Guy Digs Hole Finds Tank

Posted by Mark

burriedtank

A citizen was digging a hole in Jaber Al-Ahmad area when he ended up finding a buried tank! Makes me wonder how much remnants of the Gulf War is still out there… Just last year we found a rusted bullet belt filled with ammunition on the roof of my building while changing the location of my WiMD receiver. [Link]

Update: According to a few readers, the instagram source is incorrect and the tank was actually found while excavating an oil field in the desert.


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Avenues Phase 4 Renderings

Posted by Mark

avenue1

A reader has sent me 3D renderings of the new Avenues phase 4 which is set to be completed by the end of 2017. I previously posted about Avenues Phase 4 back in October and I’m guessing these renderings are of the new “Electra District” which is modeled after Times Square in New York and the Orchid District which is an area with boutiques and hanging gardens with restaurants at the center. The Electra District looks pretty trippy from the outside. I like.

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Thanks George


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Orchidaceae Flower Shop

Posted by Mark

flowershop

Last week while heading to Masaha 13 I drove by a place that looked interesting. I didn’t know what they sold but it was evening and the place was nicely lit up so after having drinks with a friend at Masaha, I drove back to the place to find out what it was. Turned out it was a new flower shop that had opened around a month back called Orchidaceae. It’s definitely the coolest looking and trendiest flower shop I’ve ever been to with concrete floors and a black mesh ceiling. It was hard to leave without getting anything so I ended up picking up an Oncidium orchid for myself.

If you’re interested they’re located in Shuwaikh near the Bulthaup kitchens dealer. Here is their location on [Google Maps] and here is a link to their instagram @orchidaceaekw


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Snapchat is the new black

Posted by Mark

snapchat

Snapchat has really been picking up traction in Kuwait recently and I’m finding it a lot more enjoyable than Instagram. Just like on Instagram, I only follow my friends on Snapchat and I mostly use Snapchat for the stories. For those of you who don’t know how Snapchat works, there are two ways, the first is you send a self destructing video or image to a friend directly and the second is by adding an image or video to your stories wall which then self destruct after 24 hours. It’s actually pretty annoying to get a direct snap (unless nudity is involved) since you get a notification every time but right now 99% of the people I follow only use stories.

Recently I’ve also started following Snapchat celebrities. The first one I followed was Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah (Snapchat: majedalsabah) based on a recommendation. His snapchats are like a reality show of his life and he snaps an average of like a 1,000 seconds a day which is just insane. The second Snapchat celebrity I started following was Bibi Alabdulmohsen (Snapchat: bibii_63). I’m not a big fan of her Instagram but I met her yesterday and found out she was on Snapchat so I started following her. Surprisingly, not only am I finding her really entertaining to watch but she’s also pretty hilarious and really good at Snapchat. She has an advice segment similar to “Dear Abby” where people ask her for her opinion and she replies with very witty and funny comments. Definitely worth following.

Both those Snapchat accounts are in Arabic so for non-Arabic speakers they won’t be very useful. But, if you have any recommendation of interesting local Snapchatters to follow (English or Arabic) let me know in the comments.


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Bayt Abdallah Children’s Hospice

Posted by Mark

Bayt Abdullah Children’s Hospice provides multi-professional, specialist, paediatric palliative care and support to children with life limiting or life threatening illnesses who are resident in Kuwait, and their families. We aim to improve the quality of life for children and their families from diagnosis and beyond by offering these services, tailored to the individual family’s needs, in the location of their choice, whether at home, in Bayt Abdullah or through our outreach programme in their local hospital.

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A short film offering a behind the scenes glimpse of the Bayt Abdallah Children’s Hospice. [YouTube]


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Become a Mystery Shopper

Posted by Mark

alshaya

Years ago I posted about a friend of mine becoming an Alshaya mystery shopper. Back then as a secret shopper you were required to shop at Alshaya stores every week and write about your experience. You also got two meals at Alshaya restaurant every week worth KD14 which you also needed to write about. Pay wise, back then new shoppers would get KD75 a month while silver level shoppers got KD150 and gold level got KD300.

I’m not sure how much of that has changed but my guess it would probably be similar. In any case the reason I’m bringing this up again is Alshaya are currently looking for new mystery shoppers. I know when I posted about it before a lot of people were interested in signing up so if you’re also interested, follow this [Link]


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Paid Influencers: Yay or Nay?

Posted by Mark

A couple of weeks back I posted a list of prices some local instagrammers charge for paid posts. Many readers felt the prices were absurd while finding the whole processes unethical, but how do brands feel about paid influencers?

Ali Ashkanani, the owner of Elevation Burger (whom also advertise on this blog) posted his view about this on LinkedIn and with his permission I’ve gone ahead and posted it below:

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Paid Influencers: Yay or Nay?

Mark Makhoul, the profound blogger 248am.com, blogged about the card rate of number of influencers in the social media. The post has raised some controversial questions that I summarize in two sides;1) the value to money of the practice, and 2) the ethical side of advertising without declaring it. I personally worked with many of the influencers that Mark has mentioned in his blog. And I like to share my experience on the buy-side of this practice in Kuwait.

In 2012 I met for the first time with a sale’s rep of one of the social media management companies, and the service he was offering was new to me. He had a list of tweeps with high number of followers and a price per tweet. I’m not going to hide my first reaction, I really thought the prices are exaggerated and could not find the rationality of value to money in the pricing. At that time I only asked questions, and didn’t sign up for the services.

I thought that I need to look at the practice more thoroughly. At first, why are they called influencers? And why do they get paid for endorsing something they already like! The simple answer is they have a significant number of followers on social media, which translates into high exposure for what they post. The high number of people came from the fact that people find what they share is interesting. And as their pages becomes more popular, just like any other media, the value of what appears there increases. I believe people working at Ghaliah Tech or influencers can better explain these specifics.

The other way I liked to look at the influencers is simply to compare them with athletes, models, actors, or other conventional celebrities. The rate card for advertising by conventional celebrities are substantially higher than influencers, yet we don’t question their value to money. In fact, big brands, like Coke and Nike, invest heavily in conventional celebrities, and the results are clear from their brand awareness and company’s results.

Social media has helped us all evolve our practices, from connecting with friends to doing business and exploiting new markets. Part of the evolution was the emergence of new class of celebrities, those celebrities who don’t have their photos taken by experts and don’t have their videos edited by a whole production staff. The influencers are casual cool people that we like. Most of the time they shoot their own photos and videos by their smart phones, with no extra or unnecessary efforts to deliver their messages.

In the past, we only recognized celebrities by their profession that allowed them to appear in our lives frequently due to the limited media. And for many of us, we don’t really share much of values or interests with those celebrities, we don’t really know who they really are, but we were stuck with them. Today, our celebrities are our influencers, people who we selectively follow based on our personal interests. And just like brands have always gone after celebrities, other businesses utilized the technological advancement and emergence of new class of celebrities.

The new class of celebrities is a natural and healthy evolution, as this new class is filling significant gaps in the branding and advertising. In the past, only big companies could afford to pay celebrities to bring their brands to public. Today, with the influencers, the new class of celebrities is more affordable for all business scales. Branding is no longer limited to companies with deep pockets, celebrities are available for big and small companies.

At Elevation Burger, I have worked with influencers since the beginning of 2013, specifically at our store openings. We invited @Acsia_AKF, @7amadQalam, and others, who I believe have given us a good brand awareness on social media.

So is their value to money of what they do from business perspective? Probably there is, but is their service priced correctly? Maybe this question requires more digging

On other hand of the controversy comes the ethical question. And I think the answer to this question is straight forward, a paid post is not an endorsement and not having it clear eventually means misleading the followers. I asked many influencers about the ethics of the practice from their perspective and it looked a bit different.

For many influencers they presume that their followers know they are posting paid ads, and this assumption is based on how each has defined themselves on their bio. Also many influencers take pride in what they do and they still consider their paid ads as endorsements as they would only do business with brands with certain values that matches theirs. And there is an increasing number of influencers that are clearly mentioning the related business parties and clearly distinguishing between their posts and paid ads.

I like to observe the evolution of the social media and the businesses that it’s creating. Social media is a total new sphere of networking and relationships, a new market place, and I think it’s interesting to see how it solves it’s problem. Today Mark has raised the awareness of this market on his blog, I have put my comments on LinkedIn, and I’m sure there are many others discussing it on Twitter or Instagram. Eventually the market will shape itself and it will define its standards.

Ali Ashkanani
CEO at TABCo Food


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I Date Kuwait

Posted by Mark

idatekuwait

Last week I posted about a local blog I started reading and found fascinating called Single in the Shires. It must have been inspiring because another blog popped up this week called I Date Kuwait. While Single in the Shires is about the dating adventures of a single British girl living in Kuwait, I Date Kuwait is about the dating adventures of a single Kuwaiti girl. She just has four posts up but I think it’s going to be interesting to see the contrast between a British expat dating in Kuwait and a young Kuwaiti girl. Check it out [Here]


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Hostels in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

hostel

A few days ago someone started a thread on Reddit asking about budget accommodations in Kuwait and specifically about a hostel run by the Kuwait boy scouts. That reminded me about the Salmiya Youth Hostel which I found by accident awhile back and was surprised it existed. Doesn’t seem anyone has any info on the hostels except that there were six of them in Kuwait and they were all closed down by the authorities back in 2011.

If anyone has any information on the history of hostels in Kuwait let me know cuz I’m curious.


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The First Graffiti Park Coming Soon

Posted by Mark

Cozmo Entertainment will be opening Kuwait’s first Graffiti park really soon. The park will be called Cozmo Spraybox and it’s going to be located near Sultan Center Shaab. I passed by recently to check it out (which is how I ended up with a small cameo in the video above) and I really liked the idea. The space isn’t very big but the ideas they have for it is pretty interesting, basically they’re going to rend out space for artists to come graffiti and they’ll provide the spray cans and everything. For now the video above is a bit of a preview, will share more info once I get it. [YouTube]

spraypark


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