Digital & Social Media

The Latest Tech Mecca

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What Happened: Hitting virtual bookstores is a new opus about how the Middle East may become the next Silicon Valley—or at least, the world should keep its eyes on it—thanks in part to the pent-up demand for technology, especially smartphones, and a small, but determined cadre of entrepreneurs. Christopher Schroeder, a well-connected Washington D.C. technology investor and cofounder of HealthCentral.com, is bringing the Arab tech scene to life in Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East. He claims the region’s political upheaval is symptomatic of changing attitudes that are encouraging young tech entrepreneurs, many of whom are women, to seize upon opportunities to satisfy growing demands for Internet services and mobile devices. No doubt, there are substantial hurdles posed by corruption and repression—and the status of women—but Schroeder (and presumably Marc Andreessen who wrote the book’s preface) expects the sector to blossom in the region over the next several years.

What This Means for Brands: Basically, this is a reasonable answer to the question, “What can I discuss at the next summer cocktail party or poolside?”

Contributing to TRENDING this week are Lucy Arnold, Jenna Carter, Mary Frances Hicks, Abby Ray and Torrey Vaughn. Edited by Pat Wechsler.