Oguz Serdar, stubborn, laser focused and keen on solving one important thing
Goran: Hi Oguz! Can you introduce yourself? Tell us what makes you an entrepreneur, what do you love about developing?
Oguz: Sure! My name is Oguz Serdar (22), I grew up in Turkey, have been making money from web based projects for the last decade. I always believe that entrepreneurship is more an attitude and mindset than a skill or a profession. An entrepreneur loves what he does, does what he loves. The idea of fixing small problems that make other people suffer thrives off of me, especially when it’s possible to build a profitable business around it.
Goran: Like many successful startup co-founders you are a “hard working + never give up” material. Would you also say you are stubborn (which is a common disadvantage) or do you have a different Kryptonite? What separates you from where you want to be, and what was the advantage that gave you success over the years?
Oguz: Not only the startup founders like us, but also the most successful entrepreneurs (or athletes, politicians, artists… you name it) that we know happened to have a stubborn personality which was one of the main reasons of their extraordinary success. Never giving up, or taking “No” for an answer is actually a good thing, and I wouldn’t count it as a weakness. By applying this mantra to my life, I would say being a hustler was the biggest advantage that gave success over years.
When it comes to be a hustler, there’s one important thing that you should be careful about it: Don’t be weird. I remember this deck from Paul Singh of 500 Startups that recommends not being weird as number #1 goal in life. As long as you’re able to stop before things getting weird, hustling and pushing the boundaries are good. Honestly, I feel like this might be my Kryptonite, as I tend to forget where to stop when insisting on something, and not noticing that it’s already getting weird. 🙂
Goran: I saw Nico Orellana wrote a comment on Limk’s AngelList profile, and we all know how important public commenting and referencing is. It’s always difficult to get someone talk about you or your startup, so when someone says you are perceived as “Startup Chile heroes” that’s really special. Can you write a little bit about that experience, how it changed you, what was the best thing you took home with you?
Oguz: Chile is a wonderful place with incredibly friendly people, and the program is good. You get to know a lot of cool people, learn a lot, experience other cultures and have the resources to make your startup better. If you have the right expectations you can make Start-Up Chile a fantastic experience, but people shouldn’t expect a program like YC, TechStars or 500 Startups accelerator. You don’t have people like PG, David Cohen, Dave McClure or Christine Tsai to run the program, lead the batch. You don’t have office hours, startup dinners, or incredible mentors stopping by. You don’t have the cash wired into your bank account as the batch starts, but you have to deal with lots of bureaucratic stuff and submit all your receipts, and expect to get them approved. Things like that…
No matter what I think more developing world countries like Turkey or Croatia should replicate the approach. My experience is overall positive, and I would recommend it to everyone else.
Goran: Oguz, you have over 2,800 subscribers and nearly 3500 friends on Facebook, almost 44,000 followers on Twitter, Limk has over 70,000 likers, give us your secret recipe! Or at least give us 1 best tip we can all use! Also be honest, how much time do you spend on social networks per day?
Oguz: Not that much, probably half an hour in a day. Thanks to tools like Hootsuite & Buffer (you can read my interview with Buffer’s co-founder Joel Gascoigne) that let me to schedule things ahead of time, I can pretty much set everything I want to share in that short time frame. Hootsuite is also great at monitoring stuff as it gives you more options comparing other solutions out there. I think the #1 tip we should all consider to use is avoiding the overdose of social media.
Use your time wisely, and be selective when it comes to sharing content. That’s the best & guaranteed way to build a follower base that gives a damn what you have to say. Follower counts are misleading indicators, and I believe they never represent overall influence. Limk is a different story as it has a strong history in Turkey.
Goran: Now that we have everyone attention, tell them why Limk.com is cool, awesome, life changing and why everyone should actually click on this link, and spend their time in order to sign up to yet another service. What is Limk? Can you compare it to http://www.thefancy.com or 9gag.com?
Oguz: I would compare 9gag to Cheezburger Network, and The Fancy to Fab. What we’re trying to accomplish with Limk has nothing to do with our alpha release (*), and is a struggling one. Although most of the services aiming to lower the web noise claimed the very opposite, I think the problem of bringing relevant content to you has always been simple. They simply never want it. Why? Because not only those services, but also the major social networks aggressively compete with one another to monopolize the time & attention of average users because their business models are built upon, and heavily rely upon, selling this attention.
Such companies like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter are the giant movers and shakers of the Internet, much like McDonald’s and Burger King are in their industry. What they don’t yet know, or are just ignoring in a wait-and-see holding pattern, is that they are the source of something akin to an epidemic of obesity on the worldwide web.
That’s where we will excel. Limk cuts through the web noise intelligently by offering a clean feed built around your interests that strips away the clutter, and incentivizes users by giving credits to their actions which they can redeem for related goodies, deals. The beta release is almost ready, and we look forward to release in a few weeks.
(*) During the current alpha release , we have been testing out a few channels which are known to attract massive attention, entertainment and inspiration, in order to make sure the dynamics of users’ attention is understood. We also got quite a feedback from the community that we wouldn’t otherwise have without shipping a product. We also learnt (the hard way) that there’s no such a thing as glamorous launch of startups. But of course you can always make it fun by having Dave McClure to push the launch button, as you did. Very classy move. 🙂 You should be shipping all the time, focus on your one important thing. For Limk, it’s cutting the web noise by offering a nice & clean feed, and everything else is secondary.
Goran: Thanks for the compliment on our launch. Let me return by saying Limk.com is a great domain name! I own a couple of 4 letter domain names, they are really hard to get, especially good .coms. Have you ever thought about building more websites on other great domains around your main one (like a franchise or a sister company)?
Oguz: At this point we’re laser focussed on achieving the one important thing of us, and not considering such things. But we might consider doing so in the future. Other than limk.com, we also hold .co, me, biz, tv, us extensions for safety, and li.mk also belongs to us. There’s one thing I believe about domains is that they matter a lot, but how you look (branding & PR) and what you do (product) matter more than anything else.
Goran: I think that reading books really transformed my life, and changed the way I think, do business, and many other things. What was it in your case that sparked that change to go from an ordinary job to a startup? And what is your favorite book if there is one?
Oguz: Ever since I was a little kid, I never thought of having an ordinary job and never had one thus far. I can’t say that books helped me to make a switch like that, but the situation itself mostly affected book choices of mine. By far, “Losing My Virginity” from Richard Branson has become my favorite book. It is just thrilling to read about what a dyslexic man with no college education could create for himself & the rest of the world.