Jordanian entrepreneur Luai Masri claims to be the first to create the feelings layer of the Internet.
The Whatshudoin – What are you doing? – app enables users to connect according to their current mood, allowing them to express their feelings online amongst other posts such as links, videos or news headlines.
“It all started around 10 years ago when I got married, quit my job, and established my first start-up all within the same month,” Masri says. “Fast forward to recent history, I packed my bags along with my wife and two cats and traveled to Silicon Valley to witness the birth of my latest start-up.
“I developed an idea, hired a team, got the investments ready, and started up without a blink, simply because that is what I do. I see opportunity where others see a challenge.”
Talking about the MENA entrepreneurship ecosystem, Masri explains that it is still nascent, but beginning to show signs of a start-up friendly environment. “Before moving to California I thought that things in the Valley move fast. I was wrong! Things here move super lightning fast compared to our region,” he says.
“They create things quickly, they fail fast, and they rebuild faster using their learnings from failure. Also, everyone helps each other here, and you can literally meet someone in the elevator or at Starbucks who can change your life forever! That has always been fascinating to me.”
Masri helps other start-up founders as a member of The Startup Leadership Program, a Boston-headquartered organisation that offers a six-month training to carefully selected entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into viable businesses. Since launching in 2006, the organisation has expanded to 27 cities in 12 countries.
In his opinion, MENA entrepreneurs should be prepared for all kinds of problems, but they will also “discover themselves during the process.”
“Read, a lot! Know what have worked before and do not reinvent the wheel,” he says.
“Create a minimal viable product (MVP) and test the market before investing everything in the product. I have witnessed many MVPs being built in 24 hours! Imagine how much you would save if you do that. Talk to your customers and do not be over optimistic, but listen to what they have to say and take their feedback into consideration.
“Work fast, faster than humanly possible if you want to make a difference and succeed.
“I personally sleep three to four hours sometimes just to make sure things gets done as they should be. That shows that you have to be 200 percent into what you do to be able to do this.”
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