We would like to continue with our introduction of the Aeroji team members in more detail. The third part here will be about our co-founder Semih Dinc, who is highly skilled in product development and project management.
What is your professional background and how come you joined Aeroji?
I studied business administration and engineering and I worked my whole professional life in aviation. It all started as an intern at MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH, where I was also able to write my diploma thesis during that time. After my graduation I was offered a job and became a strategic project manager. I was mainly responsible for setting up production planning and control, and also established my skills in further projects with focus on lean management. In the last couple years, I lead cross-functional teams in digitization projects. The latest projects were building a core system for the inspection department as a single point of truth, augmented reality and AI-driven parts recognition.
I learned a lot of different aspects in the business, but they all had one thing in common - solving problems. My education and my career in project management fit perfectly. I have not only learned to abstract processes, but I have also learned how to find the root cause for certain problems and whenever a root cause is found, there is nothing better than to tackle the problem with a creative team. The most significant lessons learned during all the projects was the onboarding of the end user, because no matter how good a created solution might be, it is going to fail when the end user does not accept it.
Especially during the last projects, I read a lot about digitization and that one book about Silicon Valley impressed me a lot. It showed that people matter the most and in current times ideas can become real, easier than ever. So, I pitched my idea to Maximilian and gave him the book about Silicon Valley. Most of the examples written in the book were about creating transparency and platforming. We knew that transparency is also an issue in the aero-engine business. The idea grew on us. Very soon we started to include people we already knew, who were from the business, from aviation as well as from IT. After couple meetings in cafes the perfect team was set up with the goal to create something special. Aeroji was born :-).
What is your best characteristic (personal trait)?
If I can only choose one, I would pick my positive thinking. I have faced so many challenges personally and also in business and without that positive thinking I would have had to give up projects before even starting them. So positive thinking is my kind of fuel.
Of course, there are some supporting traits. The most important one is empathy. Because only when I put myself in the shoes of someone else, I am able to understand the whole picture. Following this logic empathy is only possible if I am open minded and have no prejudice. I also believe that the key for being open minded is continuous learning, because I think whenever I stop to learn something new, I will risk becoming biased. The last piece of traits, that will complete this logic is my curiosity. The willingness to learn something new has to be intrinsically motivated and my curiosity is that force that keeps me pushing.
In a nutshell my traits are:
- positive thinking
- will to continuous learning
What is the wisest insight you did receive in your lifetime so far?
This answer will put my characteristics into a better perspective. As for a lot of us my parents gave me some of the wisest words, which explain who I became. There are two most important wisdoms I received.
My parents told me, the heaviest thing I should ever carry should be a pen. My entire family are completely blue-collar worker. I was the first one in my family who graduated, so I was the first one who got a white-collar job. Like any other parents they wanted their children to have a better life. This visualizing phrase in accordance with seeing how they worked, did not only change my mind, but it also actually paved my whole life. There is a nuance in that wisdom which goes beyond the principle - think then act. Actually, it is act just by using your brain. Those words define how I actually do anything. Whenever I work on any task, I structure my thoughts and try to go through all possibilities in order to find the best solution.
The second most important wisdom is commitment in order to respect and honor the work. And my mother is the best example for that. Even though she has a lack of school education, she is one of the well-read people I have ever known. Despite having a lot of knowledge, her work was mainly heavy lifting. Usually, people would think that these kinds of people have a lack of passion in their work, but she never did. She kept saying, that it is the duty of anyone to put all the passion into the work in order to respect the opportunity someone is given. Just to be clear, she never said, that I need to be successful, just to commit myself. For example, before any exam she never asked me if I have learned enough, she only asked me, if I have given anything I could. Whenever I said, I did, she replied that it does not matter what grade I will get. She knew that commitment is more important than success, because success is just the result of commitment.
I think these two wisdoms show a little more insight on how I became the curious and committed person I am today.
What is your biggest dream?
I try to answer this question from a very personal point of view. Even though Germany had the first immigrant workers in the 60s I think the first real interaction between German citizens and immigrants started when the first children of immigrants were born in Germany and went to school. I belong to that first in Germany born generation. Almost any friend I had in school was German. Looking back to those days I keep smiling. As kids it does not matter where you come from, but the parents of one of my best friends always asked me, what we eat for dinner or what kind of traditions we have, and I answered every time. I never questioned why she asked me this over and over again. Now I know it was their way to learn something they have never seen. And those days helped a lot to get rid of any prejudice.
If you look at people with that kind of prejudice to any gender, race or religion, they do not know one single person from that area personally.
To answer the question above in a more positive way: I love to travel so much, because it allows me to get at least a small glimpse of new cultures. And the best part is to take away the best parts of any culture. Like punctuality, importance of a community, kindness, etc. So, my biggest dream is a world without any prejudice and with mutual respect for anyone and anything.
What has been the most disappointing experience in your professional activities so far?
There is no disappointing experience in my professional activities so far. That might sound unrealistic, but I try to explain. I had many obstacles in my projects, but I try to take out a positive lesson of it. There was a project where people did not trust the numbers of my analysis, because they thought differently, even though I've shown different approaches with the same outcome. Of course, it was a brief disappointment because people think of your work as not being reliable, but I learned to ask those people to go through their approach together. At the end it turned out, that my numbers were right in the first place, but that is not the point. I learned that I have to take people by the hand and walk through a certain path together in order to be on the same page and trust each other's work.
What is 'Teamwork' for you? How would you define the perfect relationship between a service provider/ a product and the customer?
The team in the example mentioned in the question about disappointments was fractioned because of the lack of trust in each other's work. Trust and reliability are crucial for teamwork. In order to be able to trust each other everyone has to be on the same page and the best way to get on the same page is by understanding why another team member thinks differently. Once this understanding is established, the team will find creative solutions which benefit anyone. I experienced true teamwork in one of my last projects. In a situation of finding a solution one member sacrificed the benefits for his own department in order to achieve greater benefits for another department and therefor for the whole company. The amazing part was not only taking a disadvantage for the greater good, but it was also the part in which other team members would not accept anyone taking a disadvantage. The whole team then put their heads together and came out with an even better solution for each department and also the company. It was an act of no one leaving behind. From this point on all team members had a common goal and each one helped each other. It was actually one of my projects.
The perfect relationship between a service provider and the customer is similar the relationship between the team members. I learned that the customer needs to get as close as possible to the team or even become a team member. The customer can directly address the needs which then will be built by the team. The closer the relationship the better the service afterwards will be.
Where do you see Aeroji in 3-5 years?
Aeroji is the first thing that pops in anyone's mind who is doing engine business, but Aeroji and customers are not two parties in one business, they build one community with a common goal. Any community member is intrinsically motivated to take part in the common vision of a world where aviation industry meets at eye level and does business as easy as booking a flight.
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Your Aeroji Team