Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mr. Warhol here is my chance...15 minutes of fame can also be life changing.

Back in 2008, I attended a presentation about a freshly starting pan arab competition: Stars of Science. It immediately got my attention. The concept of the competition is simple. You have an idea for a product or an innovation of some sort, you present it, if it gets accepted you go to Qatar and develop it with the help of experts. 

It all sounds perfect and nice.. oh wait... there is something missing... it is a reality TV show!! You actually have to work all day, all week, for months in a workshop full of cameras, microphones, and its going to be broadcasted all over the Arab world. Everybody will be observing every step you take, every mistake you make. Euh.. scary? but this must be something new in my life. Once in a lifetime opportunity to try something new. why not? let's apply.

Mr. Warhol here is my chance.

So what about Stars of Science? a brief description:
Stars of Science, initiated by Qatar Foundation in 2009, is the first Pan-Arab reality-TV program dedicated to innovation, aiming to shine a spotlight on the next generation of young Arab innovators. Following an international recruitment campaign among more than 5000 people, 16 young women and men of Arab origin, from different academic and professional backgrounds, are selected by a Pan Arab jury and given the chance to develop their own innovation project. The selected candidates are invited to enter a specially-designed workshop, located in Doha, where they have access to an array of state-of-the art resources as well as the support of top professionals. The 16 take part of a competition in successive rounds, each of them corresponding to a key stage of the innovation process (proof-of-concept, engineering, design, business and marketing). 
In 2009, I applied and I was selected for my product- an automated tuner device for all string instruments that I called Dozan (stay tuned as later I will have a post dedicated for Dozan from early stage till now). After successfully passing all the stages I won the 1st prize in the competition.
Mr. Warhol, here comes the 15 minutes.
The media buzz was intense here are a few articles: dailystar, maktoob, (if you google you will find plenty of international magazines and blogs also). I was even announced one of the 30-under-30 of the Arab world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs by ArabianBusiness.com.

Wow, ok, great. now what? Honestly, a part of me enjoyed the 15 minutes but a bigger part wanted them to be over because i knew that this is when the real work starts. Reality hits. WORK work WORK! I want to finish my masters, my research and I want to develop Dozan and make it a success story and share my experience with fellow local entrepreneurs and innovators going on the same path. Oh and I would like to have a hand in changing the arab world from a consumer to a producer of technology. too much to ask for? step by step.

Mr. Warhol, I had my chance and I would like to tell you that even though the 15 minutes can be over, but they can also be life changing.

p.s. to all the young innovators in the arab world reading this, go to Stars of Science and apply for the coming seasons!

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