Turning 0 to 1, since 2001
My name is Emre (pronounced Am-Ray) and I'm the founder and CEO of Grou.ps which is one of the first, if not first, **private** social networking platforms. I've started it in late 2005.
Grou.ps is today part of Grou.ps Inc, a small profitable social networking company located in Silicon Valley and Istanbul.
Grou.ps, at its peak as a free service, boasted 8 million monthly unique visitors (accordingly to Google Analytics) at a time when Facebook had 250 million monthly actives (2010 baby). Today it serves a smaller audience, though all from paying customers, including some marquee names worldwide.
Since then, we've been working hard toying with new ideas and amassing a portfolio of intellectual property via patent applications, while building up the business in new categories. Owen Thomas sums up this period and our ongoing efforts as follows (edited for brevity):
[...] It’s been a long time since ReadWrite caught up with Grou.ps founder and CEO Emre Sokullu [...] In 2008, his startup raised financing and launched its social groupware product, which at its peak had 8 million monthly unique users and 100 million monthly pageviews.
The Great Recession hit, and Sokullu turned Grou.ps into a paid service in an effort to generate revenues. That worked—the company turned profitable in 2012—but at the cost of torpedoing Grou.ps’s growth.
What Sokullu found was that about half of the remaining active communities on Grou.ps were fitness-related, like Ohio’s Columbus Running Club. [...] That inspired GymGroups. [...]
The Grou.ps story is still developing...
Prior to Grou.ps I worked at hakia, an AI startup (before it was cool) which was my first step to a work visa in the US. hakia's semantic search technology was a predecessor to Google's -what we call today- Knowledge Graph. I joined hakia after a short internship stint at Princeton University Wordnet Project which was also my first time in the US.
During college (Bogazici University) from 2001 to 2005, I worked on several projects. Dilmaca, now open source, was a web-scale machine translation software that did a decent job for a mechanical approach. Although the challenges were of academic level. Having realized Dilmaca wouldn't monetize anytime soon, I stopped and moved on to something else, Turkix, which paved the way to a small acquisition (at the age of 20!), and some financial relief.
Turkix was the the first Linux distribution that supported all Turkic languages. Eventually Datron, then the leading laptop producer in Turkey, approached us to bundle it with their low-end models and replace Windows. As part of Turkix, I also led Apache Software Foundation's Turkey operations, built a community of volunteers and hatched the first version of Turkish httpd documentation. Last but not least, SimpleKDE, which was a desktop environment that came with Turkix gained so much traction that I got invitation from KDE headquarters to join their KDE Quality team; a proud moment for a 20-years-old kid.
Patents (w/ pending and provisionals)
- (*) Measuring health and fitness data using proximity sensors and mobile technologies(PCT/US2015/048437 )
- (*) Using proximity sensors for receiving signals in a facility (PCT/US2015/053363)
- (*) Method and System for Statistically Determining what Social Network Context to Share a Particular Content With (USPTO #14325714)
- (*) ... and tens of more in the fields of social networking, semantic search, cyber security
I support free press. In 2009, in light of increasing bans on social media sites in Turkey, I've formed Eylem 2.0 which gathered thousands of members, and raised awareness on the issue. During Gezi protests, I've tweeted my VPN access and helped 72 of my followers access social media sites at a time of tough censorship. 🤓
Bloktan oturu sosyal medyaya girmekte zorlanan arkadaslarim icin Almanya'daki VPN sunucumun bilgilerini paylasiyorum: http://t.co/3Ly7EcQ6BH— Emre Sokullu (@EmreSokullu) June 1, 2013
Contact You can reach me via the first letter of my first name followed by my last name, at, google's hosted email service. I don't promise that I am responsive but I try.
Favorite Stocks $NVDA, $AMD, $GDDY, $BIDU, $DIS, $FB, $IBM
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Keywords (a.k.a. Tags) caffe, tensorflow, cuda, php, hack, hacklang, c++, cpp, social, social graph, graph theory, linux, thrift, python, java, j2se, princeton, bogazici, galatasaray, hakia, armador, turkix, grou.ps, gymgroups, lovebucks, kontextful, dilmaca, machine translation, pattern recognition, opestack, openstack swift, aws, amazon s3, ai, svm, opencv.