Amman Through The Eyes of Zafer Younis
Zafer Younis is a marketing specialist who is paving new ways for companies to connect with their consumers in the digital space. He is the co-founder and CEO of The Online Project where his team develops and executes social media strategies for Fortune 500 companies and high profile organizations operating in the Middle East and North Africa.
Zafer co-founded his first company: Modern Media, LTD, a Jordanian media house that owns and operates two popular radio stations, including the award winning radio station Play 99.6, which received recognition from the US-based National Association for Broadcasters in 2007. Modern Media offers consulting services to regional radio stations, and designs direct marketing promotions for advertisers.
Zafer hold a BA (Business Finance) from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a BA (Engineering) from the University College London (UCL)
- Zafer, you’ve been living in Amman for 15 years, what is the biggest single positive change you’ve seen in the city over those years?
Variety, we have many more options today. Cultural events and activities, nightlife, galleries, radio stations, gyms, and even burger joints. Credit goes to young Jordanians who are starting their own businesses. Ten years ago there was only one option. One cinema (Galleria), one happening club (Nai), one gym (Power hut), one italian pizza place (Reef). I know Ammani's always complain about the lack of variety, I say we have seen big progress in the past 10 years, if we maintain the momentum for the the next ten years, we should catch up with cities like Beirut and Dubai.
- If you were mayor of Amman, what is the first major policy decision would you make for the betterment of the city?
First, Ban smoking in public areas, and enforce it.
Then, I would introduce a "name and shame" penalty for sexual harassment, (not sure if the mayor is the one who could do such a thing) They did this in Dubai and it did wonders. They would publish pictures of harrasers in the daily news papers, It reduces harrasment in the streets at least dramatically.
- What places do you miss in Amman that are not around anymore?
Tom and Jerry: the original one in Shmeisani
New York New York: best Pizza and Tuna sandwich
Nai: Great memories.
- Being well inversed in the tech field, they say Amman may soon become the Silicon Valley of the MENA region, what do you think about that? Do you agree?
We are definitely leading the internet industry in the region. I am not sure about becoming a silicon valley though. We need to find our own setup, every region is different, what worked in the US in the 1980's might not be the best model/fit to our region today. I am confident Jordan will keep the lead for the next 5 years. We need to work together today to make sure the 5-10 years after are as good.
- Where is your favorite place to hang out in Amman?
Anywhere between 3rd and 1st circles.
- If you were to guide tourists in Amman, what are the 3 must-sees in the city?
For hungry tourists:
Falafel Al Quds
Fakher El Din
For camera tourists:
Downtown (Al Balad)
For curious tourists:
Darat al Funoun
Royal Automobile Museum
- What is a Ammani company, initiative or invention you are most proud of?
Kharabeesh.com 100% Jordanian, funny, relevant, and lead by the most passionate founders and team.
- Favorite street in Amman?
- When you think of Amman what words come to mind?
Home, 7, Roman, seasons, circles, friends, Jabal, tiny, big.
- You are a major burger fan, where do you think are the top 3 burgers in Amman?
- You have a secret in ordering 3awameh at Tamreyet Omar – want to share that secret with us?
Ask for it 1/2 done, they wont fry it for long then so it would be softer, would absorb less oil and less syrup and taste much better.
- What is a campaign you would wholeheartedly support?
Public areas smoking ban.