DIY or not, that is the question
As a foreigner, one of the first things you have probably noticed about Turkish people is that we don’t do much ourselves. We like to work with handymen instead of using our own hands to build and fix stuff. This is partly because of the culture and partly because of the fact that labor is very cheap in our country.
All in all, this situation creates all kinds of opportunities, and an amazing website called armut.com is seeking to harness the benefits of this phenomenon. Armut.com is an online platform where people can request quotations from various service providers without the hassle of actually going to their store and talking to each one, one by one. You write about what you want and when you want it to be done and many handymen send their proposals to you. You can search through their profiles and see what other people who worked with them have to say about them.
The founder and the CEO of Armut.com, Başak Taşpınar Değim, noticed the need for such a web-based platform when she needed many different kinds of services when she moved from the U.S. to Turkey permanently. Out of her painstaking experiences, she thought there should be an easier and more transparent way to find the best person for housework. In the end, she believed in the potential of Armut.com and left her job for good. After hard work and lots of networking, she is the proud owner of an rising business that also employs her husband. It makes me proud to see female entrepreneurs doing so well in Turkey. We need more stories like hers.
However, Turkish people’s reluctance to use their hands to do housework or any type of engineering stands against a counter movement. This movement is called the "makers movement," and it started first in the U.S.
According to its Wikipedia entry, "A rekindled interest in manufacturing and hardware, accompanied by the proliferation of inexpensive or less expensive distributed, democratizing manufacturing tools enabled the maker movement to lift off in the mid-2000s. In 2005, Dale Dougherty launched Make: A magazine to serve the growing community, followed by the 2006 launch of Maker Faire. The term, coined by Dougherty, grew into a full-fledged industry based on the growing number of DIYers who want to build something rather than buy it."
Alongside the movement has come a leveling of the playing field, where formerly the creation of products and prototypes required vast resources available only to industry and big businesses: A manufacturing process that is growing in accessibility is driving innovation at all levels.
The movement seems to have been initiated in Turkey, too. There are a couple of ateliers, maker-spaces and hacker-spaces around the country where makers and hackers (hackers modify things to work differently) gather to “make something.” They sometimes do this for some purpose, while other times they don’t really care if it will have a real use and just make it anyway!
Maker Faires are the biggest events of this movement, where makers present their products to the public. The first Maker Faire in Istanbul will take place Nov. 12-13 during Turkcell’s Technology Summit. More information on the maker movement in Turkey can be found on www.makersturkiye.com, which is currently the one and only maker portal in the country.
As a journalist, it makes me happy to see you have beautiful options on the Internet if you want to do stuff yourself, or let a professional take care of the hassle for you. If you renovate a house in Turkey, pick from one of these two options and contribute to these new-born initiatives.