CEOs & COOs, and non-profits

I learned from my experience in entrepreneurship and working in non-profits that non-profit has so much to learn from the for-profit world. Every non-profit should have its equivalent of a CEO, and its equivalent of a COO. This is one thing I learned that is very highly over-looked when you hire or promote people inside your organization during expansion or when you organization structure changes with time.

COO’s job is about standardization and improving consistency. It is an analytical job. It’s a mindset focused on consolidation and risk elimination.

While a CEO needs creativity and needs to have a focus that seeks out strategic opportunities for growth and expansion, and they need to engage in intelligent risk-taking sometimes by being willing to invest in risky development projects that fizzle out into nothing.

It is very hard to have both in the same person. It is very hard from a COO to be CEO without much work, and without a strong oversight.

The Workshops Acquired by Al Maqarr

 

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In October 2012, I joined my very dear friend Rasha Hassan in creating a startup based on our shared dream of contributing to rebuilding the Egypt we hoped to see after the 25th of January. We shared the common passion for stuff like blogging, music, and many other little joys. We believed that education is key for the welfare of fellow Egyptians. “The Workshops” came to life. The goal was transferring skills, as our current educational system is, simply put, a waste of time.

This may not be the first time I worked in a company from its start, but it is the first time to be involved in starting one. To share ownership and responsibility. Responsibility, when you invest your own hard-earned money, changes the whole perspective where you see life. A whole new experience you can’t gain otherwise. Mistakes cost you money and give you experience.

I must say that I was privileged to invest in a startup at such a young age of 25 and privileged to learn until this moment, where all of us, the founders, are no longer able to contribute to this project.

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So, after years of facing and bypassing challenges, agreements and disagreements, losses and gains, Al Maqarr, who are a long business friend of ours has acquired “The Workshops”. AlMaqarr is one of the leading coworking spaces in Egypt since 2012. It manages a solid diversified community of innovation and collaboration between startups, student organizations, social initiatives, and freelancers. I’m happy that the project will be in their good hands. Wishing you guys all the luck.

Follow “The Workshops” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you happen to be in Cairo, give them a visit.

 

Help Bridging the Gap Between Circumvention Tool Developers and Civil Society

RightsCon-event

A friend is participating in a RightsCon Workshop to improve communication model between users and developers. Can you send questions you have for the circumvention development community to frame the discussions at the session? Feedback from civil society is highly appreciated.

Please share widely to your relevant groups!

Egypt anti-Terror law for the Internet, 5 years for incitement, 10 years for illegal access.

Item 29 of the law, uploaded by Ramy Raoof

Item 29 of the law, uploaded by Ramy Raoof

Ramy Raoof shared the news about the recently approved Egyptian anti-Terror law, and the clauses related to the internet and social networks. I’m providing a rough translation here:

Clause 29 of the law

Any person who created or used a website on telecommunication networks, or the internet, or the likes, for the sake of inciting terrorist ideologies, to mislead or obstruct investigations by authorities, to exchange messages and information locally and internationally with terrorists, or send orders to terrorists will be sentenced to at least five years of high security imprisonment.

Anyone who illegally accessed an electronic government website, with the intention to read or access data or information on it, or to change / delete / destroy this information, with the intentions or in preparations mentioned in the first paragraph of this clause, will be sentenced to at least 10 years of high security imprisonement.

 

Are You Tracked By Your Mobile Carrier? Find Out Now

This site will tell you if your mobile carrier is tracking the websites you visit on your phone.

This site will tell you if your mobile carrier is tracking the websites you visit on your phone.

AccessNow just launched a new, revamped tool to test whether mobile carriers are injecting super-cookies to track you. Test your mobile here.  Make sure you turn off your Wifi, and turn on your mobile data.

It is reported that American mobile carriers use super cookies to track their customers, even when they delete cookies. Three members of the U.S. Congress signaled their move to hold Verizon accountable. Verizon mentioned their intention to make a ‘Super Cookie’ tracking opt-out but EFF said that users cannot easily opt out.

Please share!

I Support #CharlieHebdo

charlie-hebdo
Murder is murder, whatever the act that “provoked” it. If murder of journalists by Muslims is justified, then the murder of Muslims and non-white by other entities is justified. No murder should be justified. The context that we should not provoke salafists / jihadists /fundamentalists in order to avoid the consequences is invalid, because they will eventually find a reason to feel provoked. Conservatism lead to more conservatism, however much it is avoided.
Karnika-Kahen
As I come across the very on going conversation of wearing/taking off hijab and niqab here in Egypt, I believe wearing and taking-off should be considered more freedom of choice, and just freedom of choice. Hijab and niqab should not be a symbol, because being a symbol is the problem. Wearing them is just a choice, and should be enforced as a choice. Incrimination should be only directed to enforcing wearing, or taking them off.

Why Do I Translate for Global Voices

As part of the commemoration of the Volunteers Day, Global Voices sent this survey to our translation, aka Lingua, community. I may be working now for Global Voices, but I joined Global Voices originally as a volunteer translator. The survey constituted of three questions: Why have you started to translate, why do you continue to translate and what has GV given you.

Global Voices Summit

Global Voices 2010 Summit in Chile, my first trip with Global Voices. Photo by David Sasaki on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 

I joined Global Voices as a translator, so Lingua was the first Global Voices department I came across. I primarily joined because back then, in 2009, Arabic content was only 1% of all the Internet, although there are at least 300 million Arabic native speakers. I wanted to be a reason to increase Arabic content on the web and I think I’m succeeding in that directly and indirectly.

I continue translating to know about places I never been, check out cultures I never experienced, learn about intellectual treasures I would never read about in an ordinary book or an ordinary news piece.

Global Voices gave me a lot of things. To get along with people from all over the world. Getting to know friends in the Global Voices community from many backgrounds and at the same time like minded in the basic set of values. Global Voices gave me the opportunity, directly and indirectly, to go more than 20 countries in the last 5 years.

Global Voices satisfies the feeling to be connected to a movement that is doing some good to a large group people, and to give some influence even if it sounded small at the time of contributing.

Global Voices showed me as first-hand experience how can experts in all fields of life can dedicate their time and energy to a greater goal.

Finally, I would love to say a big THANK YOU to all Global Voices community, you make my day every single day. And for anyone who didn’t do that yet, I urge you to check out profiles of our amazing community by visiting us here.

Get to Know Mohamed ElGohary, Multitasking Global Voices Contributor

Gohary at Crane Beach, Essex, Massachusetts. Crane Beach. April 20, 2014 (used with his permission).

Gohary at Crane Beach, Essex, Massachusetts. Crane Beach. April 20, 2014 (used with his permission).

Global Voices is celebrating 10 years and as part of the celebrations, we are presenting a series of interviews to introduce some of the contributors that make Global Voices great. In this installment, we get to know the busy Mohamed ElGohary, Global Voices board member, Lingua coordinator, Advocacy authorArabic Lingua editor, Web 2.0 preacher and blogger.

Global Voices (GV): How and when did you learn about Global Voices?

Mohamed ElGohary (MEG): I began to check out Global Voices as Eman AbdelRahman began contributing and sharing GV posts, as well as asking me if I wanted to contribute. Back then it was just a year since I began blogging, and partially I didn’t think I was capable enough to write in English. In the same time GV began to mention blog posts I wrote, as I was active then in covering court sessions where policemen were tried for human rights violations, blogging under the nickname IRC President.

In February 2009 I joined GV as a volunteer translator from English to Arabic, afterwards I became author and Arabic Lingua editor. In 2011, during the Arab Bloggers meeting in October 2011, I was offered the job as a Lingua Coordinator, after I left my post at AlMasry AlYoum newspaper, where I used to work as a Social Media Consultant.

GV: What are your specific tasks as coordinator for Lingua, Global Voices volunteer translation project?

MEG: The role of the Lingua Coordinator is a large set of small tasks. Community management, to ensure the spirit of motivation, cohesion and sharing of information, across Lingua Editors as well as Lingua Community. Tracking stats of different Lingua sites, as well as social media networks. Assisting Lingua Editors and Community tracking their own stats, setting up new sites. Helping Lingua Editors identify the best ways to maximize the impact of Lingua. Arranging regular Lingua Editors meetings, and whatever issues arose by editors that I can help with.

GV: And as the staff representative to the board?

MEG: As a staff representative, and definition of staff here is all Lingua and Regional editors, as well the core staff, is primarily communicating closely with them, tackling any challenges that might arise either within the volunteer community or staff with other staff, and giving feedback on the short and/or long term depending on what I’m working on. So if anyone in the community have any question or challenge, please contact me by any way you like: e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or Skype at ircpresident.

GV: What’s your day job outside of GV?

MEG: I contribute most of my time to GV. Before GV I switched careers from telecommunications, as I majored in Biomedical Engineering, to social media. After joining GV Staff I co-founded a startup called The Workshops where I manage technical issues like web administration.

GV: How familiar are you with web tools and how much of it is because you are a GV member?

MEG: I spent most of the year 2008 blogging about web 2.0 in Arabic, writing tutorials on how to use Internet tools targeting Egyptian and Arab activists. I gave many workshops focusing on web 2.0 use for digital and labor activists, teachers as well as journalists. Arabic Lingua gave me the first playground to exercise social media on a professional level. It was also the main reason I got my job at AlMasry AlYoum.

GV: How do you manage to stay up-to-date with all the Lingua communities?

MEG: By keeping up to date with Lingua Editors. I think the larger email groups are getting less functional as a community to community communication platform, comparing sub-community groups where Lingua Editors are more knowledgeable about their own communities. So via the Lingua Editors google group, as well as the monthly meetings, I think I’m getting to be up-to-date with the Lingua communities. I’m also in several Lingua Google groups, using google translate to follow the general idea of conversations happening.

GV: As an Egyptian citizen based in Egypt, what was January 25, 2011, the date of the Egyptian revolution, like for you?

MEG: Right now that’s a very tough question to answer. Before the 25th I was certain that a revolution was going to happen, though maybe after 20, 30 or maybe 50 years. I was hoping to witness it, but I think it happened too fast, though not too soon. I joined the marches in the 28th, when the most clashes during the 18 days happened, and afterwards Images of what happened never leave my mind.

But now, with the extreme politicization between two groups that are both, in my opinion, responsible for the deterioration of economical and civil liberties states, it is hard to see the revolution without a broken heart, as secular activists opposed to both military and religious fascism are either dead, jailed or out of the country.

The 25th of January is still a victory to me, whatever happened. As Mubarak is now in jail, military personnel idiocy is exposed. The short term will be a miserable time, but I think on the long term things will get better, although with a very high price in blood.

GV: Anything else you’d like to add?

MEG: I want to add that as a board member I invite all the Global Voices community to come to me by e-mail (ircpresident@gmail.com), Aparna Ray and Jillian York, for any question, consultation or comment. We are here for you and we represent you. Thank you for reading :)

Ten Years on Global Voices: My First Translation and Other Reflections

Tagged by Gabriela Garcia Calderon

I can’t believe it is 10 years already. I joined Global Voices as an Arabic translator in February 2009. Back then I was a bilingual blogger, writing about Egyptian affairs as well as web2.0. Still, a student, though with a part time online job, I had enough time on my hands to contribute as a translator. At that time I didn’t have much translation experience, I only read a lot in both languages. My editor who welcomed me to Global Voices was Yazan Badran, probably the first real interaction with a Syrian. I learned a lot from Yazan, linguistically and also how to accept changes to my writing.

My first translation was about Gaza. Palestine to me before Global Voices was something I only read about in mainstream media, and you will never to get to know details about conflicts from mainstream media. They are only shortened to numbers. Through Global Voices I learned how that every conflict have a sea of people, everyone has their own life, memories, happiness and pain, and you may or may not be able to know how they felt, even for a third culture kid as I am.

Global Voices assured what I thought as the need for networking in the MENA region, expanding from Egypt. After I began blogging in 2006, I spent a big portion of my time networking Egyptian bloggers, till they reached tens of thousand of bloggers. But when I joined Global Voices, I discovered something among Egyptians that we share with our fellow Americans (on average): We don’t know anything about the rest of the world. Even among intellectuals, it is hard to know someone who follows Sudanese affairs, Syria, or Mauritania. Stereotypes about the Gulf and their petrol preventing us from networking with activists there. While the most successful organization is the Arab Interior Ministries council, organized against Arab activists.

Global Voices community, a very diverse community with all kinds of backgrounds across the whole world, assured my views above about the importance of communication, collaboration, and exchange, and not to stay away in silence. I wish all the power to Global Voices community, to be able to make the world a better place. I would like to thank every GVer I met, for every time that happened I learned something new, and this is something invaluable to me.

Collaboration by Chris Lott

Collaboration by Chris Lott

About Seif, About Bassem, About Myself

I don’t know how I’m keeping myself sane with all that’s happening in Egypt, I seriously don’t know. We, revolutionists, lived, are living, and will live experiencing jailing and murdering our friends. We lived, are living and will live experiencing people who we thought were friends. We are suffering the death of loved ones, old and young.

Ahmed Seif El Islam

Ahmed Seif El Islam

First it was Bassem, then Seif, and unfortunately more to come. We live everyday to the fear that we, or someone we love, is in danger. If not dead, then in jail, and when in jail, we hope they stay sane, and worse, to stay alive. How we are enduring this is something I don’t know.

Every day I keep asking myself, how are am I sticking to the belief that pacifism works, how it work, did it ever work, will it ever work. Why should people who believe in Peace and Justice in Egypt must feel the pain, the pain of jail, death and betray. I keep trying to suppress the urge to create a militant group and kill them all. It is really painful, emotionally draining, life sucking, teary life we experience when we lose someone, temporarily or permanently.

I think the only thing that keeps me sane now is being in love with a girl who has the biggest heart in the world, and forget everything when I am with her. Only this fact is what diverts my mind from going through self-destruction mode. But every time someone I know is gone the pain strikes back, like an old injury opening up, bringing every tiny emotion back to my heart. I don’t want to live this again, I don’t want to keep experiencing this, and I don’t know what to do.

My Thoughts On #Gaza

I have been asked recently about my thoughts on Gaza several times. Though I’m trying not to follow anything more than I can handle lately, given the turn up of Revolution in Egypt, another story. But anyway, here is my analysis of what usually happens, from a very personal, non-expert at all, point of view.

"People finally managed to enter #Khuzaa today and discovered the extent of the destruction. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel" tweets photojournalist @Lazsim

“People finally managed to enter #Khuzaa today and discovered the extent of the destruction. #Gaza #Palestine #Israel,” photojournalist @Lazsim tweeted.

All Gaza wars goal, specifically the last one, is to win Israeli votes. So the sequence is as follows:

2. Bomb
4, Continue as much as possible, till Israeli causalities reach the media
6. Work with Egypt’s government to crush Palestinians by closing the borders.
8. Votes flow in for elections or to stabilize the cabinet, even when the Israelis think that Israel didn’t really win. (Do people really think there can be winners anymore in wars? Who’s the loser now?)
And this goes on cycles, the only difference, this time, is Israeli media arm is beginning to fail, but on the ground, there is no difference. Many friends of mine in Gaza lost their homes and/or families and I’m not able to even say a word of support, the same as my feelings for what’s happening in Egypt, like Alaa puts it, of no hope and no despair. What words could be of comfort when I can’t even remotely hold myself together. This is not a “Russians love their children too“, it is a “Tear Down The Wall“.
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