In a recent video interview with Fereshteh Forough, Robert Moore, the cofounder, president and managing director of sales for Internet Media Labs, discusses how social media can impact the lives of people around the world, in Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond. Moore also discusses his career path and offers advice for aspiring entrepreneurs around the world.
Moore got his start in the women’s fashion industry, but got involved in online ventures in 1998. He explains that Internet Media Labs is his fourth startup, and came from one of his first projects, IdeaLab, an Internet incubator. The venture helped promising Internet startups get capital to become successful businesses. He enjoyed the work and wanted to continue it, and founded Internet Media Labs to take advantage of the social media world. He explains, “I love that concept of creating an environment where ideas could formulate and percolate and turn into businesses if you could create markets for them.”
Designed to help “solve real world problems”, Internet Media Labs takes ideas and helps conceptualize and prototype them. The most promising ideas help solve a problem, generally with the social media sphere. One of Moore’s most successful projects, OneQube, helps companies and influencers identify and discover people within their network to foster connectivity. Moore says, “Our point of view as a company is that being social is all about relationship building. It’s about making real connections between people.” One important facet is learning who the “right people” are to connect with. Moore explains, “It quickly can get out of control and overwhelming, and that’s the problem that we’re solving. We want to facilitate growth. We want to facilitate connectivity between the great work that Women’s Annex is doing and empower those women to create global connections and global networks.”
Moore’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is threefold. He suggests that those who want to be entrepreneurs should get an education. He points to the Women’s Annex model as an excellent start for people in Central Asia looking for practical training in social media and other areas. Next, he says that aspiring entrepreneurs should work for a startup company and get a mentor. Finally, Moore points out that aspiring entrepreneurs should “be bold enough to step off the curb and do something”. He says, “Even if you do and fail the first time, the act of doing is positive. There is no failure, there is only learning. If you do it right, it can turn into something beautiful.”
Finally, Moore discusses how social media in Afghanistan can impact the entire region. He explains, “As networks start to expand globally, the ability for those networks to affect real change in either promoting your mission or empowering people through information and knowledge is really unparalleled.” He says that Women’s Annex is important because it allows people to create connectivity, first within the cohort of Women’s Annex students, then within the region and beyond. As Moore says, “One person through their networks can have potentially as much power at Time Magazine does.”