Ep 7: Dubai, the Best City in the World


Digital Media & Tech in Dubai is back for season two! And for our kickoff episode, we are thrilled to present one of the MENA region’s most experienced digital executives, Yousef Tuqan--widely respected as one of the most outspoken and visible evangelists for digital/social innovation in Dubai business.

Launched in March of 2016, Dubai’s top tech podcast focuses on bringing listeners informative conversations with local experts exploring the latest trends in the digital media and tech scene in the burgeoning international capital that is Dubai. Hosted by Spencer Striker, PhD, Digital Media professor at the American University in Dubai--episodes are recorded on location at AUD in the heart of Dubai’s Media City.  

In our exclusive conversation with Yousef Tuqan, we trace the fascinating biography of his twenty year career, during which he has helped forge the face of modern digital Dubai. http://youseftuqan.com/ Beginning in 1996, when he had to drop out of UMass-Amherst to help his family, Yousef broke into web design, (a technology in its infancy), shortly thereafter designing the original emirates.com website. And for much of the next twenty years, Yousef has repeated this pattern of being at the groundfloor of so many nascent digital Dubai initiatives. At the turn of the millennium, he became the first digital employee for OgilvyOne, and was there at the creative conception of Madinat Jumeirah.

After a stint as an account director at north55, in 2005, Yousef began a 10 year path to the top of Flip Media, one of the top digital marketing startups in the region, at the time. Joining as employee #20 or so, he would rise to become the CEO and oversee the company’s expansion to over 150 employees, navigating the financial crisis of 2008, and eventually overseeing the successful acquisition of the company by Leo Burnett. After working as Chief Innovation Officer for the new parent company, Leo Burnett MENA, Yousef took a strategic two month trip across the United States, (yes, he IS the Middle Eastern Don Draper), and upon his return became Entrepreneur in Residence at Wamda Capital, a VC firm focused on growing regional tech startups.

It was in that role that he got tapped to take over as VP of Marketing & Analytics for one of Wamda’s key investments, the red hot startup, Careem, often considered the most successful MENA startup to date. Yousef next describes the strategic positioning of Careem and the exciting future of the company. Never one to sit still, he has since taken over as Group Vice President, Brand Marketing & Loyalty, for the Jumeirah Group.

Finally, Yousef lays out his interpretation of the Dubai vision, which he summarizes as the goal to become “the best city in the world.” Like a visionary startup, Yousef explains, Dubai must continue to build a platform for innovation upon which successful businesses and systems can grow, thereby creating the greatest city of the 21st century.

Hosted by:

Spencer Striker, PhD, Digital Media professor at the American University in Dubai


Special Guest:

Yousef Tuqan, Group Vice President, Brand Marketing & Loyalty, Jumeirah Group


Special thanks to Reina Dib and Joy Semaan of the AUD Marcom Team


Huge shout out to stellar AUD student podcast producers, Rana Daoud & Rami Hawa


Audio engineering by AUD Digital Media’s own Anil Mathew James

Featuring original Video Game Remixes by the legendary Chris Bates