Where were you at 28?

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While many of us can only dream of changing the world, Inanc Balci is already doing it. At 26, he co-founded South East Asia’s online retail tiger Lazada and now, at age 28, he sits as the Chief Executive Officer for Lazada Philippines.

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On Being a young CEO

Balci, a Turkish raised in London, attended Purdue University in the U.S. with a double-degree in Industrial Engineering and Economics. Afterwhich, he worked on mergers and acquisitions for an investment bank in London. While working for the investment bank, Balci saw the eminent potential in e-commerce which led him to join Rocket Internet and eventually co-found Lazada in Southeast Asia.

In the Philippines, Balci heads a pool of more than 300 employees, all of which he works very closely with. With an unabashed outlook, agile wit, and a laser-sharp eye for details, Balci perfectly fits the bill to lead a rapidly-growing online company.

Online Shopping in the Philippines

In a country where shopping malls are practically part of the fabric of the society, online shopping is something quite a number of Filipinos are unaccustomed to – there comes the perennial trust issue on using credit cards, the surprise surcharges, and unfortunately, the products not arriving at all. The malls in the Philippines, on the otherhand, have creatively articulated themselves to be not just shopping destinations but also as a means of recreation (i.e. be it the cinemas, the gaming zones, the restaurants, or as simple as the airconditioning they offer as a break from the raging tropical weather outdoors) – all of these were the issues that Balci had to dispel – and dispel he and his co-founders did. Lazada has made shopping quick, effortless, and risk-free to South East Asia and in the Philippines, this is the same principle that Balci is harping on to the Filipinos. How is this so?

First, Lazada accommodates all those shoppers without credit cards via its cash-on-delivery payment mode. This is essential given that not everyone has a credit card or is keen on sharing their credit card details to someone – or anyone for that matter. This makes online shopping risk-free for everyone. Being an archipelago of 7,100 islands, accessibility is always an issue – a significant portion of consumers doesn’t have time or access to visit the malls but with a minimum of PhP 1,000 purchase, Lazada offers free nationwide delivery, to customers anywhere in the Philippines, just log-in, shop, and the products will be delivered at the customer’s doorstep. Lastly, Lazada offers the flexibility of having the customers return the products within 30 days for free – provided that the products are in mint condition.

In a span of two years of being in the Philippines, Balci has steered Lazada to further heights and now with more than 40,000 SKUs, reaching 90% of the online population of the Philippines, and ranking as the 4th top Facebook brand in the country with a direct audience close to 2 Million. What the dot-com bubble holds for Lazada is still yet to be revealed, but one thing is for certain, Inanc Balci, the 28 year-old co-founder and CEO, is definitely changing the way Filipinos buy.

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Casino games are fun and winning is a plus

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Gambling is considered by many a bad thing, a “sin”, a “crime”, like a drug – addictive and dangerous. It’s true, some people have problems with gambling – they exaggerate, they don’t know when to stop, and in time they ruin their life, their family and maybe even their community. It’s not correct to blame only gambling, though – the same people would have become addicted to drugs or alcohol if the circumstances were different.

I, for one, consider gambling – especially online gambling – a fun way for possibly making some money online. There are some things to consider, though, before starting an ‘online gambler’ career – choosing the right casino, setting strict limits to the amount one can afford to lose (because, of course, this is a possibility when gambling online) and not letting it overtake one’s life.

I play for low stakes. I have set a low limit for myself – a few bucks every week, an amount I can easily afford to lose – and always stop when I reach that limit, no matter how long a winning streak I have to interrupt. Sometimes I don’t even log on to the online casino I use – luckily it offers the possibility to play free, in ‘fun’ or ‘demo’ mode.

I usually play at the Euro Palace casino, as not many others have the same promotions and the same amount of free games at one place. The Euro Palace new-player-welcome-bonus casino’s offer is attractive (although it has some quite harsh wagering requirements that are a bit harder to fulfill) – deposit matches on the first two deposits made by the player, up to $/£/€500 (depending on the currency you use, I use €), weekly and monthly promotions, and the chance to win the big prize: a 7-day Caribbean cruise for two, or a share of their €1 million prize pool.

OK, I know, my chances to win this big are slim – I don’t play by far enough for it – but I like to dream big, like many others. Sometimes I start playing my favorite slots (usually the Battlestar Galactica, as it has some very interesting game modes) thinking of the days I will spend on board the Oasis of the Seas, but other times I just load the game and spin for fun.

I am a fan of slot machines. I play them often just for fun, or with stakes of a few cents – having a real money stake makes the game even more exciting and fun. I have my favorite slots – I particularly enjoy the above mentioned Battlestar Galactica, the Marvel slots made by Microgaming (there are quite a few), the ones based on Christopher Nolan’s new Batman movies, and the ThunderStruck II – a fine game based on the Norse mythology.

I don’t consider playing these games a way to make money online. If I win, it’s a plus above the fun and excitement of the game itself.

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The Virtual Office: Its Definition and Practical Considerations

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At the dawn of computer age, many aspects of everyday life have certainly been revolutionized–not the least of which is how people work and conduct business. Before, working and operating a business were quite straightforward. Office workers report to a physical office at a specific time and work from 9 -5 while entreprenuers sell goods or offer their services at a particular physical location and be available during designated hours of the day. No muss, no fuss.
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