Expat+Harem is online community of foreign women writers living in Turkey. Originally from Berkeley, California, the founder, Anastasia M. Ashman is a global nomad who has lived in Rome, Kuala Lumpur and Istanbul for the past 14 years. Ashman describes herself as ‘an author, creative entrepreneur for the global soul, editor and international bestseller.’ She has a backgound in the media and entertainment sector in LA. Since 2003 the year she got married to a Turk and moved to Istanbul, she has been the producer of the Near East’s 1st Global Nomad Salon in association with Janera Soerel of Janera.com . The Economist calls this worldwide series of intellectual dinner parties “jetsetters with a conscience.”
Business in Turkey
6 years have passed from the day Steve Jobs addressed new graduates of Stanford University during the commencement. It was a moving speech where he gave 3 personal stories that transformed his life.
The first story was about connecting the dots. He dropped out of college believing that the classes were overrated and overpriced. He wanted to learn what he was interested in not what the school obligated him to take as classes. For over 18 months, he stayed on campus to attend classes that he was interested in as a drop-in. He chose interesting courses such as calligraphy, that would have never crossed his mind if he were aiming for a degree.
We are all back to work after a 9 day Eid holiday. Most of us are struggling to get adapted to our routine week schedule and workload. You might have been willing to remain in the flip flops that you wore at the beach last week and resist wearing the shoes of a corporate professional. Yes, change is tough… especially from leisure to hard work.
Let’s take a few moments to read a motivational story that might help us to get into the mood for this shoe change.
Although I didn’t want to write another article on e-commerce, the success of trendyol.com urged me to do so.
Have you heard of Trendyol? Are you one of the 4 million users who buy trendy clothes and accessories online? Or have you recently heard of the e-commerce page through the press? Shamefully, I belong to the last group. Since I don’t live in Turkey, sometimes I am a bit slow to follow trends!
Of course, when Trendyol’s $26 million deal with famous Silicon Valley investor (former investor of Google, Amazon, Twitter) Kleiner Perkins hit the technology headlines, the company got my full attention.
What is Trendyol about? What is its business model? How large is the company? Who runs it?
I live in Singapore, one of the most developed economies, an island state characterized by its order, cleanliness and strict rules. Singaporeans are hard workers who earn good salaries and indulge themselves by gourmet dinners, exotic travel and branded products. Shopping is the most enjoyable pastime. From the very many malls and very many luxury fashion houses like Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel, you can tell that they like to shop in person by physically visiting the store, trying on dresses and enjoying the atmosphere of buying exclusive designs. On the other hand, they are not big fans of e-commerce.
How do you plan your social calendar especially in the hectic summer days of Istanbul? There are so many concerts and summer parties going on in different parts of the city. Summer branches of restaurants seem too many to choose from. When I lived in Istanbul, I always needed friends’ recommendations or impartial reviews in order to decide where to go. City guides are not always the best resources to rely on, since their motive is openly commercial. What to do?
One of the most effective ways of communicating in social media is blogging. It is the fastest and easiest way of self-publishing. You don't need an editor, photographer or publisher. You are in control of every aspect of communicating your ideas. You are the one featuring stories, taking photos, visiting places and interviewing people. If the blogs you write up are interesting, you start developing an audience. You address this audience when you write your stories. Just like a writer is responsible for his readers, a blogger becomes responsible for his followers.
Imagine that you are given keys that will unlock doors in many countries. These are not the doors of fancy hotels but houses and apartments in the middle of real neighborhoods. The world becomes your playground. You will get to meet local residents, do your grocery shopping in the marketplace, catch the bus to the city or to the suburbs depending on your location and go to typical restaurants that only locals know about. All of a sudden you are not only the resident of your own city but you become a world citizen in the real sense.
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