The Turkish Uber driver – how lucky we are to do business in the U.S.

Nothing like a 4am Uber ride to offer some perspective on how lucky we are to do business in the United States. Here are some highlights from my ride this morning. First, a note – please keep in mind these are his opinions:

  • 1/4 of Turkey’s 80 million people live in Istanbul
  • In Istanbul, despite the massive size of the city, class restrictions still are widespread
  • Much of this is attributable to the lack of financing available to the average person
  • The Turkish central bank just raised their interest rates to 24%, which means businesses and consumers are paying as high as 40% for financing
  • Since the average person has a hard time getting money, class discrimination occurs because people don’t have the right clothes or technology (both Nikes and iPhones are hard to get and very expensive)
  • In Turkey, there are not Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) like here in the U.S. This makes it very difficult to analyze companies as to their financial health
  • Turkish businesses are hiding money from the government to avoid taxation, and the economy (which is almost completely dependent on imports) is tanking. The Turkish Lira has fallen 40% in value against the dollar this year alone
  • In America, there are systems that level the playing field. Example – you can put a restaurant here, but not there
  • In America, according to this driver, it’s very, very easy to make money if you work hard

I feel very fortunate to have both the opportunity to produce and the opportunity to work hard here in the United States. What interesting insights have you heard recently from people who are new to the U.S.?

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