Saudi Arabian developers and entrepreneurs, are you ready?

“I was living in a dark room full of stuff and Google turned the lights on for me”, one participant said. Some 97% of those who attended G-days last year in Cairo, Egypt and Amman, Jordan expressed similar sentiments.

Building on this success, Google will host another G-day event in Saudi Arabia, dubbed “G-Saudi Arabia“, which will take place on March 19th and 20th. Google engineers will be on hand to give lectures and meet informally. The first day will be dedicated to academics and developers, both novice and advanced ; the second day targets entrepreneurs and professionals who want to learn about AdWords, Google Apps and other projects. Since space is limited, please apply now.

Since holding G-Egypt and G-Jordan, we’ve analyzed the feedback from participants to improve the upcoming events. We received more than 3,000 comments. Here is a representative sampling:

  • Content: “I learned a great about what Google does and I left with a great admiration to this Google. I admire their interest in Egypt and the region and I see Google as a being a catalyst for many things to happen in this region. The Google culture, positive approach, and excitement about innovation is infectious.”
  • Googlers & interaction with them: “The best thing I enjoyed was actually talking and chatting with the Googlers, in between sessions and asking them questions. Everyone was extremely helpful and doing their best to answer my questions.”
  • Organisation: “The event was awesome… I cannot believe that I attended an event like that in Egypt.”
  • Atmosphere & chill-out zones: “Giving the spirit of Google, I felt as I’m at Google headquarters.”
  • Choice of venue & food: “the Google cupcakes were amazing!”
  • Coding competition: “I think the best part by far, for me, was the coding competition.”
  • Time management: “Speeches were running and ending on time”

The negative feedback also were appreciated. Some said we need to slow up coding sessions and give more concrete examples. Some want additional technical content. Others suggested separating beginners from advanced developers. And others asked for longer breaks to mingle. We’ll put these suggestions into the upcoming G-Saudi Arabia agenda.

In order to encourage Saudis to participate, take a look at a selection of the pictures from our Egyptian and Jordanian events. Keep sending the comments and above all keep sending any cool applications you develop on Google technologies. We look forward to resuming our dialogue with Arab developers and entrepreneurs.

Kite Photos of Tikehau Island Now in Google Earth

Tikehau motu kite aerial photo in Google EarthWhen Google updated its imagery last week, my latest set of kite aerial photos went live from our Tahina Expedition. This time a small motu island in the Tuamotus atoll of Tikehau, in French Polynesia is now visible in very high resolution. The photos were taken last June when we visited the island on our sailboat Tahina.

One day, during our week long explorations, we had a chance to take some kite photos. I had found a small motu that looked like a good candidate. Jason, one of our temporary crew, helped fly the kite. I drew “TAHINA” in the sand hoping it would show up in the pictures (read more about that day). Jason was holding the kite string while wading in the shallow waters upwind of the island so we could capture the entire island with the camera dangling from the kite string a 100m in the air. I was standing on the beach holding the remote to control the camera, and my image was captured in several of the straight down photos. Weeks later, I managed to upload all the photos to our server. My friend Stewart Long, of GonzoEarth, is a professional at processing aerial photography. In his spare time, Stewart worked over the imagery and, a couple of months later, we sent it to Google. Finally, the imagery went live in Google Earth early last week. So, now everyone can see it!

Kite Aerial Photo of Tikehau motu with Tahina on beach

I was pleased to see our name TAHINA showed up clearly, and not only that – because of the way the imagery stitched – pictures of me ended up showing up twice on the beach! (No, that’s not my twin – just Frank twice!) If you visit this place in Google Earth , you can see the rest of the motu in ultra high resolution (much higher than most Google Earth imagery, you can even zoom in further than seen above). Or try visiting the location in Google Maps.

This is the fifth set of kite aerial imagery we have had published so far. For some other examples check out: Manihi village, BBQ Island, and Petite Tabac. If you’re interested in how we take the photos, read this post and view the photo album to see how its done.

Aurelius on Getting Wasted

“Be not careless in deeds,
nor confused in words,
nor rambling in thought.

–Marcus Aurelius (121–180)
Roman emperor and philosopher

Sales reminder…

Be careful to minimize any tendencies to over promise or say what you feel needs to be said in a sales call. After getting someone’s attention/ interest, the most important thing is that you learn what your prospects/ customers really want or need and why (not to show what you have or know).

The simplest way to do this is to forget about yourself, your company, your products, and your competition.

Focus only on the discussion and them. Be real. Ask questions and listen (top 30 open-ended questions here).

Care for them and they’ll more likely care for you… by buying. (Get a printable reminder to be real.)


New printable calendars, wallpapers, and salesdays are up for Q1.

No Gomo talks today and tomorrow with Sam (how to keep your team or yourself from going through the motions in 2-11… that’s 212ish for 2011).

212ers: Did you catch the back of VA Tech’s helmets during the Orange Bowl on Monday night? And those 212 wristbands? (see the pictures)