“Crypto space is changing business models, how we express ourselves, and our relationships with products in general” – On the Record with Cigdem Oztabak, CNNTurk

Welcome to ‘On The Record’ with YAP Global – a series where we speak to the journalists behind the stories that keep you up-to-date on the pulse of the digital asset, DeFi, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry

Cigdem is no stranger to the world of marketing, communications or journalism after working in the industry for almost 20 years.

She is now always on the go travelling and is a tech reporter for Cointelegraph Turkey and CNN Turk as well as a host of her podcast called Meta Cafe.

She believes that each individual has the power to use the web3 space to build a better world with humans with good intentions saying, “Everything is for every person, it depends on us.”

Learn more about her experiences through her exciting journey below:

Tell us about yourself and how you got into crypto

I have a career of 18 years with different responsibilities in fields such as Digital Transformation, Digital Marketing, FinTech, marketing, and 360-degree Communication. I also was the founder and the CEO of a start-up company called “Delivery” 3 years ago. 

Apart from my main career, I’ve been doing podcasts for a long time. Lately, I’ve been hosting a podcast called “Meta Cafe” where we talk about NFT projects, crypto news, and various Web3 creations in general. 

I first became acquainted with the term crypto about two and a half years ago. Like most people, I had an understanding of the basic words; like Crypto and NFTs. With time, I heard about this space growing exponentially and read about its new technology reflecting different areas in our lives. All this news about the Crypto space piqued my interest. And because I’ve been in Digital Communication for 10 years, I was more than interested. To contribute to this amazing field, I started to write articles on CNNTürk about Crypto and Web3 news to educate people in Turkey about this new way of technology. And in the United States, I do interviews with both interesting and successful start-up projects to help people inspire each other.

What does crypto mean to you? 

As I see it, currently the crypto space is changing business models, how we express ourselves, and our relationships with products in general, but especially with financial products. So I view crypto as an exciting, refreshing, and new area, with the potential to change careers, business models, products, points of view, and even people’s expressions.

What is your favourite out of the stories you’ve written so far? 

One of my most exciting interviews was the one I had with Gitcoin’s CEO, Kevin Owocki. I have been following Gitcoin for a long time and this year when I attended the Consensus Event in Austin to interview Kevin, I was more than happy. Getting to know Kevin closely and listening to his plans for the future in general made me really excited about this interview. And I was really happy to be sharing this experience with the Turkish audience as well.

Gitcoin is one of the most inspiring and sweet communities in this space. And the importance they put on public goods was one of the key points that drove me in. Kevin himself is a role model on his own as a CEO.

With a lot of scam projects in Web3, they really do stand out from the rest. And again, I was so excited and happy to be interviewing a role model and humble leader like Kevin!

What do you think of the current crypto journalism space? 

The crypto journalism space has been growing very fast in the last few years. And through these years I’ve noticed some big differences in a lot of areas like communication, publishing news, and gathering at an event. All these things include journalism, meaning media, and communication in general. Recently, everyone is a journalist and you can get any news from anyone. But we must remember that this type of journalism should be practised with common sense as well. But if we compare crypto journalism with more conventional journalism, the crypto journalism space has more supportive members, it doesn’t have such strict rules, and overall has way more young people driving it. And I see this as an exciting thing.

What is the worst pitch you’ve ever received? 

I think one of the worst pitch types is involving NFT projects with merely profile picture-looking items and no thought behind their works whatsoever. Every once in a while those projects reach out to us, and want us to promote them on our platforms.

From the inside, how has the focus on what to cover changed? 

I believe the focus has been changed to an entirely different direction, as opposed to a more didactic way of communication, media, and press releases before. I see the difference more clearly when I look at press releases from brands from the United States and compare them to Turkey’s. And when I see the more youthful and new PR firms in this crypto space alongside more conventional PR firms, the latter has an old system going on and this old system slows them significantly. The former has a unique way of doing things and this makes them more relatable and genuine in the eyes of this community.

What does a day in your life look like? 

Overall my working days are very busy. But I’d like to take time for a walk and even a yoga session for my mental health. After I clear my mind from the morning fogginess, my working hours begin. I have a lot of meetings because apart from my freelance journalist career I give marketing and communication consultations to numerous companies. After my meetings, I make sure to read at least two articles about recent events. Following these, I do practice my writing and work on my future interviews. 

And for the fun part, my boyfriend and I like to dance actually. So, to feed our souls, we search for concerts and house music events in our areas mostly. And I think everyone should release the tension their work-life has brought them in any way they can.

Cigdem’s author page: https://www.cnnturk.com/yazarlar/guncel/cigdem-oztabak

Cigdem’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/cigdemoztbk 

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