The Productivity Giants Series with Dogu Taskiran, CEO of Stambol Studios


We’re excited to welcome Canadian CEO Dogu Taskiran to the #ProductivityGiants series this week! Dogu oversees Stambol Studios, is a Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality studio specializing in hyper-realistic immersive experiences. Stambol’s clients reap the benefits of state of the art architectural renderings, 3D illustrations, models, and animations for all of their visual communication needs.


We had a conversation with Dogu about taking advice with a grain of salt, getting to the “flow state”, and why prioritization is the key to getting things done. Read on:


What’s your number one productivity/time-saving tip?


Prioritize everything from high to low and also based on impact. It might be a low-priority task, but it might have a higher impact than a high-priority task right away. So I tend to prioritize based on the impact things will have on my life, and at work as well.


What’s your definition of productivity?


It’s being in a “flow state” – it has to be that I’m almost completely losing myself in that task and in whatever it is that I’m trying to achieve. I think it’s an extremely focused state, that’s what productivity is for me.


What are the steps that you take to kind of get you into the flow state?


I tend to actually sleep well. I wasn’t a good sleeper before, especially at university, but now I tend to sleep well. I tend to eat healthily, and in most cases, I actually stick with that. Also, I spend quality time with family and friends, so then I can go back and stay focused for a long time without being disturbed by other things.


Technology-wise, I think opening clear lines of communication with people when they need you is a great way to show that you’re open to it, but at the same time, you have to allocate time for yourself. I tend to block certain times in my calendar for my own productive work.


Any favorite tools?


I use the Pomodoro timer. When I’m working, I actually work in 25 minutes intervals and then 5-minute breaks, so that tool is something that I’m using on all my tasks, or even at meetings. Basically, we go straight at it for 25 minutes and then we have a 5-minute break and then go back at it again.


What’s the biggest hindrance to your productivity? How do you combat it?


Currently, it is the content switch, between mostly technical stuff and CEO culture and management style work. So I have to constantly switch back and forth, and I’m trying to find a mechanism that is going to allow me to still do technical work but also continue doing my management duties as well.


The other one is that I don’t really enjoy open offices as much as I used to. The environment is so distracting. I see open offices as the biggest hindrance to many people’s productivity nowadays in tech.


When you lose focus, what do you do to regain it?


That’s a big problem, right? Coffee! Coffee’s a huge help. Basically, I put headphones on, that’s what I do. I just close my eyes, take a break for a couple of minutes. I wouldn’t call it meditation, it’s more like a few minutes of “me-time.” Quick resting. I think that gets me back to my bearings as well.


What book has changed your life and why?


I would probably say Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku. I’m a physics fan, and cosmology really excites me. I read about cosmology and the universe, and then I start thinking about how small we are. How insignificant our problems can be when I look at the universe and realize we’re all just tiny specks of dust. That gives me perspective, that life is a game, and it has to be joyful and exciting. So, I tend to remove the need to sweat on small things.


The most worthwhile investment in time, money, or energy that you’ve made?


I would say learning computer science was a key milestone for me. I grew up playing with computers, and I always wanted to make games and I basically spent time all around technology. Learning about the things inside a computer and that led to me being a computer scientist and that was a great investment because I just love what I do. I think I’m born to do this, in a way. I want to be able to move it to the next stage.


What have the last 12 months taught you?


The single most important task that an entrepreneur has is to decide on whose advice to take and whose advice not to take. I listen to a lot of people, a lot of advisors, a lot of people in the industry, and in the media as well. Even though it might sound like a good advice at the time, or it’s coming from someone you trust, you have to really evaluate it to just see the ins and outs of everything. Or vice versa, it might sound like a bad advice but at the end of the day it might turn out to be a good advice. So I have to carefully analyze every advice that I take, but also take it with a grain of salt.



Follow Dogu on Twitter.