PM360 recently spoke to Mohanad N. Fors, Global Brand Manager, Digital Marketing at Novartis, about spreading his passion for all things digital.
PM360: We hear that you are trying to increase digital education in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. How did you get started with that?
I have a strong passion for digital and technology so most of my free time is dedicated to fulfilling that passion. It takes different forms such as surfing the web, coding or building some web-based apps or sites, but recently my main focus is TechBel3arabi.com. The site is focused on simplifying technology and attracting Arabic-speaking countries to the digital world.
That’s fascinating. What made you want to form this site?
I believe I have a moral obligation to share my knowledge and understanding with as many people as I can. The Arabic-speaking countries have a great potential to add a lot to the digital community, but most of their energy is being squandered on non-constructive usage of the technology.
My team and I are trying to move this energy toward creating a real valuable impact on the digital world by simplifying the technology and making it usable for everyone in the community. In other words, we are trying to build the Silicon Valley culture in the Arabic community.
How has your involvement with this endeavor evolved over the years?
I started by helping people around me—just trying to explain that you don’t need to spend a lot of money or be a digital expert to do everything related to technology. Over time, this goal widened as I helped more people. Now we are trying to have an impact on our community.
Did anyone inspire you to become more of a community leader?
My parents. Both of them really worked hard to help people at many points of life. Having seen the impact on the community—and how a person’s life can be changed with even a little help—really inspired me.
How is the site living up to your goals so far? Are you satisfied with the results?
Honestly, it is hard to be satisfied—we keep asking for more because we see the potential behind it. Ultimately, we would like to support some startups from the region to build technology that can be useful to the whole world. But right now our energy and passion for the project increases with every question we receive and every person we feel has started to use more technology.
When you are not working on the site, what else do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
We are currently in Phase 4 of funding the website in order to increase our reachability and build the first TV show in Arabic about technology, so we don’t have that much free time. But when I do have free time, I like gaming. So PlayStation 4 is my free-time consuming machine. But I also play basketball—a really great sport that teaches me a lot.