We bring to your attention the interview conducted with Tural Badirkhanli, the guest of Americana program ‘’The Voice of America’, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and currently working in Twitter.
Tural together with his two colleagues founded Namo Media Company and sold it to Twitter, where he is working now.
You decided to move to New-York from California, where Silicon Valley is located; what was the reason for that?
-I studied in Boston, sometimes I visited New York and liked this place so much that, planned to move there. Meanwhile, in 2009 a huge financial crisis occurred in America; a lot of companies closed their offices. It was difficult to get a job in these conditions and for that reason I could not come here. I received several offers from California, so I decided to go there. Then we sold the company to Twitter whose headquarters was in New York.
No doubt that in Azerbaijan there are some people who know you and some who do not. Please, give some information about yourself.
I studied in Quba, in Turkish lyceum. I was always thinking of studying abroad. But I did not have any information regarding the opportunities, admission conditions. I thought studying in America requires tens of million dollars. I did not have such financial resources and so, studying there did not occur to me. Therefore, I applied to the universities in Turkey and entered Boghazichi University, which I graduated from later. While studying there, I gained a lot of information about education in America. I found out that in order to study in America you do not need so much money, there are even scholarship programs up to your needs. And I started to make enquiries about the universities. So, I discovered that the universities like Harvard, MIT, Yale, and Princeton University provide such kind of opportunities to international students. I applied to these universities, got an admission to MIT and came to America.
You are a graduate of the MIT, not only America’s but also world’s number one university of technology. You are also familiar with the educational systems of Azerbaijan and Turkey. Would you be the same Tural, if you were not a graduate from the MIT?
-I came to America when I was 18; as I came from different culture, a lot of things seemed interesting to me. One of the advantages of coming here at an early age was the fact that I got adapted to the environment here quickly. In MIT we were taught to learn. Imagine that you are taught to swim, and for that you are thrown into a pool full of water, where you should whether swim or drown. You learn this process in competitive conditions. It has become a huge transformation in my life. I can forget what I have learned during the classes, but I will never forget these values.
Three founders have created Namomedia company, and one of them is you. Can we consider that this company is the turning point in your life?
There were a lot of steps in my life which gave me great opportunities. Namo Media Company is one of them. At the beginning of 2012 I left Google and decided to take advantage of Silicon Valley. These opportunities consist of capital which stands behind good ideas. Here you can build business together with big companies.
What is Namomedia, how it works? What kind of advantages does it have for business, especially for Twitter?
The problem, fundamentally solved by Namomedia was that the owners of mobile applications created for iPhone, Android wanted to earn money from it. We created favorable conditions for this people to earn money. Our difference was that the advertisements presented by us for earning money were in completely different format. At that moment that format was used by Facebook and Twitter. It was effective only on their platforms. We offered an opportunity for all other companies to make their advertisements in such a format. The name of this type of advertising is a ‘’native advertisement’’.
It is already a year that Twitter has bought Namo Media. Although there is no official information, they say that the estimated price is 50 million USD dollars. People think that you are a millionaire. How it feels?
-Actually, I am not a millionaire; I can show you my bank account. I have always considered money as a resource for freedom. After working in Google for a while, I collected my money and left my job; I started to work on new ideas. Even now I consider my money as a good investment into my future ideas.
What are you working on now? Do you have any new start-up ideas, or you are busy with enhancing Namomedia?
- According to the contract signed with Twitter, I have to stay here for some period and do some things. After integrating Namomedia into Twitter, I have started to work on different products. In order to work on new ideas in future, I can leave Twitter.