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BONUS | Dr. Talal Abu Ghazaleh - The Godfather of Arab Accounting (with Rouba Zeidan)
April 13, 2020 | 50 Minutes
Dr. Talal Abu Ghazaleh is the chairman and founder of the international Jordan-based Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Global. Dubbbed as the godfather of Arab accounting, Abu-Ghazaleh has also been credited for promoting the significance of Intellectual Property in the Arab World, and beyond. In this special episode of Count Me In, he speaks with host Rouba Zeidan about the evolution of education and how we will learn in the future. Abu Ghazaleh also talks about his view of gender parity in the region while touching on some of the most significant turning points in his life and career, and how these have impacted his overall view on leadership. Download this insightful and informative episode now!
Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization(TAGORG) https://www.linkedin.com/company/talal-abu-ghazaleh-organization/
Talal Abu-Ghazaleh: https://www.linkedin.com/in/talal-abu-ghazaleh-95b298/
Joa'an Abu Ghazaleh: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joa-an-abu-ghazaleh-701a9788/
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Joa'an Abu Ghazaleh: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joa-an-abu-ghazaleh-701a9788/
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT
Welcome back for another bonus episode of Count Me In. For today's conversation, we're going to hear my co-host Rouba Zeidan conduct a very special interview with the godfather of Arab accounting. Let's listen in now.
So hello, this is Rouba Zeidan. Tonight I have a very, very special guest, Dr. Abu Ghazaleh, who's an accountant by profession and one of the greatest and most influential minds in the Arab world. He's a graduate of the American University of Beirut, which is a pride for a Lebanese, or for someone with Lebanese origin like myself, but you also had honorary degrees and PHDs from various other universities throughout your career. You've also been honored by numerous diplomatic figures and presidents throughout your life. You also have a very longstanding series of friendships with the likes of Kofi Annan and anymore. You're major advocate of intellectual property, education, knowledge, economy and information technology. And you're known for your forward-thinking business projects and ideas and the Arab world and globally. So, one of your universities in Jordan, actually has no testing. In order to graduate, you just need to innovate as a student, which we found quite interesting. How do you feel the educational system in the region is working to promote and encourage innovation in young minds?
Dr. Talal: (01:31)
You may be surprised, or you may know more than I that this is not a unique problem in this region. It is international. I was invited by Harvard university, Columbia, and MIT, to make public speeches and I told them, that it is unfortunate that these great institutions who are supposed to be the best in the world, have made themselves redundant. Because what they do is still what was happening in the “Kuttab” (an old-fashioned method of education which used to be prevalent in the Arab world). They used to in “Kuttab” sit on the ground. Teacher, books, lectures, exams. The exams are for testing how good is your memory. How much do you remember of what we taught you? This is the same now in Harvard or any great university, not just in this part of the world. And we produce job seekers by giving them certificates that they are good at remembering what they were taught. It's a test of “Hifth” (memorization in Arabic) how good you are at remembering what we have taught you. Incidentally, I don't remember anything I learned at school or at university, and a great school and a great university I went to. I don’t remember anything. Because they used to teach us what is the highest mountain in the world? What is the longest river? what is the oldest city? Information now that it is a pity to use and dwell on, on our memory space, instead of using our memory space for useful thinking and production. Now I don't remember anything and unfortunately our part of the world, because it follows the American and the Western culture in teaching, is in the same way. I believe it's time. And I told everybody that it's time for universities to realize that, in the fourth of revolution, the industrial revolution, what is needed is innovators and not graduates who are job seekers. Why? Because an innovator, sets up the business and employs others. Our current job seekers, they go around looking for jobs, like I did. I applied when I graduated to something like 700 schools and companies to work. I got 500 refused. Not interested. I don’t have experience. We will look you up once we review, etc. and 200 even ignored my letter. I keep these letters for memory to teach myself, I keep reminding myself. I keep them in a luggage bag. And I carry them wherever I travel. If I change locations, like I did to Canada or to Cairo or to Amman. When I move from place to place, I move this bag. Why? Because it is a good reminder that a university degree is useless. Even at the time when I graduated in 1960, there were people who were making money and had no degrees, and making successes, who had no degrees. And as I said in my speech today, that a job prevents you from being poor, but it also prevents you from becoming rich. That is a fact. Now, our educational system is very wrong. Basically, because, sorry, look at, doctors. A doctor will not give you a medicine without examining you. In schools, we treat all brains with the same medicine and there are no two brains which are equal. This is what the scientists tell us, every brain is different. And how do you feed my body, as my body needs, but when it comes to my brain, which I think is more important than my body, you feed the intelligent, the idiot, the slow thinker, the very fast thinker, the man with the critical mind, the man who is lazy, we feed them the same education. The president of Harvard, former president of Harvard said, “The Tsunami of modern education, this Tsunami is going to wipe all schools and universities who do not adapt to the needs of change in the knowledge age. Now, that is why the leadership of change in education shifted from the US, Canada, Britain, Australia, whatever, France, to the Scandinavian countries. Finland today is the leader in innovating education and they are now realizing it now and implementing in many, schools. First, the decision now is that there is no government education organization. It's not the business of government to teach and they are moving all government education to private sector. Number 2, the private sector should not teach you. Their job is to make sure that you know how to learn. Not to be taught. To learn, you learn what is suitable to you, what is adaptable and convenient for your brain. So we have to realize that in the knowledge age where the only source of income and wealth is through knowledge creation and that's why at the Talal Abu Ghazaleh College for Innovation, which I think is the first in the world, not only in the region, there isn't any college in the world which says, I don't examine you to graduate. You have to submit an acceptable innovation, not just any kind. And we know because we are the largest and the leading intellectual property company in the world. We know what makes an innovation. So, you have to invent something. And invent doesn't mean that you have to do something new. Any change to your mobile, in size, in design, in numbers, in program, is a new invention. That is what the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) says, one which board I served, as an expert. So therefore, what we need now is to invent in order, to make this movement of progress in the right direction. There is no place in the future for anything except innovators. And when I say innovators, I mean every individual. The telephone operator can innovate. A painter innovates. Innovation is any addition or change or improvement that has value and is ‘commercializable’. It can be commercialized. And that is what we do. So, what we do in our company, and this gives us an added value is in this school, we test your invention and say, great, this is an innovation. Then we can register it and protect it for you as an intellectual right for the student, for their own right. It’s their ownership. Then comes a third stage, the commercialization of inventions. We help to put them, we help them to put them in contact with the right partner. Either to buy their inventions or to partner with them or to license or to do anything that helps in making the product a commercial product in the market.
So, they take off in the world with a career “ready, set, go, plug and play”.
Dr. Talal: (10:55)
And most of the problems today, if you focus on this part of the world, which is not that serious in the US, we don't have a silicon valley where there are venture capital companies, we don't have any venture capital companies in the Arab world. And this is another criticism. Unfortunately, in the Arab world, we only think that what is safe and good investment is what I can touch. A building, a chair.
Dr. Talal (11:31)
Tangible. Whereas in reality, one invention, which is a software, just a program is worth, is more valuable than the GDP of 20 countries. Google. What is Google? computer program? No raw materials, no labor, no products, nothing. It's a knowledge product and it's only a program. Uber. What is Uber. A program. Amazon, et cetera. These inventions are the ones we are guiding our students Talal Abu Ghazaleh College of Innovation. What is your interest? Are you interested in cyber security, cyber security, or do you like robotics or do you want to develop machine learning? What do you want to do? And when he discovers himself, we guide him to the sources and access to the information, because we are connected to all the databases in the world, through our partnership and online libraries all over the world. So the important thing is, unfortunately, and I'm saying this, I know I offend a lot of people…
The truth hurts
Dr. Talal (12:55)
But they accept it from me, somehow because they know what I stand at, where my heart is. I'm not criticizing because I’m a revolutionary, I'm a criticizing because I want the right change. I was just asked by one of the interviewers : so, what, what can we do to do this, making this change? She said, I heard a lot of talk in all the region about artificial intelligence. I said look, there is a lot of talk, but, I haven't seen any action on artificial intelligence and education. I don't see any school who is using artificial intelligence.
Yeah, because you, you say that and for example, the World Economic Forum, when they looked at the future of jobs, they said that 65% of students who are going into their graduate degrees now will graduate into jobs that do not exist. So, what are we doing to mitigate this? Is there anything that's being done? What are those jobs?
Dr. Talal: (13:58)
Well, the jobs of the future are now clear. Let’s take the simplest example, just robotics: the design of the rope, the software that you would put in the rope, the maintenance, because this needs to be maintained, how much intelligence you want to put in the robot. And the then this robot that you want, you should decide for what purpose and services you want it. If you just study robotics, that's a whole world of services and of expertise. Self-driven cars, which is the future,
The autonomous car.
Dr. Talal: (14:50)
In 10 years, nobody will own a car. In 10 years, there's no car, private car. Why should I have one? Why should I use a driver? That's one of the jobs with this will disappear, because these cars would be parked and various parking places and online you choose what kind of car you want. You talk to the robot because the autonomous car is a robot. You talk to this robot, you tell him what you want, he says fine, I know, I'm coming now. I'll say I want you to take the children to school and come back to me. He takes them to school, he comes back to me, then goes back and parks. This would solve the traffic problem and the question of investing in cars, repairs of cars, problems of parking cars.
Environmental pollution also.
Dr. Talal: (15:45)
So, a lot of things would change. Unfortunately, we think of artificial intelligence as an art that we need to learn and know about, that's all. That should be at the elementary age. Children should learn about artificial intelligence. That’s we are now telling our graduates. Children should be told that to find out and learn about artificial intelligence, and we exchange information with them on the subject and lead them on how to learn. In the upper classes before university…
Dr. Talal: (16:43)
Yes, in secondary education they have to trained on the applications of artificial intelligence, not the concept. I want children to know about the concept because you will find that some of these children, once they know about the concept, they can become inventors immediately. The greatest inventors in the world are children.
They're still not conditioned. Their minds are, I guess, much more raw.
Dr. Talal: (17:12)
The luxury of having been born as digital citizens, the child, in the mother’s lap he grabs the gadget from his mother and starts writing.
As you said it, he's learning with his fingers.
Dr. Talal: (17:28)
When I was speaking two days ago in Muscat, somebody came to me and wanted to remind me that our Quran said “iqra’” (in Arabic: read). He said: “do you want to cancel reading? Do you want to cancel books?”. I said the Quran says that reading has to be from written and typed book, by somebody who doesn’t know what he is writing about most of the time? When a child uses this smart tool, with his finger, he is reading, he is writing. When he does a search, he is studying. When he sends a message, he is communicating. When he plays with the games, he is playing a whole game online. In our school, for example, Talal Abu Ghazaleh University College for Innovation, we teach now our students, we don't teach them, we guide them how to write games. Why should games all be written by a certain culture and for certain cultures. I want games written by Arabs for Arabs, for that historic stories like Alibaba, and I don’t mean the Alibaba of China. I want them to write stories about Ibn al-Muqaffa' and start writing stories about our great scientist Al-Khwarizmi, our great innovators... I spend a lot of time criticizing the media, because in the Arab world, our media is only talking about what is bad. It's true, we have a lot of problems and we are in a very serious situation in the region. But, I shouldn’t forget my history. Historically. We are a great nation.
Dr. Talal: (19:45)
We are at the basis of old signs. The internet you are using couldn't have existed without the Arabs. The story is when we’re talking about this media, that the Arabs came up with the idea that we need a zero. The Europeans said that Arabs were stupid. How is it, how can zero be a number? The whole concept of the internet is based on the zero.
Dr. Talal: (22:23)
And that's an Arab invention. I can go until after tomorrow telling you about the Arab World and I want to create this feeling of pride in the Arab world, because without pride, without ambition, without confidence, you cannot innovate. If you keep saying this is not useful, hopeless, there is no use… How can this area be no use, no real value, when every country in the world is fighting to have its footsteps in this region. If we are a useless future, why should people fight and lose people? They lose people, they lose money, they struggle to have control in the region. Why do you want to control something that has no value?
When you were talking about the transition of education and how it's transforming, by default, not because any institution is driving it per se, it's just the digital transformation that’s kind of leading the way. Like, in a discussion with an MIT economics professor who saying that even MIT, as established as it is, they're having trouble enrolling students for full time academia, because they are going for online education, more so. But in your view, what is the future of education? How are people going to learn in the future?
Dr. Talal: (21:47)
I know I'm offending everybody. But I would like to ask every government in this country, to think how they can transform their universities and their campuses to use for purposes, because there will be no need for any university building or for a campus. Sweden, as of next year, will provide online free education for everybody in the world.
Wow! In the world!
Dr. Talal: (22:20)
In the World! Free! And you will get a degree online from a very respectable university, which has tradition and culture, and which is and which is state of the art in education, because that's what Scandinavia is. And the Americans, I know, I learned it from Finnish experience, which is the best experience in the world in education.
So it's giving you a sensibility.
Dr. Talal: (22:50)
Why should I spend billions on buildings and campuses and books
And student debts afterwards.
Dr. Talal: (23:01)
No, that's number one. Number two, even worse, you know that Google is working on a university brain. This is a project which is already in process. I think it would be in less than five years. They will the brain of a graduate students, which through artificial intelligence they will put in my head and I will become as educated as any university graduate. So I will save 11 years of my life. And this is not fiction, this is the reality.
It's like uploading software basically.
Dr. Talal: (23:46)
Exactly! You upload a software in your mind and at the age of 14, you are a graduate. And you can be a graduate of any university that uses this brain. You want an American education? Okay, I'll send you an American brain. You want French? I can send you a French brain. Our educators and our ministers of education are not aware of this, because they don't want it, because in the future there is no need for a Minister of education. Ministers of education will not exist. There's no use for them. Why? Why do I need a Minister of education? What is he going to do? Because I'm going to get any qualification or education or skill or profession online. We're doing that now. I chair the International Arab Society of Certified Accountants, and now our qualification is online. You don't have to take any course. You don't have to prove that you have any experience or qualification or degree, and this is not innovation. This is old history. In Britain, you can become a chartered accountant without going to school. You're not required to have a degree and we don't ask you about any qualification. You just sit for the exam.
Straight to the point.
Dr. Talal: (22:23)
This is the future.
Let's say, in this kind of world, you are already a professional, whichever industry because with AI as I know, you're very passionate about, AI is transforming every single job or profession in the world. How does one upscale, I mean, until the likes of Google have had that chip where you can upgrade, what do you do now to upscale and then so that your skills are not obsolete.
Dr. Talal: (25:46)
Again, I'll give you an example. We are a leading accounting firm. For a year we’ve been working on a tech auditor. Our auditors will never need to go to the client to check their books. We would think that you have to go and take a file and your computer and go through the receipts, check the file... We have learnt how easy it is to do all of this online because we have a hundred over a hundred offices. We don't ask them to send us a report because we know what they're doing, because online we are watching his accounting records, his cashflow, his bank account, everything. So, if I can do that, what can’t I do it with an audit? Our project of the tech auditor, the auditor wouldn't be the program, not the individual. We would input them into this program: Accounting standards or Auditing standards, and in five minutes you would get the report which would take months and staff to go and check books and records. It's the change. The speed of change is beyond explanation, but unfortunately the decision makers don't like it, because, first, there is a problem of culture, not easy to change, Second, there is the need for the existence universities and schools. There is the need for a ministry to tell you what program you can teach. When I started, I wanted to teach artificial intelligence. They said it's not on the list of courses because they have a list of subjects. I said I am not going to teach geography. I don't want to teach literature. I don't want to teach psychology. I want to teach artificial intelligence, only.
Figure it out!
Dr. Talal (28:19)
We managed to get it, but it is still a problem for all universities and all school is because they have to comply with the ruling of the Ministry about their program their courses. The space of the class: how many students per professor? All the nonsense in the world! To get a license to have the university, in some countries, one requirements to have 120 acres of land. As if I'm going to build Disneyland
Or a farm
Dr. Talal: (29:03)
Or real estate. Change is unfortunately a problem in this part of the world. In my case, the problem is that I’m too much. when I actually added a new policy or rule or request, my colleague said, but Mr. Chairman, only two weeks ago you told us that we should do the following.
Dr. Talal: (29:38)
I said, no, I'm sorry! This has not changed in two weeks? I’m sorry for being so late in making this change. In two weeks, the whole world has changed.
Exactly, it changed by the hour, I think. They call you the godfather of the Arab world. How did you earn that title?
Dr. Talal: (29:56)
They call me many things, people who love me or like me or appreciate what I'm doing, they’re very generous, they’re very kind to me. Maybe because I'm an old man, that's all. It’s because of me age.
You carry it with pride. You said, and I quote, you said: “accounting is a base for better decision making”. How do you find that that fairs amidst that fourth industrial revolution, that you speak of, with digital transformation and the massive takeover of AI? Would there even be a role for finance and accounting professionals to play, when machines can do that job way better and more accurately and efficiently and consistently?
Dr. Talal: (30:39)
Exactly. This goes back to the year 1992. I was elected to the board of the International Federation of Accountants, the first Arab ever to be on the board of IFAC, the International Federation of Accountants and the ISC, which was called around that time, the International Accounting Standards in London, both. And I was the only non-Western and I looked funny. With all the big brains, big names, Arthur Andersen… (inaudible) etc.. So, before we go into the discussions, it was my first day, I said what is the objective of accounting?, Why do we do accounting? They looked at me like this idiot who doesn't know what accounting is for. They said: accounting is to produce financial statements. We keep accounts so that, at the end of the year, we know what is our financial position and our profit or loss, because that is very important. We want to know our financial position and results of the operation, this is very important, it’s what accounting is for. I said, no, I’d like to move that we change the object, the mission of accounting, the mission statement, to become : accounting is it a tool for economic decision making. Once I have these financial statements, they are material for the decision in the future. How can I make my financial results better and my financial position better. So we need them in order to take economic decisions that improve our operation. The chairman of the meeting said, any second call for discussing this subject. The answer was no. Forget it, drop it. I came back the next meeting with one person who was willing to second my stupid recommendation. And at the meeting I said that I wanted to go back to the subject of objective of accounting. He said, but we discussed it but it was drop because there was no second. I said, let me try now. maybe there is a second. He asked if any wanted to second the answer was yes and he said: I think it's worth studying. Let's look at this. Okay, cool. Studied, discussed, nobody agreed. No majority, there is no change. Two years and finally I come to change. I drafted the document, which is at the beginning of the accounting standards, which says accounting is a tool for management, economic decision making.
And then you wonder how you earned that title of godfather.
Dr. Talal: (34:01)
That's me. As I would always say : you don't lose until you stop trying. As long as you are trying, you have not lost. The vote was against me, but I haven’t lost because I’m still trying. Now what I'm saying is unfortunately, now, this has to change also. We need in the knowledge, in the age of industrial revolution a new standard for knowledge creation. In the year 2005 I was serve on the board of WTO, World Trade Organization, Board of Experts, and I asked that negotiate policies and agreements for trade in knowledge products. But then they looked at me like an idiot. What do you mean knowledge product?. Unfortunately it was because WTO was born before the internet. It's a pre-event and therefore there was nothing in WTO internet-related.
Oh, till now?
Dr. Talal: (35:26)
Till now. I fought that better, they said you’re absolutely right and we support you, but unfortunately, we don't know what to do about this because this needs negotiation because WTO is an organization where everything is done in a negotiating room by consensus. If one says no, it’s killed, and the US said no. To make a long story short, last week, president Trump decided that he wants to start discussions with the World Trade Organization on knowledge products inclusion. According to what he said, to reform the WTO to be to incorporate the knowledge products. For an example, how would you account for Google? In the WTO, trade is either a service or a product.: goods and services. Google is not a good nor a service. Now what does a good offer? It's in business and it's a very good business. In 10 years, they became 1 trillion in value, so it must be that a very profitable business. You, that all of these, world companies in the knowledge age, don’t pay taxes because you cannot account for what they have.
Yeah. It's like when they said that the, for example, Airbnb is the biggest hospitality group, but they don't own a single hotel. Same with Uber. They don't own a single fleet, but their an actual taxi company.
Dr. Talal: (37:19)
For example, Amazon paid only 20 million in the UK. Why? Because they calculated that, on the revenue Amazon made through advertising. Because companies would advertise on Amazon and the revenue earned by Amazon from advertising was taxed. But 20 million is nothing.
It’s a drop.
Dr. Talal: (37:54)
I haven't seen any balance sheet or profit and loss of all of these major huge giants in the knowledge age.
But I guess that's about to change now, not that it's on the agenda.
Dr. Talal: (38:06)
So now, exactly what I was saying in 2005, Trump called and asked for these negotiations. Now they would form a multi-lateral negotiating forum for everybody to come and discuss what I asked for in 2005.
I know that you have a very busy schedule, I just have a few more questions for you. The other day at the lecture, which I really enjoyed by the way, you're an amazing speaker and the room was majority women and you seem to be very proud of that factor. You compared them to your granddaughters, and you encouraged them to continue to learn and grow. Do you find that women, in the Arab world, are given a fair chance to represent their gender within the leadership spectrum?
Dr. Talal: (39:02)
I love women, but I'm very critical of them. Who mandated men to give them or empower them or give them an agenda? Why do you want to submit to men to give you this? Why don't you give the men the agenda? This is my problem. And then all my coauthors are of women and they say, we want to be enabled. I say, who enables you? They said, the men. I said, why don't you enable them? You decide that you're the boss and you want write their agenda and they will get it. This is the problem with women. They have this mental block that this world is ruled by men and we have to ask them permission to let us co-rule with them.
Yeah, I mean the term male domination does come to mind. Do you think companies are actually hiring women in leadership positions? If you look at the Arab world, the majority of CEOs and the top echelon C-suite are mostly men. Let's say all of these women are empowered. They have the education, qualifications…
Dr. Talal: (40:09)
Because of the culture of women, not men. Women. Like this lady, she managed to be a senior, Joanna Abu Ghazale, not because of the name Abu Ghazale, but because she decided to be superior to men, in her job. It’s your decision. I can't understand why women want to beg men to recognize them, you don’t need them.
So, if you were to give them one singular advice, as professional women stepping…
Dr. Talal: (40:45)
Take your leadership in your own hands. Don't wait for men to give you a role, take the role. Why aren't you trying like I tried to establish companies, what is wrong with you? What is wrong with women that cannot form companies and be their own chairmen? It's there, but it's very few because they wait for men to make them, to connect them to become in higher positions. Put yourself in a high position and employ a man.
Love it. Thank you.
My last question is : with all these years of seasoned experience and beautiful contribution to your sector and others, even music that I've noticed, which is wonderful.....
Dr. Talal: (41:37)
It's my love.
I noticed it's a passion. I've seen that you've followed through on so many different productions as well for orchestras. It's amazing. I want to know in your opinion, what is the essence of leadership? What makes a leader?
Dr. Talal: (41:54)
You were in the morning at this speech.
Dr. Talal: (41:58)
I tried in this speech to say that, but without using the word “to be a leader”. I said life taught, the leaders of the world taught. My implication is these 13 points that I raised make a leader. You decide. You have to believe, that everything in you and for you is your decision. No one is born to be second rate. No one is born to be unhappy. Your destiny is your own decision. That's a leader. I don't wait for somebody else to tell me how to succeed. I decide to succeed. Secondly, to be happy. Happiness is important in leadership. Nobody would like and try to follow somebody who is frustrated or discouraged.
Dr. Talal: (43:05)
That's very important. Also, the feeling that to lead means how to motivate. Our leaders think, some of our leaders at least, think that leadership means giving orders. I never give orders. If I'm asked, I give advice, but I give the person an assignment and tell him : “swim”. I don't teach you to swim. I throw you into the pool and you learn how to swim. If he cannot swim, he cannot be a leader. If he cannot decide what to do and how to do it, he will never be a leader. You have to decide that you are able to do what you want to do and that every success is a decision. Success doesn't mean trying from the first time and succeeding. Success means that you keep trying until you succeed. You fail when you stop trying. Most people they try the first time and say “look I failed that's not working”. Not working? why? Because people are against me because I didn't get any help. I never accept that when I fail, I fail because I was wrong. So how and why did I fail so that I try more intelligently to succeed? I never tried to find an excuse for my failure. I don't blame myself because that's also not useful. What I learn from my mistakes. As I also said it today, in school, we learn for exams, in real life we meet problems and we go through exams and we learn lessons from the exams in real life. So this ability to learn from your mistakes. And to I admit them with confidence, not with frustration, I failed, but I'm going to try again. I failed because I was wrong, because I did something wrong. So how can I next time succeed and this feeling of self-responsibility and self-accountability a leader would never say I failed because my enemy is better than me or because the government fought me. Government never fights anybody or doesn't want to fight anybody. And even if government fights you… I can tell you in many cases I was not supported but I was lucky because I was not supported because I've had to do it with the determination that I want to succeed against the odds. What I'm trying to say is leadership is a decision also. Do you want to be a leader? What I just said, as an employee you can protect yourself from poverty but also you prevent yourself from being wealthy. Do you want this or this? Some people say no I don't want to take the risk. I want the salary and go. Honestly, I didn't want that. In 1972, when I decided to start this multinational group, I started from the car trunk. I didn't have an office. I couldn't afford an office. I had a few colleagues with me and we wouldn't meet on the curb, take our files from the back, discuss things, in the morning, go fight, come back in the evening with the results. Literally, our car trunck was our office. We didn't have an office. I wouldn't say that I couldn't succeed because I did not have money to rent an office. You don’t have money, there must be other alternatives. So, what I'm trying to say is that everything in life is a decision to be a leader that you must first decide to be a leader. And if you want to decide to be a leader that are certainly qualities. The decision comes first, then there are qualities. People must love you. I always say : “To be loved is more important than to be great or feared”.
I think it’s Machiavelli who said : “It’s better to be feared than to be loved”.
Dr. Talal: (78:17)
Ididn't invent anything. As I said, this morning. This is what I learned. I learned from life, but this is the case. Be loved. Love is the most powerful thing in the world and it's the most contagious thing. You cannot love somebody, and he continues to hate you. People feel. They feel if you love me or not. I mean love in the noble of sense. If I love you, you can sense it and then you can then immediately react. I'm not going to look at you like that “look she’s trying to prove that she knows something”. People usually, when they meet somebody they try to find what is wrong with him. This is a habit. It's an instinct. It's interesting. Look how he's dressed. Look at the way he speaks, how he walks. I have learned that every individual in the word is good and there is one goodness. At least in them. Look for it.
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