Everyone who has access to the internet or TV is talking about Donald Trump’s victory. When the votes were counted and Trump was declared the next president, what had been the subject of mirth in a Simpsons episode 16 years ago became a reality, as the famous TV series devoted one of its episodes to an America where Trump is president.
Fortunately, I went to two meetings this week that boosted my morale. Both of the meetings reminded me that no matter what is happening on the macro level, we should do the best we can for our company and for our nation to bring about positive change. One of the meetings was with Yemeksepeti’s CTO, Bülent Akar, while the other was with Yıldız Teknik University’s Teknokent management team.
Bülent Akar is leading the technology department of one of Turkey’s most technology-intensive businesses of all time. Even a glitch in any of the 150,000 orders per day could result in a huge social media disaster for the company, so everything from taking orders to delivering orders needs to go 100 percent smoothly. This kind of a pressure could break anyone easily, yet he is very calm, down to earth and has the outmost trust in his team, whose average age is only 26. Akar is very confident in the fact that even though Yemeksepeti was acquired by Delivery Hero for a staggering amount of more than 500 million dollars, Yemeksepeti is more advanced in the ways to use technology for business.
Akar said they were exporting technology to their parent company and its operations in various countries. The way Akar manages his teams is also in tune with the “zeitgeist.” In Turkey we tend not to believe in or trust anyone, especially youngsters, but Akar is doing just the opposite. He believes that people can talk and decide what’s best for the company and the team. So he lets teams decide on how to get to certain goals after he sets the goals. A team can discuss and decide to focus on a certain topic instead of the other depending on their own strategies and priorities. I hope that other companies can adopt the same attitude for young coders so that we can keep our talented minds in Turkey.
In the other meeting, Yıldız Technical University TechnoPark Executive Board Member Dr. Mesut Güner, Yıldız Incubation Manager Latif Ulu and Head of Technology Transfer Cem Duran made a believer out of me in the sense that at last we have a strategy in place when it comes to technology management and development. I am very used to hearing university representatives or government authorities speak about amazing goals that can never be reached. However, the team at Yıldız Technical University is very aware of where they are now, where they want to be, as well as their strengths and shortcomings. Even though they were established in 2003, they have a heritage of 100 years behind them and access to 35,000 students and hundreds of academics for any company that chooses to partner with them. There are already superstar projects in the incubation center, which was founded in 2014, such as a spray that lets you see blood veins under the skin.
They know that Turkish tech companies cannot go global if they are not represented in the United States. Therefore, they are opening up a center in Silicon Valley in cooperation with other Techno parks. They have already been giving legal, business and technology advisory services to the startups under their umbrella, and now they are going to be advising them on how to do business in the U.S. I will be watching this team very closely to hopefully bring you good news about how our technology firms have succeeded in going global.
There will always be political and economic turmoil around the world, and we can only overcome it with the work that these kinds of everyday heroes do.