Learning, just like dancing, reveals all the mysteries of life
Our story began in 1992 with Turkey’s first paperless magazine, CD-Rom Data, with which we achieved a great success as our first project. With a dedicated and passionate team, we successfully published it for 10 years. We turned down offers from media giants, challenged them with the fire of youth, and they put up competitors against us, but they couldn’t succeed. Then they gave up on the business.
We initiated the era of CD publishing and popularized educational CDs. We produced Turkey’s first PC game, Galata. We also released Turkey’s first interactive educational CD, “Learning Office 97.”
At first, we couldn’t sell them because pirate stalls were incredibly popular at the time. We visited those stalls, tried to persuade them not to sell our products, but realized we were losing.
We didn’t give up and later started selling more than 2 million educational CDs a year with different business models. We used newspaper stands and gave them as promotions to pharmaceutical companies. There was no doctor left untouched by our educational CDs. Those days were the era of pharmaceutical company promotions. While trying to grow too quickly, we also exported to Germany. After the first successful sales and collections, we rushed into the third product, but unfortunately, it ended in disappointment when we couldn’t collect payments.
Lesson: Okay, no giving up; but we should be a little cautious!
When the internet became faster and cheaper, the era of CD-DVD began to close. The frenzy of downloading started, and everyone was finding everything online. We stepped away from publishing and focused on corporate e-learning (known as elearning). In essence, we took what we were doing with educational CDs to the internet. We had never really competed; we were accustomed to being creative, niche, and unique. There was only one dominant company in the market, and we entered into fierce competition with them.
With an advertising agency approach, we made e-learning content creative, gamified, and fun. We implemented this innovation quickly and economically, and our speed became legendary. We created new concepts and redefined standards. Our company became number one, and we grew to 120 employees. The platforms we established became brands within organizations. When marketing and education concepts merged, truly wonderful things emerged. Our viral presentations, “Thirst” and “Stress,” reached millions of people and were used in seminars. We ranked third in the Anadolu Brands service category according to Capital and Ekonomist magazines.
Then, despite being such a large organization, we found ourselves unable to make a profit, and setbacks began to occur. First, a team emerged from within the company that stole clients and projects. It turned out that this was natural in our line of work, although it had never happened to us before. We didn’t expect this from trusted individuals, but we became acquainted with betrayal. We lost projects and clients.
Lesson: Too much love in the workplace is not a good thing!
Fortunately, we were financially strong. We weathered the setbacks, but we also suffered a loss of reputation to some extent.
We downsized our company, or it’s more accurate to say we made it more efficient. We found ways to create value with fewer people, and we succeeded once again. We transformed from a large organization of 120 people into a small, efficient Technopark company of 40 people. You might think that downsizing brings cost savings, but it doesn’t; there is a significant cost to it, and we learned this through experience. Then the spring cleaning was over, and we adopted the philosophy of having a little less but a worry-free head. By the way, it’s not easy to part ways with unprofitable big clients; it’s just like a divorce. When you part ways with unproductive employees and clients, you experience reputation losses. Plus, competitors use this situation as an opportunity and launch effective smear campaigns.
Lesson: You may fall, but you will always find a way to rise