Getting “Scobleized” in Dubai

Facebook favors the bold. Okay, technically fortune favors the bold, but I was recently bold on Facebook and that risk paid a handsome reward.

During the morning of Monday, October 19 I saw a Facebook post by Robert Scoble announcing his arrival in Dubai for Gitex Technology Week. Intrigued, I reached out to the noted blogger, technical evangelist, author, and futurist for Rackspace Hosting whom I have followed virtually for many years.

He replied to my comment quickly and then, via direct message, graciously invited me to a dinner that night hosted by Rackspace. As it turns out, this would be one of the most exceptional experiences of my life. I found myself mingling with more than two dozen technology industry insiders and thought leaders at the Exchange Grill in the Fairmont Hotel (near the Dubai World Trade Centre where Gitex was happening).

Ben Parr, Robert Scoble, and Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA.
Ben Parr, Robert Scoble, and Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA.

I had the pleasure of getting to know people from Afkar.me, Cazar, Middle East Global Advisors, Rackspace HostingRockefeller Innovation, SQREEM Technologies, uBeam, and other impressive organizations. I also chatted with Ben Parr, former Mashable editor and author of the book Captivology, along with Creative Content Agency founder and DJ Raj Kotecha, plus Dubai-based social media personality Literally Anika.

We talked about a range of topics including:

  • Behavioral Intelligence
  • Being an Expat Entrepreneur
  • Big Data
  • Burning Man
  • Fantasy Football
  • Future of Robotics
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Mobile Phone Industry
  • Next Steps for Twitter
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Self-Driving Cars
  • Wireless Battery Charging
  • Venture Capital and Innovation
  • Why Facebook is “Where It’s At”

Having both grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area (with an interest in journalism and technology), Robert and I found ourselves sharing memories from the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. We also talked about being fathers to sons with an autism diagnosis. It was an enriching experience getting to know someone I knew much about and with whom I had much in common, but before that evening had never met in person.

As a lifelong learner it was an opportunity to immerse myself in an ocean of ideas to inspire my research and catalyze my creativity. As an educator it was a chance to connect with individuals who want to enrich my classroom as speakers and strengthen my students’ learning via internships, involvement with business incubators, and engagement in experiential education.

It was a night unlike any I have experienced before; it was definitely a moment when I was delighted to not be the smartest person in the room (as the popular saying goes). I look forward to what dreams may come from this transformational evening.

Thank you, Robert Scoble!