Lebanon Digital Transformation Conference 2018 kicked off today under the High Patronage of His Excellency, The President of the Lebanese Republic, General Michel Aoun and The Minister of State for Administrative Reform, Her Excellency, Dr. Inaya Ezzeddine to present the strategy and path to transition to a digital e-government.
The conference hosted Tom Loosemore, Co-Founder of Digital Government UK. Tom led the successful implementation in digitally transforming the government. He also emphasized the role of local talent in Lebanon to achieving that.
Digital transformation in Lebanon will help save time and fight corruption in the public sector. Lebanese will no longer have to wait in long queues to complete a simple document and will no longer have to pay “extra money” to get their basic documents done. All official documents and applications will be completed from one platform and a unified user-experience.
The adoption of Lebanon Digital Transformation raises questions about cyber security including “safeguarding & securing data” and “data privacy” across systems, and devices. Especially in the absence of any current “internet laws” that are clearly set for cases around online activities, electronic communication and privacy protection.
It was just yesterday when a Former Head of ISF Anti-Cybercrime was involved in fabricating evidence against a Lebanese citizen. And couple months earlier, a government website collected sensitive data from Lebanese living abroad for the elections without any privacy protection.
It’s about time that our government takes solid steps towards digital transformation in Lebanon. It’s definitely a great initiative that will revolutionize the public sector if applied.
Vero is the hot new social media app that has been downloaded almost 1 million times in 24 hours. The app is founded by the Lebanese Ayman Hariri, the son of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri
So what is Vero? Its a social media app similar to Instagram and Facebook and what makes it different is that you will have to pay a subscription but it’s AD-FREE.
Users have reported the ambiguity of the privacy policies and terms of service. However the app has released a tweet with an update regarding this issue. Well in Lebanon, online privacy rules and regulations aren’t applied, not even by the government.
We have updated both to clarify.
We appreciate your trust!
— Vero (@verotruesocial) February 23, 2018
I tried the app and it’s a bit slow and users on twitter have been reporting technical issues but that is only expected as Vero hits the number one app of the social media category of the app store.
The Vero app has been glitchy and pointless so far 👍🏼
— Laura Lee (@Laura88Lee) February 28, 2018
Others have called for the apps deletion after finding that Hariri was involved in Oger, a construction company in Saudi Arabia that didn’t pay its migrant workers from countries including India, Pakistan, and the Philippines for over eight months. The hashtag #DeleteVero is taking over the internet. Mashable just published an article on how to delete Vero.
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) February 28, 2018
Vero promises smarter connecting – Everything’s not for everyone, so we’ve made picking your audience completely intuitive for each post.
The subscription price has not been released yet but if you are among the first million users, the app is free!
Coworking spaces in Lebanon is booming. Experts agree that the working in a shared space with professionals from different industries rather than a company office or coffee shop is working.
Coworking spaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and business owners in Lebanon are developing rapidly and successfully. The shared spaces provides a community that boosts productivity, creates discipline and motivates coworkers.
I’ve been an 8-5 office worker for almost 6 years and I just kick-started my freelance social media & digital marketing career. I’ve set up my home office, spent long days in coffee shops and I’m going to try working in coworking places for a month
So, here’s a complete list of coworking spaces in Beirut, Lebanon offering functional work environment with unique services and packages for all budgets:
Amenities: Fast unlimited internet, 3 locations, Free Coffee, a Relaxing Open Garden, Rooftop, Professional & Social Events…
Main Campus: Spears, Hamra, Beirut (Map)
Touch Lab: Beirut Souks, Beirut (Map)
Geek Express: Saifi Village (Map)
Day pass: 16$/day
You can become an antwork member and get your free nomad subscription 1 day access per month to the coworking space. PS Antwork have been nominated for ‘Best Coworking Space in Beirut’ in the Members’ Choice 2018 Awards.
Beirut Digital District BDD:
Amenities: Very Fast internet, 7 Buildings, events & workshops, gym, free coffee, auditorium, outdoor terrace.
Location: Nassif El Yaziji Street, Bachoura District, Beirut, Lebanon
Day pass: Berytech DigiHive 20$/day
BDD is currently the biggest community hosting more than 50 startups in Lebanon and 3 accelerators including Berytech, Speed and UK Lebanon Tech Hub. But if you are looking to for a private office, you will have to join a long waiting list.
Amenities: Internet, pool, gym, 200 sqm coworking space, housing, workshops & events
Location: 20 Rue 17, Yarzeh, Baabda, Lebanon (map)
Day pass: 25$/day
The Olive Grove
Amenities: Free coffee, conference room, fast internet.
Location: West House 3 Building, 2nd Floor, Jeanne D’Arc Street, Hamra (map)
Day pass: 15$/day
Servcorp Louis Vuitton Building
Amenities: Fast & free Internet, free coffee, free parking, events & workshops
Location: Levels 2 & 3, Louis Vuitton Building, 1479 Marfaa Beirut Souks, Fakhri Bey, Allenby Street
Day pass: 10$/day
Berytech Co-Working Space
Amenities: Fast & free Internet, free access to lounge and food court, referral & loyalty program benefits, access to Fablab
Location: Mathaf, Berytech Building, 3rd Floor
Day pass: 16$/day
Amenities: highspeed Internet, kitchen, free coffee, events space
Location: Twin Towers Building Joünié Lebanon (map)
Day pass: 7$/day student plan
Innovation Factory Beirut
Location: Street 401, Mkalles (map)
Amenities: high speed internet, events & workshops, exhibition space, conference room, kitchenette, conference room
Location: Jnah, venezuela street (map)
Day pass: 18$/day
Place and productivity are more connected than ever. With over 10 coworking spaces in Lebanon – Beirut, a small country, you’re sure to find the right budget and environment for you and your business!
When You’re a ‘Digital Nomad,’ the World Is Your Office – nytimes.com
Drop me an email if I missed listing your favorite coworking spaces in Lebanon – Beirut and share your experience (and this article).
Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants announced that the online registration has closed. More than 90,0000 registered Lebanese expats will be voting in the upcoming Lebanese elections 2018.
This is the first time in the history of Lebanon in which non-resident Lebanese will be able to vote. I work as a social media and digital marketing consultant in Lebanon, so I was excited to check the website. Not only i was shocked that the website does not comply with international data privacy and protection laws. But also users who visit this site are being tracked using cookies without their consent.
Below you can see that the website has two google analytics codes installed and one facebook pixel. So who has access to the Lebanese expats data and is the data protected?
So what is a cookie and what can we do with it?
Have you ever noticed that you recently visited a website and suddenly that becomes the focus of online ads following you on different websites? A cookie tracks your browsing behavior and can be set to be valid for any amount of time.
In a simple explanation, once you visit a website, I can target you with ads that show up on other websites across different devices. While Facebook can use the data collected to expand your current user base to “lookalike audience”. This helps you target people with similar likes, interests, and demographics to people who are already interacting with your website.
Example. I can actually launch a “Fake News” campaign on Facebook and target everyone who visited diasporavote.mfa.gov.lb with a certain advertising message. Then target those 90K who registered with another ad. I can also expand my campaign to those who didn’t visit the site but rather look similar, Lebanese living abroad on Facebook. “Fake News” can impact the results of the upcominh elections in Lebanon similar to what happened in the 2016 presidential election in the United States of America.
International laws for data protection should be applied in Lebanon even if its the government collecting the data.
Nevertheless, the ability of Lebanese expats to vote for the very first time is a great initiative launched by Minister Gebran Basil to hopefully succeed in changing the political situation in Lebanon
I have been working in the digital industry for the past 5 years in Lebanon. When I started back then, it was an emerging industry and the online references were limited to couple video tutorials. Today. the resources and academies produced by top companies in the tech industry cover all aspects of the digital skills including coding, design, and marketing. Yet, the formal education system, and graduates displaying a poor work attitude are the among the main reasons fresh graduates in Lebanon can’t get hired or find jobs.
It is true that skills gap is a universal problem. Employers around the world in different business sectors are experiencing difficulty finding the right candidates with the required skillsets and the MENA region suffers from the highest youth unemployment rate (80%) in the world especially among fresh graduates. Yet the absence of digital skills has been a rising issue across all careers whether related to technology or not, with the increasing transformation of how we do things every day.
The HR landscape can no longer apply the traditional business practices. Today, social media plays a vital role in hiring. Most recruitment is done through social networks changing the world of HR professional. Online HR tools are developing to connect and understand employees and to reach and attract talent. Not to mention the quick social media background checks to assess candidates whether that should be taken into consideration or not. Thus, the use of digital in HR is a must and HR professional are encouraged to learn and develop digital skills.
I have given above a very simple example of a business that it’s employees should be empowered with digital skills in order to succeed. But if I had to talk about careers that are the heart of any digital service and in which having digital skills is not an option but rather a MUST. I would be talking about marketers, designers and programmers.
The 3 roles needed for ANY company to thrive in the digital revolution.
A travel agency requires a designer to create couple engaging posts for social media. Also, a developer to constantly update their website, and a marketer to provide a working strategy and the same process applies to any other business.
Today, the most in-demand jobs are those related to the digital skills. There has been recently a significant job growth of marketers, designers, and programmers in Lebanon specifically and in the Middles East in general. I have been trying to recruit fresh graduates in Lebanon in the above fields. Yet, I am really surprised by the lack of the very basic digital and soft skills.
The most common feature is that most show up to the interview late, that is if they actually show up. Most don’t even remember the company they applied to. Not to mention that they don’t actually invest their time in researching what the company does before showing up to an interview.
It is sad that fresh graduates in Lebanon aren’t equipped with the desired digital skills required in the modern workforce. Individuals and with very basic research will notice that for example, graphic designers in most businesses are required to do work for online materials. Such as designing a blog post to be placed on social media, or a banner for a website. Thus, showing up to an interview with couple bags full with university projects won’t really help. It is true that the current education systems in Lebanon have not kept pace with the demand for these digital skills. But what is also true, is that the number of free online resources available to help you learn such activities has rapidly developed in the past couple years. You can check Hootsuite Academy for social media skills, CodeAcademy for coding, TeamTreeHouse for web design…
What is really also surprising is that even when candidates were guided to learn and develop the right digital skills, the attitude of not willing to learn or work on self-improvement makes a big portion of fresh graduates in Lebanon “unemployable”.
Although i have a degree in advertising, and i can remember that most content related to marketing i came across during university was related to the traditional marketing approach and not related to the digital space. So, i did start my career by working for free to understand what digital marketing was. I have managed to develop digital skills when the only available online resources were couple youtube videos. But “i have learned for myself”.
As my career developed, I realised that the “digital marketing skills” are no longer enough. I found myself learning photoshop, illustrator, and Dreamweaver… Possessing such design skills is mandatory. compliment marketing. It helps marketers understand how much time is spent to create banners and how typography and colours represent a brand.
As marketing evolved more and more into the digital space, coding was the next must-have skills. I found myself learning basic coding skills including html, css, and some php. The only was to learn is never reading but rather practising and this blog was born. From installing WordPress, choosing a theme, and editing content. Then tapping into e-commerce with magento, and woocommerce. Installing a payment gateway, uploading a landing page on the server, and editing the content of a bootstrap page helped me understand how better “marketing instructions” can help developers work efficiently.
The digital skills gap is a product of multiple trends that can be summarised into two main points. First, the modern-day digital skill requirements outpacing formal education. Second, companies should be helping fresh graduates in Lebanon develop such skills in the workplace. Fresh graduates should also have the “right attitude” and willingness to learn or else the ability to grow and to innovate in Lebanon will be severely constrained.