Cognitev's Moustafa Mahmoud delves into the makings of modern day IT leader

Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to find out what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick

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Cognitev's Moustafa Mahmoud delves into the makings of modern day IT leader Moustafa Mahmoud, founder & CEO of Cognitev.
By Staff Writer Published  July 10, 2017

How did you come to be in your current role?

After spending 10 years working in corporate, I felt that I could build a company that provides more value to the world and have a more meaningful impact on other people’s lives. Both for people who work with me, and the customers that we serve together. So, I quit my job and launched Cognitev, with some investment from amazing people and institutes such as Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, Arzan Capital, A15, Prime Venture Partners, and several awesome angel investors.

What is your management philosophy?

I don’t believe in ‘management’ in the traditional sense. I believe in leadership, and helping other people become leaders themselves. Lead by example is my philosophy.

What was your first computer, and when did you first use it?

My first computer was an IBM PC, which my parents got back in 1993. I didn’t get my ‘own’ computer till 1998 though. At that time, I was mostly using DOS, I experienced Windows 3.1 when it was just released, and I remember how amazed I was at the technology.

What is your greatest achievement?

Recruiting the best team I had the pleasure of working with. I interviewed hundreds of people since we started our company. We hired only a few, and without them we would be nowhere close to where we are today.

What was the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it?

Getting investors to buy in to my vision. In the early days you have little more than a dream and prototype. Getting people to take that leap with you is not easy, but those who do are really special people.

What is your fondest memory of working in the Middle East industry?

Being awarded the Top 30 under 30 when I was still 21 years old.

What technology do you think will have the biggest impact on the market in 2017?

I think the word ‘technology’ is too wide as a category. Technology is embedded into everything we do nowadays, it’s hard to think of something which technology hasn’t impacted yet. In my opinion, the advances that artificial intelligence has witnessed over the past five years are quantum leaps.

Automation and machine intelligence is a real trend that is here to stay, and we are just getting started. I am just worried that this will make a lot of people irrelevant in the new world, and it is going to be a race of adaptation to this new reality for them.

What’s the best way to deal with stress?

There is no best way, there are many ways, however. I accept stress as a normal part of my life, in many cases this stress is induced by myself in the first place.

Mainly because I want to go faster, and I am trying to move everything around me at the speed I am aiming for, which is unrealistic, but I find it necessary and a much better alternative than accepting the status quo.

Stress is a driver for me in some way, I would much rather move faster and be stressed than be slow and relaxed.

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