Written by coWORKer Linda Jay
Talented in online marketing, networking, technology, and product positioning, Firuze Gokce is an enthusiastic new resident of Petaluma and coWORKer at Work Petaluma. Firuze, her husband and business partner Fethi, and their 13-year-old son John moved to the U.S. from Turkey in the fall of 2015.
“I love Petaluma! It’s a cozy, inspiring community that takes you into its embrace. And WORK Petaluma? What can I say? Natasha has created a family of welcoming and like-minded people, in an atmosphere that can only be described as magical.”
Firuze’s educational background includes a B.A. in Economics from Middle East Tech University (1991), “the best public university in Turkey.” One of her first jobs after college was selling and buying Turkish lira as a broker in the Treasury Department, but “that had a limited future, as I do not like to deal with money.” After working five years as a broker, she decided to try her future as a technology entrepreneur with the boom of the Internet era.
In 1998, Firuze and her husband started the company Utopya, which created the first English-language search engine in Turkey. “It had a great design,” she observes. Utopya wrote six cultural city guides about Asia Minor for the Internet.
The guides were published in 2000 by the Turkish Minister of Tourism, included thousands of photos of historic places around Istanbul, and were sold at the World Expo in Hannover, Germany, that year.
In 2003, Firuze and Fethi’s son John was born. After working for three months, she decided she wanted to devote her full time to caring for her son, and stayed at home for two years.
Firuze returned to work in 2005, for promoting retail products such as clothing, electronics and finance from hundreds of merchants like Marks and Spencer, Kelkoo and Thomas Cook in the UK on her websites, for a commission.
In 2007, Firuze and her husband founded a company, Affmeter, which built an automatization tool with unique software to aggregate statistics from 70 affiliate networks into one dashboard. In 2012, Affmeter shifted to platform development.
Since the Gokce family moved to Petaluma in 2015, Firuze has realized her personal passion to empower young women by becoming active in Mentor Me. This group matches teenage girls and boys with caring adults. Firuze meets weekly with her mentee, a painter, and they talk as nonjudgmental friends. She also joined the Cinnabar Theater Singers, as a soprano. And she is a member of Tech Bay Area Advocates, which supports entrepreneurs.
Firuze is starting to interview at companies in San Francisco for a job as a digital marketing director of a team, positioning products and working in technology. Her specialties are agile growth and customer-centric strategy. Firuze Gokce is sure to have a bright future!