Wednesday, April 29, 2009

From Sand to Silicon - Going Global

Yesterday, while waiting Saifullah (my eldest son) shopping for his school's year 11 prom nite (yes, he is the headboy and read Faidhi's exam blues here), I managed to read the whole book of 'From Sand to Silicon - Going Global' authored byDr Jeff Sampler of the Saïd Business School and Saeb Eigner, founder and chairman of Lonworld. All in one hour!


The book explores Dubai’s remarkable success in building a modern city state out of the sand. Well, I have personally involved in those mega projects mentioned in the book and proud to be a pioneer team member of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Palm island developments ...planning to write similar book based on my own experience, rise and fall of Dubai within a span of 10 years.

Well, I had planned so many books (hmm, esp novels) but only one in the pipeline, anthology of short stories - 'Dotkomania' to be published by next few weeks (actually I do not really know and care anymore... it has been postponed few times..) by DBP.

Dubai’s achievements are well-known – the landmark buildings, including the world’s tallest; the engineering feat of the Palm Islands developments; high profile events such as the Dubai World Cup Horse race; and the creation of a vibrant tourist industry and an international business hub. But how has Dubai managed to achieve all this in such a short time frame when other regions and organisations have struggled to create a similar momentum?

Sand to Silicon is a rigorous analysis of Dubai’s success factors, based on unprecedented access to the ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, his senior advisors and others at the heart of the transformation. It sets out a model for how this large scale rapid growth has been achieved and pinpoints the reasons for Dubai’s success

"Dubai is a fascinating success story," comments Jeff Sampler "and I was curious to know what enabled this – what the key factors were which so distinguished Dubai’s achievements from similarly ambitious, but less successful, initiatives in other parts of the world such as Singapore. I wanted to explore the circumstances and factors which combined to bring about the remarkable transformation of a relatively small and poor Emirate.

"In researching the book, we spoke to key figures at all levels of Dubai society, including those who were involved from the start. The insights we have gained from this and from Sheikh Mohammed himself have been particularly valuable. There are some significant lessons to be learnt from Dubai’s experience which are valid for organisations involved in rapid growth and for economic regions who wish to replicate a degree of Dubai’s success."

Among the key success factors identified by the authors are:

  • Leadership that is visionary, inspirational and embraces risk that is demanding but supportive and that builds confidence
  • A lean organisational structure with minimal bureaucracy for speed of decision making
  • Openness to outside influence and competition and to the views of all stakeholders
  • Good communication channels internally and easy access to decision makers
  • A business culture founded on trust with the necessary regulation

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