Two heads are better than one

March 24, 2018

Why partnerships are still the foundation of the business world


In 1963, two boys met in a high-school gym class. Following 14 years of friendship, during which they developed a shared passion for food, the pair took a correspondence course in ice-cream making in 1977. The next year, they opened their first ice cream shop — Ben & Jerry’s.


Over ten years later in 1975, two friends decided to sell their prized Volkswagen minibus and Hewlett-Packard calculator to generate around USD 2,000. With this money, they built a machine in their garage that eventually made them multi-billionaires as the co-founders of Apple Computer.


Twenty years later, two men met at Stanford University and disagreed “about most everything”. They later worked together on a research paper called ‘The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine’, which turned out to be the basis for their company Google.


These vignettes are just three examples of how two heads are better than one in the business world. In fact, some of the most successful businesses operating today — think Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and eBay — were based on inspired partnerships that flourished and grew into networks of fruitful relationships that mirrored those between their original founders.


So what does this have to do with us at MAG Lifestyle Development? — Everything, because this is the type of life-long relationship that we foster with our partners. In fact, the word ‘supplier’ does not exist in our vocabulary because every individual and company we work with is a partner. We know that fostering meaningful and strong relationships is essential for the ongoing success of our business. In the business world, what can we learn from strong partners like Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google?


First and foremost, we must respect that our partners each bring something specific to our business relationships. Wozniak has admitted that he never once thought of selling his original computer model; it was Jobs’ business acumen paired with Wozniak’s technical skills that brought Apple to life, and their relationship was based on a profound esteem for one other’s capabilities. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and partnerships should above all enhance the companies’ collective value proposition to clients. This is why MAG LD works with allies who bring new elements to our promise to surpass our customer’s expectations.


Secondly, savvy partners only choose to work with the best in the business. Page and Brin recognised that their early competition was simply the result of their shared intellect and ambition. They decided to team up because they were equals and realised that by sharing their expertise and insights, they could go further than they ever could alone. This is particularly important in our increasingly complex and rapidly-evolving world, where new innovations and technology are changing the face of business on a daily basis. To thrive in this environment, MAG LD works with partners who are experts in their fields, and who have the know-how to help us prepare for the future. But more than that, we are extremely discerning about who we choose to partner with, because we must ensure that they share our exacting standards and our idea of what EXCELLENCE truly means. It pays to be picky when it comes to partners.


Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, effective partners all share a long-term vision, whether it is to create the world’s most delicious ice cream or to forge new paths for digital communication and technology. At MAG LD, the mutual trust we build with our partners is not just based on our confidence in their expertise, but also on the strength of our joint goal to serve our customers better by working together. An alignment between the culture and values of partner companies is of equal importance to their shared business objectives and capabilities. This is because the ultimate goal of building a network of partners is to create a solid foundation for a company that will succeed for decades to come, and a shared vision is one of the only guarantees that partners will have the longevity to go this distance.


We are privileged to live in a country where our leadership encourages collaboration across all sectors and industries, which has led to unprecedented progress across the UAE. Two heads continue to be stronger than one in the business world and at MAG LD, we will always find new ways to give more, offer more, and achieve more by putting this into practice.

– Talal M. AlGaddah is the Chief Executive Officer of MAG Lifestyle Development and CEO Middle East Awards’ ‘Young CEO of the Year’ – 2017.