Next up, another 4Q4. This time we go outside of Europe, to Lebanon.
1. When I first met you, you were still mainly into PHP. When did you leave that behind and why?
It’s not about leaving behind. PHP is a great programming language and it’s open source. It all started with a hello world, exploring Node.js and I was impressed by the node package manager and libraries available, especially those connecting to IoT.
2. You are organizing a JSConf in Beirut in February. What do you think will be the highlights of the program there?
JS is not well spread among Lebanese devs. Here the majority of developer use PHP, JQuery, some native JS. So it’s gonna be like a big introduction to front end stacks, like Angular and React, intro to Node.js, the Ionic framework on mobile and robotics. However, we will also push some advanced topics.
3. One of your other current projects is Inquiry, a wearable game. Why will people want to play it?
I think Ingress [as a proof-of-concept] was succesful as a geolocation mobile RPG and gets people’s attention, yet it’s challenging building the game and the hardware specialy with no funds or guru developers. I think the game will give you a similar experience, combining DotA and Warcraft in the real world, yet graphics will still be a big issue. A competitor in this area is still father.io, but right now we don’t know if it’s in active development and Niantic Labs and Nintendo announced Pokemon Go, yet there is no fix date [for the release].
4. While there are some very successful Lebanese entrepreneurs, Lebanon itself is not really big on the tech map at the moment. What would need to happen for that to change?
Actually, it’s becoming like a social event in the name of entrepreneurship everyone is following the hype blindly, going nowhere. We must tame those illusionists and con artists that are misleading the investors. Everyday you have a new accelerator or incubator investing in illusions. Recently, Bank of Lebanon made a great circular investment, big amounts of money in startups, disregarding whether it’s a bad idea or not, as the bank investing in startups and people in charge have no real knowlege nor a success story in the tech area. So, we need more education more labs, more work on big ideas like Google, Twitter… Less ego.