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Company - Oct 20, 2022

Interview with a CEO 🧛🏻‍♂️

Enjoy our next series interviewing the Freeflow team! Kicking us off is our CEO Berk Serbetcioglu. Behind every awesome startup is a fearless leader, guiding the team to glory! And ours is Berk Serbetcioglu. Lover of technology, audiobook aficionado, hobbyist, there is a lot to get to know. So dive in!

Freeflow, Berk, CEO, Startup

Introduce yourself! Who are you, where are you from, and what are your hobbies?

Hi! I’m Berk, the CEO of Freeflow. I’m 28, grew up in Turkey 🇹🇷, and live in Miami 🌴. Outside of Freeflow, I play soccer every day and like learning about tech and gadgets. (Ask me about the new USB4 standards).

When did you know you wanted to start a company?

I’ve always dreamed of starting a company but didn’t focus on it until 2020 when I started listening to audiobooks about startups and even documented them here: https://www.berkserbetcioglu.com/bookshelf/

What did you do before this? What did you like about that previous job? How did it transition into your current role?

I was a software developer. First at a Stanford research lab, then at a biotech startup called Tempus. At Stanford, I basically got paid to learn from professors and Ph.D. students, at Tempus I built tools for data scientists. The transition to Freeflow took a little over a year of attempting to build random ideas into companies, we even considered a printer-sharing startup in the year 2021! This is when I learned the phrase "throwing spaghetti at the wall". We quickly learned the reason we weren't having much luck selling our ideas because we weren't talking to the right audiences. Then the real work began.

What part of being a CEO do you love?

Being a team leader is great! And I enjoy trying to get parts of the company to work and connect well. It’s like building a puzzle that is constantly changing, which maybe doesn’t sound so fun to everyone. 🧩

Why web3?

Blockchains are a good solution to some problems. Most visibly today, it is the simplest way to provide access to financial systems for many. The hypothesis with Freeflow is that it’ll be a better way to build a reputation and establish ownership.

What parts of web3 do you think are the most exciting?

Communities and shared ownership.

What excites you the most about Freeflow?

We can help distribute opportunities efficiently across the world. We support people from 25+ countries but nobody using Freeflow really pays attention to that, everyone is just a person on the internet. Even at our small size, we’re seeing Freeflow have a substantial impact on the financial and professional lives of people.

What time in Freeflow’s history do you miss most?

The first couple of months of working heads down out of our basement. We were lucky enough to have some early success and it was really exciting. It was also the unhealthiest I’ve ever been, which is clear in my resting heart rate graph.

Berk’s Resting Heart Rate

When did you feel Freeflow was growing the fastest?

When my resting heart rate was highest. (Refer to the graph above).

Who inspires you the most (non-web3)?

Idk, John Carmack came to mind.

Who inspires you the most in the web3 space?

Vitalik.

What is your favorite Twitter account? Youtube account? Publication?

My favorite Twitter account is honestly Freeflow. I like the gadgets side of YouTube with Marques Brownlee and LTT, also James Hoffman. Some of the websites I visit every day are The Verge, Reddit, and Hacker News.

What kind of task(s) puts you in the deep work zone?

Coding that isn’t bug fixing. 👨🏻‍💻

What parts of web3 worry you? Biggest weakness in web3?

I wouldn’t say worry, but like any technology, web3 can’t solve everything. The majority of projects will fail. Also, the user experience of wallets on the web isn’t great.

What are your thoughts on startup culture?

I’m a fan. It’s basically a small group of people obsessing over a single problem for a long while. There are obviously other parts, some of which are quite destructive, but the general idea is fast progress and I like that culture. (Here is a list I like to look at https://patrickcollison.com/fast).

What was the best part(s) of Techstars?

The community aspects. It opened doors to meet great founders, investors, and advisors.

Who in the startup world do you admire?

I admire Brian Chesky and Brian Armstrong. Let me know if you know any other good Brians to add.

What gives you momentum when building/growing a startup?

Lots of things! The times that I’ve noticed Freeflow moves fastest is right after we learn something new from our customers. The competition also helps.

How do you know when you are right? When you are wrong? How do you parse through data to know you are making the right decision?

In a perfect world, you would run experiments with clear numerical results for everything. That isn’t possible with something that just a few people see, so you rely on intuition for a large part. That’s why you need to understand the person you are making the decision for, whether customers or colleagues.

As far as parsing through data, the main challenge can be to focus on the right result. A good example is looking at views vs conversions. I like Airtable to produce graphs.

Crypto, Web3, Blockchain, Developers, Freelance, Solana, Solidity, Rust, Web3.0, Ethereum, Dapp, Eth, SOL, NFT, DeFi, Decentralized, Decentralised, Hire, Project, Project-based, Work, Jobs, Freeflow, Full Stack, Token, ERC721, ERC1155, ERC721a, Contract, Smart contract

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