I'm not in the habit of interviewing my former bosses (and in the interests of full disclosure it's probably best to bring this up now) but as this is a column and Eli Khoury is not your run-of-the-mill businessman, I figured I'd risk my integrity. In any case, I like what he does.
Mr Khoury is many things to many people. He is the editorial cartoonist who went into advertising, and established the Saatchi brand into the region. He is the man who created Quantum communication, the advisory arm of his communication empire the Quantum Group, which helped to promote the new Iraqi constitution in 2004 and which, in the same year, was a major force behind pushing Lebanon's 2005 Cedar Revolution into the global consciousness.
And now he is the man who is hoping to change the face of Middle East communications.
His vehicle is Mercury, a multifaceted media entity. He claims it is not only an example of Lebanese know-how, professionalism and innovation - "there is perhaps no comparable entity in the region or in the world" - but a tool that he believes can also affect social, political and economic change in a country where private-sector influence has all but been snuffed out.
To do real business in Lebanon you need to be an optimist. You need to have an unquenchable belief that the country will eventually turn the corner.
It is more than the mindset of the gambler who thinks that the next spin of the wheel will win. It's about having the DNA to trade and build. But paradoxically, you must also be a realist.
"The trouble is we spend our time taking aspirin for the pain without trying to cure the cancer," says Mr Khoury, 52, sitting at his scarily tidy desk in his Beirut office. "A country can be judged by its people. Our private sector is our strength but politically we are inverted. The pits of society are on top. We should be global leaders but we have been held back and made into aid beggars by politics. There has been no economic policy in over 20 years, and to make matters worse when we go [to the government] for help in reality we are consulting the problem."
So what to do? Re-engage the private sector and reach out to the diaspora, a group that Mr Khoury believes has the intellectual and financial clout to shape the economic and social future of Lebanon. And Mercury is a medium.
The Mercury Group, to give its full name, is the third arm of the Quantum Group, which comprises M&C Saatchi Mena (he went over to the other side in 2011) and Quantum Communications. Within Mercury, there is M News, which was born out of the innovative NowLebanon.com, and which will eventually evolve into a fully dedicated news entity with split regional and international content, with non-news items - features, opinion, analysis - going to the online M Magazine.
But it doesn't mean we can't have a bit of fun along the way.
There is also the M Channel, a TV station with local and international programmes, and the M Store, an online outlet selling e-books, music, video, apps and educational content.
What started out as an NGO has gone fully commercial. It has to. The project will see investment of up to US$100 million (Dh367m) over five years with the launch already set at $10m in seed money. Investors were selected according to their ability not to interfere. "We are independent but not neutral," Mr Khoury pauses, "and we are also progressive and secular". It is the cri de guerre of modern Lebanon.
Not only does Mr Khoury want to set new standards and push back the boundaries of what is possible in an online era, he sees his new baby as sticking it to those who for generations have sought to gag the media.
"Online media cannot be silenced and the virtual is a life in which censors cannot thrive."
Michael Karam is a Beirut-based writer