A 3-part interview series with Founder and CEO of Social Media Platform, VERO – True Social, Ayman Hariri
Over the years, I have found myself in a number of positions, but most have revolved around social media. Social media marketing is a key element for various enterprises, brands and influencers and for those that take advantage of these resources, selecting the right platforms can be the difference between sales and obscurity.
And therein lies the issue.
Ask any social media manager worth her or his salt and they’ll tell you to be where your customers are.
For the business to customer brands, Facebook, Instagram and even Pinterest are the right homes. For business to business, you’ll find them hanging around on Twitter and LinkedIn.
And that’s all well and good, but over the years, the social media landscape has twisted and turned to the point where many businesses have 5, 6 or even 7 channels, privacy has become a major concern (we’re seeing this more and more with Chinese-based app, TikTok), but now, the question I am asking myself is, are these channels, are any of them really true to themselves and to us?
I decided to take a look around the social landscape and see if there were any platforms out there, ones that put the users first and worried about the bottom-line after?
New Social Media Platforms
Not an easy mission and ultimately, not a cost-effective one, but I did have some success. I found a platform that was trying to take the best, the best designers, the best advocates and the most dedicated and true individuals and create a social centre that, yes, would ultimately have to monetise, but, at least in the meantime, would build a user base of invested and true individuals.
Earlier this year, Wing Digital Marketing was granted access to speak with a social media dreamer.
This is Ayman Hariri and I think you’ll want to hear what he has to say.
Who is Ayman Hariri, where are you from, how did you start-out in business and where did Vero True Social begin?
“I’m originally lebanese, but I’m a Saudi national. So, my father moved to Saudi Arabia many decades ago and was given Saudi citizenship by the king and at the time not a lot of people received the nationality.”
“I lived in Saudi until I was twelve and moved to Paris for a few years to continue school and went to university. I was way too young, I skipped two years of high school and went straight to college, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted to work. It was one of the things, I have this list, sort of, life moments that one looks forward to at night.”
“I kind of started that list when I was twelve and one of them was still graduating school, getting into college, graduating college in the US, having a job , getting married, having kids, and I ended-up choosing not to ever smoke in my life because I wanted to be able to tell my kids that, you know, that they that they cannot smoke.”
“Coming straight out of college, I wanted to start pursuing my own dreams, of wanting to make something. I went there (the family construction business) and with no particular plan or intention and eventually, you know, I had understanding, but I had to ask the architect, like dude, how does this room become a room? Look, where do you start?“
“Fantastically I learnt how how it worked and ended up growing the business with some really, really big projects; ½ a million square meters of built-up area that need to be done in 2 years, one of the most advanced research universities in the world today, and an all womens university that was being started as we finished the other project – a million square meters and I was honored to work with some amazing people.”
But this wasn’t where Ayman wanted to be, what he wanted to achieve wasn’t so much to continue to build upon a family legacy, but to start a new one.
“I went to my brother and just told him. You know, I need to move on and I need to do this. I just said, look, you know, I’ve always been honest with you. I’m being honest with you now, I can’t do this anymore. I have to try this, (to start developing Vero) and he gave me his blessing.”
“I had this idea and I started…”
Can you tell us about the people you’re working with while developing Vero and your social media methodology?
Ahead of starting his initial recruitment for VERO, and upon understanding that he wanted someone from the team who’d worked on the original iPod team, Ayman approached Tony Fadell.
“…he has a lot of experience and is somebody who’s very well-read and is interested in many many things, and so when he and I got together and started talking and Alistair Stiegmann is his cousin, and a really gifted designer who can translate the nonsense that comes out of my mouth and turns it into a real design.”
“They were already working together. So when I got introduced to them, there was already a kind of set-up, and what I would advise anyone trying to build a business is to always think about the nucleus in any team; when you’re starting out…think to yourself if you trust this person in front of you and if they recommend someone, there’s a high likelihood that they’re the next level – don’t ever let ego get in the way.”
“don’t ever let ego get in the way.”
“I’m the ceo, should I interview every person coming to the door? What the hell do I know about like what that person does vis-a-vis Alistair, who’s a skilled designer, and knows all the tools, all the tricks, and is not going to be bedazzled by any fakery.”
On the topic of social media Site Navigation, where do you even start and how do you keep continuity?
“Our first rule when designing the app is does this serve the user? Is this confusing?”
“We go through many design iterations trying to capture the feeling we want to evoke. As a team we work by instinct but also build the empathy muscle as I don’t think it’s possible to be a good designer if you’re not empathetic.”
I’m all about sharing as opposed to performing.
We want something that feels premium.
We want to democratize this feeling of premium.
Join us next week for the second part in our interview series with Vero True Social CEO, Ayman Hariri as we explore the site’s design and functionality.
If you wish to speak with us, visit Wing Digital Marketing and let´s make productive and successful changes together.