“Hey, hey, hey, hey-now. Don’t be mean; we don’t have to be mean, cuz, remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” — The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Four years ago today — on September 8, 2014 — I stepped off a United Airlines 777 at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and took the first step on my journey as an expat in the United Arab Emirates. The 1,461 days since have been filled with exponential personal development as I have continuously challenged myself to be a better version of me. Not every lesson has been successful; some took several tries to get right and others are still a work in progress.

Nevertheless, I am progressing personally and learning to reframe a challenging situation. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have plans to improve my present state, but it means I work towards achieving them while embracing the “art of possibility.”

Being in Dubai has also allowed me to develop professionally in ways that would not have been possible in the United States. After teaching marketing and management classes for the past three years in the College of Business Administration at the American University in the Emirates, the start of this academic year marks my shift into the College of Education. I will now teach five sections of the following three courses:

  • HAP 200, Happiness Studies
  • INV 300,  Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • TOL 200, Tolerance and Diversity

In related news, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education selected me as one of 30 educators from a pool of more than 400 applicants to join “Cohort 3” of the “UAE Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program.” The program provides curriculum, programs, and networks to equip the next generation of UAE leaders with an innovation and entrepreneurship mindset to ensure the country’s ongoing economic achievement (this is directly linked to the INV 300,  Innovation and Entrepreneurship course I am now teaching).  It also included an educational visit to Stanford University this past July 10 to 13, 2018 for specialized training in design thinking, the conceptual foundation of the initiative.

Unfortunately, while being overseas opens opportunities that were not possible for me in the United States, it minimizes the time I can spend with my two amazing sons, Jacob and Max. Despite being far from my sons physically, they are always close to my heart. It is my sincere hope that one day I can make amends for my physical absence in their lives. For now, I make enthusiastic efforts to participate in their lives virtually while maximizing the moments we can share physically.

Overall, I remain grateful for my expat experiences in Dubai. I also look forward to the future with optimism and excitement, despite not being fully clear about what it has in store for me.

If you want to learn more about my expat adventure, I suggest the following posts:

It is with great gratitude and pride I announce that my paper, “Strengthening Your Social Media Marketing with Live Streaming Video” was accepted for presentation at the 1st American University in the Emirates International Research Conference (AUEIRC).

Live broadcasting via social media platforms, most notably Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope, is an emerging trend that has made a tremendous impact on our daily lives. Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a strong proponent of the technology and sees it as an avenue of opportunity for communication and community creation.

“Live is like having a TV camera in your pocket. Anyone with a phone now has the power to broadcast to anyone in the world. This is a big shift in how we communicate, and it’s going to create new opportunities for people to come together,” Zuckerberg shared on his Facebook page when Facebook Live launched.

The abstract of my paper, which is derivative of a similarly titled effort I presented at the 6th International Conference on New Challenges in Management and Business this past February, follows:

Live streaming video is an emerging option marketers can use to connect with and convert consumers to customers, especially via mobile devices. Mobile video is particularly promising: Cisco (2015) reveals 80 percent of Internet traffic will be video by 2019 and Brightcove (2016) reports that 74% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a branded video; 46% have done so. However, recorded video is costly and cumbersome to produce; live streaming video increases engagement and decreases costs (Piontek, 2015) while giving marketers increasing influence: Yeung (2016) reports that more than 110 years of live video is watched daily on Periscope. Facebook launched a popular live streaming service and YouTube is following suit (Hockenson, 2016). Recognizing that individuals and organizations alike can strengthen their social media marketing with live streaming video, this paper reviews the rise of social media, previews live streaming video, and shares live streaming video survey results.

The conference, which will take place on November 15 to 16, 2017 at the American University in the Emirates campus, will provide a platform for discussing recent trends in creative business and social innovation. AUEIRC will highlight the various aspects of creative business and social innovations that can scale for the benefit of communities.

AUEIRC aims to bring together academics, practitioners, researchers, policy makers and students to share and discuss challenges and solutions in contemporary disciplines. The scope of the conference includes a broad range of topics on areas that impact contemporary society. Topics of interest of the conference include:

  • Creative Business and Social Innovation
  • Creative Industries and Social Innovation
  • Education and Social Innovation
  • Governance and Legislation
  • Media for Smart Cities
  • Smart Technologies and Innovation

Accepted papers will be published by Springer in edited volumes following their specific fields as printed volumes as well as online in the digital library SpringerLink. Springer is a leading global scientific, technical and medical portfolio, providing researchers in academia, scientific institutions and corporate R&D departments with quality content through innovative information, products and services.

Addtionally, authors of some selected best papers will be invited to submit the extended version of their AUEIRC papers for peer review after the conference. These papers will be published in a special issue of the AUE journal “Smart City Challenges and Solutions” (SCCS).

If you’re interested in participating you can submit your abstract until June 15, 2017 at https://easychair.org/cfp/AUEIRC2017.

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!

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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 Amazon.com 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.