It was my second year in college. I took a first-year international relations course for which I had to read Orientalism by Edward Said. This was my first official encounter by a well-defined concept of ‘the other.’ Said defined ‘the other’ as lower, less important, different or even strange. The other was the Eastern world from the perspective of the Western scholars. All of a sudden there was a concise differentiation between the Western ‘us’ and Eastern ‘them.’ After this concept was created, the gap between us and them only widened over time. Similar traditions, cultures or political affiliations grouped together and opposed ‘the others’ who didn’t think alike. In the case of Western and Eastern civilizations, it was the conflict between Christianity and Islam, modern and traditional, introvert and extrovert, resolution and war, etc...
Business in Turkey
2010… Another year passed by… the first decade of the millennium is over. How will you remember 2010? What happened in these 365 days that made the year significant? Natural disasters, information leaks, technological breakthroughs…
2010 was the year of natural disasters. Different parts of the world were shaken by intense earthquakes: Haiti, Chile, China and Sumatra were home to hundred thousands of dead and millions of displaced people. Volcanic eruptions and ashes in Indonesia and Iceland threatened the lives and security of the environment and impacted the air traffic in the world. It was one of the rare examples of how the world was physically connected. I even met a few tourists who were stuck in Singapore waiting to travel back home to Northern Europe. Russia's forests went on fire and wilder habitats seized to exist. Pakistan was hit by deteriorating floods caused by heavy monsoon rains. As a result, 1600 people were killed and almost one million were displaced. In sum, natural disasters worsened the situation in the underdeveloped regions. According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 925 million people - 13.6 percent of the world population - are hungry in 2010. 578 million from Asia Pacific; 239 million from Sub-Saharan Africa are coping with hunger. Poverty, conflict, corrupted economic system and global warming are seen as the main causes of the hunger.
Most of us see things that need to change but we don't know how to go about it. As we walk down the Istiklal Avenue, we see kids selling tissues to survive in the midst of dangerous streets. Some of us stop and give them a few coins, others are even scared to reach for their wallets as it could be a trap to pickpocket. We see garbage dumped in the side alleys of the city, we say to ourselves 'we will become civilized when we stop littering.' We see cars driving regardless of the red light, we say 'no wonder there are so many accidents!' We sometimes forget to show respect to each other as we need to rush to work, meet a deadline or pick up our kids from school. In the end, we are just trying to survive in this deadly fast environment, aren't we? Yes, but what do we really miss?
We care less. Or we care but we don't do much thinking about how we can solve these on-going problems… There are really few people who care and act on them. This minority group is courageous yet determined to execute a detailed plan, raise awareness in the community and change lives of a few less fortunate and maybe the society at large in the long run. They believe in change and they know that the best way to change people is to educate them.
The information age makes all kinds of information and images available. Because we receive a lot of irrelevent data besides useful and interesting ones, we take only a few seconds to screen and label them as 'worth reading or watching' or 'junk'. The job of advertisers is tough because they need to make their message clear and thought provokative and their visuals sharp and memorable. In a few seconds, the viewers should get the joke and underlying message and link them to the brand. There are a lot of ads that we enjoy watching but cannot relate the ad to the brand.
In the old days, our lives were much more simple. We had no internet, TV was new and fun with only a few channels and TV commercials were something to watch. When I was two years old, I used to get very excited over TV commercials 'rabaka,' which was my interpretation of 'reklamlar' or advertisements in Turkish. According to Mom, what made commercials interesting for me was that they were short videos - excellent for a 2-year old with a short attention span - and they were broadcasted repeatedly over a course of a day so I could recognize the people, colors, words and music. Compared to today's TV broadcasting, everyhing from budgets to products and companies, from channels to TV shows was limited but the main idea behind commercials was the same.
Last week I went to a public lecture by Tamar Almor at Sotheby's Singapore. It was a good lecture to hear about trends in the art business. If you're simply an art enthusiast, art investor or creative business professional interested in art, you will enjoy to see new perspectives in the art world. The speaker was a MBA lecturer Dr. Tamar Almor from Israel. Dr. Almor's expertise is on strategy and entrepreneurship with a special emphasis on art. In her talk she tried to look at artwork as a contemporary good or service that could attract investors' attention. In other words, she portrayed the artist as a creative entrepreneur.
She named Christo, Koons, Hirst, Murakami... just a few contemporary artists whose work has become brands. They know how to emotionally involve people. Christo loves to package buildings or islands, and marks his signature as an act of activism followed by mass media coverage. Koons is famous for his balloon animals made of stainless steel.
Hirst is the famous artist of the diamond human skull with thousands of diamonds. Murakami is the Japanese artist/art entrepreneur who created an art factory of consumer products from digital images, small figurines to Louis Vuitton bags. They are all contemporary artists who provoked a lot discussions, reactions and comments from art critiques, environmentalists, scholars and journalists: Are their works art? Or are they simply producing for the consumers?
I used to love futuristic movies as a kid. In 1990s Hollywood made us imagine that the future world would be a utopia where human factor would be minimised and electronic machines would control the cities, maintain security and restore information. Boys of my age were mesmerized by flying cars and digitalized weapons whereas I was fascinated as a girl by the flow and accessibility of information and visuals. At the time, even internet was an unfamiliar and intimidating platform. Watching voice commanded cars, rhetina reading security systems, touch tone computers were all part of a technological dream. Demolition Man was one of those movies that made me think that in a few decades information technologies will revolutionize the way we get information and interact with each other. Although the movie took us to an unrealistic setting, alternate Los Angeles where there was no crime and chaos, and people greeted each other saying 'Be well,' I truly liked the idea of connecting to the world through an ATM-like-computer on the street.
One of the rarest joys of living abroad is to visit home. In my case, home is Istanbul. Most of my friends and colleagues prefer vacationing in the exotic spots of the Mediterranean or travel thousands of miles just to relax and get into the mood to vacation. In contrast, I fly more than 11 hours from Singapore in order to step foot on my mother land. When I am in the city I enjoy everything without exaggeration: people, food, music, traffic, livelihood, lights, walking in the narrow streets, contemplating the fabulous moon, the sunset... It is amazing to see how much there is to enjoy in this magnificent city.
‘Sight of the Bosphorus at the very morning, Nargile (Shisha) at Galata Bridge, 2 hour long boat ride to Princes Islands, early dinner at the roof of the new IKSV building just to enjoy the sunset, lively trettoirs of the Galata Tower, visit to Hagia Sophia to see the newly restored Angels, journey to the roots of Istanbul in Sabancı Museum’s Legendary Istanbul - From Byzantion to Istanbul: 8000 Years of A Capital...
Most of us come up with many unusual and creative ideas during the day but have hard time transforming them into concrete projects or include them in processes. Some of us take notes and make an effort to make use of these new ideas, others easily forget them within the chaotic business day. There is a simple tool that can organize your ideas on a diagram almost like a visual of your train of thoughts printed out right out of your brain. Wouldn't this kind of tool help you be more creative yet organized?
This powerful tool is called 'mind mapping.'It is basically a software developed to link ideas, people, tasks or anything you can think of.
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