Cenk Sidar is a future of work and Web3 evangelist. He is the co-founder and CEO of Enquire AI, a next generation insights platform that provides the world’s leading enterprises with an AI-powered platform to leverage global subject-matter expertise in real time. He is also a contributor at NextWave DAO, aiming to bridge Web2 to Web3 via community events, IRL panels, and a networking portal. Mr. Sidar began his professional career over 15 years ago as a Director of Infrastructure, Energy and Defence Programs at the American-Turkish Council. From there, he went on to ConStrat, before eventually starting Sidar Global Advisors, where he served as the CEO from its inception in 2010 until the end of 2017, supporting companies such as Microsoft, Kinross Gold Corporation, Hilton Worldwide and the US Chamber of Commerce.
Cenk Sidar is also an angel investor in companies like Kapsul Media, Voscreen, DAOBnB and a few others. He has been featured in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, New York Times and other global outlets. He frequently speaks at events around the world about the future of work, knowledge sharing, AI and Human relationship, and Web3. Sidar has written for, been interviewed by, and worked with the leading newspapers and media organizations, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC, Bloomberg, Foreign Policy, CCTV and Al Jazeera. He has also addressed audiences around the world, including at UK House of Commons, Cornell, Tufts, Johns Hopkins (SAIS) and CFR.
In 2012, Cenk Sidar was selected as one of the top 99 foreign policy leaders under 33 in the world by the Diplomatic Courier and the Young Foreign Policy Professionals. He is a member of the Johns Hopkins University SAIS Advisory Council, Atlantic Council, Turkish Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV), Atlantik-Brucke e. V., the European Young Leaders Program, the Jean Monnet Program, the Project Interchange Alumni, and the American Academy of Achievement. He is fluent in English and German. Sidar holds an MA degree in international economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, a postgraduate degree in European studies from SAIS’s Bologna Center in Italy, and a BA degree in business administration and international relations from Istanbul Bilgi University.
Where did the idea for Enquire AI come from?
I believe the most important asset in business is knowledge. I have started a company, Enquire AI, that makes sharing internal and external knowledge easy for corporate leaders, financial investors and operators in every area. Technology makes it very easy to break silos and enable a collaborative culture within organizations.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start the day early and work out. This opens up my mind and helps me to start my day a step early. I am a big fan of office culture, so I work from my office most days. Since I was a little kid, I have always built daily to-do lists to help get work done.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Imagination is always the first step in realization. Reading books in multidisciplinary fields helps with ideation, and a disciplined approach in life helps with execution.
What’s one trend that excites you?
If we are talking about technology trends, I would say Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain technologies. Going forward, decentralization will be a major general trend in many areas.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Compartmentalization is definitely an important habit of mine in success and keeping myself motivated. Many things go wrong in life, and you must build the skill of compartmentalization in order to stay happy and motivated.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to maintain a healthier lifestyle. It wasn’t until a little later in life that I realized the importance of exercise, stress management, and a healthy diet. Once I adopted those things as part of my routine, I had more energy and felt better both physically and mentally.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Not everybody but still many people don’t believe in the future potential of NFTs, and blockchain. Blockchain technology will revolutionize the business and finance worlds in the future.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
A couple of things that I do and that I recommend all entrepreneurs do are to always be learning and to network as much as possible. Technology changes rapidly, and it’s important to keep up with the latest trends. I also recommend that entrepreneurs network as much as possible. It’s important to meet new people and learn from their experiences. We’ve all heard the saying “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” I don’t agree with the cynical sentiment of that statement. In reality, it’s what you know AND who you know. The idea behind Enquire AI is that knowledge is the most important asset in business, but that knowledge can’t exist in a silo. There has to be an interchange of ideas, and that requires networking.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Generally speaking, staying optimistic, realistic and forward-looking is a foundational strategy to be successful in business. Another strategy that has helped me grow my business is building a team of people who are smarter than me. I have always been a strong believer in the power of collaboration, and that has been a major driver of Enquire AI’s success. By surrounding myself with talented people, I am able to learn from them and grow as a leader.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I wouldn’t say that I have failed as an entrepreneur, but there have definitely been challenges. One major challenge was building a team of people who share my vision for the company. It took some time to find the right people, but once I did, Enquire AI began to grow very quickly.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Learning how blockchain works, and finding real-life use cases is the first step for any successful new business.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I never regret spending $100 for a good massage. It is a great mental and physical reset.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I’m going to have to go with Enquire AI on this one. I use it to source expert knowledge on a wide range of topics.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Midnight Library is a great book to learn how life takes you to different paths.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you can sell, you’ll never be unemployed.” Mark Cuban
- Generally speaking, staying optimistic, realistic and forward-looking is a foundational strategy to be successful in business.
- A couple of things that I do and that I recommend all entrepreneurs do are to always be learning and to network as much as possible.
- The most important asset in business is knowledge.
- You must build the skill of compartmentalization in order to stay happy and motivated
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.