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Interview with Michael Ilyas co-founder of BuyAnyInsurance.com



I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Ilyas who is one of the co-founders of “BuyAnyInsurance.com” – a new and upcoming insurance comparison site in Dubai aimed at providing a “solutions-driven” experience to customers in the UAE who are looking to buy any kind of insurance be it car, home, life or health. Michael has also been running Cactimedia since 2003 – a web design agency in Dubai providing creative, strategic and technical expertise to small, medium and large companies in the region, thereby enabling them to drive their business further and dominate the digital space.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Michael: I have been in the digital space for 10 years and I have worked very closely with companies of various sizes and in diverse industries. I would like to think I now understand the unique challenges of the market here in the UAE and therefore I firmly believe that there is room for improvement in the online insurance space and that things can be done better – on the digital side, the UX and also on the sales and customer service side.

When I met Mark Bachayani, co-founder, an insurance veteran in the UAE, we both felt strongly that a platform that only does insurance comparison but does it perfectly, would definitely be worth investing in.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

There are so many interesting stories, but one that really comes to mind is when we began discussing PR and the launch strategy for BuyAnyInsurance.com.  I hadn’t realised the task at hand and how instrumental PR would be in developing our brand, and some of the ideas for the launch ranged from Flash mobs, through to coming down the longest zipline in Ras-Al-Khaimah holding an umbrella, to painting a whole island blue. 

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Michael: We have just started so there are not many funny mistakes yet. But we are hoping to keep a lid on the mistakes and if we do make any we want to make sure we learn from them and adapt quickly

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Michael: What makes us stand out is our relentless focus on providing a seamless and hiccup-free experience to anyone who wishes to buy insurance in Dubai and from across the UAE. I specialize and have been doing digital for 10 years in the region and Mark has been doing insurance for a decade in the region. With our powers combined we can ensure our customers get the best of both worlds.

Our company is built knowing that we only hire the best people to do the job and we share a common goal, to be the most trusted and transparent insurance company in the UAE.  We take care in choosing the right people, whether it takes 7 plus interviews, we want to be sure that everyone who joins what we call our “family”, all share the same common goal, so through thick and thin, we support each other.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Michael: It’s about working Smart and not long hours.   Take the time to understand your customers better. Orient and optimize your company and value proposition according to the pain-points of those customers. I think a lot of businesses in the region make the mistake of following industry leaders but don’t take the time and make the effort to learn about customer’s wants and needs first hand. I know this is easier said than done and it takes tremendous discipline to ingrain this principle into sales teams, client management teams, technical teams and customer service folks.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Michael: It’s still early days for us, but without a doubt, I would like to thank the team that has worked on the company and the investors and brought it to life. These guys are an invaluable resource. Other than that I would obviously like to thank my family and friends who have stuck through thick and thin.

Having mapped out the business plan for BuyAnyInsurance.com, the next steps were to find an investor.   I met with a potential client for Cactimedia and over a coffee, I spoke of BuyAnyInsurnce.com and within 2 days we were at the lawyers office signing the paperwork.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Michael: The reason BuyAnyInsurance.com exists is to make life a little bit easier for people in the UAE – and we want to do that by making their insurance buying experience easier, cheaper, friendlier and pain-free. With BuyAnyInsurance.com you can have an insurance coverage at the best price in under one hour. That’s how we want to begin spreading goodness and then work our way up and find other ways to do more good.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Michael: It’s a bit cliché nowadays to say this but I really relate to the Steve Jobs quote “Stay hungry, stay foolish”. For me it means that one should always push oneself to achieve greater things and better things and to never settle. In today’s world where technology changes so rapidly, it’s absolutely imperative to stay “foolish” – to keep the thirst to know more and learn more alive. You can say that another word for “foolish” is “curious”, but I like “foolish” more because it has more punch and it takes guts to be foolish and I really admire that quality.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.


Hire the best team possible. Do not compromise on that.

Be embarrassed about your product, don’t wait until the product is perfect to launch. We launched 6 weeks ago and have version 2 ready to roll out

Listen and learn from your team and keep an eye out for your competitors.

Build out processes with checks and balances that are independent of your input.

Keep a flat structure and promote lots of communication

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Michael: I would create spaces in which people of great talent could develop their skills in. I have seen a lot of talented people struggle, and as a result I am initiating an internship programme to help grow and retain talent in the UAE. 

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/BuyAnyInsurance/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/buyanyinsurance/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Michael: Thank you!

Anthony Delgado (born February 6, 1986) is an American software developer and internet entrepreneur widely known as a professional hacker in the developer community. Anthony Delgado has won numerous hackathons sponsored by Fortune 500 tech companies like Google, IBM, Intel, Facebook and Microsoft and hosted by organizations including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the AT&T Developer Summit in New York City.

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Achieving Success And Overcoming Obstacles In The Modern Entrepreneurial Industry; The Rio Osorio Way!



As Entrepreneurs, we face obstacles and setbacks that seem impossible to overcome. The good thing about this is that each time, we often come out better off in the end than we were at the start. Yes, I won’t lie. Entrepreneurship is totally different from what society portrays. 

Every day, entrepreneurs are subjugated by their fears, inconsistencies, and losses; but what most individuals tend to forget is that failure is the condiment of their success. 

Amongst these entrepreneurs is brand strategist Rio Osorio. Widely Known as The Hustle Mentor, Rio is an entrepreneur who’s risen above his failures by putting in outrageous amounts of hard work to perfect his craft, and building long-lasting relationships with partners by providing more value than he receives. 

Some time ago, I had the opportunity to discuss entrepreneurship with Rio; he reveals the principles he applied to attain his level of success. These principles transformed his life and can change yours too.

Principles of Business Success


Loyalty is something that’s lacking in the entrepreneurial society today. Rio explains that a lot of entrepreneurs chase cheques, are selfish and don’t bother about the end goals of their clients.

Most successful businesses today are obsessed with making sure their customers achieve their goals. Essentially, they put the customer first before any other thing! This is a mantra that shouldn’t be overlooked when running a business.

2.Continuous learning 

They say that the average CEO reads a total of 54 books every year. This habit might seem overkill, but I guarantee you it’s not. Business owners have to observe this habit to flow with current industry trends.

Staying conscious of what’s happening in the corporate world is crucial to running a thriving business and setting the standard for excellence in your field.

Continuous learning, as some might call it, has given Rio a competitive edge in business, and he shares that this is one of the key factors contributing to his success in business.

3. Mentorship

Starting a business is a daunting task for many. You’ll face opposition from loved ones, pressure from the competition, time restraints, and a host of other obstacles.

At the start of his entrepreneurial journey, Rio faced most of these challenges. He overcame them by seeking out mentors who guided him through every one of those problems. 

Not only is this an easier alternative to figuring things out yourself, but it’s also a way to shorten the path to success.  Don’t get me wrong, the road to success is treacherous, but having the right people to hold your hand can make the journey less challenging.

Try not to be the smartest person in the room- Michael Dell of Dell Technologies.

Handling the Stress of Being an Entrepreneur


There are some days when we feel like our world is coming down on us, and for those of us whose businesses operate mostly online, the effect of this is triple-fold.

The endless messages from clients, problems sprouting from every corner, and the need to over-deliver can be overwhelming. When you notice your stress levels picking up, Rio recommends you take some time off work; you could call it a work detox. 

Start by switching off your phone and any other device that might bring in disturbances from clients and team members. This will significantly reduce your stress levels, and in a day or two, you would be back to your healthy self.

2.Friends and family

Mental health is another overlooked aspect of entrepreneurship. We often engross ourselves with work and forget that human beings are social animals; we can’t stay alone forever. 

Rio shares with us that spending time with our loved ones is also a great way to disconnect from all the noise. Little things like hanging out with friends, going to a baseball game, or even watching a movie can mean the difference between you having a mental breaking or building a successful business.

Facing Fears

Uncertainty is a common trait all entrepreneurs possess. We see ourselves asking questions like, ” What if the client doesn’t accept my offer?”Are my services not good enough? Should I fire this team member? Will I break even this quarter?

The questions are endless, and we often find ourselves getting caught up in answering them. This uncertainty is the primary reason most individuals don’t venture into entrepreneurship. 

Why would you leave a secure job to start a business you’re not sure would see the light of day? After years of being in the business, Rio affirms that there is nothing as rewarding as being an entrepreneur. 

Yes! The tasks at hand might seem impossible, and your efforts might look silly, but if you’re willing to put in an ample amount of work and provide enough value to your clients, you’ll uncover an endless stream of income no 9-5 job can guarantee.

At the end of our discussion, Rio spoke about the chances he didn’t take when he was younger; he shared a few words of advice to anyone who’s just starting their journey.

This is what he said;

Entrepreneurship requires you to do things that would make you feel uncomfortable. You’ll have to learn to leave your comfort zone.

I understand your fears, but you have to realize that you’ll miss every shot you don’t take. So instead of sitting and whining about the opportunities you missed, I suggest you do it scared, deal with the fear and go for it! 

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Achieving Success As a Student Entrepreneur, The Robert Carpenter Way.



College Student Robert Carpenter is on a mission to change the world by improving on the current online educational system.

Today, we will learn what Robert feels every student who is striving for success should know. Here’s Robert’s take on success, stress, and motivation.

Achieving Success

As a student, success in your studies should be your number one concern. 

But let’s face facts; success is not something that can be easily achieved. There are a lot of factors that determine whether you will be successful or not.

And one of those factors is how you spend your time. Would you prefer to play video games all day with friends, or would you feed your mind with tons of valuable information at the library?

You see, these little choices and actions we make daily can significantly affect our chances of success. Robert is a major believer in learning something new every day. As a matter of fact, he spends hours daily perfecting his craft.

It might not look like it, but Robert is actually giving himself a competitive edge against his peers. Think of it this way;  an overweight individual goes to the gym to lose some pounds; the first day, he notices that he doesn’t lose any weight. He felt bad but kept on visiting the gym and working out.

Subsequent visits to the gym proved successful. He lost over 60 pounds. The key takeaway here is consistency and determination. Apply these principles started here, and you’ll be on your way to achieving success in no time at all.

Avoiding Stress & Drawing Inspiration.

Every day, students face a lot of stressful situations. And a lot of times, this leads to mental breakdowns, illness, and burnout. 

Robert avoids this by proper planning. Today, most students don’t acknowledge the fact that proper planning can significantly reduce the stress they experience and increase their chances of success. 

Planning your day the night before can help you split the task thought out the day and complete them faster based on decreasing priority. 

So you’ve tried this, and you still ended up experiencing burnout. Well, here’s the thing; everyone has experienced burnout at some point in their lives. And in this state, they undergo emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. You will feel less motivation to accomplish tasks, and your overall output will be little.

When Robert experiences burn out, he takes a break and finds a quiet place to sit down and reflect on his goals, why he started, and what he’s going to achieve at the end. This helps him prioritize his goals, and instantly, a strong desire to fulfill those goals overwhelms him.

In Recent Times

Robert plans to study and practice math every day. This is the only way he can make an impact on society and help fellow students around him who strive to attain success.

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It runs In the family: Amel Elezovic and Anes Elezovic



Director Amel Elezovic and athlete Anes Elezovic are mega-talented brothers, working in the same industry. They share their favourite memories of stealing candy, running with cheetahs, and being there for each other when things get rough

What’s your first memory of each other?

Amel: One of my earliest memories is of Anes learning to sit up. I was asked to take care of him one evening. Normally he would just roll over but that afternoon, he just balanced himself and sat up. I was thrilled.

Anes: Me and Amel are twins so I remember when we were 12 and we celebrated halloween together and Amel dressed up really weird, at first I thought it was another person. He had long hair in a ponytail, a beard, and was wearing black. He created a late-night commotion in the house and I was like, “who is this guy?”

What is the craziest thing you have done together?

Amel: We haven’t had the opportunity to do a lot of crazy things together but I know we will…soon.

Anes: We went running with some cheetahs on leashes in Kruger National Park. We were also the only two people there when my grandmother passed away. It was very sad and emotional, as she was someone we both adored deeply.

What did you get punished for the most as a child?

Amel: I was a very assertive and curious child, constantly challenged my parents and got on their nerves, and got reprimanded. I never got punished as such.Anes: At age eight, I stole some money from my dad’s wallet, ran all the way to the market alone and bought the most expensive Japanese candy I could find. My mum wasn’t very happy when she heard about all this.

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The Disrupt Podcast tells the stories of the world top entrepreneurs, developers, creators, and digital marketers and help empower them to teach others the skills they used to grow their careers, chase their passions and create financial freedom for themselves, their families, and their lives, all while living out their true purpose. We recognize the fact that most young people are opting to skip college in exchange for entrepreneurship and real life experience. This Podcast is designed to give them a taste of that.