Thanks to Ali, I found my tribe

Thanks to Ali, I found my tribe

Would you believe me if I told you a YouTuber from London who is twenty years my junior changed my life? 

His name is Ali Abdaal, and his impact on my life goes beyond the productivity tips he discusses on his YouTube channel. His golden rule, “Journey before destination,” taught me to fully embrace my content creation journey. The journey that led me to finding my tribe.

First, let me tell you about Ali. He is a YouTuber and podcaster who recently quit his job as a doctor to pursue content creation full-time. Abdaal began coding at the age of 12 by building websites then went to medicine and started a YouTube channel about how to study for exams. 

Eventually, he managed to make multimillions in profit through his various content creation businesses, including YouTube, his online academy, affiliate marketing, and other ventures. 

His content revolves around productivity, making money online, and living a healthier, happier, and wealthier life.


 Your vibe brings your tribe 


I have been experimenting with creating content in different formats for almost two decades. I have been on Twitter since it first started in 2006, and I have amassed close to 10 K followers and a verified account, but for a long time, Twitter had been a source of immense frustration for me, mainly because I couldn’t find my community. 

I struggled with defining my tribe; who are my people? Are they journalists, authors, people from the Middle East who share my heritage, parents, working moms?  Who dwells in my internet village? 

Except for a few ones, most of my tweets hardly got any engagement, and I mainly was tweeting with little or no engagement. Crickets, crickets, all the way.

But that slowly started to change when I was introduced to Ali through a friend of mine. I started watching his  YouTube videos, and I slowly got hooked. I heard him talk about productivity, books,  how he remembers everything he reads, how he listens to books on audio at an accelerated speed, and how writing online has made him a millionaire.

As I watched his videos suddenly, things started clicking for me, and I reminisced on my career and my writing journey that began when I was in elementary school. Writing online is what I enjoy the most. I was meant to do that full-time. After working on and off for employers for over twenty years, I recently took the plunge and became a full-time content creator, with writing as my focus. Ali played a major part in this decision. He showed me that it’s doable. That if you focus on the journey, the benefits will come later on, and that consistency and passion are all it takes. Writing and creating content became my vibe, and that eventually brought my tribe.


The formation of my internet community  


Through Ali and his content creation machine that comprises of videos, a newsletter, a podcast, and others, I was introduced to other creators, like David Perell, Thomas Frank,  and Matt D’ Avella. 

 I started following them, enrolled in some of their courses, met other online creators, connected with them via Twitter and other social media platforms, and found myself belonging to a community of engaged, helpful, creative creators. 

My connections snowballed, and I built my internet family of creators who were on a similar journey as me. We are all figuring it out as we go. We are all trying to navigate this brave new world, the creator economy with its gambles wins and quirks. 

What I love about this newly adopted tribe of mine is how positive and supportive they are and how generous they are with their time, dolling out information and helpful advice to share and benefit others. 

I’m also in awe of the fact that they stay away from controversy or discussing politics and contentious current affairs and just focus on the content creation journey. I have seen so much vitriols on Twitter and witnessed bullying and shaming within other communities that I contemplated shutting my Twitter account, but after meeting this community, I breathed a sigh of relief.

 This community is different. It’s a haven for intellectually curious, goal-oriented creators who are pursuing their passion. Positivity and reaping benefits from your hard work is their mantra. They don’t get jealous of other creators; they get inspired by each other’s successes and cheer and learn from them.

When I found out that about them. I immediately declared my allegiance. They are my internet people. After more than a decade of searching, I finally found my long-lost tribe.


My content creation machine


Encouraged by Ali’s Sunday Snippets newsletter, I created a newsletter and resumed my dormant blog. I also created my own podcast on the reading and writing journey.

I even took things a step further and signed up for his part-time YouTube academy, created my YouTube channel, and started dabbling with affiliate marking and sponsorship.

 I started my own media creation machine, and I’m doing it full time, and I couldn’t be happier

Also, through him, I rediscovered my love of journaling and learned about storytellers like Mathew Dicks who encourages everyone to journal every day through his homework for life manifesto. 

I finally feel like I have arrived at my destination.  I found my raison d’etre and got embraced by my long-lost tribe.

You never know how what you put on the internet can change someone’s life. Keep sharing your ideas with the world, and hope for the best. And as Ali says, journey before destination. Thank you, Ali, for the inspiration! Keep creating.

How I got scammed for $1700 on Upwork

How I got scammed for $1700 on Upwork

I have shied away from telling the story of how I was scammed because I was ashamed. How did I get fooled that easily when I pride myself on being a digital native, having worked in digital communications since the mid-nineties? 

Shouldn’t I have been immune to the same old tricks of the online scammers? Shouldn’t I have known better?

I’m swallowing my pride now, and I’m about to tell you what happened. 

Why now?

Maybe because I just finished watching Netflix’s The Tinder Swindler, and I was reminded of that sense of dread that took over me when I got scammed. That awful feeling of being violated. I  felt I needed to tell my story so that others won’t fall for it. The story of how I was scammed for $1700 by online thieves who tricked me using the same sophisticated tools I frequently use from Upwork to Slack to Google Chat, and finally Zelle.

This story is not all doom and gloom. It has a happy ending, so bear with me.

It all started with a job posting on Upwork about a remote, flexible opportunity for Arabic-English translators.

I was looking for gigs as I was building my online content creation business during the early days of the pandemic. As a bilingual, translation is traditionally something, I always fall back on when looking for cash flow. 

It never crossed my mind that I would be scammed while applying for translation opportunities on Upwork of all places.

A few days after I applied, I got a reply from someone saying the company hiring manager would like to set up an interview with me and that the job was with “Transperfect”, a well-known and respected translation company in New York. I looked up the person that responded to me on Linkedin, and her profile matched her name and picture.



The “interview” was done via “Google Chat ” which I thought was a bit strange but brushed it off as a millennial brave world thing. 

 The “manager” who interviewed me via chat asked good, standard industry questions, and I thought I gave them accurate, intelligent answers.

A few days after the interview, they contacted me and offered me a part-time remote translation job.

 I was happy, especially as the pay was good and the work was flexible, and this gig would have provided me with the cash flow I needed to situation my content creation business. 

The rush to buy

They invited me to join their Slack channel to attend my “orientation session”  the next day.

I woke up early the next day for the orientation session, all excited. The session started with questions about what kind of equipment and translation software I had, and they immediately recommended that I buy a specific software and use a PC instead of a Mac. 

The person chatting with me said the company would cover these costs and send me a “check immediately” to buy the software and the computer.

As soon as I got the checks and deposited them in my bank (and provided them with proof per their request), I was asked to buy the equipment from their “vendors” via Zelle, which I did quickly because I wanted to impress them. 

Right after I made the second purchase, I started to feel uneasy. Why were they rushing me like that?

So I decided to call the company and speak to the person corresponding with me.

Someone picked up the phone and told me that the person I asked for was on vacation and that she was pretty much off the grid.

That was when I knew I had been scammed, so I went online looking for answers and found this article.: People who turned to Upwork to find freelance gigs say they’ve lost thousands of dollars to scams

I immediately called my bank and told them what had happened. They told me they would do their best to mitigate the situation, but they didn’t think they could get the money back since this was sent through Zelle.

I lost a total of $1,700. I didn’t have much money, and I sunk into a dark mood. How can I be so dumb?

Scam alerts to be on the watch for

Looking back at what happened, here are the scam flags I should have paid close attention to:

  • The Gmail account.
  • The “interview” via Google Chat without seeing anyone’s face on camera.
  • The robotic-sounding answers to my questions.
  • The constant pressure to buy the needed equipment immediately.

The thing that tricked me:

  • The Slack channel with profiles of other “employees.”
  • The stolen Linkedin profiles.
  • The real name of the company.
  • The” good” questions that were asked at the “interview.”

The happy ending

Six months after the incident, I received an unexpected email from my bank telling me that Zelle had managed to return the money. (Yes, I’m a forever huge fan of Zelle!)

I decided to do something unique with the money after getting it back. I didn’t want to spend it on something that I would forget, so I decided to invest in my health and mental sanity and got myself a Pelton bike that I regularly use. 

Every time I look at the bike, I remember the story of how I got scammed and how eventually things were sorted out, and I ended up with a cautionary tale to tell. 

As Philip Roth once said: “Nothing Bad can happen to a writer. Everything is material.” 

*Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Suha Arafat spam

I’m not in the habit of reading spam mail, but this one is quite unique. It is signed by the one and only Suha Arafat. I thought you would enjoy it. I’m putting just the introduction here, the remainder is in the extended part of the post.

Dear Friend,

I am Mrs. Suha Arafat, the wife of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian
leader who died recently in Paris. Since his death and even prior to
the announcement, I have been thrown into a state of antagonism,
confusion, humiliation, frustration and hopelessness by the present
leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the new
Prime Minister. I have even been subjected to physical and
psychological torture. As a widow that is so traumatized, I have lost
confidence with everybody in the country at the moment.

You must have heard over the media reports and the Internet on the
discovery of some fund in my husband secret bank account and companies
and the allegations of some huge sums of money deposited by my husband
in my name of which I have refuses to disclose or give up to the
corrupt Palestine Government.


A night at Salute

Salute's beer garden

For those of you Jordanian expatriates that miss the ‘night out’ scene in Amman, here is a quick shot of the Saluté beer garden from the Gallery.

Still on the topic of all things Amman, Ahamd Humeid just mentioned that Jordan’s fairly new radio station — Play 99.6 — is now offering

a live streaming feed [Abacast plugin needed – stream initiates download]. I’m listening to it as we speak and it is not bad. The programming is mainstream pop, but it is okay. At this moment of my life anything coming from Jordan is divine.

Vote results

Voting for the 2004 Weblog Awards has and ended. Mental Mayhem came in at number 9. That’s really not bad. Many thanks for everyone that supported and voted for this blog. I was pleased to see Maryam’s blog, So I Want To Be An Astronaut, came in third. Her blog is very inspiring and I really wish her the best in pursuing her dream.

Thanks again go out to all those that voted for this humble blog!

MSN to tempt bloggers with traffic and ads

If you’re a blogger, MSN might come to you and say, ‘We want to distribute you. We’ll send you traffic and we want you to run these ads on your site, and you’ll get a share of revenues on that. That’s probably an offer that many bloggers are going to be interested in because they don’t want to have to invest in creating that kind of infrastructure, and they would value the traffic.

Via Micro persuasion

So, if you are a blogger, will you be welling to sell out?