Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Efe Kababulut - He flourished the family business in New York

LazzoniUSA is a Turkish furniture company competing with giant firms in New York nowadays. The CEO and the head designer of LazzoniUSA Efe Kababulut is only 24 years old.

Lazzoni is an established company that dates back to the 1950’s in Turkey. The company was founded by Osman Kababulut (The grand-grandfather of Efe) with a small capital, yet nowadays that small asset has turned into a big investment.

As Lazzoni grew day by day, the number of its stores increased and went towards the direction of overseas operations while simultaneously maintaining domestic structuring. LazzoniUSA opened its New York store in 2010 thanks to the entrepreneur spirit of the fourth generation Kababulut… Efe

Efe studied at one of the best design schools in the world, Rochester Institute of Technology! Efe Kababulut who got hired by a very big and reputable furniture company after his graduation, noticed that Lazzoni has no difference with all the other well-known companies. Consequently, he decided that a Lazzoni store in NYC would be achievable. Then the time came to convince his father to invest for the New York store. The father who believed in his son’s business decision made the investment. So, LazzoniUSA opened doors to Americans.

The young businessman Efe Kababulut and his talented team run the U.S. organization of the company with a huge success and aim to grow business in USA.

LazzoniUSA, which has a store in Chelsea, New York has also a storage in New Jersey. If you’re looking for affordable luxury, I recommend you to pass by LazzoniUSA and take a look at great furniture designed by Efe and Lazzoni’s talented Italian and Turkish designers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Zeynep Kardıçalı - iPad support to children with Autism

Zeynep Kardıçalı was only 17 when she left her hometown Istanbul, Turkey in order to move to the States to study Psychology at Michigan University.

During her education, she had been attracted deeply by child psychology, and consequently decided to get her masters degree on this field.

After completing her masters degree at Boston University, she moved to New York and started to work for New York Center for Autism Charter School.

Zeynep Kardıçalı now has four students with autism at school, and teaches them very intensely. The children who have hard times to communicate with people, now can communicate easily thanks to Zeynep and her great assistant.

Below you may find a demo of the application called Proloquo2go.

Here are my articles on Hurriyet USA and Hurriyet Turkey daily newspapers in Turkish.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Serdar Ilhan - Introduces Turkish culture to Americans

An Adman, graphic designer, promoter, manager and venue owner… Serdar Ilhan has moved to New York from Istanbul when he was 27. He simply was looking for some adventure as a young and brave man. Also, he was targeting to learn a new language. The year was 1989.

He had been unhappy about Turkey’s political situation then… “Those were the beautiful days actually.” he says and adds. “Now, I understand.” 

That young man who was looking for some adventure in the States became one of the most significant Turkish figures in New York in couple of years. He introduced Turkish culture to Americans. In brief, he became Turkey’s unofficial culture delegate in New York.

In the past 15 years he presented Turkish, Mediterranean and World Music at prestigious venues such as Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Florence Gould Hall. Serdar Ilhan is the owner of Drom, a venue that features live performances six nights a week, and besides the music, the clients enjoy Turkish and Mediterranean tapas at Drom.

Let’s go back to the beginning… Serdar Ilhan moved to New York with an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design and graduate degree in Photography. He opened an advertising agency. In his first years he had ran the agency in a successful way. However, Serdar Ilhan who is never satisfied with his successes entered the organization business in order to promote Turkish culture in the States. And with no surprise, he achieved.

Let’s continue... Serdar Ilhan is one of the producers of the annual NY Gypsy Festival and the Istanbulive, which is the biggest Turkish concert event in the States so far. In addition to all achievements, he is the manager of New York Gypsy All Stars.

At this point I have to tell that, besides Turkish music his biggest passion is Gypsy Music.

“I’m not a Gypsy, but my brother is” he says in order to emphasize the fact that almost all the adventurous people are gypsies in their souls in some way. 

Here's my longer article on Hurriyet USA daily newspaper in Turkish.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ilhan Ersahin – A Turkish saxophone master in New York

Ilhan Ersahin, composer and saxophonist was born in Sweden in 1965. He is the son of a Turkish father and a Swedish mother. He began playing saxophone when he was 16. “I gave a lot of trouble to our neighbors” he says, “I was playing my saxophone without cease.” Before 16 he played squash in Swedish National Team.

Interesting story… Right?

16 doesn’t seem to be an early age to begin playing a music instrument but he has always been associated with music. After he started to play saxophone, he never stopped playing.

It has been more than 30 years. Not that short!

After reading Jack Kerouac’s masterpiece ‘On the Road’ Ersahin felt like Stockholm is not the city where he can follow his dreams. He always wanted to live in a ‘city of music’. Living in New York was his biggest dream. He applied to one of the best schools in the world; Berklee School of Music. The school was not in New York but he was able to carry out his first goal. At least he was in the States. After finishing school he moved to New York. Finally! He was young and had no idea what to do! He memorized the history of Jazz. He worked and performed in some clubs. His first solo album ‘Home’ was released in 1997, he has 16 albums right now with different bands. His new album Istanbul Sessions – Night Rider is going to be released very soon.

He has worked with significant artists such as U-Roy, Erik Truffaz, Jane Birkin, Gilberto Gil, Athena, Duman and Norah Jones. Norah Jones performed as the lead vocalist for two years in his band Wax Poetic.

İlhan Erşahin owns the New York jazz club “Nublu” and his own record label under the same name. He is married to a Brazilian and has a 12-year old daughter. His favorite cities are New York, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro where he performs mostly.

Since 2007 I have watched at least four of his performances in Istanbul or New York and enjoyed all of them. He has an incredible energy on the scene.

Ilhan Erşahin is able to speak English, Swedish, and Turkish fluently; he can speak some Portuguese as well.

It was a memorable experience to meet and interview İlhan Erşahin who is one of the most important and influential Turkish musicians and composers.

Here's my longer article on Hurriyet USA daily newspaper in Turkish.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Roy Gökay Wol - An independent life in New York

Roy Gökay Wol who was born in February 13, 1984 is a Turkish-Israeli filmmaker and theatre producer raised in Turkey and Canada. Roy is the son of an Argentine mother and a Sephardic-Turkish father. Roy currently lives in New York where he had shot several independent movies such as Art Machine, starring Joseph Cross, Jessica Szhor, and Joey Lauren Adams; A Wife Alone, starring Genevieve Hudson-Price, Ashley Springer, Alessandra Asante; The Ripple Project's Holocaust survivor documentary series ONE; and his play 'Quarter Life Calamity' has toured all over Canada.

His purpose in life is to transform the world into a better place by using the power of ‘Cinema’. He always aims to create remarkable stories and share them with his audience.

He owes his creativity to the music that he listens to, the stories that he reads, the movies that he watches, the odors that he smells, however besides all he is hardworking and energetic person who barely sleeps. During our interview he looked really tired, however when he started talking about what he’s doing, it’s impossible to stop him. He gives the impression that he can talk endlessly about his job.

It was a great pleasure to meet and conduct an interview with such a passionate, successful and promising filmmaker.

Here's my longer article on Hurriyet USA daily newspaper in Turkish.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ayşe Naz Erkan - The first and the only Turkish engineer at Twitter

Photo by Mehul Vora

Dr. Ayşe Naz Erkan is the first and the only Turkish software engineer at Twitter. She is only 32 years old and currently lives in New York City! Although born in Adana, a city in southern Turkey, she considers herself a true ‘Black Sea Region’ person. Her mother is from Artvin, her father from Trabzon, both located in northern Turkey, a region famous for its distinctive humor, eccentric cuisine and quick-tempered people.

Her academic career is quite amazing! Let’s simply say that she studied at the best schools such as Istanbul Boğazici University, Max Planck Institute in Germany and NYU's Courant Institute where she earned her PHD degree. Ooopss! Almost forgot! All these schools and institutes offered her a 100% scholarship. Despite this exceptional academic background, she started working for a no-name startup company when she graduated. It was a small social media analysis company. “People thought I was crazy; I was working 12-18 hours per day and the salary was not impressive. Yes, I was working very hard yet I was also gaining a lot of experience and learning a lot at the same time,” says Dr. Erkan.
After her one-year career at this startup, Twitter acquired the company, thus all the employees of the startup became Twitter employees – of course after some interview process.
When I asked her opinions about Twitter, the response that I got was quite explanatory, she thinks that Twitter is the only source in the web which catches the moment (zeitgeist); people learn what is going on in the world at the second as long as they follow the right people. And most importantly, Twitter is an uncensored and democratic platform where people can share anything they want. Moreover she believes that Twitter is a platform, which enables to create a better world. According to Dr. Erkan, it is amazing to observe how people collaborate on Twitter during hard times such as the earthquakes, the revolts etc…
She says she wants to create as much value as possible at Twitter where she defines her role as solving interesting problems. Someday though she wants to start her own company in Istanbul which she thinks is slowly becoming a convenient environment for startup companies.
It was really exciting to talk to an amazing woman who achieved all these accomplishments without taking any advantage of her parents' financial resources. I have to say that the reactions to this interview, which has been published on the front page of Hurriyet, made me very proud.

Here's my longer article on Hurriyet daily newspaper in Turkish.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Coşku Turhan - Transforms dreams into reality!

There is nothing in life that you can’t transfer into movie screen.  Coşku Turhan who is the Senior Lead Technical Director at Sony Picture Imageworks, creates environments which looks very real but would be impossible to capture in a movie.

Cosku Turhan who was born in the capital city of Turkey, Ankara is only 31 years old and lives currently in Los Angeles, California with his wife Ceyla Doral Turhan. After his grad study at University of Southern California (USC), he has started to work for the giant company, Sony where he achieved many accomplishments. So far, he has worked for many top box office movies such as Beowulf, Alice in Wonderland, Green Lantern, G-Force, and Eagle Eye. The next movie is ‘The Amazing Spiderman.’ That is simply amazing.

His main goal in life is to increase the Visual F/X quality of the Turkish movies. He thinks that Turkish moviemakers have great ideas, yet not enough budgets to transfer each thought to movie screen. He loves Los Angeles, and he loves his life over there despite the heavy working hours. ‘If you love what are you doing, you don’t mind working hard’ he says.

Coşku Turhan is also a great musician who created a popular song called ‘Rütbeni Bilicen’ for one of the most famous singers of Turkey, Kenan Doğulu. 

Here's my longer article on Hurriyet USA daily newspaper in Turkish.