Google is undoubtedly one of the biggest companies in the world. And with ever changing technological advances, keeping up with developments in the Google world can be tough. Wael Fakharany, Agency Lead Google Middle East & North Africa, takes all that in his stride. He is is a rising star in this fast-paced industry, cognizant of the smallest details, and driven by a passion to make a difference. eniGma’s Radwa El Ziki talks to the tech-savvy director about his journey, his passion, and his views on the younger generation.
Fakharany is a geek at heart. Passionate about everything the technological world has to offer, he was fascinated with the internet from the very beginning. “I remember being fascinated by the internet when it first came out in 1996. I was extremely curious to find out how this thing worked,” he explains. Yet even with this heightened sense of curiosity, Fakharany, who was already working in computer companies, didn’t immediately jump on the new internet bandwagon.
Graduating from Ain Shams University in 1989 with a degree in Communications Engineering, Fakharany didn’t have any problem finding a job. As he recounts, “literally the day after graduation I started working for IBM (International Business Machines).” His next step was with Oracle, when it was just a startup. Fakharany then decided to start his own business before being recruited to become the Regional Director of 3COM in Dubai.
In 2007, Google came calling. Fakharany jokes about how he knew nothing about the internet at that point. “I kept postponing the interview for a month in order to get all the information I needed to pass the interview,” he says. He spent the month studying, reading books, and watching videos for 15 hours a day. Fakharany was determined to make this work. He wanted to get this dream job and he did.
“I knew that this was exactly what I wanted to do,” he recalls, adding “just imagine for a second, having the entire world’s information, text, videos, pictures, books at the tip of your fingers. But the internet then was not as pervasive as it is now. Facebook had only been running for a year, there was no Twitter or Android phones.” Fakharany fit right in. Since joining the company, his sense of excitement and passion for learning have made him one of the key players at Google. “I am blessed to be doing something that I love. Working at Google is a geek’s heaven,” Fakharany jokes.
Fakharany notes that, “I come from an era when we only saw news on satellite channels. Today the internet is not only a means of communication but also a major source of information. And with Egypt’s vast political, social, and economic changes, the internet has played a vital role in bringing essential information to the people.”
Fakharany sees the future in the younger generation. “There is a youth quake in the Middle East, a breath of fresh air. These young people want to challenge the status quo and make a difference, which is exactly what our nation needs right now. The young generation has now become extremely strong and has a powerful voice,” he exclaims. He says he wholeheartedly believes that university only gives you good friends. The real education you obtain is online and through experience. “Egypt has 17 million students, an incredible force to be reckoned with,” he adds.
Making time in the day to learn something new is an essential part of Fakharany’s daily routine. “I am an early bird. I dedicate an hour each morning to reading, watching, or listening to something new.” Whether it’s a YouTube video or a book on genomics, Fakharany makes sure that he gets some learning done every day. “In order to be successful and on top of things, you have to be constantly aware of everything around you. In this fast moving world, your knowledge is everything,” Fakharany explains.
On a personal note, Fakharany admits that his hard work and long hours take away from his time with his family. He notes that it is a struggle to balance his hectic job and his life at home. But he is quick to add, “my family knows that I am passionate about my job so they support me in every way possible.”
Whether you are aspiring to work at Google, or become a self-made entrepreneur, Fakharany advises you to be very curious. “Always ask why and how, don’t accept any dogmas,” he insists. “Also, read books, watch videos, fall in love with what you are doing. Accept failures, fall fast, and move on,” he adds. Judging from Fakharany’s fun-loving spirit and his success, we suggest we all take his advice.