I had the pleasure of attending the Young Arab Leaders (YAL) event at the Babtain Library for Poetry where Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain was the guest speaker –at his own library so to speak. He is very charismatic and enjoyable character and he had a lot to talk about. Since the event was meant to inspire young leaders, he talked at length about his personal experience and the success he worked so hard to achieve.
He had few stories to share. One was during his honeymoon as he strolled the streets of Cairo he saw an ad for a product. He thought to himself how those on pilgrimage to Mecca recouped the expenses of their trip by engaging in trade while they were there. So he turned to his young wife and took her permission to meet with the distributor of that product to talk him into granting him the agency; this way they could recoup the honeymoon expenses he mused. In another story he courted an Afghan he saw walking outside his office and took him to lunch at a fancy restaurant thinking he was a merchant - restaurant was called Golden Beach or something which was the fanciest place around at that time. During lunch he realized that the Afghan was only a tailor so he paid the bill and left at once! Well the moral of the stories is to chase opportunities and never let them pass by.
The event and Mr.Babtain’s talk was very inspiring. Not only did he do well but he did good too which is apparent in all his charity and cultural efforts. He mentioned how early on in his life his focus was to accumulate wealth but after a certain point he wanted to share this wealth by doing good. Even though he was open about his business, especially the cigarette agency, I would have loved to hear how he reconciles selling cigarettes with his social responsibility.