From Anatolia to Iberia — with Mine Dedekoca of the Vivel Network

Curtis Duggan: [00:00:00] Hey, everybody, welcome back to the Remotely Serious podcast. I don't know when you're going to be hearing this, but for me, it has turned to fall and we had a few episodes without guests and we're kicking off a whole new series with a bunch of great guests, so I'm. Super excited about our first guest of the fall season.

Really? It's a, it's Mina, someone I have met this year at running remote conference earlier this year, she is the founder of the Vivelle network, as well as her own consultancy and company, which she can say a little more about, but that's happy work studio. And I believe. That's in Istanbul. Is that right, Mine?

You're in Istanbul?

Mine Dedekoca: Yes. Majorly based in Istanbul, but all over the [00:01:00] world, like that's what remote work is giving us as a benefit.

Curtis Duggan: It is the classic question of, where are you from? Where are your based? Where is your company located? Sometimes the answer is not so easy. I'm working on a few projects and a company I'm working with lemon squeezy.

I think almost every employee and or contractor or team member, is the catch all term for it. Almost every team member. Is in a different country. I think there's 12 different countries. So it's hard to say, what matters? Where's the corporate entity? Where's the incorporation?

Where's the CEO? And as we'll probably discuss over the next 45 minutes, the answer is not so clear anymore. Maybe you can talk a little bit about your background. As a Turkish person and also a remote worker when did you first get interested in remote work? Where did you go first? Were you in Turkey kind of as your home country before you went somewhere?

Or what was the first, second country that got you interested in kind of the world out there of working [00:02:00] remotely abroad from wherever you're from?

Mine Dedekoca: It was back in 2012. I was actually like working in corporate for the first seven years of my career, professional career. I was in electronic retailers. My last company was the US Best Buy. And so

Curtis Duggan: I bought lots of things from that company. So lots of trips to the US Best Buy to buy things when I lived in New York, especially.

Mine Dedekoca: I still, I, it's it's in my heart, the company, the culture and everything. That was actually my, ultimate dream when I was in the electronic retailer industry, it was my ultimate dream to work for Best Buy and it happened. The dream came true. But didn't last long because they just assigned it to and the international operations.

And so I was part of the SAP rollout team. I was the AIS manager back then. And so it was like perfect timing for me because I was [00:03:00] pregnant to my first son. So when they said, okay, we're just like, closing the operations, we're shutting down. It was like, I was almost like four months into pregnancy.

So I said, okay, this is like a gift from the universe. And I said, okay, I'm going to find my way, but not going back to corporate. That was one thing that was certain for me. So that no, not going back to corporate, because even on the first day of my career. I was like telling people that, okay, I'm going to do my own business someday, but let me just learn things, how to do things.

And so everything started like that because I was looking for an idea to just start and to start my own startup. And it was the first business was a digital invitation website. And so my inspiration was Greenvelop.

And I started building the website without knowing anything. Now, at this moment, I'm a startup mentor. I am just like giving training about lean [00:04:00] startup, which I had no idea about back then. So I was like trying to find my developer and my designers on the freelance platforms. And there was Elance and Odesk back then.

They then merged into the Upwork company. But back then they were like two separate companies. I was hiring freelancers and at that moment I just realize that there's this world of being a freelancer. So I started freelancing myself and just like with that expertise and the retailer, marketing it, I started just bidding for the gigs.

And started being in the gig economy. And that's how everything has started. And I became the representative country representative for Elance. And I was like the startup mobilizer, just doing events hosting events, sponsoring events, doing future work conferences. It's became my thing. [00:05:00] So I was like talking about the gig economy, the freelancing and just like remote work, being flexible, parallel carriers and everything.

And so that's how everything started for me. And then it, evolved in time. I then was a country manager for French company, start off service. And then I was a country manager for crossover. Crossover is still one of the largest remote work talent pools in the world. So I was given the role of talking about remote work and just like creating more awareness about remote work so that we could have more people joining the company from this region.

So that's how I found myself in the heart of remote work. And at the same time I was like doing events, global events with international speakers. When the pandemic hit, I was deep down in remote work. And when the companies were like, asking me to give inspirational [00:06:00] speeches. They suddenly started asking for my consultancy and that's how I started my second company, HappyWorks Studio.

So that's pretty much the story before pandemic.

Curtis Duggan: I think a lot of people are looking at freelancing, especially in an environment where the corporate jobs, as you refer to it, many of them are laying off people. Many of them are like, Likely looking for AI solutions to do more with fewer people. What do you think has changed about the freelancing landscape when you were first getting into the world of freelancing, both in finding freelancers for your startup, but also it sounds like in part of your actual professional career, you're out there evangelizing the benefits of remote work and freelance and exploring freelance yourself.

What's, if we think of 2017, 2018 versus now, do you feel like there's more freelancers are parts of the world [00:07:00] generating more freelancers? Maybe if I think to 2012 back in, in my day, it's a very specific kind of geographical point of view, but we had the same thing. It was like North American companies.

Most were not remote in 2012 and if you wanted to outsource or freelance. There was maybe the Philippines or India or Pakistan, but it was a very narrow relationship. And it wasn't like we didn't think, Oh, we'll just hire anyone from anywhere around the world. Eventually that happened. But I'm just curious.

It sounds like this journey has gone from 2012 till now. So you have a decade of perspective. What do you think has changed now? Or what's happening now? As we look at almost 2024.

Mine Dedekoca: Yeah. So when we were doing the presentations, all the expectations was showing 2023 to be the to be the point where the freelance thing would be just like, exponentially growing.

And that was back in 2012, but yes, it wasn't as popular as it is now [00:08:00] because, and the reason of our existence, like having. Dedicated people all around the world to create awareness about freelancing was because of that. We, even Upwork being like now the biggest freelancer platform in the world, even Upwork didn't have as many freelancers back then, and it wasn't less popular because people were still.

Not okay. And with being a freelancer about the job safety and just about being able to earn as much, because there weren't many jobs, like quality, high quality jobs either on the platform. But now what I see is because I'm also doing sessions about telling people about how to bid for the jobs, how to find good jobs.

And they're just like telling me the prices have gone. Really to the lowest. And the reason for that is, it depends on the quality of the job or like the level of expertise that is expected from the job. For things that can be automated or that can [00:09:00] be done through AI content generation, or just proofreading, editing, those kinds of things they can be done through an AI solution.

So those things, the prices, price points have gone really to maybe to the lowest. But The things that require your expertise, you're like being human and just your human skills, your soft skills, your expertise that you have accumulated over the course of time. Those things are even more expensive and they are more valuable than what they used to be because it requires you to be like myself, let's say.

Let's say being a remote consultant, remote work consultant, it takes time because it takes some experience to just test, try, observe, and just do things in the companies, observe companies, work with companies. So you don't become like a remote work consultant overnight. So those things that [00:10:00] require more like skills and expertise.

Now that I see more of those jobs. Being posted. So I see jobs like, two K five K 10 K jobs now being posted on a freelancer platform, which is not which was not the case back then. But those jobs that can be, as I said, can be done with, the AI tool. Now we are seeing more agencies.

From the Eastern part of the world as you said, like still Pakistan, India, they're, really dominant, the place is really dominated by those, like with agencies. So agencies are just like having freelancers, like the newbies, beginners, it's easier for them to just start and just get the gigs like that.

So it is more, I think, just like in terms of demography, in terms of the price points, in terms of the quality of the jobs, I think it has evolved immensely over the last [00:11:00] decade.

Curtis Duggan: Can we talk a little bit about the Turkish work ecosystem or remote work ecosystem. I know that this is from an outsider's point of view, more of a North American point of view.

Turkey is very famous. From the North American point of view as a beautiful place with beautiful islands, a very famous city that's in Europe and in Asia with Istanbul, famous coffee, famous his 1000 years or more of a famous civilization. But I don't think many people maybe know. If you were to say, what is the tech ecosystem like in Istanbul, or what are the cities that are the remote work hotspots?

I think some of that is still emerging. And I'm just curious what you're seeing in terms of first of all, I guess maybe what is the capital city like for, is it somewhere where there's a coworking space on every block? Is it something where maybe that concept isn't quite there yet? And then are there regional areas or.

Villages or cities that are emerging as nomad [00:12:00] hotspots, the way that some specific cities in Portugal, maybe not the biggest city, but some of the smaller cities in Bulgaria or Portugal, we see, oh, Bansko in Bulgaria is becoming a small skiing town is becoming a hotspot or Madeira, the island where Cristiano Ronaldo is from is now a nomad hotspot.

Maybe they weren't so famous 10 years ago. What's it what's it like in Turkey in the last few years in terms of where the where the action is?

Mine Dedekoca: Yeah, it's interesting because you know what, back in 2012 when I was the Upwork country representative, I was asked to find a co working space that we could partner with to do our events so that our freelancers could use.

And there was only one. Like only one, which was not that big enough. Sorry.

Curtis Duggan: How long ago was this when there was only one?

Mine Dedekoca: This is 11, 11 years ago.

Curtis Duggan: Okay. Yeah. Okay. That makes sense. It was just before things were starting to happen, but sorry. Go on.

Mine Dedekoca: But now. [00:13:00] Like around the corner, you would find one co working and all, sizes at all scales sizes, verticals.

Some is more impact driven. One is more more event driven. Like we have All you know, the coworking space chains and, places all around Turkey now, even like in the smaller cities. So in terms of that, it's been a thing over the last couple of years. And the tech ecosystem we have, like our developers, we have a strong developer ecosystem in Turkey.

So we have some high quality developers, but they are still preferring to go to other countries like immigrate to other countries rather than working remotely from Turkey because the idea of working remotely is still limited to the local companies. People do not think about being that borderless like working for a American company.

They just even now here in Turkey, they, when they talk about remote work, they [00:14:00] are thinking about working remotely for a Turkish company. Or immigrating to another country.

Curtis Duggan: So they mean, I just, I'm just going to stay home with my cat or my kids. And I'm going to stay home. My office is 20 minutes away, but I remote work because I don't commute, not because I work for a Dubai company or a California company or a France company, French company.

It's just because it's a comfort maybe, but not the full international concept of remote work. Do you see that?

Mine Dedekoca: Yeah, it is changing because when I was the country manager for crossover and still, people sometimes like these like small communities, they ask me to do a session to talk about remote work, like literal remote work, like being working for a fully distributed company.

I get the highest registration. I get the highest attendance. When they compare it to other sessions that they help, because like people are interested, they're really interested because [00:15:00] our currency has devaluated by four times over the last two years. Just, that there is that, currency exchange benefit as well.

They can just use that to their advantage. But at the same time, Turkey, so apart from Turkish people. Turkey is an interesting intersection point between Europe and Asia, between the western world and the eastern world. After the war, the Russian Ukrainian war, now we see lots and lots of Russians and Ukrainians going to the southern cities of Turkey.

So on time, you have 50 and they have been, points of attraction for these remote workers, digital workers. And now we started seeing some, co working spaces, co living spaces, just like upping up in those regions. We even have an international until your co work. And the thing is now Turkey has become a point of interest for [00:16:00] international digital workers as well because of affordability, because of the climate, especially in the Southern parts of Turkey.

And so they have, and because of visa issues or residency, it's really easy, convenient to be a digital worker in Turkey.

Curtis Duggan: And did you say since the war started in the Ukraine, in Ukraine last year, that more Ukrainians and Russians or fewer are coming to Antalya on the south coast more. So many who for whatever their personal reasons are, they don't want to be part of what's going on or they're looking for, they're just looking to be somewhere else, which is very understandable.

They might choose Turkey. And I guess that's because there must be some kind of usually with these things, that means there's some kind of visa reciprocity where maybe Turkey is a place that you Ukrainians and Russians can go. And it's somewhere, similarly to Dubai, where many people from across the world can come there.

Yeah, I think that it's certainly we'll see, now looking north and south, there are two [00:17:00] wars in the area and Turkey is an oasis of peace, it's a peaceful place that is in an area where things are happening. You've, as unfortunate as it is, you may see more people coming to Turkey to live in peace.

I'm not sure, depending on how long these things go on, but yeah, so let's just talk about that a little bit. What do you find is the experience? If you can speak to this of someone who is not Turkish coming to Whether it's Istanbul or whether it's Ankara, a smaller place on the south coast or the islands what do you find that people anyone you meet that comes to Turkey, that isn't from Turkey, are there things that surprise them?

Are there things that delight them? Is there something that, are there misconceptions people have when they come to coworking spaces or and do you see many of those people or is it Oh, it's. It's 95 percent Turkish people. Maybe, not very often someone comes to a co working space and they're not Turkish.

How international is it? And what is it like for people that are coming from elsewhere to experience Turkey for the first time? [00:18:00]

Mine Dedekoca: So Southern cities like Antalya, now we see more international people coming. In Istanbul, we have a huge expat community, huge digital international digital working community.

And usually when people come, they experience language barrier, because not in Istanbul specifically, but if they go to smaller cities like to the south, they usually experience that language barrier and But what I have been hearing from them is one that the best thing is a food, so they love the food, the variety.

You can just find all kinds of food and just the affordable price and affordability. Affordability of housing, affordability of like lower living costs, cost of living and and more quality and the service quality health. People are just like, coming for health tourism, even not make it is like more affordable at a higher [00:19:00] quality and the climate, they, people really enjoy it and even experiencing a language barrier, they all say that Turkish people are really hospitable, so like the hospitality, and they Yeah.

Try to serve your food. They try to just be conversational, although they cannot talk in English. So that has been what, their experience so far, what I have been hearing from the international people. Sometimes it is really annoying in the South. Especially if you have the utility is taking care of to get things fixed.

It may take longer than it takes in Istanbul. And sometimes they just play games with international people and, try to overcharge, overprice. So that's like the downsides of being in Turkey.

Curtis Duggan: I want to talk about, speaking of people coming from elsewhere to [00:20:00] Turkey, I want to talk about the Vivel network event earlier this year and the one that's coming later in Spain this year, but one more kind of question about Turkey.

One thing I've noticed is that When I was at Running Remote this year, I noticed cities and regions like Tenerife in Spain or Buenos Aires in Argentina and many others that were including the host city of Lisbon as well. Many others that were running marketing campaigns that were specifically designed to attract digital nomads and remote workers.

If you think of the classic... Tourism department of a city or a region, Napa Valley in California or London, the city of London, or, a certain region of any country. There's often, the tourism department that's responsible for attracting people. It's not really most governments have not adapted.

They don't have a dedicated ministry of remote workers or ministry of digital nomads. I think there's not many of those ministries, but I do [00:21:00] see these local governments it's official. Public officials that are saying, Hey, we have an official campaign. It's not about tourism. It's not about vacations. It's about attracting remote workers.

And I watched the Buenos Aires presentation and a few others earlier this year at running remote. Do you see any. Whether it's all of the Turkish federal government or cities or regions, do you see any of them looking to run marketing campaigns or specific programs to promote a region or bring someone maybe anchor in the South?

Or is that something that just isn't on the radar of a government officials yet, if ever in Turkey? Not yet.

Mine Dedekoca: Not yet, unfortunately not yet. And that's why now I am doing the pre work. Of establishing an association. In Turkey so that we become an official body to support and also it's going to be like a development first of [00:22:00] all developing this so that we get the attention of the government and the support of the government and then make it even like a two sided thing, like one.

For the locals living here to just exploit that opportunity of being able to work for a remote companies and to attracting more digital workers into Turkey and just providing them benefits either with the tax or like the living conditions or the visa. So that's why now we came together.

Like the seven founders of the association working on the legislative parts of it, so that we can gain more awareness about this and get that support from the government. But nothing yet, unfortunately.

Curtis Duggan: That's okay. I'm excited for the work you're doing. And I was excited to hear about at the time it was an upcoming event when we were talking in April but it happened in May.

Maybe you can tell us [00:23:00] about the Vivel network event in Turkey. It happened in May, I think, May 24th to 27th of this year, 2023. There's some lovely pictures of hot air balloons. And of course, I've seen the pictures and videos of the people that attended. What was this? Maybe first of all, what was the region that people came to?

That has this wonderful landscape and all these hot air balloons. If you can maybe educate some of our listeners who aren't familiar with all the parts of Turkey, where was the event and then who came and tell us a little bit more about why you started this event. Okay, sure.

Mine Dedekoca: So it's the brainchild of Lars and is our baby.

With Lars and when we met a year and a half ago, and he was so enthusiastic about this idea to bring in digital nomads, remote work people and creators together in the beautiful region of Turkey called Cappadocia. And so Cappadocia is [00:24:00] like on the bucket list of most people. Around the world. So we said, okay, why not do it there?

And just bring in those people and form a community. Because what we thought was like the remote work community, remote work people, and the digital nomads and the web three people, they actually share a lot of things in common, but they don't come together. And we thought that Web3 people would benefit from the expertise from the, the business of remote work people, whereas remote work people and the creators can benefit from the Web3 people's know how and their experience and bringing their business into Web3 in just keeping their businesses up to date.

So that was the initial idea. But on the networking side, it also came from our own personal pain, which, even at running remote, we were, I was like telling people, I'm tired of the [00:25:00] intentional networking, because there's so many people that you want to meet that you want to talk, but there's so little time to do it or you need to find those people just Use the app to just find each other or send a message.

And it's like energy training. So we said, okay, we are going to keep this limited to a certain number of people so that we are going to create this intimate closed group feeling where people. Stay in the same place, eat together and just be in the experience all throughout those three days and just have a heart to heart human to human connection, a deeper level connection so that business comes later.

So initially we wanted people to just, get to know each other. In a way that's like so natural, not business driven and it happened in that way. So it was our dream and our dream came true and it was not only networking, not only [00:26:00] conferencing, not only entertainment, but it was like a combination of all, even the workshops, like self development, business development.

So we had different kinds of workshops as well. We have remarkable DJ sets with like the background in the background, the balloons rising, waking up 4am in the morning, starting the party at 5am in the morning, ending it at 4am in the morning. So it was really crazy and people loved it.

And as I said, it was like a heart to heart, human to human connection. So we now have a. Growing number of community members. So if anyone just comes to the event, they become a community member, but community does not end at the end of the event, it goes on. So we've all is not only about the event itself, but it's like an ecosystem where it's so stay self sustains itself, helps each other.

So now we are at that phase. Of [00:27:00] nurturing the community and that's why we came up with this idea that okay each year. We're going to do once In Cappadocia, that's going to be our signature event, and then another place around the world, and which happened to be Sevilla this time in December.

Curtis Duggan: So you will have a, an anchor or a continuity around Cappadocia being an annual event as a maybe a sign of the success of what happened earlier this year, you're you're ready to.

Commit to Cappadocia. I'm, I just looked it up exactly the, it's in the central region. What what's your event on the black sea or was it inland? I'm just looking for anyone that's moving up. It's inland.

Mine Dedekoca: So it's south to Ankara. Got it. South east to Ankara.

Curtis Duggan: That's great. Yeah. So how did you how did you choose Cappadocia in particular?

And then maybe what thinking went into choosing Seville or Sevilla as the locals call it for your [00:28:00] upcoming event? What criteria do you use to say this would be a good place for an event of, Thousands of places around the world that you could choose.

Mine Dedekoca: It's, it was Lars's idea. So that's why actually I accepted his offer because like he came to me saying that, I'm planning to do an event in Cappadocia, Adana and Mersin.

And he actually didn't say Mersin, but it was like a small little town in the South called Pozantı. And even. Not many Turkish people know about that little town. When he told me that he wanted to do events there, I was like, come on who is this crazy guy trying to do this event? And I said, okay, hell yes.

Because how crazy can you be? Like picking that, small town on the way, just on the mountains of tourist mountains. So that was his idea, Cappadocia. But then the earthquake happened in Turkey. It was a massive earthquake and Adana was also impacted. So we said, okay, we are not going to go [00:29:00] to the southern cities, but just like stick to Cappadocia and have the conference up in the mountain in Kayseri.

And Kayseri is like the airport, the other airport city. So that's how. We decided to do it there. And the reason for Cappadocia was that whatever we do, we really want to create an experience. So Vivelle is about an experience. Vivelle is about how you feel and how people feel when they attend the event.

And Cappadocia has this mystic and like both emotional. And also beautiful state where we could have that DJ sets like a circle style. We always had that, view the vision of building those circle style areas that DJ sets with a beautiful view and.

That's how the idea was created, and that's what it happened even the footage, the video footage igniting the fire, it's totally in line with what we want to create as [00:30:00] a feeling, as an experience with Revelle.

Curtis Duggan: Amazing. And then how how did you choose Sevilla?

For the listeners, us Anglo speakers have called it Seville, but the right way to say it according to the Spanish is more like Sevilla. So I just want to say that so people aren't confused. We're talking about Sevilla in, in Spain. How did you identify that location as a good location for the next upcoming event?

Mine Dedekoca: As I said, we are always looking for those unique places, like where we can have, whenever we're choosing a place, we're thinking about the backdrop, like, how would that look with the DJ set? How would that look in the footage? How would people feel being immersed in that moment? Being immersed in that, the atmosphere, the the city, the vibe of the city.

So we said, okay, South Spain. And we started looking on the map. Trying to just identify those [00:31:00] cities that we could just like, possibly do the event and we said, why don't we just go for Sevilla? We knew it from the football club. So we knew that it was like, a popular city in terms of football and Andalusian history.

So it was like, a combination of the, like the Eastern vibes and the Western vibes. And so like the Arabic, some like Arabic touch. So we said, okay, let's go and do it. And just give it a try. I had a contact there. I just reached out to him and and the next 24 hours, we even had our hotel just booked.

So it was like, it's happened so quick.

Curtis Duggan: Got it. That's really exciting. You've mentioned a few different. Categories or themes in talking about Vivaldi, I've heard web three. I know music and DJing is a big part of it. It sounds like high quality networking and entrepreneurship is part of it in the coming years.

Do you see other themes emerging? Everybody's really hot on AI. There are other [00:32:00] things emerging in 2025. Are there new trends that you could see becoming part of the fabric of the Vivelle ecosystem? And how do you think about who goes, or not who goes, but who you market to, to, attract people when you do marketing, of course you have to choose.

Who are you going to attract? And, it could be anyone, sure. But it does seem like it's a smaller curated group. So I imagine you think about who you're trying to attract. And I'm just curious how you think about the future and any learnings from who came to the last event and whether you need to adjust or how you look at the strategy there.


Mine Dedekoca: as I was talking about the heart to heart connection, the human to human connection, that's exactly how Everything ended up like, we were not going after, yes, we were targeting the Web3 people, remote work people, but we realized that the, what really brought these people together were how they were just like, [00:33:00] thinking about the world, how they wanted to be about like the common purpose, the common values, the common belief, and that the responsibility that they felt towards.

The future the the world and just like in general to each other. So the trends, co creation is definitely one of our values at Vivel. So if you are a person who believes in co creation, not being like a solo, but believing in the power of the community, being Believing in the co creation.

That's by the way, exactly how it's happened at Vivel. For the conference, we were outside planning it outside. Everything was set that a rain started and all of our participants, they started carrying the chairs inside. And they were not bothered at all because we were literally co creating the experience together.

So whoever is just like, sharing that idea and future of living is a strong point of Vivel as well. So it's not only about the future [00:34:00] of work, but about the future of living, sustainable living, giving back to the community, building sustainable communities, building living areas where sustainable living.

There are ecosystems and the ecosystems are self sustainable and just feeding each other. So we are all about the mindset. So we don't really care what you do for life. But if you share these common beliefs, these common values and interested in learning more about how to just maybe even start your career in remote work or Web3.

We're more than welcomed because it's all about like, how you are just like, what kind of a person you want to be on this earth.

Curtis Duggan: I think for a lot of listeners hearing about remote work and some of the events that happen and some of the culture of remote work. I still think the vast majority, billions of people, hundreds of millions of people who are over 25, let's say, might think, oh, going to [00:35:00] Bali, going to Lisbon, going to Cappadocia for VUVL.

It sounds like something that a 22 year old does with a backpack, and that's not for me. But I do think I started this podcast, so I clearly, I have a bias that remote work is for everyone, but what would you say to someone who has children or has a family and is thinking about remote work, thinking about remote work events, like events that the Viva network puts on, how should they be thinking about the future and.

Do you encounter people like that, whether with Vivelle or in other aspects of your consulting or your professional life where someone who's like over 25 just says, I don't think this, I think this is just for young people that have no responsibilities. Of course, they can go around in a backpack and stay in a hostel, the grownups need to stay at home and go to the office.

And that's what being an adult is. Do you get into those kinds of conversations with I don't even want to say older nomads. I just mean literally people that are over [00:36:00] 23, what kinds of have you ever got into those kinds of conversations about being a remote worker or nomad and how that fits with.

Having family or having responsibilities or having a partner and how that, how people can navigate that.

Mine Dedekoca: I used to get into those conversations even more frequently before the pandemic, now people want to be part of this move, but the thing is, yeah. So it wasn't like something cool.

They were just like thinking, this is as you said, this is like a backpack style lifestyle and they don't belong to that. I'm 42. I have two kids. And just even the older ones, 12. So I'm like a. Experienced mother living this remote work lifestyle. And we had a participant, Lynn, who was a grandmother to seven grandchildren.

So I, yeah and she was one of the most active participants throughout the event, and so that's what I mean by mindset and the [00:37:00] reason why we are doing these events at, decent hotels, decent places, we are curating the event in a way that. I don't like to call it like high quality, but these aren't, we're not doing the events at hostels or low budget places we are like moderate, they're moderately priced and a bit over, the moderate so that we are creating an experience for everyone.

Because we also want to break that bias about remote workers being only backpackers. You can do backpacking. But if you only want to do it like that, because remote workers. This is by research as well. They are making more money than any office worker. So on average, remote work gives people access to more money, more, flexibility.

And it's, as I said, it's all about the mindset. If you're a traveler, if you want to just explore new places, get to know people from different cultures, from different [00:38:00] countries. Then Vivaldi is the right place to be. So I cannot limit that to, a specific group of people, to age, gender, even like a job.

I think it's all about like how you are on this earth, like being a human being, what kind of a human being you are, just like what kind of an experience you want to live, what kind of an experience you want to share with others. And so that brings. Those like minded people together at Vivaldi.

Curtis Duggan: Maybe we can talk a little bit about Happyworks Studio. You help companies transform their workplace to be more remote friendly. How does that work? It looks like you started a couple of years ago. What kinds of companies are your clients and. What do you do on a day to day basis? What are the, what are what are some of the blind spots that, that companies have that you can help them with?

Mine Dedekoca: I started a company after the pandemic where companies started asking [00:39:00] for consultancy. Before that, it was just like, a gig thing. I'm working, I worked and still working with companies at all scales. I worked with one of the biggest global alcoholic beverage companies in the world.

I worked with one of the car battery companies and not like a holding company. I work with a startup still now working with a small scale startup with 10 people. So regardless of the size, the scope of the project changes. But the essence does not change and what I just, teach them is to just how to make remote work in the right way.

Because usually the companies think that, okay, we are just like giving this benefit to our employees so that they can work remotely without changing the way they work. So sticking to their old ways of communicating, old ways of doing meetings, old ways of doing everything. So I help them through [00:40:00] redesigning everything that they do in the company to be in line with this new way of working.

And so we look at their meetings, the rules, we define a frame. And within that frame, we let them just operate and on day to day basis. So that's one thing what we design their remote policies, remote handbooks. And also first week before starting, we do an assessment. We now have actually a new assessment by Remote First Institute.

I'm one of the founding members of Remote First Institute as well. We have an AI remote work assessment tool. And I first use that, identify the weak points, areas of improvement and spend more time on those and just tweaking, refining what they have been doing. And two, I work with companies on their values, on company purpose.

And so not all [00:41:00] the companies have their purpose. They have their mission and vision statements, but not the purpose purposes. A stronger thing. And if you have a purpose, if you have a company purpose that all your employees wake up to a morning with that strong purpose and just like being part of that purpose.

So I helped them find that purpose, connect that to the mission and the values and then the behavior so that the values are not, those words on the wall, but they are just like, being lived. In the company and also do well being programs, happiness programs at individual and corporate level happiness at work, and just like designing their wellbeing programs, their happiness program.

So that employees are just not dreading the Mondays and just enjoy what they do at work.

Curtis Duggan: A lot of. I think in the 2021 timeframe, as the [00:42:00] pandemic was getting, going through its waves, many CEOs in North America said, we're going remote forever. We believe in remote work. We understand that this is the future, whether the pandemic pushed them or they just decided to give in to the needs of their employees.

It was a time to just two years ago or two and a half years ago when. There were so many jobs in tech and the knowledge workers maybe had some leverage over the employers now in North America in 2023 and around the world a little bit. But my, I understand my view of looking at some of the North American tech companies, they're saying, we need to get back to the office.

We need to go three days a week. Maybe we were wrong about remote work. We've realized that we can't substitute the in person connection and we just need to get back to hybrid. We need to offer incentives. And so there is this kind of counter revolution, this, the pendulum swinging back and [00:43:00] maybe remote work isn't quite so popular with the leadership as it was two years ago.

And maybe that's because two years ago it was a necessity and now they're realizing employers are realizing they have more leverage. Do you see the same kind of thing happening? In Turkey and with clients you're working with where the leadership wants to bring people back and you have to advocate or push through maybe a change in sentiment.

Now versus two years ago when it was more obvious that to avoid COVID, we need to go into remote work back then.

Mine Dedekoca: Yeah, obviously. It's the same thing all around the world. And when I see that, I just tell people that there's totally a trust issue. If you don't, and. It first starts with yourself.

Then you are not trusting yourself with your management skills and two, you're not trusting the employees. And so I think the biggest thing is about trust. But it is happening. No matter what they do, no matter what they think, because this is [00:44:00] not about the location only. This is how we do our work.

Like from 10, maybe like 20 years from now, we won't even use remote to define the work. It's going to be with the work. It's going to be how we work, because now this is like the transition and the pain of transition. All the executives still, the people who are ruling, they're from the past generation, so they are trying to unlearn and just like practice something and to make it happen.

And when they see that it's not totally happening because they're not, really just like getting into the sea, but just like tipping their toes in the sea and not getting quite getting it. And they say, okay, let's, the sea is cold. I'm not going to just like swim, they say, but they don't know what, how it feels like to be like, immersed in the sea, to have that freshness, to just feel that flexibility because they only tip their toes and they said it's cold.

And just so [00:45:00] This is going to happen when this new generation is going to be at the executive roles ruling the companies because there's no way back to the original because that was designed that kind of work was designed for the industrial revolution that was like designed in a way that, we had to have the quality and quantity over quality because we needed to quantity.

But now we, even the data is not as, valuable as it was like back in the 90s. So now humans are more valuable. Human skills are more valuable. Talent is more valuable. Talent is scarce. And in order to keep the talent, they will be losing this war. I call it a war. Yeah, because this is like talent asking for it.

And that the executives are just like calling them back. It's not about where they work from. It's about [00:46:00] how they work and they're totally missing this point. Yeah I

Curtis Duggan: agree. It is a war and sometimes companies won't realize how they're hollowing out their company and not attracting some of the best people.

It might look like the office is full again, but it's filtered out many talented people who simply have the power. They have the leverage with their skills and talents to say, I would like to work remote. And those people won't be there. So there might be people there, but which people and and that I think is going to play out like a big scientific experiment.

It's a war, but it's also a scientific experiment of on the one hand, companies that force people in the office and the others that don't. We don't know how it will play out, but we're certainly going to see in the next few years. I'm just, as we get to the end of our time together this hour, I'm curious if there's anything you're really excited about.

It could be somewhere you're personally traveling to as a remote worker or something you're launching. But as you look at the next year, [00:47:00] What's exciting for you in the world of remote work in 2024?

Mine Dedekoca: So what creates more impact always, makes me enthusiastic. So now we will be launching a program with the remote works remote skills Academy as going to be a virtual assistant program where we will teach people how to be virtual assistants and hopefully place them into jobs.

So I really want to use the leverage of remote work to. Educate more people and give them flexibility. There is another initiative. We started during the earthquake after the earthquake. We started this initiative calling for applications from the earthquake victims and just connecting them to the clients available jobs off remote dot com.

So Now we are at a point to see the results of those matches. So those kinds of things, those kinds of projects, I'm really making me enthusiastic and now founding this [00:48:00] association so that we create more awareness around remote work and about just being in this region, more prevalent in this region is also making me enthusiastic and the happiness programs, because I'm delivering happiness at work program, the global cohort with happy to youth.

And I'm also doing the Turkish programs about happiness. So that's where my heart is really beating at. And I love delivering those programs. I love to make people more aware about what could be the options in their lives. Not to be trapped in, what they have been experiencing, what they have been seeing from their parents, but just like discovering this whole new world out there.

Curtis Duggan: Amazing. We'll put everything in the show notes. If people want to learn more about your initiatives or anything is there somewhere they should go if they want to follow you or follow Vivelle or follow anything you're doing that we can direct our listeners to?

Mine Dedekoca: Yeah. So my Instagram, [00:49:00] my LinkedIn is the most active.

So if they just follow me on LinkedIn, they would be up to date with what I'm doing. My Instagram is more about like the programs or retreats and like Vivel. And Vivel also has a separate Instagram account. And happy work studio is our corporate page where you can see all the services that they're providing.

And there's also a contact form. So if they fill out the contact form, they can also learn more about the services, but drop me a message on LinkedIn and I'll be back in and the next 24 hours, that's the easiest.

Curtis Duggan: Great. We'll put that in the show notes and make sure that people can get in touch with you.

If they want to learn more about Vival or all the other things that that you're working on. Mina, thanks so much. It's been great to have you on Remotely Serious. I'm excited for all the things you're working on. And yeah, Sevilla, Cappadocia, they're definitely on my map now. And I'm just looking forward to the growth of Vivel, of your initiatives and everything.

Mine Dedekoca: Thank you. It was great. [00:50:00] I really enjoyed the conversation and thanks for having me in this show.

Curtis Duggan: No problem. We'll end it on that. In the podcast right now, what you'll hear is the music will be playing and eventually my voice will drown out. And this is it. We're done. Thanks everyone. And yeah, have a good time.

We'll see you at the next episode.

Curtis Duggan

Curtis Duggan

Curtis is a serial tech entrepreneur, content creator and the host of the Remotely Serious podcast on the future of remote work and digital nomadism.


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