When We Will Meet Again

Fighter Jets

Kuwaiti F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet. Photo by: Tariq Malallah

Audio FileWe meet different people every day, some of them leave a great impression on us and we long to meet them again. We cherish their memory and remember them the way they left us as if time had stopped at that moment. We might hear that they passed away, left to another country or just simply busy with their life’s challenges. Many times you gladly pump into one of your old friends and you are glad that you saw them, but after a worm welcome you leave each in his or her way without even exchanging your mobile number. You ask yourself why we did not want to meet again, we used to be very close friends?

Mr. Tariq Malallah, the photographer who took this breathtaking picture, wanted to meet the pilot to give him a copy of the picture but was not able to find him. The only connection between them was the moment when the fighters flew by and the photographer clicked his camera. That’s it, and the time stood still on this picture. The photographer gave up looking for the pilot although this picture became famous in Kuwait. The pilot met the photographer again after nearly 10 months during photo exhibition in the “Avenues shopping Mall” when the pilot introduced himself to the photographer after noticing this picture framed in the exhibition.

Name plate

At 360 Mall

Note: If you are shopping in “360 Mall” in Kuwait you may see the latest pictures taken by Mr. Tariq Malallah exhibited in the center of the shopping area. Thumbnail on the left has the photographer’s name on the honorary name plate in the 360 Mall.

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Customer Retention in The Local Barbershop

Local Barbershop

AudioI am at the age where hair cut means hair “cut”. I do not make an appointments with fancy hair dressers to cut my hair. I just walk through one of the nearby barber shops and trim whatever hair dear to grow at the top of my head. I don’t use gooey gels, vitamin-enriched shampoos or style my hair differently for those special evenings. The local barbers in Kuwait (and neighboring countries) are a good case study for customer satisfaction and customer retention. They are relatively clean and use disinfected utensils. Most of them updated their tools and started using hair driers and special  creams for facial treatments which I never used before in these barber shops or plane to use in the future. Entertainment is the newest thing in the local barber shops. Lately, every barbershop you visit would have his TV switched to one of the satellite channels showing a program in his native language (Hindi, Turkish or Bangladeshi). On top of the noise coming from the TV you would hear the barbers loudly talking to each other, using a language you would not understand. When they look at each other and smile I wonder if they are talking about my newly developed bold spot on the back of my head? I think the local barbershop has two main factors helping them retaining customers. First is the convenient location, since they are located in the neighborhood and it would be easy for the customers to just walk in. The other important factor is the low prices they charge for 30 minutes of customized personal services. Sometimes they offer free head and shoulder massage when the business is slow. Other than these factors I don’t think anybody with his right state of mind would set a foot in these shops.

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Your Smile Will Last Longer

Double Espresso

Your smile is stronger than "Double espresso"

AudioSometimes all you need is to listen to the person next to you. You may not know that person but he or she needs to vent their steam to somebody. Listen, pay attention to what they are saying then repeat a summary of what they just said  to let them know that you listened to them. That’s all it takes! If you can throw in a genuine smile, then they will definitely know that you care. If you think about it, sometimes all you need when you are not in your best mood is someone to talk to. Marriage or intimate relationship is build around this belief (Ok … ok, and something else!) But mostly we need somebody to flash that delightful smile at us when we need a friendly face. A genuine smile will make the world suddenly looks colorful.

I have mentioned before my secret love with latte, but when I need a quick fix and do not have the time I usually go for espresso. Pure caffeine without the milk. The small quantity of coffee in the bottom of that single shot of espresso makes the person wake up and change his or her mood instantly. The same effect is found in listening and smiling which needs little effort from you but have tremendous effect on others. Tomorrow morning try flashing your pleasant  smile to people around you and notice the result. Please let us know how good is your smile?

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To Hedge Or Not To Hedge…?

Exchange rate

Exchange rate

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Hedging is trying to reduce the risk in the commodity price fluctuation. A factory may need raw material to produce widgets. The raw material could be imported from different country using different currency. The price of the material and the currency can change during the year. The factory can cut the risk of price fluctuation by buying the foreign currency now, or buy the full amount of raw material and store it in the warehouse. By this action the factory would secure the raw material at the market value now and continue its production at the calculated material price. The change in future prices should not affect its production or profit margin. This is called hedging and can save the company from unnecessary lose due to price fluctuation.

Currency hedging is required to manage the volatility in foreign exchange rate. Daimler-Benz (DB) reported its largest market loss in its 109 year history because of the dollar exchange rate change (Stulz, 2001). The lost was caused by Daimler-Benz management decision of not hedging although one of Daimler-Benz‘s subsidiaries has 16 billion Deutsch Marks in dollars that decreased 14% in value against the Deutsch Mark (Stulz, 2001).



I thought of adding some useful definitions to impress you! Forward currency markets enable the companies to lock the buying and selling exchange rate by a contract agreement, usually with a bank, specifying the amount of currency, at and exchange rate on the date of contract (Madura, 2003). Forward markets have contracts tailored to the company’s need and delivery date: these contracts are self-regulated contract without security deposit (Madura, 2003). Future market contracts have standardized size and delivery date and require small security deposit.

Many companies were hedging before the last rescission  hit the world market. They bought foreign currencies or stocked raw materials for their industry.  What do you think happened to those companies? Should they hedge now since the world market is picking up?

Madura, J. (2003). International financial Management (7th ed.). Mason, Ohio: South-Western.

Stulz, R. (2001). Rethinking risk management. In The new corporate finance: where theory meets practice (pp. 411-27). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

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What is behavior?

Jujitsu fighters

What kind of behavior we show during sport? Photo by: Tariq Malallah

AudioHuman behavior according to Wikipedia dictionary is “Social norms is the influence of social pressure that is perceived by the individual to perform or not perform a certain behavior. Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary define behavior as “the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment.” I looked up my old Longman Dictionary, which I used in High School,  and find a simple definition for behavior and it is “the things a person or animal does.” Behavior can be obvious to the observer or hidden. Type of motive that generates the behavior and the chance to meet the desired goal mold the individual’s behavior. Behavioral scientists see behavior as actions that can be accurately identified and observed by different observers.

Some strange behaviors we sometimes notice that does not make sense to us, but to the others, the behavior is perfectly normal. I love soccer (football)  and I use to play it when I was young. But now I see soccer as an entertainment business. Highly paid professionals play live to a large audience in the field and live on TV. The strange behavior I notice is the emotional attachment some of the sport fans show for their teams. They are so loyal to the point where fights and riots can take place when their team lose the match. The sport fan go crazy after the game while the players shake each other’s hand, take cold shower and go home safe! And make good money out of it.

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Balancing Your Life

Jack Welch

Jack Welch

AudioMost of us are working hard to achieve their best at work. Many of us are dedicated to their families and try to enjoy their social life more than they should. Choosing between work and social life is like asking a kid to choice between chocolate and Ice cream. Many professionals bring their work home and spend more time working than relaxing with their families. I have to admit that I am one of them! We work hard to get that trophy, promotion, or appreciation letter and neglect our families and friends. Our children do not care about our achievements at work, they do not know about them and don’t care. All they need from us is our presence and uninterrupted attention.

Jack Welch lead GE for thirty years to make it one of the best companies in the USA and retired with a salary of $8 million per year. Fortune magazine named him “Manager of the Century” and he was famous for saying “Control your own destiny or someone else will.” In a recent message through twitter, Jack said “Surprised to find how much more photos of family and friends mean than work memorabilia and magazine covers.”

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Motivation and Leadership

Diagram of w:Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

AudioMotivation is defined as the processes that provoke and direct human behavior towards winning the organizational goal (Kini & Hobson, 2003). Motivation is raised and directed by a set of characteristics that exist within the person. These characteristics are similar to Maslow’s needs in the Hierarchy of Needs Theory. At the top of the need’s pyramid sets Self-Actualization which is for the person to become everything that he or she is capable of becoming. In other words, self actualization is reached when the person realize his or her potentialities. However, at The base of the pyramid sets the basic needs for food and water to survive.

In the core of motivation resides self-esteem to guide the human behavior (Greenberg, 2008). The expectancy theory state that motivation is the product of expectancy, instrumentality and value of rewards (Kini & Hobson, 2003). The individual’s self-steam is strengthened by his/her expectation for rewards or appreciations. An organization should motivate its employees by fostering moral behavior and ethical practices to reach its goals, then reward these practices to strengthen such behaviors and decision-making practices.


Words can be beautiful and motivating

The right training and good leadership is a key success factor in motivating the followers. A study done by Ling et al. (2008) on CEO’s from 152 firms and their Top Management Team (TMT) confirmed the transformational leadership effect of these CEO’s on their TMT’s. The CEO’s shaped four significant characteristic in their TMT’s. The characteristics are behavior integration, decentralization of responsibilities, risk-taking propensity and long-term compensation (Ling et al, 2008, 557). The study also found that the CEO’s transformational leadership was able to enhance their direct followers’ motivation, morality and empowerment (Ling et al, 2008, 569).

Dvir et al, (2002) sampled 54 military leaders, their 90 direct followers and 724 indirect followers. Transformational leadership training was given to the military leaders and then they measured their leadership effect on followers. The study found positive impact on the direct followers and indirect followers performance. The same effect was not seen on the controlled group. A study by Waldman et al. (2001) found a significant correlation between charismatic leaders and their organization’s financial performance during difficult times. The mentioned studies demonstrated the leaders positive impact on their direct and indirect followers and their organizations’ financial performance.


Dvir, T., Eden, D., Avolio, B., & Shamir, B. (2002). Impact of transformational leadership on follower development and performance: a field experiment. Academy of Management Journal, 45(4), 735-744.

Greenberg, J. (2008). Understanding the vital human quest for self-esteem. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(1), 48-55.

Kini, R., & Hobson, C. (2003). Making total quality initiatives successful in Thailand- the motivation theory effect. Journal of Transnational Management, 9(1), 21-37.

Ling, Y., Simsek, Z., Lubatkin, M., & Veiga, J. (2008). Transformational leadership’s role in promoting corporate entrepreneurship: examining the CEO-TMT interface. Academy of Management Journal, 51(3), 557-576.

Waldman, D., Ramirez, G., House, R., & Puranam, P. (2001). Does leadership matter? CEO leadership attributes and profitability under conditions of perceived environmental uncertainty. Academy of Management Journal, 44(1), 134-143.

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What happen to my Latte !

AudioI have to admit that I have not been out in a big shopping Mall for a while. I did not sit in a fancy café for some time. I usually grab my skimmed-milk latte from Starbucks while I am on the move. I did not enjoy a good cup of coffee in a café for long time because, like most of you, I am busy! My definition of good coffee is the one gets grinded every time you order it to the point where you can smell the aroma from a long distance.
Today was the day were I sat in one of those fancy, every thing is organic, kind of café. I asked for my skimmed-milk latte and I got this unusual cup which looks like a bowl. I did not know how to hold the cup since no handle was visible from all sides. I looked around me to see if somebody else had the same cup so I can learn how to drink it, but unfortunately I was the only one. So, I held the cup with both hands, similar to the way Japanese hold their traditional tea-cup, and drank it quickly before anybody could notice. Did I do it right? Take a look at the cup.

Cup of Coffee

How can you hold a cup without a handle?

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Constructive Criticism

Flower 1

How constructive are you?

AudioThe English publisher Thomas P. Jone once said “Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.” We love feedback when the feedback is positive and is given in front of a group of people. We encourage such feedback and we always dismiss the thought that whatever was said is a complement. We think that we have done an excellent job and it is about time for the rest of the world to acknowledge our achievements. We rarely accept the negative feedback and we immediately ask the feedback giver for prove, details and witnesses. After arguing for some time, we usually label the negative feedback as jealousy, envy or hatred. Actually, some of the negative feedback could be coming from somebody who had a difficult day and need a listening partner.

Author and business speaker Ken Blanchard said “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” I believer that feedback (positive or negative) is constructive criticism as long as it shows us the faults, shortfalls and point us to a better solution. The american  author Elbert Hubbard said “To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” I would like to encourage you to send me constructive criticism to improve my writing and sharpen my thoughts to write an interesting post that attract most of you.  You can click on the post heading to direct you to an exclusive page for that post were you can select the proper rating for the post (number of stars). There is a link on top of each post to add your comments or start a discussion about the post.  Go ahead, tell me what you think.

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Permission Marketing Without Permission

A promotional image distributed by Ogilvy & Ma...

Many marketers distort the truth

AudioPermission marketing is a term invent by the marketing expert Seth Godin. Permission marketing developed from a simple gesture when the customer let the marketers to advertise their products or services directly to the customer. The customer wants the advertisement or knowledge and he or she gave the permission to be contacted when the information is available. Some of you had filled forms on the internet to subscribe in one of the internet sites. While filling the form you will notice that a small sentence asking you to subscribe to their services, send you a news letter or send you an update on their product as soon as they are available. You have to select (or check) the option to permit the site to send you that information otherwise the information will be direct annoyance. Some markets would broaden their annoyance by selling your information to other markets to sell it again to another …. and suddenly you are flooded with spam email.

In the past few years I notice that charity societies and small stores are becoming professional in non-permission marketing. The teller would ask you for your address or mobile phone number when you buy a small item or donate small amount of money. You will start receiving SMS messages or big envelops in the mail starting from that moment you give up your information. It will be almost impossible to stop the direct advertisement you got yourself into.

You will see the result of this poll immediately after you answer it and I will publish the overall result after I receive enough answers, so please check this blog again after few days.

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