Say or be?

Recently I haven't been online too much, busy doing bits and pieces for my new company. It's been fun so far. The full lift-off will be in the first week of April probably. Can't wait.

Me and Margus (my new boss) were chatting the other day about cultural differences, what is characteristic to this or that culture. When it comes to estonians then big bunch of us are humble, not too outgoing, shy when meeting new people and at times not too outspoken. When it comes to discussions and stuff, then quite often estonians don't say out loud things that are obvious for them whereas in many other cultures people are saying out everything that comes to their mind. I've seen this in many international conferences and noticed it among my friends. This leads me to my question: do you have to all the time prove how much you know by saying out everything you know? Sure, when you don't say this or that, other people don't know that you know. You know? I know people that whenever they can are trying to show off their knowledge or say something just for the sake of seeming smart. Seeking recognition? Ego gratification? Or built-in and the person is not even aware of this? I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Nobody likes a smartass, but still. Perhaps it's even better like this. You can raise other people's opionion on you better this way. Or lower it, if you're dumb. As the joke is, its better to be silent and let people think you're stupid than opening your mouth and proving they're right.

I personally often don't say things out. My self-worth is not derived from what other people think of me. I don't feel the need to prove myself to anyone but me. Actions always speak louder than words. Should we care how other people feel about us? Should we constantly show everybody how smart we are? There is a heavy competition in the world, so sure, this way you'll have an edge. In a workplace situation I totally agree, that's the way to go often. But afterhours? People show off with numerous things, from cars to clothes to dance moves. A couple of weeks ago Ali was telling me about this event he attended (organized by his father or smth), where one of the people present was dressed down compared to other people, looked more than a random guy from the street than a hotshot businessdude. Later Ali asked his father who was this dude and he found out it was the guy who had achieved the most in business in that event. He didn't feel he has to prove everybody how rich or whatever he is. He knows he rocks and that's enough. Amen, brother!

I think people worry too much about what other people think. Live your life for yourself, not for other people. And if you feel you have to tell everybody what are great person you are (and better than others), then get a life. There's nothing cool about being superior to other people. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self. Run your own race.

While you're still young

Recently I had a chat with a girl from my past. She's now engaged and planning a family. Yes, congratulations are in order. She's a bit over 20. Isn't it a bit too early? Sure, love is wonderful and its great to share the world with that special someone. But as I see it, now (while young and free) is the time to do the things you probably can't do later in life.

I'm not just talking about having children. Its about all the responsibilities you take that will stop you from being free, be it taking a loan from a bank (for a home), car payments, starting a life-long career in some MNC or whatever. The things you own end up owning you. We're going to have a "secure" job and (some sort of) a family for the rest of our lives, so what's the rush? Now its the time to breath life, eat life, drink life... Travel overseas, live in a foreign country, discover the world, discover who you are and what do you want to do with your life.. Later on you are too busy to do all those things, you have too much responsibilities and you can't just take off and go on a voyage.

Guy Kawasaki wrote about the same thing: "Delay, as long as possible, the inevitable entry into the workplace and a lifetime of servitude to bozos who know less than you do, but who make more money."

A while back I read about this young woman who said: “I want to make sure I've saved up a lot...that way I can have at least some fun in my life.” I don't get it. Why wait until you are old to enjoy life? I see many people instead of enjoying being young becoming serious adults and work their asses off. So when they once retire can go travelling and start doing things they love. I think it might be too late then. Okay maybe not too late, but I'm sure you enjoy life much more while you're young and restless!

About getting married and stuff. If you have been together for x years then I can understand, you need to take the relationship to the next level for many reasons. But when you marry too young or too soon, then I think its a big risk. You most likely don't know who you are and you probably even don't know whom you are marrying. Clash in value systems and aspirations can be painful.

There was some statistics which said that people who marry very young (under 22 or so) are 50% more likely to divorce compared to the older group (in a world where half of the couples divorce anyway). Probably it makes sense to live a little before you go on marrying someone. Love can go on without it.

That girl told me that she doesn't see what she would miss out on. Experiences! And life is made out of experiences. Sure, she will have other kind of experiences. But those you can get later on as well. I say while you're still young - take advantage of it!

Re-branding & blogging

Hi all. Due to increasing pressure from my local and international friends I have decided to continue my blog in english. It seemed to me that this kind of change also needs some general re-branding of the site, hence the new look.

Why people blog? Passion for writing, vanity, boredom, informing people they know about things they do..? Maybe. Why people read blogs? Need for information, thought provoking material, entertainment, avoid working, boredom, want to know what's going on... Some research found that there's a new blog created every 5.8 seconds. Must be a lot of crap out there!

Most of my friends started to blog because they went abroad. Same here. Strangely whenever I've had a post about something else than my experiences in the UAE, I've received the most feedback and comments. Is it that people want to hear more personal insights and thoughts? Or probably there's is nothing much to comment when one describes what happened to them, as opposed to expressing some ideas, thoughts, where one can argue, express their point of view.. Well anyways since I've been in Dubai now 8-9 months there will be probably less "how's the life over here" and more "this is what I think about that".

Back to why do people read blogs? I'd appreciate if you could leave your opinion in the comments.

For businesses I think it makes very much sense. It's the premier tool to have engaging conversations with your future and current Clients. There are so many (great!) examples around. Think Tom Peters (Blog-As-If-Your-Professional-Success-Depended-On-It), Robin Sharma, Guy Kawasaki, Hugh McLeod and many others. Okay, they're still faces of their organizations. But yes, pure corporations too are embracing blogs - from corporate giants like General Motors to small but stand-out businesses like the bespoke Savile Row tailor Thomas Mahon. If they write well, they can position themselves as experts in their field, building up credibility. It's as if they become the lens with which the reader views this field or even the world. If the blog is a good one, it also gives the reader a reason to come back, developing brand loyalty and increasing web traffic.

Most importantly - people can regard you as a human being they can relate to. You become a person, you're not just a name anymore. You develop a relationship. Because I'm an avid reader of the bloggers I mentioned above, I feel like I know them! I know what they stand for and I can associate myself with them. I'm convinced blogging really works in this sense.

And there are so many arguments and cases to convince (me, at least!) that it has a strong influence on the bottom line as well. If anyone would like to have a chat about it with me, most welcome.

Haven't seen much business blogging going on in Dubai. Has anyone? If so, let me know. Otherwise I think I got to do something about it myself.

When it comes to blogs I love to read, then I prefer thought-provoking and educating blogs any day to "hey look what I did today" blogs.


Mõned ettevõtted pumpavad suuri rahasid reklaami- ja PR eelarvetesse, et kujundada head mainet oma ettevõttele, unustades teatud inimlikud pisiasjad. Mind ei huvita, kui vahvaid üritusi mingi firma teeb või kui head ja lahedad tooted neil on, kui mind kui indiviidi ei kohelda hästi. Pean eelkõige siin silmas ettevõtte kõige olulisemaid mainekujundajaid - sekretäre! Kui firama sekretär on minuga külm ja täiesti osavõtmatu, siis mingit positiivset emotsiooni tekkida ei saa. Kui ollakse veel ebaviisakas ka (ebaviisakas olemiseks ei pea sõimama), siis on see minu jaoks täiesti mõistetamatu. Kuidas selline asi on võimalik? Kui sinu üks töökohustusi on telefoni tõsta, siis miks sa ei saa soe ja kena olla? Kui see on liiga keeruline, siis ehk (õigemini kindlasti!) oled vale koha peal.

Hea kliendisuhtlus (või suhtlus mistahes sidusgrupi liikmega) on äri niivõrd oluline osa, et ma ei saa aru, miks mõned ettevõtted sellele rõhku ei pane. Dubais on see nii tavaline, et teisel pool toru ainult ohitakse ja ahitakse. Mul on mingi probleem/mure/soov ja kui sekretär selle heatujuliselt lahendaks (ntx ühendaks mind kellegagi), siis minu arvamus sellest ettevõttest kasvaks. Kõige tugevam arvamus kujuneb alati isiklikust kogemusest. Näiteks tean alati, Adidasega on hea suhelda, kuna nende sekretär on lihtsalt nii meeldiv inimene! See mõjutab vabalt ka minu ostuotsust, kuna ma tunnen lihtsalt positiivset emotsionaalset sidet nendega.
Inimloomus on imelik muidugi, aga kui see kord on nii, siis oleks kavalam selle järgi talitada.

Firmat, kus saab mulle osaks ebameeldiv suhtluskogemus, ma hea meelega tulevikuks väldisiksin.

Mis siis toimub?

Nii. Pole jälle mõnda aega kirjutama saanud, peamiselt seetõttu, et ei veeda enam oma päevi kontoris ja pole regulaarset netiühendust. Käin iga päev netipunktides, ent tavaliselt üle 1 tunni seal pole ning selle ajaga muud asjatamist piisavalt, et blogi ei jõudnud uuendada. Nüüd see faas on möödumas ja minult võib jälle sagedamini kirjutisi leida.

Töökohast. Kirjutasin, et leidsin uue töö. Lugu sai alguse sellest, et Eesti iseseisvuspäeval helistasin siinsele kaasmaalasele Katile, et head vabariiki soovida ning rääkisin muuhulgas ka, et olen nüüd tööturul otsingutel. Paar päeva hiljem tuli Katilt kõne, kus ta andis mulle teada, et Dubais üks eestlane uut äri püsti panemas ja võiks potentsiaalselt vajada inimesi. Andis mulle numbri, helistasin, sain inimesega kokku ning kokkulepe saigi sõlmitud. Vahel paneb mõtlema, kuidas väikesed juhused muudavad elukäiku?

Igatahes olen nüüd Katile "vahendustasuna" õhtusöögi võlgu :) Mis töö siis on? Tegemist on Eesti firmaga, eestlaste initsiatiivil püsti pandud ja kuu lõpus lendab siia veel 9 kaasmaalast. Et alustame täieliku eestlasliku kollektiiviga. Äriks on kinnisvaraportaal (vähemalt kick-offina, edasi järgneb teisi asju), kus ma hakkan tegema müüki ja marketingi. Dubai kinnisvaraturg kasvab meeletult (sadu ja sadu uusi ehitisi kerkimas), elukoha otsingud on siin vaevanõudvad (ajalehekuulutused, kehvalt struktureeritud jne), kontoripindade leidmine keeruline. Sellist kinnisvaraportaali, nn one-stop-center, on siia hädasti vaja, see teeks kõigil elu lihtsamaks. Mis mind selle värgi juures paelub on see, et saan kaasa lüüa täiesti uue ja ambitsioonika ettevõtte ülesehitamisel. Väljakutse on suur, mis teeb kogu loo väga põnevaks. Olen täis motivatsiooni ja kasvavat entusiasmi. Eile võtsime ära ka kontoripinna (suur, 3000 ruutu), sain läpaka ja juba alustan teatud asjadega tegelemisega (turuuuring, PR, turundusplaanid, paari koolituse ettevalmistamine kolleegidele jne). Eks siis asjade arenedes annan teada, et kuidas läheb.

India pere, kelle juures elan, said lapsevanemateks mõni päev tagasi. Lapse nimeks sai Sarah Susan Satu. Kodus viibimist kaunistab nüüd kassi kräunumist meenutav nutt. Mu elukohakaaslane Jana saab neilt pidevalt õpetussõnu, et lapse saamine on ikka suur vastutus. Mulle ei räägi nad midagi. Minu vestlused nendega on lühidad: Hi! Hello! How are you? Bye! Mitte sellepärast, et me läbi ei saaks. Mul pole nendega lihtsalt millestki rääkida ja ma ei näe põhjust, miks ma peaksin sunnitud vestlusi läbi viima. Rahaasjadest räägitakse küll ainult minuga, meesterahvas ikkagi.

Mu viimast nädalat on ilmestanud veel lonkamine. Näitasin siinsele rahvale pilti, mida 2a tagasi kasutasime AIESECi värbamiskampaanias (oli üleval bussipeatustes Tallinnas ja Tartus), kus ma sooritan megahüpet porilompi. Rahva tungival nõudmisel viisin läbi kordusetendust, et demonstreerida oma hüppevõimet. Võime oli tasemel, ent maandumisoskused kehvad. Nii põrutasingi oma kanna ära ja lonkan sest saati. Kiida lolli, loll läheb veel lollimaks. Valus õppetund sotsiaalsest survest.

Uued tuuled

Seekord pajatan yhest suurest muutusest, mis minuga siin toimunud. Nimelt panin ma pyhap2eval ameti maha ja minu 5-aastane AIESECi karj22r sai l2bi. Kuidas nii? See protsess on k22rinud juba kuid, nyyd sai l6pplahenduse.

Miks? Pikk jutt, proovin kokku v6tta (j2tan siis ka mitmeid detaile v2lja).
Esiteks ehk teate, et hindude kultuuris on see power distance element 22rmiselt suur. Ja juhikummarduskultuur on v2ga pop. Mind ajab see oksele. Nendest tulenevalt riigi 2 esimest MCPd (hindud) on arvamusel, et nemad omavad seda organisatsiooni, kuna alustasid selle ja teab mis veel. Seni valitses riigis selline olukord, kus isakeste pildid olid seinal, neile k2di au avaldamas, talda lakkumas ja nende arvamust palumas.

Meie tiimi tulekuga see l6pes. See pole eurooplaste kultuuris! Ja meie arusaam ka AIESECist on see, et uued tulevad, vanad l2evad. Paar korda meid kutsuti vaibale aru andma ja isakesed jagasid 6petuss6nu (minuga r22giti kui 5a lapsega). Sellest aitas. No more.

Siis enne meie tulekut siia oli veel selline seik siin, et taheti teha pressikonverentsi, et AIESEC alustab tegevust jne. Sherif t88tas tol ajal PR firmas ja tuli lagedale ühe ideega. Nimelt siin riigis on suur asi "emiratisation" - ehk riik on teinud lood nii, et kohalike (keda on 10% v6i v2hem elanikkonnast) kummardamine, poputamine jne on megateema. Firmad, kes palkavad emiratisid, saavad boonuseid. Uudis, mis r22gib emiratidest, j6uab lehte. Programm, mis arendab emiratisid, saab raha. Jne. Sherif pakkus v2lja, et ehitada pressikonverents ühe emirati ümber, kes oli üks 5st asutajaliikmest siin. Nii saab AIESEC palju rohkem kuulsust ja meediak2ra. See l2ks esimese MCP ego pihta nii hullult, et sellest tehti skandaal, et hirmus m6rvar Sherif tahtis muuta org ajalugu ja kultuuri. Uhes6naga loll emotsionaalne vahu ajamine.

Nii. Siis mina alustasin siis suurt Corporate Responsibility projekti, mis ühel hetkel j6udis nii kaugele, et oli vaja t2iskohaga projektijuht palgata. Tegin avaldused lahti, promosin AIESECi v6rgustikus, Lerning Networkides jne. Sherif kandideeris ja osutus valituks nii AIESECi (ehk minu) kui ka partnerorganisatsiooni DERC poolt. Tegime teatavaks, et tema on projektijuht nüüd. Siis algaski p6rgu.

Vanad MCP, kes kannavad suurt isiklikku egohaavumise vimma, tegid LC Dubai EB-le ajupesu, et Sherif on seeriam6rtsukas ja tahab AIESECi h2vitada. Siis algasidki pikad ja n6medad ja oh ma ei taha r22kidagi kohe kismad EB ja MC (Dubai juhatus ja riigi tasemel juhatus), vanade presidentide ja praeguse juhatuse vahel. K6ik meie vastu. Ja k6iki brainwashiti j2rjest. Lihtliimeid ka. Igayhega viidi l2bi individuaalne kohtumine, kus selgitati, kui halvad me oleme. Selline poliitika, v6imum2ngud ja konspiratsioon, mida pole enne n2htud. Ja Dubai president valiti ka j2rgmiseks MCPks ehk riigi presidendiks. AIESECi teadmisi on talle lusikaga antud, m6tlemisv6imet paar tilka. Ent oi kus v6im meeldib! Ja suurel egol on v2ikesed k6rvad. V6im on muidugi p2he hakanud kogu Dubai juhatusele, et nad rakendavad power distancit t2isv6imsusega oma liikmete suhtes. Ja kui me sekkume, siis muidugi 8eldi, et see on kultuur, distsipliin peab olema, mida me ka teame, me pole siit p2rit. Ja fun kaob AIESECist. Teatud kuude p2rast ei jaksa enam v6idelda. Viisakalt. Tekib tahtmine karjuda. Ma olen seni olnud alati vaoshoitud küll.

Ja see Sherifi teema - hoia ja keela. Inimestele ei mahu p2he, et ta tuli v2lja vaid ideega! Me pidasime mitmeid l2bir22kimisi (v2ga tulised ja pingelised), ent kuna tulemust ei olnd, tegime MCga otsuse, et Sherif j22b ametisse ja kogu lugu, kuna see on right thing to do. Ma kaitsesin Sherifi kandidatuuri isiklikult veel projekti Steering Committee ees (corporate responsibility projekti n6uandev kogu), kuidas ma saan tagasi minna, et ma muutsin meelt - kuigi ma ei n2e ühtki p6hjust, miks ma nii peaks tegema.

Minu president ei suutnud stressiga enam hakkama saada. Tal on toitumis- ja uneh2ired. Ta v2riseb ja on pidevalt haige. Tervis l2ks t2iega k2est 2ra. Minu stressitaluvus on üldiselt suur ja ma suudan end v2ljalülitada ja kiiresti mahajahutada, et mul pole probleemi üldiselt. Vaid see lollus ja seljataga skeemide tegemine ajab natuke hulluks.

See viis selleni, et president pani ameti maha. N6uti uusi valimisi, millele pidime j2rgi andma. Palusime sekkumist AIESEC International presidendilt, kelle r22kisin paar korda ka telefonis, ent tema ei julgenud/tahtnud sekkuda ja nii j2igi. Uueks presidendiks kandideeris muuhulgas siis yks eelmistest presidentidest, kes loomulikult t2nu hiilgavale propagandale v6itis ylekaalukalt. Teine kandidaat oli mu tiimikaaslane Jana. Ma ise ei tahtnud selles olukorras juhirolli v6tta ja olgem ausad, antud tingimustest poleks v6iduv6imalust olnud nagunii.

Uue presidendi esimesel p2eval panin ameti maha. Ei suuda t88tada sellise ebaeetilise ja alatu inimesega.

Kas see t2hendab, et nyyd koju? Tegelt mitte. Sain endale t88koha, millest r22gin juba j2rgmisel korral. Kes soovib selgitusi veel siinse AIESECi olukorra kohta, palun. Midagi sellist mu silmad veel n2inud polnud. AIESEC Eesti on lihtsalt v6rratu selle jama k6rval.