Red Bull Basement Festival 2018
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Social Innovation

10 entrepreneurial lessons we learned at 2018's Red Bull Basement Festival

In need of some start-up inspiration? Here's some of the best advice from the panel during our recent event at Istanbul's Boğaziçi University.
By Simge Içen
5 min readPublished on
On Friday, May 25, the Red Bull Basement Festival was held at Boğaziçi University. The event hosted many social initiatives that provide solutions to social problems in different areas. The event was based on this question: "What can we do to change the world?"
Experienced entrepreneurs shared what they have learned from their experiences and imparted some of their best advice to a vibrant audience.
Digital marketing experts SEMpeak mentored startups during the workshop and answered questions on digital marketing from participants.
Talking, creating and collaborating
Talking, creating and collaborating
Let's recap some of the best advice throughout the day...

1. Be inspired, be fed and connect the dots

Mehru Aygül on stage at the Red Bull Basement Festival.
Mehru Aygül
Getting inspired by Steve Job's graduation from Stanford, Mehru Aygül, general director of the Turkish Entrepreneurship Foundation, gave a speech about "Connecting the Dots". She underlined the importance of getting inspired in any area, ranging from arts to sports. She encouraged the participants not to limit themselves on a particular subject, stating that inspiration can come from anywhere.
You never know what you are going to get. The universe might have other plans for you. Let the opportunities reach you and be brave.
Mehru Aygül
Afterwards, Mehru Aygül said that we should start to produce things by feeding on the inspirations we get, and if we succeed in doing all these things and then look back, we can see that the dots are already connected.

2. Give importance to R&D

Timur Topalgoekceli on stage at the Red Bull Basement Festival.
Timur Topalgoekceli
Timur Topalgökçeli, the founder of Hello Tomorrow Turkey emphasized the importance of research and development, especially during his talk about how technology and initiatives could affect the future. Topalgoekceli said that currently the importance and care given to R&D are not enough and that only when we begin investing in R&D and using AI, can we develop in agriculture, energy, health and food industries.

3. Decide the way you want to change the future

Engin Ayaz (ATÖLYE) on stage at the Red Bull Basement Festival.
Engin Ayaz (ATÖLYE)
The roads taken alone do not lead you anywhere.
Engin Ayaz
ATÖLYE's founding partner Engin Ayaz made a very inspiring and skeptical presentation on where we should begin to shape the future. He gave four possible futures: the possible one, the one close to the truth, the most likely way to be chosen and the preferred route He also added: "If you prefer the stony path to the straightest one, it shows that you know you believe in your cause and what kind of future you want."

4. Be aware, be curious

Eray Erdoğan on stage at the Red Bull Basement Festival.
Eray Erdoğan
You are the average of the nearest five people around you.
Eray Erdoğan
Reflect's co-founder Eray Erdoğan gave us a great speech on social awareness. He pointed out that we can now keep in touch with people that we couldn't in the past. He left us with a few points that we should keep in mind before communicating with people:
"Just focus on what you can control, pay attention to the sources you feed on and the way you do it, and remember death (Memento Mori)."

5. Start with your own perspective to be successful

Sertaç Taşdelen (Faladdin) on stage at the Red Bull Basement Festival.
Sertaç Taşdelen (Faladdin)
Faladdin's founder Sertaç Taşdelen shared his inspirational story with us, too, explaining how he managed to tell 1 million fortunes every day with his five-step method. Know yourself, dream big, set goals, work hard and – last but not the least – always think positively.

6. Focus on maths, storytelling and alternative branches

Yüce Zerey on stage at the Red Bull Basement Festival.
Yüce Zerey
Hepsiburada's CMO Yüce Zerey rammed home the importance of storytelling, data interpretation and digital transformation. He also shared useful information on the topics that an entrepreneur should definitely know, as well as a few success stories.
In our era, without maths, story telling or alternative branches, it is not possible for you to reach your customer.
Yüce Zerey
Zerey stated that we should feed on diverse fields. Entrepreneurs, he said, should indulge in various branches such as art, psychology, history literature and more to help develop themselves. He added that successful people such as Dostoyevsky and Freud can help us with storytelling and psychoanalytics, respectively.

7. You don't have to be born to be an entrepreneur, you can learn it

Ömer Erkmen on stage at the Red Bull Basement Festival.
Ömer Erkmen
Known as the Big Brother Omer of Ekosistem, Omer Erkmen insists that, contrary to popular belief, we can learn to be entrepreneurs. He gave examples of his own story to guide young go-getters: "You should always ask the big 'Why?' question in order for you to go beyond the ordinary. Take risks and manage them. Be decisive against the challenges that you face. Never give up." 
Instead of being the only partner, you should find yourself founding partners. You'll get through difficulties way more easily.
Ömer Erkmen

8. Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes bring about innovation.

Oğuzhan Aygören on stage at the Red Bull Basement Festival.
Oğuzhan Aygören
Bogazici University Entrepreneurship Center Asst. Prof. Dr. Oğuzhan Aygören, vice president of the Entrepreneurship Center and the coordinator of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program at Bogazici University, gave a very informative speech on the methods spread from Silicon Valley and the people working there. He quoted from Elon Musk and gave us this message: "There is not an entrepreneur who has never made a mistake just as there is no person who has not made a mistake." Do not be afraid. Learn from your mistakes and start creating right away. Then you will see that you are on the road to success."

9. You do not need the perfect product as long as there is the right demand

Samed Torun of Others on stage at the Red Bull Basement Festival.
Samed Torun of Others
Others' founding partner Samed Torun talked about his company's rocky start and the problems they faced during their software development process. Without waiting for the perfect product, Samed and his team started their website by creating a job portal for everyone using a MVP (Minimum Viable Product) model. He suggested that our product does not have to be perfect if there is a demand for it. That way, our business can grow and we can make sales. We just need to create the right value.

10. Do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it

BeAhero's founder Batuhan Karakuş, while talking about his business on 3D superhero prototypes for children with limb deficiencies, said that he always asked for help throughout his journey. Emphasizing the importance of convincing people and integrating them to your project, Karakuş claims that we can be successful and grow our initiative as long as we work in a cooperative environment.
We must also thank Ayşegül Toker, the dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences at Boğaziçi University and Boğaziçi Entrepreneurship Center for their warm hospitality and KTH Event Agency for their unlimited effort to support the participants during the event.