I'm Nour KHRAIS
Founder and CEO of Maysalward (www.maysalward.com) with over than 19 years of international experience in the top leading Online and Mobile Value Added Services companies.
Before forming Maysalward, he worked in a multicultural environment between VAS companies in Jordan, UAE, Egypt, Qatar, and France. Under a Glocalized vision, in Nov 2003 KHRAIS Launched the first Mobile Game Development operation in the Middle East Region offering unique Casual games targeting the Middle East and Emerging Markets.
Developed the First Arabic Mobile Game in 2004, his startup since then is creating high-quality mobile games with hundred thousand daily active users enjoying the Free to Play games it's offering.
Maysalward prides itself on keeping an eye on the future while working to commercialize current games.
Since 2016, Maysalward has increased efforts to develop mobile Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality games. KHRAIS a certified Scrum Master and holds a Master Degree in International Business, Global Marketing and Internationalization, Diploma in Mobile Telecommunication and Bsc of Agriculture Engineering.
His passion for Games and mobile Entertainment enforced with strong a business vision and management in mobile value-added services guarantee the success and uniqueness of product and services production.
In 2017 Khrais was awarded the King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein Order for Distinction of the Third Degree Medal.
A Royal Decree was issued Nov 2018 to appoint Nour KHRAIS as one of the new members of the King Abdullah Fund for Development (KAFD) board of trustees for the next two years.
▲ King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein Order for Distinction of the Third Degree Medal
A Royal medal in appreciation of the efforts in building the country, and enhancing its progress in video gaming at the Kingdom's 71st Independence Day ceremony.▲
⇠ Commencement Speech at the Kings Academy 2016
Sharing Pixels of my Life and career experience with King's Academy 2016 Graduates in the Presence of Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, who deputies for His Majesty King Abdullah II at the graduation ceremony.
Jordan Gaming Lab ⇢
I have been involved in this since 2011, in order to support the video gaming sector, and to make Jordan a regional hub by raising awareness, and supporting youth in training them to design and develop mobile video games.
⇠ The App Challenge
In 2011, The App Challenge (TAC) kicked off as a Royal initiative directly from His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. TAC is a school student-centered competition that invites young Jordanians to explore and engage in new emerging technologies. Managed and supervised by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development (KAFD); with Maysalward Team, I was honored since the first app challenge Cycle to lead as an executive partner in the technical and skills development of the Students.
A PICTURE CAN SPEAK THOUSANDS OF WORDS...
⌃ Awarded the King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein Order for Distinction of the Third Degree Medal ⌃
⌃ Part of the Jordanian Business Delegation with His Majesty King Abdullah II to Washington DC from January 17th – 19th, 2012 ⌃
⌃ Presenting the "Warrior Competition" Mobile Game Demo to His Majesty King Abuallah II & Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah 2014 ⌃
⌃ Commencement Speech at the King's Academy 2016 ⌃
⌃ Commencement Speech In the Presence of
Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II ⌃
⌃ With Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah in several occasion talking about the Mobile Game Industry Development in Jordan ⌃
⌃ Jeff Bezos the Founder of Amazon during his visit to Maysalward ⌃
⌃ Part of the Open Forum: The Innovation Imperative at the World Economic Forum 2017 ⌃
⌃ The French Ambassador to Jordan David Bertolotti visiting Maysalward and Playing one of our Virtual Reality Games- 2016 ⌃
⌃ Meeting with His Royal Highness Prince Charles during his visit to Jordan 2015 ⌃
⌃ With Misha Lyalin; CEO of Zeptolab the creators of Cut The Rope during his visit to Jordan to Sign a partnership agreement with Maysalward.⌃
⌃ Jordanian Video Games Companies getting support from King Abdullah II Fund For Development (KAFD) to form the Jordan Gaming Task Force 2011 and to Kickoff Capacity Building activities in Jordan.⌃
⌃ Talking about the 4th Industrial Revolution at Shoman Foundation 2018 ⌃
⌃ The Innovation Imperative
Open Forum in Amman to Address Role of Entrepreneurship World Economic Forum 2017 ⌃
⌃ Commencement Speech at King's Academy Jordan 2016 ⌃
⌃ Interview with Volt News during the World Economic Forum Jordan Dead Sea 2017 ⌃
⌃ Interview with at Gamesbeat with EZebis USA 2013 ⌃
⌃ interview during Arab net beirut ⌃
⌃ At The New Think Theatre talking about "TRUST" 2013 ⌃
⌃ TEDxAmman: How can a video Game help in Building a better City? 2012⌃
THE ROLLER COASTER RIDE
Lessons Learned from Maysalward Startup
The idea of Maysalward started in the year 2000 when I shared my dream with my elder brother who’s our legal adviser today. At that time, he helped me to register Maysalward (an Arabic word meaning: Pride of the lion). Afterward, I dreamt of creating my technology startup. Also, at that time, I was involved in building Mobile Value-added Service Content with Key leading companies in the Middle East.
The Operation kicked off while I was living in France; I quit my Job with a French Mobile Middleware software company, where I was their salesperson in the Middle East. There, I secured good Project deals and got decent commissions that sparked the initiation fund of Maysalward.
With fragmented mobile devices running different operating systems and the Telco operators controlling your product development cycles and above all, your financial and lack of human resources knowledgeable in mobile game development, made our startup years in business a bit challenging.
This was the situation in 2003 when we kicked off Maysalward mission and vision.
Furthermore, we started building SMS-based games and value-added services where consumers were already familiar with the SMS type of content through subscription services offered by operators. We began with Quiz competitions and other SMS value-added services such as Ringtones, Wallpapers, Daily Horoscopes, and other multimedia content to create a decent revenue stream that can initially seed fund our mobile games development plans.
To Enter into the world of Mobile Games; Firstly, we looked into the distribution of mobile games. By collaborating with a partner in the UAE, we managed to secure a distribution deal for the Spider-Man 2 mobile game and all the related contents such as ringtones and themes.
Nonetheless, we wanted to learn more (search for new content), and to get familiar with the market, and so, we met with a small Dutch development studio called “Not the Fly” which is based in Venlo, a small town in Holland.
There, we learned about Apps, processes, and how Arabic localization can work as we were already building with them to introduce the first localized Arabic mobile games.However, the roller coaster ride started with our first built-in game which was developed for Siemens, Middle East with the launch of their M55 mobile game.
In the meantime, while Java-operated Devices were shaping up as a popular OS, the N55 at the time was a high-end phone and one of the first color phones by Siemens.
A school friend who was in charge of the business development operation at Siemens approached us with a project to build a Middle East version of Backgammon called ‘Mahbousa’.
We accepted to work on this contract-based development job as we believed it would help us showcase our capabilities to the market and give us a quick small financial gain.
In Jordan, while the team was still learning the J2ME, the language used for developing Java games for mobile devices, we were looking for help. And so, we extended our search efforts to India and Eastern Europe.
Surprisingly, the Indian developers replied faster and communication with them was easy. And with this development, we went through this first learning curve channel that was not entirely satisfactory with respect to quality and deliverables. The team, however, continued the search at Eastern Europe till we found ourselves a functional group in Kiev which operated with us until we managed to get more feathers to fly around in 2006.
After Siemens, we were challenged by one of the local operators in Jordan to build a fully localized card game called ‘Trix.' This was where we got our big break as a mobile game studio, building our own IPs. And with this amazing development, we indulged in the world of mobile Game Development at full power.
Consequently, the Game became the first fully developed Arabic Mobile Game in the Middle East Market.
Despite the crusty revenue share model operators were offering, and the lack of interaction with the end users as mobile game developers were operating behind the brick walls of the Telcos controlling the full ecosystem, we still managed to excel and launch more localized games for the region. Although the operator that controlled the distribution channels handicapped us to show up our creative capabilities.
Just like Trix Game, the other localized games we developed for the region - Taraneeb, Balote, and the board game, Carrom, Maysalward - started to take the vision into an actionable mission and the market recognized it as a Mobile Game Studio.
The business side, however, was keeping us busy, but not as much as setting up the company’s DNA. I was more concerned about this part for the long-term vision. I had a lot and still few utopian work principles I wanted to implement. I wanted to create a family and comfortable working environment, a place I knew that I'd spend most of my time at; I wanted to have a unique distributive operation.
Now, let me take you on a journey down memory lane, and share with you some of the other experiences.
I will share my recommendations, tips, and tricks to ease your ride, and whenever the logic doesn't work, just raise up your hands and scream as in any roller coaster.
I want my readers to know that the brands or business I mentioned are for pure history and reference possess, and not for advertisement or recommendation.
Starting Up In The Middle East
A lot of my friends and colleagues wonder why I decided to start my journey in Jordan (a country in the Middle East) as I had the chance to kick off in Europe, get an easier start-up, and basically avoid lots of hurdles that one can commonly find in developing countries like Jordan.
As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to have a comfortable place to spend my future time. Moreover, I am also from the region, and I gained my early business experience in this part of the world. So, logically, it is a place where I can understand people, and they understand me.
Also, I wanted to be part of a change that I have dreamt of while I was in the Students’ Council and the university. Besides, I am an emotionally driven person, and I knew that I would run my business in this way; therefore, the need for more emotionally-oriented people; the Middle Eastern people are generally the kind of people I seek. Though there are negatives, there are also higher positive returns that I will mention when the ride loops us.
Tips: Entrepreneurs’ Traveling Mindset
If you own an established business or starting your own business and you have never traveled abroad for education or even vacation, you need to travel to learn; attend conferences, and search for new business opportunities.
You cannot build your connections, and pin yourself on the worldwide business map by booking first-class hotels, taking airport taxis, and enjoying seaside views. I was a low-cost business traveler, but now, with 15 years of operation, I am still a moderate traveler.
The Hostels’ approach: if a hotel in your destination is expensive or the period you are booking is around conferences, and there are no cheap hotels, don't hesitate to book yourself a room in a hostel and pay $20 a night and meet people who might be visiting for the same purpose. Or these days Book yourself a room with Airbnb which I still of course champ.In San Francisco or Seattle, I managed to stay in the heart of the city in good Hostels paying $20-30 while the cheapest room in the area was $100-150. A good hostel is where you find clean sheets and showers, and you feel safe.
If you are a girl, don't worry as a lot of hostels offers female only dormitory.
Life today is easier than 15 years ago, but it depends on your luck and chances of finding a good place to stay. Now, rating systems and user feedback can give you very accurate reviews of the places and also, a lot of online hotel booking sites compete to offer a wide range of budget options. As time goes on, you will learn how to get affordable hotels, and what apps you can use. Today, my favorites are booking.com and expedia.com, and sometimes I found good deals in agoda.com
Your flight's Tickets: if you don't mind, you can spend a few hours in airports maybe by using your laptop to reply and/or finish pending work, book, or you may choose to take a long nap. By doing any of these tricks or tips, you are going to save 40-50% off the price of your ticket. Upgrade yourself, and get a priority pass (the world's most extensive independent airport lounge access program.) for $200 until your frequent flyer points accumulate and you gain access cards start allowing you free lounge access.
Today, I booked my flights online through a first search approach in kayyak.com that leads to several sites with low prices.
The Entrepreneurs Swiss Knife
Entrepreneurs are the dreamer of the future, they are risk-takers, and they show resistance for failing. Those are some specific entrepreneurial characteristics a person must have to be successful in the entrepreneurial Journey.
But the question that is always rising; can anyone be a successful entrepreneur?
Here, I will try to explore with you the most common denominators in the life of Entrepreneurs.
Pertinacity: The world of entrepreneurship is packed with both success and failure. An essential valid quality of Entrepreneurs is the perseverance to continue pursuing their objectives despite the setbacks and obstacles they may come across on their endeavor.
Reliance: Armed with confidence in a world of business that is extremely competitive and has no place for the half-hearted people.
They keep spotting and observing new patterns around them that could lead to business opportunities; they grow their creative imagination to remain ahead of their competitors.
The willpower and self-discipline, poised with the preparing procedure, and dealing with others, help to dig themselves out of a hole when the shit hits the fan.
The ability to make use of their creative strengths is an exceptional quality of an entrepreneur.
Shrewdness:Their vision for the future underlines that they must always be prepared to make calculated risks and live their S.W.O.T analysis.
Their hard work and determination flow in their blood vessels and this deep-rooted sharpness help them to accomplish the objective of their businesses and create their own motivational-techniques fortress.
Sincerity: Honoring the truth and strengthening their DNA with trust in all their business negotiations and social relationships-- whether it is in between service partners, investors, peers, and staff members.
Architect: At the start, it is vital for them to prepare and plan short, medium and long-term strategies that they continuously refer to, update, and build performance schemes around it. Their ability to plan long-term success is a crucial characteristic of their survival.
Socius: They are Networking and socializing gurus going out and about matching themselves with like-minded individuals where they promote their business, consolidate their vision, and build a think tank with their network to keep inspired and to inspire.
: Positivity is their bread and butter. Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with joyful, inspiring, and provocative people to support and drive their motivation ego. They are compassionate people despite the competitiveness in their entrepreneurial venture where they always show sympathy and concern for others.
Many Entrepreneurs are affected by the highs and lows of the emotional rollercoaster that the journey brings but with cheerful mindset they are capable of digging themselves out of the depths of any anguished circumstances.
The author of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Peter Ferdinand Drucker, says that anybody can find out how to be an entrepreneur, that it is "methodical work." But there is a distinction between discovering how to be entrepreneur and prospering as an entrepreneur.
Do you believe you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?
When you ensure to have the above mentioned entrepreneurial qualities, then you have what it requires to be successful.
Continue pursuing your goals despite the obstacles and barriers that you may experience on your way to the top as a successful entrepreneur.