Tag: best CEO blog
on Feb.07, 2010, under other
A close friend of mine, and sort of training partner … I call him Bambi because he is a very nice guy, almost too nice, innocent and sweet.
I was away for a couple days last week and did not see Bambi.
As I was laying in bed, reading the news and drinking my morning coffee the first morning back, Sophie tells me “bambi is sick.”
This was basically one of the first things she said to me so I figured it must be serious …
I asked if he had a high fever, or if he is he vomiting?
Sophie said she didnt know; Bambi just came up to her at the gym and said he was sick.
“Out of the complete blue??? this guy who is built like a roman warrior came up and told you he was sick????”
Sophie replied, “yes.”
I have known Bambi for a long time. Since I came to Dubai he has been one of my training partners and sometimes naseba works/uses his company. The guy is built like a Roman soldier and for the most part is extremely hard working and stoic ….
But …. when I met Bambi at the gym later that day, I noticed immediately he was not sick … I didn’t say anything to him, but I sent him an email later in the day suggesting he be more stoic….and asking him the purpose of telling sophie he was sick? I asked if he was looking for a pat on the head and a warm hug?
I single out Bambi which is a bit unfair, but I notice often people, esp. my american friends talk about how they do not feel good or have head aches, or back aches or they are tired….
My grandfather is 93 years old.
In my entire life, I do not remember him once complaining about anything.
I do not remember him ever once saying “I don’t feel good” or “I am tired” or “I have a head ache” etc.
When I speak to my grandparents and ask how they are doing – no matter what, they always reply they are doing great.
Of course my grandparents have aches and pains, but I have never heard them moan or complain about them. Never once.
What good does it do to tell someone, “i don’t feel good” or ”I have a headache” ?
Whats the purpose of telling somoene, even a close friend ”I feel bad” ??
Seriously, notice today how many times either yourself, or a friend says something negative which adds no value to any discussion, like “I am tired; I don’t feel good; I have a cold; I am sick.”
If you reflect - surely, you will notice even your own grandparents are/were much more stoic ….
why has the world become soft?
on Jan.26, 2010, under my travels
I am going to post several pictures of this trip because the photos speak much better than any of my words…
For those who are interested in seeing more pictures of my trip to Yemen, later this week I will post our trip photos on my facebook and in the photo section of this blog.
People who are close to me know that I am big into battling “misinformation” or “exaggeration” in the media, especially when it comes to the Middle East and the Arab world. This post on my trip to Yemen is another example. Yes, some areas in the north of Yemen are dangerous for foreigners, but these sites are in the north and the tourist sites have all been closed.
However, Sana’a, the capital of Yemen and the UNESCO protected old town in Sana’a can be argued is as safe or safer than some areas of LA, Chicago, DC, London, Paris, etc.
The purpose of this post is not to try and fight the misinformation, or try and convince you Yemen is safe to visit– but importantly, keep reminding everyone about the amazing world out there….try and not let fear prevent you from experiencing it, especially the Middle East.
Romain, my brother-in-law, and I go on a trip each year with the focus of the trip on adventure.
We started this ritual in 2008 when we toured Lebanon. On that trip we drove all the way from Beirut to south Lebanon upto 400 meters from the border of Israel (I made a post on that trip) … I wanted to go to Rwanda this year, but Romain said “Yemen would be a cooler story” …
The flight to Sana’a, the capital of Yemen was an easy 2 hour Emirates airline flight from Dubai. Because of the 1 hour time difference, we left Saturday morning at 6:00am and arrived to Sana’a at 7:00 am.
On the flight, I was surprised and somewhat disappointed to see at least 10 other westerners….
We sat at the exit row and the stewardess, a talkative Australian sat facing us on the takeoff and landing … she asked me “why are you going to Yemen?” And I replied, “for sightseeing.”
She said, “yea right…” and obviously, did not understand our interest in visiting Yemen.
It was quick and easy to get our visas upon arrival and within 20 minutes of landing, we were out of the airport and in the car with our driver, a big burly, efficient man named Ibrahim.
The drive to our hotel, the Movenpick lasted maybe 15 minutes — We quickly, checked in and left straight away to start our tour without even going to our room….we had just two full days in Yemen and we did not want to waste even one minute.
Throughout the day, everyone was warm and friendly; we never once felt any anger from anyone and soon forgot we were in a country which CNN and most of the western media considers dangerous and hostile.
The afternoon we drove an hour outside Sana’a to Wadi Dhar and one of the most spectacular sites I have ever visited, a palace built on a rock called the “Dar Al Hajar.” I should point out, although I would rate this experience up there with my visit to the great wall, Petra, even the pyramids …. we saw no other tourists the entire day.
The Dar Al Hajar is a palace built on and inside a massive rock. With the risk of sounding melodramatic, “remarkable” … “incredible” does not adequately describe this place. We walked all over Wadi Dhar, I even went for my 45 minute run which I had to do for my IM training … we took many photos and talked with the local people. Everyone was warm and friendly, and several of them thanked us for visiting Yemen.
We then drove to Bait Baws, the old Jewish settlement which stood for centuries (pictured below) This massive village was completely deserted and we walked freely, through this incredible maze like site and did not see any other tourists.
Most of the men chew something called “ghat” … they call it “Yemen whiskey.”
We reluctantly tried some, but only to please a group of men who invited us into the guard tower they sat. Both of us did not like the taste.
Around 6pm, our driver dropped us off at the gate entrance to the old city of Sana’a, a walled in city protected by UNESCO. This gate and walled in city dates back 700+ years. Two young men came up and started to speak in English to us and became our guides through the old town.
Absolutely, incredible … walking around tiny back alley streets at night without street lights in Yemen…
We went through “Suq al-Milh” the Souk (the market) and saw everything on sale, from Donkeys, chickens, lamb, spices, fruit, silver, tobacco, honey, blacksmith goods, just to name a few.
We even stopped in an area of the old town with several small hole in the wall restaurants and ate dinner (pictured below). We did not see any other westerners and nearly no women.
Around 10pm, the two young guides, Saleem and Maher took us to what is considered the nicest hotel in the old town of Sana’a, (Burj al salam). When we entered the gorgeous hotel, Romain and I looked at each other with regret because we had not stayed at this hotel.
Romain smoked shi-sha on the roof balcony, I enjoyed a great cigar … and we sat quietly, both thinking about how gorgeous everything was…
The next day was the most exciting.
Sunday – we woke up at 4 am and flew to the Hadramaut region of Yemen (I dont know the name of the city we flew to) We wanted to visit “Shibam” which is called “the Manhattan of the desert” and has been a UNESCO protected site since 1983
To visit the Hadramaut region, one of Yemen’s most famous historical sites we had to have approval from the government which our travel agent in Yemen got for us.
The flight was easy and safe. Upon arrival, we did not have to go through customs and we were out of the airport within minutes of landing.
We were met at the airport by our driver as well as a truck of 6 soldiers all carrying AK-47s, our body guards for the day. We had three sets of guards for the day who changed at each check point. We had a truck of 9 guards plus a guard sitting in our truck on the long drive through the desert.
I will not go into all the various sites we visited … but I want to point out our body guards really took great care of us, always ensuring they went into sites before us, and one stood guard behind us and in front …. they really went out of their way to ensure our visit was safe and enjoyable.
We had to drive 5 hours through Hadramaut and Wadi Dhan … driving through oasis like valleys, mountains and flat desert plans. Gorgeous.
Writing about “body guards” protecting us and driving with us, in my opinion distorts the reality of our experience because we never felt in danger; we were never scared and I am confident had we been on our own, we would have been ok.
We stopped at a road side cafe where Romain ate fresh chicken. I stuck to my vegan diet and only ate a small portion of cooked rice.
We flew back to Sana’a from a different airport which was near the Indian Ocean… stunning.
The low cost airline (Felix Air, like easyjet inexpensive open seating, similar to a bus) was great – both the planes were brand new and very efficient.
We arrived back to our hotel around 9pm, went for a swim in the massive swimming pool at the movenpick and then went to sleep … our flight back to Dubai was at 10am the following day, and we organized to have Ibrahim pick us up at 6:15 and drive us to the old town of Sana’a so we could walk around for a couple hours before we went to the airport.
Monday morning, we arrived to the old town by 6:30am, met our two guides and walked around the town which was slowly waking up … we went to the hotel, burj al salam to have breakfast and coffee.
The open terrace on the roof of this hotel overlooks the old town as well as Sana’a, and the view is exceptional. After quietly enjoying strong coffee and a cigar, we walked through the souk back to the entrance of the gate where our driver was waiting to take us to the airport.
I think Yemen was the 85th country I have visited, and I sincerely consider this trip to be one of the most exciting, memorable experiences of my life.
What made this trip so fantastic and memorable was the Yemeni people. Very few people asked us for money, many turned my money away when I tried to ”tip” them for a service. More people than I can remember came up and thanked us for coming to visit their country.
I was told by someone that Prophet Mohamed referred to the Yemeni people as “the most gentle of all.”
For anyone planning a trip to Sana’a … I highly recommend the Burj Al Salam. (the Movenpick is a 5 star western style hotel and very nice, but the Burj al Salam is in the middle of the old town with extraordinary views over the old town and Sana’a)
Our travel agent “Al Mamoom International Tours” was exceptional (+967712593688) they went out of their way to ensure we had a safe and enjoyable trip. A special thanks to Beatrice, the Italian woman who heads up this company who took great care of us. Beatrice has lived in Yemen for more than 5 years.
on Jan.20, 2010, under other
(we have shortened this persons comment to focus on the main questions)
“Scott – I work at M.E. and have been a reader of your blog off and on for a couple of years. Your blog doesnt discuss as many “ceo” issues as your previous years blog did. Did you get bored of the blog, or is this change in style on purpose?”
Thanks Ed – I have received several emails asking me the same question.
No, I have not become bored of the blog. It’s just…I do not like to post a blog entry without a purpose.
My blog might be less “corporate/ceo” focused than it was in 2007-2008, however, at least in my opinion, the blog is still focused on issues which (I think) have a direct correlation with leadership.
With that said …
Nearly all corporate blogs are done for the purpose of promoting the company and the person doing the blog.
Although I am ridiculously proud of naseba, our products and corporate culture, I try to do neither.
naseba’s “product quality” i.e. tangible proof of how good we are, speaks louder than words written in a blog.
Therefore, instead of trying to hustle naseba and our products via this platform, my blog challenges the reader (as well as myself) to live life to itself fullest; use ones abilities to their fullest; be men and women as focused and honorable as possible.
In a word: ”commitment.”
on Jan.05, 2010, under other
Could have and should have, but isn’t ….
unrealized talent … having the talent to be great at something, but just going through life being ok.
Loyalty…. vs …. disloyalty, what is loyalty in the world we live in today and why is it so different from 20 years ago?
John Rocker syndroma …. that one mistake, one bad day; that one bad path (decision) we chose to take can ruin it all.
Victimization ….. its not my fault for my failings, its his….
Hoping people fail …. so we can feel more at ease in our own mediocrity and unfulfiled dreams.
the world we live in today.
on Aug.15, 2009, under other
Recently, I have received several interesting comments which I wish to discuss, thus instead of posting the comments in the comment section, I will post some of them on the main blog page.
“Scott – I don’t know you. Until two nights ago, I had never heard of you or this blog. I was at a restaurant, dinner party in LA and someone mentioned your blog and Ayn Rand quote (I like Ayn Rand so I am intrigued) More than an hour, probably even longer, the 8 of us discussed your blog and opened it up on our mobile phones and read through several of your blogs. I thought about your blog a lot since then. You took down the entry where you discussed your ego, but why did you take it down? Personally, I like your blog and (some) of the people I was with also like this, but if you are not self promoting (as you say) then what is the purpose of this blog? Howard Roark, Los Angeles, CA
For the readers who don’t know Ayn Rand, Howard Roark is one of the heros from The Fountainhead.
To answer your question….
My blog has an aggressive Ayn Rand quote with a picture of me smoking a cigar, therefore, unfortunately people assume I am a dick waving, american who thinks he is more important than he is…
….other than maybe my cuban cigar collection, I have achieved nothing worthy of boasting about. As far as me thinking I am the ultimate business man or great CEO… I broke up my role as Chairman and CEO of naseba (the company I co-founded with Sophie, Fabien and Nic) and we promoted Sophie to CEO of the group. Sophie is a far superior operational, organizational CEO than I was. If Sophie had been the CEO from day 1, naseba would be an even stronger company than it is today.
I enjoy saying this, not just because I am extremely proud of Sophie Le Ray, she is my wife, but because I have confidence in my value; I do not need to pretend to be someone I am not.
The world we live in today, at least in my opinion, is full of people whom are absolute fucking nobodies…wanna be’s who go through their life pretending to be someone they are not.
The blog you refer to, I posted and then took it down because after re-reading it a few times, I felt it went against what I stand for (or at least what I am striving to stand for)
To try and show I am not self promoting, I ended up defensively, self promoting by mentioning several of the important readers I have had who left comments. I didn’t mention or post their comments before because I didn’t want the blog to turn into a plateform pontificating on how great I think I am. I am very proud of these readers and their comments, but posting this only comes across boastful and does not add value to the blog.
I have traveled to more than 80 countries… and when I say this, I am not self promoting or boasting, but trying to inspire the reader to go out and experience the world. I post only personal pictures on this blog of my travels to places which add value to the discussion –there is a lot of misinformation in the media (primarily in america) and by posting pictures of me in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran etc I hopefully, inspire some readers to go out and experience the world. I have not posted pictures of my travels to Maldives, Carribean, Corsica, St Tropez, Singapore, Sydney etc. because those pictures add no value to the discussion. (but by mentioning these cities I come across again as boasting)
I do not post pictures of my homes or materialistic success because these add no value to discussion in the blog.
The purpose of this blog….?
This blog is all about self reflection, and I use it to manage myself. If i am going to post my goals, I must achieve them. If I am going to discuss quotes like the “man at the top didnt fall there…” I must remember them and live by them…even when I fall.
I reflect on my life….esp. my time with my previous employer, a man who had a life changing impact on me, but….
at the time, I was just like many of the people who read this blog…talented, someone who sincerely wanted the best interest for the company, but because of immaturity as well as bad influence, I became a total bitch who believed I was more important than I really was. (many readers can relate to this)
The “ego” refered to in Ayn Rand’s quote is NOT the ego which drives people to buy things they can not afford or “act as if” and pretend to be someone they are not …which ultimately, gets people to fall in the trap of believing they are more important than they really are…
The ego Rand refered to is that which drives one to be as hard working, focused, honest, dilligent and loyal as possible on their climb through life.
Some people admire Brad Pitt or LeBron James.
I admire John Galt.