Christopher Schroeder – Startup Rising – The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East – author, co-founder of healthcentral.com and CEO of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive.
Upon interviewing our guest this week, I had a minor revelation. Jon and I are sitting in our air conditioned, loft studio with our dogs lazily laying about our feet. The air conditioning hums to keep us at a comfortable 71 degrees and the blinking lights of the modem confirm that our internet connection is still cruising along at a blistering 70+ Mbps. There is a minor hiccup in the Skype connection which causes a pause in the interview and I angrily look over at Jon in hopes that he can get it resolved quickly. It is at that moment, in the middle of interviewing Christopher Schroeder that I realize – this is our entrepreneurial environment. This is the environment in which Western Culture understands most businesses develop.
Whether it be “bootstrapping” in a garage, or utilizing investor funding to quickly open your first office, this is the standard environment for a startup in the Western Hemisphere. We literally have the world at our fingertips. And as I listened to Christopher explain the societal, technological and governmental challenges that entrepreneurs in the Middle East are currently facing, I started to full grasp how advantaged I am – and I became despondent.
However, as the interview went on I began to realize that this episode is not about the disadvantages of the Middle East entrepreneur. Rather, this episode is about hope and growth in a region that is rarely afforded either of those things. Christopher started to explain to us how inexpensive mobile technology is allowing almost anyone in the world the ability to create and get their message out. Smartphone penetration in the Middle East is expected to break 50% within three years!
Entrepreneurs are starting to bond together to solve problems such as illiteracy, power shortages, and sexism. Even large American corporations such as Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn are recognizing the potential and investing in the Middle East, despite the glaring uncertainty. Technology is truly flattening the world and it looks like it might be for the best. Join us this week as we go across the world with Christopher Schroeder and learn about a Startup Rising!
Christopher Schroeder is an author, entrepreneur, advisor, and investor. In addition to his work investing and advising US-based startups, Schroeder serves on the advisory boards of the American University of Cairo School of Business, the Jordanian incubator Oasis500, the Middle East entrepreneurial platform wamda.com, The American University School of International Service and board of directors of The American Council on Germany. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and French American Foundation. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Business School. Christopher has written extensively for the Washington Post, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine and more!
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