I spoke at one of the sessions at the WEF today, and shared a reciepe for how to get rich in the valley I heard when I got to the Silicon Valley...
There is a classic three stage plan for success in our neck of the woods.
(1) come up with a great idea for a startup, write it down on a business plan (make it short and concise, practice on a napkin), go to Sandhill road (where all the Venture Capitalists reside), shake a tree (any tree), shake it well, shake it until a Venture Capitalists drops, show him the plan and take $5M in funding
(2) take the money, find a great team, build your product, see the company grow, take the company public, sell your shares
(3) Go climb a tree on Sandhill road
Now the problem with the middle-east is that whenever you dig in the ground to plant a row of trees you are bound to find oil, so there are no trees to climb and no one to climb on them. Yet every great industry is bound to come to an end not because you run out of its product, but because a great disruption occured. As they say the stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones...
So what are the enterprenures in the middle-east to do? I proposed to the assmebled leaders from the region it might be a great time to start shaking an oil rig. With the money that is coming into the region it is time to find the energy experts who have climbed the rig and show them some great alternative energy ideas to get funded. This is the best time to use oil money to extend the definition of the oil industry into a true energy industry that goes forever, with projects that are sustainable leveraging project financing and balancing the risk of a portfolio that is too heavily fossil based.
I got an increadibly positive reaction from all assembled about my comments.