My family

From Cairo to Istanbul — part 2

People who touched my life & my heart

If you missed the first part of the article check it out down there.

We as humans don’t live alone. We tend to have groups most of the time. Some are close and some aren’t. It’s in our blood to be around people and socialize. Close ones make us feel comfortable and they are the ones who are always there and we look out for each other.

Meet my family in Istanbul

I would like to talk more about them and I’ll sort them according to when I met with each one. I’ll be talking about these following points

  1. Who is he/she and what he/she is doing?
  2. How we’ve met?
  3. A highlight in our relationship.
Kaan Akın

Kaan Akın

He has a wonderful career path. He was the head of marketing in Yandex Turkey and then the Head of products in Arkony. Now he’s the founder of HACKQUARTERS and an investor in Turkey angel investors network

Kaan was my direct boss in Arkony and he’s the one who interviewed me and brought me to Istanbul. After the apocalypse of Arkony we stayed in touch and we became closer.

I was always his design guy, so whenever he needs anything done he gives me a call which helped us stay in contact all the time. Worth mentioning that whenever we meet, we watch series or play PlayStation games -He’s a badass player as well-, so we’ve this stupid competitions all the time :D. I can’t deny that without his help I couldn’t have made it in Istanbul. I’m so thankful that he was their to help me as an older brother and he always believed in me.

Vlada Pechenaya

Vlada Pechenaya

She’s from Russia and she lived in London and now in Istanbul. She’s a Growth marketer at Twentify and event organizer in Startup Blink.

We’ve met in an anti-Valentines party last year exactly one year ago! Funniest meeting ever. We talked and we had so much fun that day and since then we have been inseparable.

I guess that one of the main reasons we became close friends is being faced with challenges of being foreigners in Istanbul. We both had a fair share of bumps in our careers along the way, but we sticked together, offered each other advice and support, and in the end both of us are currently very happy with our careers and lives! She’ve proven that she’s strong and nothing can defeat her because with the right company problems seem smaller, so I’m happy that we both were there to support each other. Also worth mentioning that she is passionate about women rights and she’s always around in all kinds of events, so watch out :D

Merve Midilli

Merve Midilli

She was a UX project manager in Userspots and now she built her own company. She’s also a UX designer and the founder of LadiesThatUX IST.

The one with the big heart. We met in UX Alive after party. I don’t know why her but we talked for a while that day and later we started to meet and talk about design and startups in Istanbul. After a while I introduced her to Vlada and Kaan so that we all become good friends.

I would say that the main highlight in her life recently was building a company as well as maintaining the community of ladies that UX. Such a hard job but she was able to go through it all and build something amazing out of all of that. Her company is all about designing and consulting for design, so yeah she hired me sometimes and she’s such a nice boss ❤ Also She’s doing different kinds of activities like practicing tango dancing and acrobatics. She’s super talented but I’m a terrible dancer and she wanted me to learned but I never started :D.

Mehmet Oguz Arikan

Mehmet Oguz Arikan

He was a Visual designer in Userspots and now he just joined Hurriyet newspaper because they are building a new tech team.

I call him “Oz” and we met in a swing dancing party. We both were invited by Merve. We had no idea about swing dancing :D but we gave it a shot but I guess we looked like idiots! so we ended up setting, watching and talking. It was always hard to see him because he works too much. He makes me feel like i’m unemployed. You know I’m a freelancer and all the time is mine. Still going out as guys night out is the best. Guys will be guys, you know :D

Bengisu Öniz

Bengisu Öniz

She’s a Strategy and process development assistant specialist at LC Waikiki. Such a big title for a tiny girl :D

We met in the first event of LadiesThatUX IST. Then we’ve met few times beside she always invites me to all sort of events. She’s also interested in marketing and consumer philosophy as well as the major retail brands and their marketing strategies.

She’s my neighbor as well -Just few blocks away-, so we see each other a lot and sometimes we pump into each other in the street. She seems tiny but she’s tough. She gets angry if I don’t consult her before buying anything and yeah she just wants the best for me :)


With them I survived. Without them it wouldn’t be possible. I’m thankful that our paths crossed. Each one of them had a big role in my life. Thank you and I love you ❤

Thanks for reading. Please recommend it if you like it :)

I’m zero & I design early stage startups @hackquarters. Product Designer & writer. Check out my website and dribbble