İlker Uğur

We’ve started so we’ll finish

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Geoff Vuleta Interview in Fast Company

leave a comment »

I came across this great interview by Geoff Vuleta of Fahrenheit 212 in the last issue of Fast Company. It is brilliant. Not very long but insprational.

I would love to meet this guy and speak about his experience for an hour.

Here you go:

Big idea: To create a new kind of consultancy, helping big companies innovate by melding the best of Ideo and McKinsey. “Having an idea without knowing how it makes money is as valueless as knowing where growth lies without the idea,” says Geoff Vuleta, 48, critiquing the stereotypical design firm and the classic management consultant. The New Zealander and former ad man develops large-scale growth initiatives for major firms seeking $100 million-plus in new revenue. He makes money only if the idea works: “A funny thing happens when you only profit from a job if the job itself profits.” He’s now working on projects for the likes of Nestlé, LG, and Adidas, and booked more business in Q1 2010 than in all of 2009.

Why innovation scares CEOs: It’s not innovation so much as its perceived (and actual) cost. “The animals have overtaken the farm, and many lack operational or commercial expertise. Everybody’s spending money, and the company’s still getting only 4% growth. The future will be when people finally realize that commercial acumen and ideas have to be done in tandem with each other.”

Big break: After a successful career as an ad exec, Vuleta got a call from Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts. “He said, ‘I want to be an idea company, you’re an ideas guy; why don’t we see if you’re any good?’ I have to give him the biggest credit for my life as it is today.” Ultimately, Vuleta felt he couldn’t be as idea-obsessed as he wanted at Saatchi and created Fahrenheit 212.

Inspiration? “I have never really had role models, [but] rather a forever-expanding list of people doing things I admire.” On it now: Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman (“zigging while his industry zags”); Etsy founder Rob Kalin (“not for what he sells, because I would not be seen dead buying any of it, but for what his business has spawned”); and the Gilt Groupe team (“they create the Walmart Thanksgiving opening crush every day at 11:59”).

Greatest strength/weakness: “I’m a believer. If you say you’re good, I think you’re good. But I’m the last person to work out that something’s wrong.”

On being bi-continental: Vuleta commuted between New York and New Zealand for two years. “I naively thought I could build Fahrenheit from New Zealand. The moment I stopped doing that, the business started to grow.” He still returns every nine weeks to see daughter Isabella, 13. “Perversely, I spend more time with her now than I did when I lived there.”

Flight of the Conchords or Lord of the Rings? Conchords. “Just a totally novel idea.”

Frequent flying: “I fly every week of my life.” How many miles does he have? “I don’t know, but when I divorced my first wife seven years ago, we split everything in half, and she got a million miles. I thought, ‘What the hell has she done to earn those miles?’ Except put up with me. Maybe I should have given her all of them.”

If he could fix anything about air travel, he’d fix … “The journey from when you get out of the car to when you get on the plane.” It should be more Disneyesque: “As a kid, I learned about Disneyland and how, even when you’re queueing, you’re entertained.”

Originally wanted to be … a chef. “The irony is that I was never a very good cook. I harbored this dream for 11 years. All this time, my parents are saying, ‘We don’t think you’re going to enjoy it.’ Blow me down, they were right. I took the last bus home on my first night working in a kitchen and never went back.”

Tweeter? “I’m a fraud. I signed up because I went to get angry at somebody once, but then people started to follow me. But I wasn’t sending any tweets out — this is embarrassing — so my company tweets every day, and they retweet it on mine.”

Guilty pleasure: “I’ve drunk a bottle of champagne every Friday night for maybe 20 years.” Current favorites? Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle — “the best bubble of any champagne” — and Ruinart’s blanc de blancs.

Lessons from the scrum: The All Blacks, New Zealand’s rugby team, “could teach everyone about sportsmanship. You never boast. It’s always about what I’m going to do next. Rugby teaches you humility, honor, respect, and yet, at the same time, it’s the most physical, fiercely aggressive contact sport there is.”


Written by ilkerugur

July 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm

A bad choice

leave a comment »

When the company was founded in beginning of 90’s the owners should have thought that it was a great name for a telecom operator. It is both local with the technological flavour. More than a decade later they probably think it is the worst thing the company ever faced.

I am talking about Turkcell for sure. They are “the” telecom operator in Turkey, have investments in other countries easily can turn into a global player however their name is the problem.

It is too local. For instance Turkcell has the sources to become a major sponsor in all football related events but due to different brands in all the invested countries they can not do so.

I told this to a German friend of mine last week and he told me the story of Deutsche Telecom turning into T-Mobile. I believe Turkcell needs that kind of a brand change in the future if it has the will to expand to new markets.

Why am i thinking about this in the early hours of a Tuesday? Well simply because i believe a Turkish brand shall sponsor UEFA Champions League, Europa League or EURO 2012 and 2016 very soon. In search of that brand i am curious whether we have such a strong brand or not.

What do you think? Which Turkish company can sponsor a major sports event in the near future?

Note 1: According to a newspaper article i learned that Turkcell name was founded by a guy called Thorsten Press. He was the CEO of ComViq company that invested for telecom operators in Turkey, Greece and Thailand. Press ran after the licence with Murat Vargı for years and then sold his share of the company to Americans. He came up with the name. Maybe his idea was creating a global umbrella company for all his local branches. However health issues hindered that process.

Note 2: ComViq was acquired by Tele2 which is a major player in Scandanavia some years ago.

Written by ilkerugur

November 3, 2009 at 7:49 am

Posted in Business, Football

Tagged with , ,

The Espresso Room

with one comment

The Espresso Room 1

I saw this great coffee shop in Monocle Issue 27.

It is in London and owned by Ben Townsend. It is only 10 square meters and perfectly decorated.

You can visit the shops webpage here.

Photo is courtesy of:

The Espresso Room 2

Written by ilkerugur

October 11, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Posted in Business, Destination

Tagged with ,

Publishing & Retail together in Monocle Shop

leave a comment »


Monocle Shop in London

Monocle Shop in London

“Running a shop also acts as a consulate for our readers(we’ve somehow become a beacon in the heart of London for restaurant tips, hotel reservations and even career advice) has been a rewarding exercise as it allows us to give the print element of our media brand the shelf space we feel it deserves…

…the top requests are for a garment bag and “a bag that can deal with my diary, Blackberry, mobile, housekeys, pack of gum and business cards” …

…Indeed the best part of having a shop floor is that you get instant feedback on all aspects of your brand…

…At 9 sqm its rather difficult to have private or particularly heated discussions.”

Tyler Brule – Editor in Chief – Monocle 

Written by ilkerugur

April 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Business, Publishing

Pizza in Turkey

leave a comment »


Cheeseburger Pizza Yummy

Cheeseburger Pizza Yummy

As i can not eat pizza anymore due to health issues, i can only give some factual info about it. These information are from CNBCE Business Magazine.   

The Market

The first pizza restaurant in Turkey is opened by Pizza Hut in 1989. Those days were the days when pizza was considered as a food for rich people. However now it costs 5-6 TL’s per person and it is pretty cheap. 

It is believed that there are 8 million people eating pizza per year and the market is estimated about 250 million dollars. The pizza market generates more than 40 billion dollars worldwide.

Pizza Consumption 

Italians consume 5 kgs of pizza per year. French consume 10 kg, Americans 15. Turkish people eat not even 1 kgs of pizza per year. 75% of the population still does not prefer eating from outside, probably due to economic reasons.


The cheapest pizza you can get in Turkey is in Pizza Pizza. 6,5 TL. Here is a memory. I was the first consumer of Pizza Pizza in Alsancak İzmir in 1995. The owner of the brand sold us that pizza. Now they are  one of the major players. Almost all of the brands do promotions in order to sell more. One free and all you can eat is available in all restaurants.


The biggest market is Istanbul. Most selling branches are the ones in Mecidiyeköy, Etiler, Levent, Bakırköy, Taksim, Kadıköy, Acıbadem, Kozyatağı and Ataşehir. Pizza Pizza has the most restaurants. They opened 210 restaurants in 14 years. Dominos have 106 branches. The newest player is Papa John’s and they have 2 branches. 


-Most selling nights are Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

-Football matches play a major role in sales.

-In winter the time of most orders are 19.00-20.00

Written by ilkerugur

April 18, 2009 at 9:39 am

Posted in Business

Ministry of Ideas

leave a comment »


Gudjon Mar Gudjonsson

Gudjon Mar Gudjonsson

As we all know Iceland is in big trouble. The country went bankrupt in the end of last year due to global crisis and trying to recover from there. 

A non-profit group is organised by Gudjon Mar Gudjonsson, who is an entrepreneur, is now trying to find out solutions for Iceland’s economic recovery. They meet every Saturday to discuss new ideas. 

The main idea is channeling the human potential of Iceland into entrepreneurship. The president of Iceland is backing the organisation and who knows the ministry can be official very soon. 

A ministry dealing with projects of immense size is also necessary for Turkey. Especially in regards to huge scale organizations. This can be formed independent of the government and rate the governments projects. It can even be a webpage online like Twitter. But strict moderation is a must as usual.

The source of this entry is Monocle Magazine.

Written by ilkerugur

April 16, 2009 at 7:33 am

Posted in Business

Tagged with ,

We’ve started so we’ll finish…

leave a comment »

Magnus Magnusson

We’ve started so we will finish…Magnus Magnusson

People from Britain know this phrase pretty well i suppose. It is the catch phrase of Magnus Magnusson who presented BBC trivia show Mastermind.

I read it Richard Bransons latest book Business Stripped Bare.

This phrase is an everyday sentence from Turkish business life. When started they will finish but the final job may well be poor/not high quality/etc. However this approach is very hard for foreigners doing business in Turkey. 

Probably the best thing about Turkey is people are not blaming fate for every mistake. It is true that everybody keeps saying İnşallah but not with the belief of people from the Gulf.

Here is some info on Magnus Magnusson; I quote it from Wikipedia:

“Magnús Magnússon KBE (IPA: [ˈmaknus ˈmaknuˌsɔn], 12 October 1929 – 7 January 2007) was an Icelandic television presenter, journalist, translator and writer. He was born in Iceland but lived in Scotland for nearly all of his life, although he never took British citizenship. He came to fame as presenter of the BBC television quiz programme Mastermind, which he hosted for 25 years.”

Written by ilkerugur

April 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Posted in Business