Delighted to have met Mohammed Alsiddiq, a founding partner of Eight Creative Technology, in Dubai last week on Thursday, July 28, 2916. This was the first time I have met a reader of my book, edX E-Learning Course Development, and by coincidence he also lives in the United Arab Emirates!


Founded in 2015 and based in Twofour54 Abu Dhabi, Eight Creative Technology is Khalifa Fund‘s first initiative focused on digital innovation.

Their services include digital‬ strategy, platform development,‪ social media, business applications,‬ and ecommerce‬. They collaborate with industry leaders to deliver a broad range of training‬ programs and‪ workshops‬ in areas of digital marketing‬, social media and multimedia‬.

Mohammed is developing an Open edX installation for an online learning program that will soon launch here in the UAE. He bought my book, “edX E-Learning Course Development” on to help him design, develop, and deploy his edX initiative.

If you are evaluating (or have chosen) edX as an online learning platform for your enterprise or educational organization consider buying a copy of my book; you can get it on Amazon or directly from Packt Publishing.

20160801_015246I made another appearance on The Satisfactionist Podcast, this time as part of a virtual panel discussion on a “Buzz Session” with the podcast’s host Ben Olmos and my friend Shah Qhan whom I met as an extra while on the set of Star Trek Beyond here in Dubai.

According to the official description:

“This week we introduce Satisfactionist Buzz Sessions, a gathering of pundits joined around a topic of interest. Our first Buzz Session features Matthew A. Gilbert and Shah Qhan as we focus on some of the movies released for the summer of 2016. In this episode we talk Tarzan, Ghostbusters, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Matt and Shah talk about their experience as extras in Star Trek Beyond.”

Our segment begins at 33:58 into the episode; listen to it on:

Google Play



Stitcher Radio

On Thursday, April 14, 2016 I experienced David Rendall’s “Freak Factor” motivational speech at the American University in Dubai. Impressively, this was just one of 21 presentations he will give in seven countries this month!

I have virtually known David since 2012, so this was a wonderful opportunity to finally see him in person. I first connected with him in 2012 when I was an Associate Content Manager for the Business Segment at; I worked with him to try and bring him aboard as an author of a course.

Anchored by the motto “what makes us weird also makes us wonderful; what makes us weak also makes us strong,” the nearly 90-minute presentation encouraged those in attendance to “think differently about being different.”


His intent was to help us understand our “Freak Factor” — the unique combination of our strengths and weaknesses that make us different and make us powerful.

Presenting personal perspectives — including his experiences being 6 feet, 6 inches tall — David walked the audience through seven steps that help us understand ourselves by thinking and acting differently about our weaknesses:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acceptance
  3. Appreciation
  4. Amplification
  5. Alignment
  6. Avoidance
  7. Affiliation

A nine minute, 15 second compilation of his full presentation follows:

In summary, David’s message is not that we need to turn our weaknesses into strengths, but that our weaknesses ARE our strengths; they’re what differentiate us from everyone else.

Success follows when we focus on these unique strengths because they position us closer to our goals than starting from an entirely foreign area would.

David also encouraged all of us to overcome negativity bias — when we see the negative in a situation — and instead look at the potential that our weaknesses present.

We should therefore turn up the volume on our weirdness and not allow ourselves to get stuck in a middle zone. Stop trying to fit in and we need to find out where we fit.


Similarly, we should build relationships with people who support our uniqueness, just as we should do the same for others who are important people in our lives.

To learn more about David, visit his website or buy his “Freak Factor” book (affiliate link). You might also like a more complete version of his presentation, “Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness: Dave Rendall at TEDxMarinette” (als0 shared below):