This week, from the 27th-31st March, will see the fourth ArabNet and it’ll be the fourth time I go along for the conference. It’s not all about the conference, though – the event is being billed as a festival and it’s shaping up to be just that, with five days of events with a developer day, an industry day, two forum days and a community day.
Each of those days contains multiple streams of stuff, from overnight flash-developer challenges to the Ideathons and Startup Demos that have sparked so much interest from entrepreneurs and start-ups around the Middle East. This ArabNet, the biggest so far, will aim to bring an audience of 1,500 innovators and leader from around the region to Beirut.
It never fails to amaze me that ArabNet – the leading digital platform in the Middle East is a Beirut based event (although last year saw ArabNet Cairo take off), showing that Beirut can, indeed, host world class events. A lot of that success is down to the high standards of organisation and event management that goes into the event, but it’s also been about timing – the time was right for ArabNet to launch when it did and the breakneck expansion of the region’s digital industries is both exciting and challenging. From the changes social media and online platforms are bringing to ‘traditional’ media through to the rise of a new entrepreneurialism in the region to the realisation of the huge potential for e-commerce and the growth in start-ups, the Middle East has never seen such exciting digital times.
Alexander McNabb will be speaking at ArabNet 2012 on Friday March 30th at 10.30am. You can find out more about his presentation ‘Take Back Your Content’ and how to contact him at the summit via our ArabNet 2012 page.