Freedom and Simplicity

I like stones, ancient cities, mythology, philosophy.
I like words, thoughts.
I like action, directness and power.
In this December, I'll be 40.
I have no rules, or boundaries.
I'm not engaged or dedicated to any community or a leader.
But I studied leaders, poets, writers, sportsmen, artists, generals, prophets, gods and goddesses.
I've been trying to  build myself up in my own ways, following my own morals.
I have values.
I give credit to authenticity, intelligence, knowledge, learning, freedom, aesthetics, achievements and flexibility.
I love living, I glorify life.

This week, Jean Pierre Mustier, the CEO of UniCredit, visited YapıKredi.
A good looking, smart man.
During his presentation, he of course touched to many important points in banking, Turkey, YapıKredi, UniCredit etc.
He shared his vision, motivation...
But, one thing was taken me strongly: His emphasis on simplicity.
He is supporting this notion so much that UniCredit defines itself with the following motto:

"We are a strong pan-European Group with a simple commercial banking model and a fully plugged in Corporate & Investment Bank, delivering our unique Western, Central and Eastern European network to our extensive client franchise."

Then I asked him the key pillar of simplicity. His answer was:

"Focus on the high priority objectives and eliminate the minor ones"

I'm impressed. He was talking in the same manner with Bruce Lee whom I respect a lot. Here is the Lee's words about simplicity:

"The art of Jeet Kune Do is simply to simplify. Jeet Kune Do avoids the superficial, penetrates the complex, goes to the heart of the problem and pinpoints the key factors. Jeet Kune Do does not beat around the bush. It does not take winding detours. It follows a straight line to the objective. Simplicity is the shortest distance between two points. Jeet Kune Do favors formlessness so that it can assume all forms and since Jeet Kune Do has no style, it can fit in with all styles. As a result, Jeet Kune Do utilizes all ways and is bound by none and, likewise, uses any techniques or means which serve its end."

Mustier's measure of simplicity is explainability. "If you cannot explain it in seconds, it's not simple" he said.
I have thought on his words since his fruitful session. I discussed this with some of my colleagues and I came up with some additions. Marking the most important goals, knowing what you want and omitting the unnecessary, low priority and complicated details are very crucial for simplicity indeed. However, these just define the clear objective and/or use case of the system you are to build.
I believe, you need to engineer complex details well for achieving a simple solution. For example, in user experience, having only one push button for sending any command to the system looks very simple. But I can guarantee you that there are zillions of invisible sensors, software modules, system control units, cognitive interpreters, very large scale integrated circuits, solar power collectors, signal processors running fast Fourier transformations in milliseconds working under that tiny push button, in order to provide simplicity. I can say that simplicity is well engineered complexity.
We've got to know that everything is highly technical and everything is complex. If you want simplicity, you have to examine and master complexity. So "You have to know the rules to rewrite the rules".

I want to combine this simplicity objective with our number one value in YapıKredi: Freedom.
Three years ago, I addressed a speech on "freedom in YapıKredi" to our teams. Key takeaways were:

  • You can find the word "freedom" in poems, songs, movies, anthems but it's very rare to find a value called "freedom" in a big bank's annual report. So embrace its importance
  • Be a free person in the office: Think, learn, discover, unlearn, decide and act freely
  • As a free person, take the responsibility of your actions, words and decisions because freedom always comes with the responsibility in the baggage
To conclude, I am a happy professional and a happy man because I am where I belong to intellectually: An enterprise where I am free and I am expected to develop simple solutions. Like many years ago, when I was a kid, watching a Bruce Lee movie, exhibiting "freedom, directness and simplicity".


an animal
(that) can talk on my demand
hence (it) loves hunger
as (she) receives my anger
until my mastery goes no longer.


bilgide arınıp
kusursuz bir sarıda
kendime sarılsam
bir hayvana dönüşüp
köşemde parıldayan toz olsam
ölüp de doğmuş


beyond all the dreams
below all the stars
at the edge of the limits
no one knows my scars.


benim kumsalım
köpüklü denizin yanında değil
yüksek dağın eteğinde

öğlen güneşinde
sarhoş olur, savrulmazsın

deniz kabukları kaçar senden
dalgın adım gezinirken
akrepler çıkar gelir
kurak kumun derininden

bin yıl kalır ayak parmaklarının şehvetli izi
bin yıl okur, öğrenirim
izlerinde sakladığın derin gizi

benim kumsalım
sarı değil
biraz siyah
çoğu gri
uzanıp dinlenemezsin,
yağmur döver
rüzgar keser
üzerindedir kör baykuşun
dik gözleri.


başından beri biri vardı, biri
karanlık sularda yıkanmış
her şeyden evvel
pis biri 
yılanın dili
elmadaki diş izi
günah gibi
ahlaklı biri.