Loaay Ahmed

Managing Director, knightscapital
Salmiya, Kuwait

About Loaay

Bio

Loaay means lion in Arabic. It’s an ancient name that goes back to 2000 years or so. Sometimes, I wonder if I was destined to have the lion’s warrior-like characteristics and legacy or its never-ending inactivity or a strange combination of both. Well, let’s see. So far, I’ve been blessed with many things in my life. I have my own business since 1995. I’ve exhibited my art around the world. And I survived cancer.

I’m known for my strategic experience and enthusiastic approach as a marketing consultant and brand strategist. In 1995 I founded knightscapital, a marketing and advertising agency at the time that has evolved to branding and consultancy. In 2006 I fired all the advertising clients and focused on our core business of planning, branding, training and strategic business therapy.

Over the years, I’ve been consulted by many international and local brands to help them succeed in their markets. I’ve been involved with brands like Elizabeth Arden, Wataniya Telecom, JanSport and Eastpak, Boubyan Bank, Volvo Middle East and Kuwait, just to name a few.

My focus for the past few years has been on consultation and training activities that educate newly appointed managers and on guiding executive managers to improve their performance and grow their brands. I’ve trained hundreds of professionals at different levels and I love every minute of it.

In 2009, I founded DMcircle, an local monthly program for businesses to meet, learn and hopefully grow. The purpose is to provide a platform of communication with some guidance and advice for the business community and to inspire them with ideas that can improve their performance.

It was only in 2005 that I started to artistically express myself after surviving cancer. In 2006 I won the KREA gold award for a brand identity I designed for my small digital printmaking business. Some of my prints have been auctioned for charity that was held in Kuwait later that same year. Over the past few years my work was exhibited in the 6th Biennial International Miniature Print Competition 2007 in Connecticut, USA, the Collective Arab Artists Exhibition in Algeria, in ArtSpace Satama, Helsinki, Finland, and at Dar Al Funoon in Kuwait.

Learning, teaching, sharing ideas, giving consultation, painting digitally and giving back in areas I know how are qualities that not only describe in part what I do, but it’s a part of what I am. That’s my story so far. What’s yours?

Languages

Arabic, English

Areas of Expertise

Strategic thinking and planning, Branding & Positioning, Management Consulting, Marketing Communications, Brand Management, Digital art, Corporate Training and Development

An idea worth spreading

People have the tendency to talk. They have a brain (two actually) and a tongue, and they feel obliged to use them. Some talk before thinking or with as little thinking as possible (I like to call them Brain Wasters). While others barely say anything because they think too much and are tough on themselves by judging their thoughts harshly (those are the Idea Killers).

When I was in my early twenties I came to learn about the ‘Speaking Filter’. It’s in the form of three questions.
(1) Is what I'm about to say true or genuine?
(2) Is what I'm about to say positive?
(3) Is what I'm about to say useful?

If the answer is yes to all three questions, then I get it out of my head. This filter is about 1,200 years old and it still works! Unleash your right side of the brain and let the left side keep an eye on it. Everything is gonna be all right!!

I'm passionate about

discovering the possibilities

Talk to me about

Life. Thinking. Art. Design. Learning. Philosophy. Creativity. Giving Back. Surviving Cancer. Small Business. Martial Art. Japanese epic movies. Storytelling.

People don't know I'm good at

trying new things I don't know much about and learning along the way.

My TED story

My memory is getting gradually foggy. I can't remember if it was through browsing iTunes and accidently coming across TED podcasts or if I read about it in one of my magazines and then looked for it on iTunes. Either way, when I found TED, I didn't subscribe right away.

I downloaded a few Talks that I thought had a good brief description or title. It was only when I saw Sir Ken Robinson's Talk that I got fired up about TEDTalks. I'm still going through them and it's a euphoric experience. I feel I'm home!

Comments & conversations

31258
Loaay Ahmed
Posted almost 3 years ago
jails should be more widely known as schools
Drivers for people are different. What might motivate one released prisoner might not work for another. So, measurability in this case will be quite complex because of the social and psychological factors involved in both the released prisoners and society around them. In order to set the KPIs we need to breakdown the types of crimes according to behavior. Character is influenced by two factors: nature (innate qualities that we are born with) and nurture (the environment we grow up in). Promoting and facilitating change will be relatively more successful among those who committed crimes mainly due to external elements like peer pressure, poor upbringing, and lack of education and vocational skills compared to those who committed crimes because they got a rush from breaking rules, causing pain to others, or simply out pure greed. Therefore, the rehabilitation process and KPIs for those two types of criminals need to be different. Such a deep structure is difficult to design in short conversations, but I guess that's why sharing ideas from everyone works wonders.
31258
Loaay Ahmed
Posted almost 3 years ago
jails should be more widely known as schools
Great topic. I don't know much about prisons but I know a thing or two about incentives vs. achievements. If prisons are commercialized they have an essential incentive of keeping crime alive so they can stay in business. I'm not suggesting that they will be devious and try to keep crime incidents well and kicking, however, by having an incentive to their business model that goes against the principle of reforming society it will be hard for the prisons management and unfair from Government to expect full cooperation because while the mission might look similar the vision is slightly different. A Vision is where an organization wants to be in the future. A mission is the things they'll do to get there. So, while societies, governments and commercialized prisons agree on the activities they need to do to reform prisoners (i.e. the mission) the visions are different. For society it's to have less crimes and a safer place; for commercialized prisons it's to have a lower ratio of returning criminals, while they sound both positive they're not the same thing. We need to take this a step back and look at a preventive approach. What's causing the crimes to take place? And how can we minimize these circumstances from existing? Governments need to focus on the preventive part by offering better opportunities for developing healthy minds from a young age. Prisons need to prepare prisoners on how to get back to society so they can contribute positively to their lives and to the communities. That means their KPIs should be purely on how well they prepared these prisoners for life after prison and the return to prison ratio. Society is also responsible for welcoming the newly rehabilitated fellow citizens so they can feel they have a chance of starting over. We can't punish people twice. If they did the crime and the time then they're back to a clean sheet. Otherwise, it is society that needs reform.
31258
Loaay Ahmed
Posted almost 3 years ago
Why did you go to University/College?
True education can happen when one chooses to learn and not when they force themselves to learn or even try to do it with an incentive. Learning itself is "the" ultimate incentive. Tuitions are going up because we made them go up. We, society, put a lot of emphasis on which university a candidate has graduated from. So, universities started to charge more for that experience and compete. It is we, the students, parents and employers, that created this hype. If the focus during job interviews was on behavior, personality and skill matching then the name of your university becomes irrelevant. When customers don't like a product and they stop buying it the company starts to listen. The power of lowering tuitions is in our hands. A strong movement can change the world. I guess 'Power to the People' didn't come from nowhere.
31258
Loaay Ahmed
Posted almost 3 years ago
Why did you go to University/College?
Good question. It was neither A or B for me at the start. Since I was a kid my parents explained to me that university is the final and most important step in the education process. So, as you don't question whether you should go to High School or not, I just didn't question going to university. I don't know why I didn't question it, but in a way I'm glad I didn't. The things I learned from the type of teachers and the overall environment taught me a lot more than what the books did alone. The problem is that I wasn't well prepared for the experience. I didn't have enough time or the developed mindset to figure out my real interests. Yes, having a BA or BS was essential for having a good job back then, but I already started my own business before graduating, so that wasn't major concern. My main concern was actually finding something I'm excited to learn about. To achieve a true state of one pursing a subject purely for the joy of learning it society needs to accept the fact that monitory success is only one form of success, not the only one. Only then, we will stop filtering degrees according to their employment possibilities. If a person wants to study anthropology and they genuinely learned during their university years, then they already got a good return on their educational investment. Should this person work in a related field? It would be cool if it happened that way, but why can't he or she start the best anthropology blog that was ever made or conduct their own research after finishing their shift at the security company or the coffee shop and publish a book about the findings? Education, a degree, and a well rounded character are not the same things; they might be interlinked but they are not the same. While I graduated long time ago, I can proudly say that I've never stopped learning and I don't have the intention to stop anytime soon either.
31258
Loaay Ahmed
Posted almost 3 years ago
What's your TED habit?
I save them until they become a TED Talks movie length. At night or in a quite afternoon when I'm by myself I play about 7-10 TED Talks after each other on my TV through the Apple TV. The amount of information, inspiration, and energy is enough to boost your brain cells for weeks. If any of the speakers or their topics are magnatically interesting, I spend a few minutes after my TEDathon online checking out their projects, their work or finding more info in general.