The Arab Jeff Bezos: Startup Turkey Takeaway #2

Feb 19 2013

Arab literature is an oral rather than written tradition. Rich in prose and poetry families and communities would gather around the storyteller to regale in fantastic tales. Modern times have made that more difficult. Amman-based computer engineer Al...

Startup Turkey

Feb 18 2013

Thunder and lightening bookmarked eTohum’s Startup Turkey’s annual gathering this past weekend. It fit. The congregation of Turkish and regional entrepreneurs (from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Uzbekistan) stormed Antalya...

Despite Turkey-Syria Tensions, Business Goes On

Oct 05 2012

Venture capital investor Numan Numan was confused when an American visitor to Turkey asked him this morning about what was happening to his country. He had arrived at the Webrazzi Summit in Istanbul, a conference focused on start-ups and entrepreneur...

The Four Investments

Aug 14 2012

This is a guest post by Wajahat Ali, a playwrite, attorney, journalist and humorist. It was inspired after a trip to South and East Asia. They are recommendations for creating a successful, fulfilling career. INVEST IN FAILURE First, here’s an exam...

Global Venture Capital Confidence: High

Jul 23 2012

Questions about venture capital in the United States have led many to wonder about whether the industry, as Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson noted in May, is becoming “obsolete.” “There is simply too much money,” wrote Forbes staff w...

Book Review: Vital Voices

Jun 04 2012

“Effectiveness,” Peter Drucker wrote in the game-changing Effective Executive, is “the specific technology of the knowledge worker.” It is one that the management guru proclaimed was necessary to be a leader. He identified five practices to g...

Book Review: How Will You Measure Your Life?

May 14 2012

Writing this column for the past several weeks has been hard for me. How I wish it were the only thing I could do. But scrambling to live, I’m forced to attend to other matters. They are namely matters that enable me to have a roof over my head, bu...

Wanted: Investors for Turkey's Hot Start-Ups

Mar 29 2012

  Global entrepreneurship is all the rage. That is especially true in Turkey. Start-ups are sprouting all along the Bosporus at lighting speed. Trouble is, investors aren’t keeping up. Though Turkey has seen an astronomical rise in tech compan...

Microfinance in America?

Mar 26 2012

Lending Sufia Khatun a small sum to make and sell bamboo stools in her Bangladeshi village back in 1974 placed Muhammad Yunus at the heart of a radical movement. It is a movement that has come to be known as “microlending” and one that has radica...

Hi Ho It's Off With Work As We Know

Feb 23 2012

Going to work isn’t what it used to be. That’s because many of us aren’t actually going to work. With Blackberrys, smartphones, laptops and cloud computing, more and more people work from home or “telecommuting.” With social media has made ...

SOPA Threatens American Innovation

Jan 16 2012

Internet theft is a problem. Stealing another person’s ideas, creations and inventions deprives authors, artists and entrepreneurs proper credit and compensation. That leaves them with little incentive to continue their contributions. This is terri...

The Ottoman Revival Is Over

The New York Times

Mar 30 2014

NEW YORK — For Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s embattled prime minister, a win in Sunday’s local elections will be a Pyrrhic victory. While his Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., will likely retain a majority of municipalities, Turkey as a whole, particularly as an international player, has lost....

A ban on Twitter hardly helps Turkey’s progressive reputation


Mar 23 2014

Citing threats to Turkey’s stability, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, blocked Twitter last week. The ban has failed, and boomeranged into a flood of people in the country taking to the popular social media service through encrypted connections and virtual private network software to express frustration....

For Once, Washington Forgets the P.R.

Upstart Business Journal

Apr 26 2010

It was not business as usual in our nation’s capital today. The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship that kicked off in Washington D.C. is turning out to be an atypical event. “This is a new beginning,” President Obama said to the delegates at the end of the first day “that is based on mutual interest and mutual respect,” referring to the approach his White House is taking in engaging with the Muslim world....

A Passion for Transparency

Upstart Business Journal

Apr 27 2010

Capitol Hill wasn¹t the only venue in Washington where government and business slugged it out today. As Goldman Sachs defended itself before the U.S. Senate, the 250 plus entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders gathered for day two of the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship engaged in their own debate about the relationship between the public and private sector. In particular, they talked about how much regulation and government oversight business requires. Yes, it was a "spirited" discussion....

Redefining Failure in the Muslim World

Upstart Business Journal

Apr 29 2010

“I saw your picture with Dr. Yunus on Twitter” my friend Francesca remarked to me over email. She was referring to Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, who won the prize for his work with the Grameen Bank and microfinance and with whom I posed for a photo at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship this week in Washington. “So how come you haven’t referred to him at all in your posts from the summit?”...

A Star-Studded Gathering of Do-Gooders

Upstart Business Journal

Sep 22 2010

Shakira is doing it. Ashton and Demi are doing it. Bill and Melinda Gates are doing it. Bill and Hillary Clinton are doing it too. But I suppose that’s expected. It is, after all, the Clinton Global Initiative, more commonly known as CGI. What they’re all doing at CGI is exploring ways to make the world a better place. Isn’t everybody? That is, at least, my takeaway from the first day of this annual gathering of celebrities, philanthropists, NGO, and private-sector leaders....

It’s The Markets, Stupid

Upstart Business Journel

Sep 23 2010

“What counts as a market?” Pro-Founder CEO Jessica Jackley asked me over coffee on the second day of the Clinton Global Initiative gathering where she led the session “Supporting the Next Generation of Market-Based Innovators.” Jackley, the social entrepreneur who previously co-founded the microlending enterprise, was referring to the developing world where more often than not the platform traditionally has been charity. “Does it count as a market when the buyer is detached from the recipient?”...

Alive and Kicking

Upstart Business Journal

Sep 24 2010

The Web isn’t dead. That’s the verdict from day three at the Clinton Global Initiative, where the talk was focused on technology. Specifically, how technology enables: communication, innovation, and collaboration—not just for the poor, but with and by them....

No Pussy Riot, no Steve Jobs


Feb 21 2013

Exactly one year ago, four members of the Russian female punk band Pussy Riot charged the gilded altar of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Outfitted in bright-colored balaclavas and tights, they pumped their fists in the air and shouted, “Saint Mary! Virgin! Drive Putin away!”...

Humanitarian Aid, the chicken or the egg?

Building Markets Blogs

Feb 18 2011

Found this article about Wipro CEO Azim H. Premji in today’s NYT interesting. I had incidentally heard Premji speak earlier this week about his efforts to raise India’s education standards through his foundation. His focus is public schools....

Challenging Down with the People

Building Markets Blogs

Feb 16 2011

Last week PDT bossman Scott Gilmore went on a rant about volunteering. This week Habitat for Humanity Ireland’s Executive Director Karen Kennedy sent us this response. In it she asks, what if: ...

Help! They’re cutting foreign aid…

Building Markets Blogs

Feb 17 2011

It’s budget season again in Washington. And again it reminds me of this Looney Tunes skit. Congress as Bugs, outwitting and outmaneuvering the aid world that is Daffy. As soon as President Obama handed over the 2012 federal budget to lawmakers this week we heard the belt-tightening howls “slash spending.” One of Congress’s main targets: USAID, and, more generally, American dollars funding foreign assistance programs....

Considering Liberia’s Marketplace

Building Markets Blogs

Mar 16 2011

The UN Security Council takes up the “matter” of Liberia again today. It’s been a while. The last time the Turtle Bay diplomats considered the West African nation still struggling to recover from a devastating civil war that took place a decade ago was in September. To be fair, they’ve been busy with other worries in the region, namely Côte d’Ivoire and Libya. To be honest, Liberia needn’t be a continuing concern if there was more focus on re-building Liberia’s economy....

Aid & development: A few good posts

Building Markets Blogs

Feb 24 2011

Notwithstanding Arab uprisings and Qaddafi rants, there has been a lot of good stuff on aid and development this week. Some of the must reads from this week. The best by far is Owen Barder’s “Eight lessons from three years of working on transparency.” It’s so good we’re re-reading and learning from it. If you care about aid and development you should too....

What’s wrong with aid?

Building Markets Blogs

Feb 28 2011

Aid. Bet your eyes rolled just reading that. The word upsets us all and, still, we dispense billions of dollars of it to places that are hit by conflict or disaster. Then we complain how that doesn’t make a difference. But do we ever ask why?...

Liberia’s riches: its marketplace

Building Markets Blogs

Apr 21 2011

Stock Market Wire reported on Tuesday that Aureus Mining, a publicly traded company on the London and Canadian exchanges, conveyed “encouraging” results from “reconnaissance exploration” of natural resources in Liberia. The company expects to expand its efforts in the country....


Passionate about international affairs, I have spent the past two decades working on foreign policy and international development. Today, I do both as a writer, speaker, consultant, and co-founder.

I am the founder of the World Policy Institute's Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Project. Started in 2012, the project builds on my belief that entrepreneurs are a product of his or her environment. The project aims to understand the dynamics of entrepreneurial environments.

In 2012, Public Affairs, a leading New York-based publishing house, commissioned me to write a book about this topic. I am currently finalizing that work, "Steve Jobs Lives in Pakistan: Extraordinary Entrepreneurs in the Developing World." It is the story about how entrepreneurship has gone global. It focuses on talented individuals around the world who have overcome insurmountable obstacles to lead high-growth businesses.

I am also the co-founder of Foreign Policy, Interrupted, an incubator/media enterprise aimed to increase the number of women commenting on foreign affairs on op-ed pages and television. The incubator will provide qualified women, experts in foreign policy matters, with media training and connections with top-tier media outlets, including Foreign Affairs and Fareed Zakaria's program on CNN, GPS.

Occasionally, I write about global innovations and entrepreneurship in a weekly column entitled, Entreventures, on I have also contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, VentureBeat, the Huffington Post, and MIT's Innovations journal. In 2010, I co-authored a study for Pakistan's Planning Commission on entrepreneurship, entitled: "Creating a Place for the Future."


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