Learning as I go.

Engage Why?

Posted on | May 8, 2015 | No Comments

It is always interesting to ask what makes a person engage with a brand.

I am working with customer engagement 6 hours a week on DubaiEye 103.8 FM’s Nightline program.

I like to think I succeed with customer engagement, but that could also be open to debate.

In the case of radio engagement is often measured in terms of listeners as measured through research.

In my case I have 50,000 listeners on a decreasing scale between the hours of 9 and 11pm.

But what does this tell us about engagement?

A slightly better measure of engagement is the number of people who have taken the time to embed or download programming.

Plays Mobile Plays Likes Embeds Playlists Follows Comments Visits Downloads
5/7/2015 15 2 0 102 0 0 0 275 219
5/6/2015 11 10 0 398 0 1 0 300 368
5/5/2015 12 4 0 76 0 0 0 263 195
5/4/2015 3 6 0 431 0 1 0 145 170
5/3/2015 1 0 0 74 0 0 0 147 333
5/2/2015 5 6 0 67 0 0 0 218 181
5/1/2015 11 0 0 5 0 0 0 496 397
Totals 58 28 0 1153 0 2 0 1844 1863

But I suspect we also need to take into account the quality of the SMS messages and the level of interaction via phone calls.

We did a show on Wednesday talking about the end of self-serve gas or petrol pumps.

Yes you read in Dubai there is no self-serve fill-up options! Some would say that is great others might lament the longterm implications on society.

Here are the calls and SMS messages from the show that aired from 9 to 10pm.

There were some very interesting calls to the show.

Caller 1

Caller 2

Caller 3

Caller 4

Here is the entire podcast!

The SMS to the show.

Hey James.  I’ve seen so many guys leaving the nozzle  hung on to the gas tank thinking it ll hold it … and bam it fell off …so I d Say they need tobe trained and gas stations didn’t do a good job there in teaching them how to do that


Dont worry about lack of self-service. It takes you 5 seconds when you step into self-service environment. To figure it out. You are overthinking it.


I can barely get the car to the station right, let alone fill it by myself. XD

It’s WAY more of a blessing than a curse (everyone benefits) but still, we’re like babies, we need to gain more independence ASAP.

Also, by the way WE DO have self check in at Dubai Airport!! (It’s called Electronic check in, I guess?)

9 years in dubai and none of ironing done at home any more:)



Things don’t just get done. We pay for every service. It s not a question of complacency. Its a question of social responsibility.


This is why we live here! Allan


 Hi James, A lot of people like me are not used to self service, for instance at a filling station. I am from India and we dont have that concept back home…Anand


Absolutely agree that we should be filling our fuel ourselves. Funny how I once got a talking down by a Pump attendant for attempting to fill up myself while he was at another pump. Shelton 


And yes, I did know what I was doing with the pump!


Guys… If we were to rationalise the uae and have the population doing the stuff that people do on their own in Europe. 

As well as stopping to overstaff empty shop on weekdays I think the real estate market would crash cause 1 millions people would go back to their country. 


I know a guy that catches rides with people because he needs to ‘fix’ his car. He has no gas


 I’ve had that conversation with  friends. We all agreed that car washing and the laundry for shirts were keeper. 

Some thought weekly or by monthly maid were useful too. 

But we are all shocked off the plastic bag guys,  petrol station ans so on…

Even after 5-10 years living here. 


Learned to drive in dubai 8 years ago and still never put petrol in a car!!


The difference is that the people doing that back in Europe still can rent their house and sometime have a car and all. 

Here those people live 8 in a rooms. Work 26-30 days a month ans are paid peanuts. 


 Hey James, keep your hair on ;). It wouldn’t be so exciting if you has to do it everyday :). But I agree with you pumping your gas is something the young need to learn. For real achievement you might wana give up the outsourced ironed shirts ;). 


While growing up in the 80’s in Dubai we didn’t really have maids those jobs were done by our parents and as kids we shared the jobs. Many of us didn’t even get pocket money for it.


 Hi. My brother in LA said he and friends took 3 days to assemble the complicated fbedroom furniture set. Here the guys came and assembled in a couple of hours . 

I am suggesting that it is time that we measured the success of media based on not only the number of customers reached but by the quality of that interaction.

Listeners, SMS, calls, downloads, Facebook shares, periscope watches… all of this has to be factored into audience engagement not just the time of day a program is broadcast.

Of course I have a self interest in this exercise as a radio show presenter but this has also been the catalyst for  working on the creation and delivery of a metric for accurately measuring and quantifying the value of customer engagement.

Watch this space!

Another Tool for Broadcasting!

Posted on | April 16, 2015 | No Comments

periscope You have to love technology.

Social media has changed the game of information sharing and is in the long game process of re-formatting not only how information media work but how the content they rely on is gathered.

One of the tools that I have just started to experiment with is periscope.

I have to admit I love the look and feel and the story!


Just over a year ago, we became fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else’s eyes. What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realized there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.

Periscope is not the only twitter enabled video streamer, Meerkat is also in the game.

So which do you try?

If you have had a chance to listen to TechTalk, the program I do with Andrew Thomas the MD of Nexa, you will have a leg up on how to start thinking about these 2 tools and why Andrew is leaning towards Periscope.

Here is the clip from TechTalk where we spoke about Meekat vs Periscope.

The problem with both of these streaming tools is that at the moment they are ONLY Apple iOS friendly.

Fortunately I use an iPad so I do get to get in on the fun.

How it all works is you need to download the appropriate app and it will link to your twitter account to let people know what is happening, but to view the content you need the appropriate app, in my case Periscope.

I turned on the app and it asks for a title, put in a few hashtags and you are broadcasting with notifications in twitter and interaction if you like!

twitter grab

I like the fact that the video can be saved to your camera roll if you like, creating other opportunities to share!

So, what we learned from an early attempt on the show is the video can only be shot in portrait, well with an iPad anyway!

A bit of DocTalk with Periscope.

Is this a tool i like? YES.

Will we use more of it on Nightline? YES.

Classroom applications? MANY.

Should you try it? YES.


Great Story

Posted on | March 28, 2015 | No Comments

What would you do if you won the lottery?

What about work, what is that job that vocation that thing you would do if you could just do what you wanted to do?

I came across this video about a finance guy who became a do walker.

I love the story and I love the idea of the video.

So, if you could, if you could make the move what is the job you would love to be doing?

Cool Tools

Posted on | March 28, 2015 | No Comments

These are great times!

15 years ago the idea of asking a class to make a video was a rather long and drawn out process.

Today with the power of a phone and a laptop a student with mediocre skills can dream, record, edit and deliver a project at lightning speed.

And things have just gotten better.

Pixar has made RENDERMAN available for non-commercial purposes, WOW!

And it is easy to get!

Download & Install

Become a Non-Commercial RenderMan user today. Download and install RenderMan, and you’ll be ready to start creating your own CGI.
Download & Install ?

Medium and message just got a lot more interesting.

Simply Great Music From The Middle East

Posted on | February 26, 2015 | No Comments




Every week Nightline goes from a talk show to the regions premier independent recording artist music show.
I really do have a great gig professor to radio and all sorts in the middle.
Triplew.ME brings in a bag of music and we play and chat about what we are hearing!.
Honestly there isn’t a better music show in the Middle East, but I am biased this is my show.
So you be the judge.

Here is a bit of what we spoke about.


Some might say we live the dream or I live in the dream.

The anatomy of a song.

All good songs want you to play air guitar.

Here is the lineup for the show.

El Genina – Zaed Naes ft. Maii Waleed

Noush Likes Sploosh
Lonley at night
There is something wrong with this picture

Warda – Betwannis Bik (Who Killed Bruce Lee cover)

O Grey – Tanjaret Daght

And here is the podcast in full.

So what are your thoughts?

Who did you like?

Happy indie listening.

Get to talk Cars!

Posted on | February 20, 2015 | No Comments

On a weekly basis I get to sit down and talk cars with the boys over at MotoringME.com, these guys are fun and very cool.
Here is what our show sounds like, great I know.

Well, here is a great conversation we had and it all took place around a very sweet Audi!

A Great Hour Of Music!

Posted on | February 20, 2015 | No Comments


It is that time of the week when we cuddle up to the jukebox and get ready to listen to what the folks from Triplew.ME have pulled out of the vault!
As always the show is full of insight.
The talk of genres continues.

Is it possible that Nickleback has listened to this music and been inspired? Adam has a different take on the Nickleback reference.

And there is another genre added!

Here is the entire program to share!

So here is what you are listening to!

Hayajan Ween El-Kalam-

Fables of Cantt – Wait-

Kazamada Mish mohem –

Lazzy Lung – Sex and Pirates-

Sahra Band – Helly El-Bab-

Near Surface – Now You’re Here-

Akher Zapheer – Arba3 Sneen –



What Do We Need To Read?

Posted on | February 20, 2015 | No Comments


Do you subscribe to Open Culture?

I love this website because of the content that is often very thought provoking.

A recent post asked this simple question, that is not so simple actually.

What Books Could Be Used to Rebuild Civilization?: Lists by Brian Eno, Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly & Other Forward-Thinking Minds

Here are 3 of the lists.

10 Titles from Brian Eno’s Manual for Civilization list

10 Titles from Stewart Brand’s Manual for Civilization list

10 Titles from Kevin Kelly’s Manual for Civilization list

What are the books you would put on your list?

So Easy to Not Post!

Posted on | February 16, 2015 | No Comments

It is so easy to say I will get to it later when it comes to writing a thought or idea to the World Wide Web.

Guilty as charged.

A few weeks ago Marcus Smith invited me to be part of the 1st InnerTalk series.

It was very humbling to get up on a stage and share a piece of my story.

I know what you are thinking, I talk on the radio and as a professor so how hard could be talking at innerTalks be?

I don’t talk about me, I talk about stuff, I am usually the moderator.

If you can go to InnerTalks, the 2nd event is coming up February 26th.

Here is what I did on the InnerTalks stage.

I encourage everyone to get up on a stage, and maybe the Innerfight stage to tell your story, we all have a story to tell to inspire others.



Sharing Ideas.

Posted on | February 7, 2015 | No Comments


Sharing ideas is a big thing these days.

There are any number of conferences that are predicated on bringing together an audience and an awesome group of speakers and letting the magic happen.

Think TED.

In 2009 TED took the bold step of handing the opportunity over to TEDsters to create their own speaking series TEDx or an independently organised TED event.

I have been part of the TEDx phenomenon with the 1st TEDxDubai event, TEDxZU, TEDxDubaiWomen and TEDxAbuDhabiU and I loved the buzz.

Recently, as you may or may not know a small group of us, Paul Kelly, Haifa Al Rasheed and myself have kicked off CreativeMornings Dubai.

What I love about the CreativeMornings adventure is that it is an hour long, in the morning, hyper focused around the creative community and monthly. Time, topic and format are 3 huge issues in my book and things that have prevented me from attending other events.

What is also interesting about the CreativeMornings organisation is they are fully aware that others might look at what they are doing and say hey great idea but I want to go it alone so they are happy to say look, listen and create!

Marcus Smith at Innerfight has done just that and created his own monthly speaking series, at 8am on the last Thursday of the month.

Marcus calls his speaking series, InnerTalks!

I had the privilege of being on the 1st Innertalks stage.



Here is how Marcus describes his speaking series.


Inner Talks 1

InnerTalks kicked off on Jan 29th in Dubai. A huge thanks to all who attended the event.

Below is the audio file of the talks which is also available as a podcast download in itunes and also on stitcher. The video versions of the talks will be live very soon and will appear on this page.

InnerTalks will be held on the final Thursday of each month at InnerFight from 8am-9am. We invite anyone who would like to speak to contact us so we can schedule your talk, talks can be on any subject of your choice and can last for up to 10 minutes or even just 60 seconds. We really encourage everyone to share their experiences and learning in the attempt to inspire and motivate others around us. Please now mail us if you would like to talk at a future InnerTalks event.

I love the idea of sharing ideas and creating a mechanism to do so.

I hope we see more hyper-local sharing events in Dubai.


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