Monday, 15 October 2012

Geekfest Gamma Jeddah Review

Dear Readers,

I usually suppress my inner Geek in Jeddah, but last Thursday, I got Geek-out in public, and not receive any weird looks! 

My fave bit of the event was the first and last Geek Speaks and chatting with other geeks:

GeekTalks- the Cliff notes verison ;-)

Yasser Bahjatt and Ibraheem Abbas : sci-fi writers in the Arabic language. 

They started off the talk rather humorously asking us  an important question: 
What a Geek resident of Jeddah was called? 
A ‘Jeddi’! Of course, the crowd loved it.

Other nuggets:
There seemed to be a correlation between number of sci-book published and number of international patents produced by an area. Although they didn’t argue causality, it could possibly be education levels or an interest in science- or a larger geek community maybe?
They also mentioned a couple of sci-books which seemed to predict future technological advances- which could only be thought of as pure fiction when they were written.

Some notable examples were:
H.G Wells- predicting the invention of the atomic bomb in his book The World Set Free written in the year 1914. The atomic bomb was used in 1945 by the peace loving US of A.

Paris in the 21st century by Jules Verne foretold skyscrapers- glass ones at that in 1863
So reading sci-fi might actually open up the mind and imagination, and instead of saying that’s impossible and people might instead say why not and then try and create and innovate.

Claire Sale

 She spoke about collaboration within the geek community and tried to interact with the audience to gauge what topics people would like to cover in the future, and where they want to see Geekfest in the future.


The woman behind Gcon-A female-only gamers convention in Riyadh, gave the next talk. Yes that was not a typo, you read correctly female-only. The brains behind this initiative Tasneem, showed what a steep hill it was for girl gamers, to get support and sponsors and how the established giants (or as she called them dinosaurs) were incredulous at the existence of female gamers in KSA despite looking at the numbers showed to them by Tas and her team. Thankfully they were able to get sponsorship by new forward thinking entrepreneurs.

Graphytes (Geek speakers as well as sponsors of the event)

Ammar  Sabban made some interesting points on design thinking and how it made much more sense to develop a human based approach to design rather than a functional one. 

The second speaker Hashim T Zain really worked the crowd, and woke me up for sure. If he wants to he could easily become a stand-up comedian/African American pastor as portrayed on TV, he was highly entertaining. He mentioned that these days we are surrounded by distractions, such as our email, twitter, facebook, blogs, etc that we don’t have time to create.
So he didn’t suggest to abandon all our social media accounts but rather to minimise the time we spend on them to ensure we have time to create.

I think this is very good advice- a bit obvious but true. Whenever I’m creating stuff- or living life, I spend less time on social media, just check in- and do the essential updates, I use it as a tool.
But when I spend my life engrossed with social media and online activities, I only have a virtual life, and nothing gets created, nothing productive.

They recommended 2 great design books to check out:

This was followed by a comic-making activity, the 5 –frame challenge- for those who wished to participate, and they would look at the comics and give their advice on what potential you had: writer, illustrator, both.
I decided that I had exhausted my creativity at the JeddahWriting Club earlier that day and decided to have chat with fellow geeks.

Geeks discuss

This included but was not limited to:

  • Which sci-fi apocalyptical scenario was most likely?
  • Sci-fi vs fantasy- (FYI- I’m a fantasy fan)
  • Similarities between LORT and HP, ( Noooo, I refuse to believe Gollum and Dobby have any similarities)
  • The real message behind various fairy tales- which was interesting, I need to interview iHuzzo, and do a detailed post, you don’t have to agree with her but I’m fascinated by her analysis
  • And last flying cars... yes they do exist

A shout out to Khayra B, Tasneem, and Huda for enjoyable geek-worthy conversation.


  • A Samsung sponsored Angry birds tournament- Yes, you could have put your raging poultry game addiction to good use here.(The prize was a Galaxy II tablet)
  • Another Samsung sponsored event was app development challenge for their new Smart TV which they had on display- proper candy for geeks.

Geek Grub

Delicious finger sandwiches, cupcakes, brownies, and pink lemonade provided courtesy of The Store.
A follow-up event was organised on Friday 12th October at Virgin Stores Cafe who were also sponsors of the GeekFest Gamma.


Hopefully, Geekfest Delta will be open to the public, and everyone can enjoy some fun that doesnt involve shopping and eating!

Although I love The Store, I felt it wasn’t spacious enough for the number of attendees, and although all geeks were very accommodating and didn’t complain and we all managed good-naturedly enough something that needs to kept in mind for future events.

*This ended up being a much longer post than intended- oh well hope you enjoyed it*


  1. Awesome review! Thanks .. a lot of interesting details :)

    I'm saying that because I missed most of the talks .. was manning the door as an UnOrganizer :D

  2. Thank you for your sweet comments, and helping to UNorganise such a legendary event, the talks were great, hopefully you won't be on door duty next time :-)