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Does culture matter? Business practices across the Netherlands and Middle East

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A few months ago I was contacted by the Netherlands Institute of Beirut to see if I would be interested in talking about culture and business in the Middle East. This is part of their upcoming initiative to create bridges between the Middle East and the Netherlands, starting within an academic setting. Part of this commendable drive it seems to me is a response against this growing Islamophobia within Europe which is of course deeply troubling. What better way than to engage the youth across these borders in areas of common interest. I like the idea that instead of going there to be preachy about intercultural harmony and respect, that we choose a topic that the youth are genuinely engaged with and from there see how culture actually matters. So of course it’s of little surprise that the topic that youth in the Middle East seem to be interested in is that of business, social media and globalization. And for good reason. Like other young people across the globe, I believe they are mo…

Ideas on the rocks!

Enterprise Ireland surely knows how to woo you! In little brown conference bags you find Jameson Irish Whiskey to take you through for the rest of the evening in Palo Alto. Mainly Irish and Irish American entrepreneurs and venture capitalists gather to plot and plan how to chase money from pennies to dollars in this economic climate. Some good advice spews forth from a venture capitalist…if someone asks you, “will you be my mentor,” I say “No” …much of this is equated with dating…you don’t ask to get married on your first date, do you? Now that’s good advice. But they also demand face-to-face courtship. What then should we make of all the LinkedIn and Facebook chase that goes on with relative strangers? Does that go far at all? I personally have befriended several researchers, professors and practitioners in my field online. Over the years I would say some of these have become genuine relationships as we exchange Real favors in Virtual settings. So is Venture Capital in Silicon Valley…