array of browser tabs open, and mobile devices that are always on and always beeping are quite another.

Today, as we're working, we have distractions coming from various angles. In front of us our computer, with email notifications and other notifications of all kinds. There's the browser, which contains not only an endless amount of reading material, unlimited opportunities for shopping, for chatting, for gossip and news, photos and so much more. All the while, several new emails have come in, waiting for a quick response. Several programs are open at once, each of them with tasks to complete. Several people would like to chat, dividing our attention even further.

That's in front of you. Now, we get to the desk phone, mobile, music from several different coworkers, a colleague coming to our desk asking a question, incoming papers needing attention, other papers scattered across our desks, someone calling a meeting, another offering up food. With so much competing for our attention, and so little time to focus on real work, it’s a wonder we get anything done at all.


And then we leave work we have our mobile device, with incoming text and email messages, all needing a reply, with incoming calls that can’t be ignored.. We are bombarded from all sides by advertising, asking for not only attention but our desires. We get home, and there’s the television with 500 channels all asking for yet more attention, with 500,000 ads asking for yet more desires. There’s our PC asking us to do more work, sending us more messages, more distractions, social networks and shopping and reading. There are kids or spouses or roommates or friends, there’s the home phone, and still the mobile device is going off. This is unprecedented, and it’s alarming.

BUT WAIT!

There’s instant positive feedback to such constant activities as checking email, surfing the web, checking social networks such as blogs, forums, Twitter and Facebook. That’s why it’s so easy to become addicted to being connected and distracted. It's important to note that other addictive activities, such as doing drugs or eating junk food, have the same kind of instant positive feedback!!
You do the activity, and right away, you’re rewarded with something pleasurable but don’t feel the negative consequences until much later. You check your email and look! a new email from a friend! You get a positive feeling, perhaps a validation of your self-worth when you receive a new email. It feels good to get a message from someone. And thus the instant positive feedback rewards you checking email, more and more frequently, until the addiction is solidly ingrained.

Being connected, getting information all the time, having constant distractions … it has all become a part of our lives.

Everyone's Fighting For Your Focus

Everyone's fighting for your focus, and so many "things" want your attention. But time is a non-renewable resource. I've mentioned it time and time again (especially on Twitter you can follow #leadwhereyouare). You get 86,400 seconds every single day to your benefit and you can either use them wisely or they will  be gone forever. Your attention is valuable, don’t be so generous in giving it to things – unless it’s for something that truly matters.
So clean out the distractions in your workspace and personal life. I read that special forces on a military mission are kept in isolation from other teams and denied access to TV/Newspapers/Internet. Why? To PROTECT their focus so they deliver perfection on their mission. Pretty great metaphor for you and I, no? A huge competitive advantage falls to the 1 in 100 performer with the brilliance to develop the skill of becoming massively focused on the one thing in front of them. Truly a game-changing move.

A valuable tactic is developing rituals and methods of work that fit in your lifestyle. Obsess in consistency in the way you do things, waking up at a certain hour, doing the things in patterns that are clear. This clears your mind to leave more energy and space to things worthy of your thoughts. Practice doing work that matters while sitting in one place for many hours focused on a single result (without possible distractions). Practice disconnecting at specific moments each day and give yourself some time to fill up your well. Practice running rituals and elite performance routines that will lift you into the realm of world-class. Because as I know you know: Genius isn’t so much about genetics as it is about work ethic and sheer practice. You were born at level genius, why not prove it?
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Book Of You

Between small pages they rest, taken out of my heart. Thoughts of magical experiences take shape as they leave away from my soul unto the innocent blank paper, ready to be touched by a sensational truth.

Out of my soul I release, what your magic has done to me. What you have given me with your silent eyes and mysterious beautiful smile. Out of my heart I sent them, away to touch you in their spirit and bring your soul closer to mine. Out of my being I take you, to shape you in pages ready to be taken to new heights and filled with your gift.


Words dance to the music that I play, with my inner mind, my very self. Music that comes to life from life itself. With every breath you take, every smile you make that breaks the silence surrounding you, a melody  of giggles and laughs, a beautiful symphony.

Between those pages, a world comes together for you, for your senses and eyes. It all comes out of my soul, impulsively and instantly as thoughts of you rush into my mind. Between those pages, breaths of joy, adoration and passion, shapes that crave losing themselves in you again. Pages that create the book of beauty, passion and innocent joy. Pages that create the book of you. 

Lost In You

String melodies unite in a crescendo of a burning passion, slowly building to a burning release. Magic created by glistening eyes flows through my veins as she looks inside my heart. Her breath takes me inside her soul, in and out in a spectacular play of sensations.

This magic coupled with passionate touches of her face build up as I wander inside her soul with every kiss, softly playing with her increasing heartbeats. With every touch of my hands on her delicate face, my hands running through her hair, music comes out of her losing itself to our quiet, summer surrounding.

But in all of this warmth, I find myself lost.



Lost in the beauty that is her heart, lost in her magnificent eyes. I find myself wandering in the most peaceful setting, magnificently created out ultimate joy. In the midst of all this madness, her lips softly calm me down, take me in and her eyes tenderly let me out from a magnificent journey inside her core.

I sit here wondering how magnificent all of this is, and I look back at the ground beneath me and a smile draws itself upon my face.
For I have been lost in a part of myself again, for I have been lost in the magic of you.

Bliss.

*This is a special blog post co-written on location on the shores of the Mediterranean


The silky sheet spread itself across the waves, dressing them in its majestic aura of divine color and pure simplicity.

With glittering lights of a nearby town, they sit on the shore, contemplating the magic of the moment while the deep, echoing sound of the waves crashes between every kiss.

She takes a moment to embrace his inner beauty, the beauty he feeds her with every look, every smile, and every breath. She's never felt so full of bliss, so confident, so extravagant. Her emotions resound this compilation through her moves as she wraps her arm around him. A melody written with pure emotion of love, passion and adoration.

He loses himself in her eyes of shattering beauty, coupled with a smile that has the power to stop time itself. The moment takes them in and loses them in its simplicity, in its magesty, and in each other. She closes her eyes and takes in a breath, trying to grasp this moment's essence and trap it forever in her soul, taking the chance to become one with this magical world.

And as he watches, he knows at heart that he has found her, his other self, the missing piece, a perfect match. He looks into her eyes and simply understands the majesty of this glorious world. A smile is drawn upon their faces, as they come to silently understand the truth of the moment, an honest revelation that the world has given them the perfect place to lose themselves in.

Message Received

Joe the painter takes a brush to release his burning thoughts unto the magical empty space of a new grand canvas. As he slowly takes his brush he splashes huge shots of fiery red onto the pure white space. He moves with his bare hands to create a form as his breath deeps with every move and his eyes slowly close to remember the moments that will inspire an incredible, impulsive, piece of art.
His hands glide slowing down sometimes and speeding up at others. His head moves with every touch of the frame's texture. He then suddenly stops, as he takes his breath and admires his work, diving in deep thought as to what he might be expressing.
He slowly closes his eyes, his hands fall down to his sides spitting small drops of red passionate paint unto the white smooth ground. As he closes his eyes, he lifts his head up, his eyes reaching up to the sky and takes a massive sigh.



A delicate tear falls slowly from his eye, making its way to his mouth, fusing with the red paint all over his face. He takes a few steps back, smiles so innocently as he looks at his finished masterpiece. Vibrant huge letters that spell a grateful "Thank You" coming from a sincere passionate heart. A moment of glory for someone giving thanks for all the gifts he has come to receive in his recent journey.
As he makes his way towards the bathroom he takes a quick glance at her picture and smiles peacefully.
Message received.

Your Reputation: How Good Is It?

It is quite obvious that today, your brand and business must innovate and take things steps further. From a business perspective, today's communication world is shifting towards reputation management especially on social media platforms. I have previously discussed the shift in the market and leadership here.

Today, It takes a single negative Tweet, Facebook post, Youtube video to burn fast through a brand's values, equity and company. At this moment, brands have become at such a big risk that grows by the minute (not even by the day) with brands acting as media in real time, this is being called Brand Journalism.
These are major reasons why reputation management has become a very important element of social media. A few reviews on a blog, a few Facebook comments without a brand's presence and engagement in the conversation could and most probably would hurt the brand without a doubt. Customers or consumers who were to consider any kind of interaction with the brand would simply decide not to do business with it upon any negativity or slacking. It is important to mention that virtually every study shows that people trust peer recommendations more than corporate marketing, therefore a brand's (or company's) approach to the conversation plays a major role.

Reputation management (online) requires 3 things: planning, proactive listening and well-defined response mechanisms. Therefore, in essence, its quite simple to understand and do.



Below are a few points to consider when building an effective strategy:

- Understand that people are talking openly online about brands and companies, and defining them as time passes. Therefore, managing your brand is a must.
- As mentioned above people are talking, and its time to listen and start doing the necessary tweaks and changes to get your brand or company to level great. As you listen, fix and let people know what's happening, what's developing and changing. Effective brand management has a human element to it.
- Brands and companies cannot control conversations, but can be part of it.
- Honest, caring conversations and reactions, with the new social media, old school business practice returned.
- Press releases as a reaction to crisis (regarding a brand) are a thing of the past. So the time is right to set a standard and commit to customers. Business as usual doesn't cut it anymore.

Remember: social media is not marketing, its not a media. Its a relationship.

So, an effective online reputation strategy is essential in our world, knowing that powerful consumers are defining your brand, Today.


If you believe the time has come for you to shine and want to take your brand and/or company to the next level of wow, in a changing world filled with challenges and wrong information CLICK HERE

Ideas For Leadership


Your Four Seasons

What you're about to read puts things in perspective when it comes to our human experience as a whole.
You see, everyone wants instant gratification these days and no one seems to realize that it takes time to get results in anything. But in life, there are cycles and when you are in these cycles you will always be in one of these four seasons in any given area of your life.

Winter
The most difficult season of them all, winter is a season that you just have to tough out, but you should always be preparing for. When you are experiencing winter in a part of your life you should always keep the good times in mind. The main thing to keep in mind about winter is that winters don’t last forever so you just got to hang in there and always thing about summer through winter.


Spring
Spring is the opportunity to plant a harvest. So its the season of opportunities.
When you plant in the spring you are not guaranteed a harvest, but it is the chance to plant one. Spring is a time for fresh starts and looking forward to what can be achieved.


 Summer
Summer is the time to reflect on winter. Think of ants.
The reason ants get so much done during the summer is that all summer long they’re thinking of the coming winter. Summer is the time of the year that you have to fight for your harvest. All summer long you have to fight off the bugs and the weeds that are trying to wipe out everything that you’ve worked so hard to plant during the spring. Summer is a time to get busy to help ensure you’ll have something to harvest in the fall.

Fall (The Harvest)
Fall is the sum total of all your efforts over the spring and the summer. If you’ve been sticking with your plan of action and doing the work of summer you should have a good harvest, but there is no guarantee. The best way to guarantee a good harvest is to keep doing the work, yes persist.

The main message of the four seasons is to always be productive no matter the season you are in and to keep a positive outlook on the future.