Geography: Istanbul

As I previously suspected (and mentioned) my family’s decision to move to Istanbul is now firm.

This is very exciting for me.  First, some macro reasons:

– Turkish economy grew by almost 10% in 2004.  This historic rate follows two strong years of growth, at 8% and 6%.  Of course, before that was the horrible 2001 slump of -7.5%. These figures suggest that Turkey is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with a GNP of $300 billion ($4,200 per capita income) and a very large young population with relatively-high purchasing power ($7,700).What entrepreneur does not salivate over these figures.

– Turkey seems to have turned a corner regarding political stability. Ironically, my explanation for this is the large debt burden that the country is carrying ($162 billion in 2004). There’s a Turkish proverb: Debt whips the man into shape.  When a country’s future is mortgaged so heavily, even the most corrupt political establishment is forced into pragmatism.

Then, some personal reasons:

– I left Istanbul at the age of 17. At 33 now, I have spent my entire adult life in the US.  My wife’s figures are similar.  We now feel that we owe it to ourselves to experience life in Turkey.  The fact that our families also reside in Turkey amplifies this feeling of debt.

– Mark Pincus had a good post about leverage recently.  As an entrepreneur, I share his dilemma.  And Mark suggests three ways to create leverage as an entrepreneur.  When you cross these options with the universal "bigger fish in a smaller pond" truism, it becomes obvious that I, as an entrepreneur, can create more leverage in Istanbul, compared to New York.

I will continue to blog about my career options and decisions.

One last note, this blog post was typed at 31,000 feet, just past Cardiff, over the Atlantic Ocean on Lufthansa flight LH 400.  I love the new level of connectivity we are beginning to enjoy.

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