Yoghurt, The UAE And Habit Tracking
I bloody love yoghurt. I wish I could just fill up a backpack with yoghurt and sip it through a little plastic tube all day, and it wouldn't get warm or make me shit myself. I've been putting blackberries in my blueberry yoghurt lately (because fuck the police), and it's sensational. Not to mention, it's like 15gs of protein and only 90 calories per serve.
MARKET RESEARCH ON THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
I've personally spent a whopping 2 hours on United Arab Emirates soil, thanks to a stopover on the way to Europe one time. I took a picture of a pink camel toy as evidence. For this reason, I was clearly the most qualified person to help our multinational client launch a new digital brand targeting the UAE.
What this involved was building an understanding of their target customer by way of desk research and one-on-one interviews with a bunch of people who live there.
It was a fascinating logistical challenge just trying to find people to talk to, and getting an accurate cross-section of the demographics. Some interesting factoids I learned:
88% of the UAE population are expats. It is home to over 200 nationalities.
The UAE, and Dubai in particular, is very safe. The women I spoke to said they were perfectly comfortable walking around by themselves, even at 3am.
UAE has one of the highest internet penetrations in the world. 99% of their population has access to memes #yayforpenetration.
SLIGHTLY SLOWER FACTS
To generalise, Dubai is the most westernised, fast-paced city, Abu Dhabi is seen as more of a family setting, and Sharjah is more conservative Islamic. There are more than three cities in the UAE (shock), but those were the ones we focused on.
Most westerners who live in the UAE seem to view it as a temporary career move to make some tax free cash, but the expats from subcontinental nations like Pakistan and India see it as a great family atmosphere where they want to live long-term.
The local Emiratis are at the top of the socio-economic food chain. They are a kind and respectful people but are often viewed as standoffish due to their defensive mannerisms and the fact that they mostly associate with family. If you were a minority in your own country, I’d wager you’d be a little defensive yourself.
One big learning from a process standpoint was that when recruiting in a region where you have limited experience, you need to use multiple channels in case some of them fail. I found participants via:
TGM Research - a survey panel company I found on Google, who was very helpful.
An employment recruiter in Dubai.
Friends of friends.
I also posted a screener survey on some social media groups, but didn’t get any legitimate bites.
In summary: isn't it crazy how things be like they do?
DREAMING ABOUT HAIRCUTS
Remember haircuts? I was a fool to ever take them for granted. Truth be told, haircuts are the unsung hero of the human experience. If we ever get out of this lockdown, I'm going to tell haircuts I love them every day for the rest of my life.
WRITING A NOVEL
I'm almost halfway through the 10-month first draft course at the Writers Studio in Bronte, and 30,000 words deep in my novel. I've always wanted to be a writer, but it turns out to be a writer you have to write, like every day (rip off).
It's been hard, but very rewarding. I write for 2 hours a day, and a lot of it is garbage, but as Hemingway said: "I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-nine pages of shit." TBH I dream of getting to a ratio like that, but the message I'm trying to get across is that if you want to get good at something, you need to give yourself permission to be bad at it first, and you need to work at it every damn day.
I've found the best way to make progress at anything is to turn it into a habit. I make a chart with little squares and stick it to my fridge, and every day that I do the thing, I colour a square in with green highlighter and the serotonin rushes in and says "great job, Jack, you did something today and that's why there's a green mark on this white strip of dead tree."
If you’d like to give it a try, check out my free habit tracker here. Just make a copy, change the title, and print away. Good luck!
LISTENING TO THE SONGS FROM ‘INSIDE’
If you haven’t watched Bo Burnham’s comedy special ‘Inside’ yet, you are wasting precious life seconds, go open Netflix and watch it right now! Bo filmed the entire 1.5 hour musical comedy set in the one room over a year in lockdown, and was responsible for all his own camera and lighting equipment too. It’s a hilarious, dark at times ride that accurately captures the sentiment of the hashtag COVID lyf. And the songs are catchy AF.
TESTING AN INVESTMENT PROPERTY APP
In addition to learning about the UAE, I've been working with an Australian bank to validate a new app targeting property investors. Gotta love that agency-life variety.
Whenever I start a new project I get obsessed with that industry, so lately I've started looking up investment properties and considering whether it's the right time for us to buy. On one hand, if it grows in value, then yeehaw, but on the other hand I'm not super keen on being another $400k in debt.
The Australian property mindset is pretty weird when you think about it. It's just a given that you buy a house with money you don't have then spend the next 30 years of your life feeding Papa Bank its favourite meal (compound interest). Maybe we should just save up and buy stuff we can afford instead? But also, I want to be an INVESTOR (pronounce with hard OR).
UPDATE ON COOPER THE DOG
Cooper is living his very best life.
Here's an entry direct from his small dog journal.
7:00am-7:50am - rise and go for walkies. Wee on everything.
7:50am-7:55am - get my paws dried off, then wrestle father and try to bite his face (nicely though).
7:55am - 8:10am - sit beside father while he eats breakfast. Put snout as close to egg as possible.
8:10am - 12:30pm - lie in the sun, cool off in the shade, repeat.
12:30pm-1:30pm - sit beside mother and father as they eat lunch. Put snout as close to chicken as possible.
1:30pm-5:00pm - lie in sun.
5:00pm-6:30pm - sit beside mother (damn sun has gone down).
6:30pm-7:00pm - help mother cook. Score some carrot. Celebrate.
7:00pm-7:01pm - eat dinner.
7:01pm-7:15pm - stare longingly at father's dinner.
7:15pm-8:30pm - sit beside mother and father and watch The Office / nap.
8:30pm-7:00am - get some sleep after another exhausting day.
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We laughed, we cried, we ate yoghurt and it blew our damn minds. The end.
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