Slides: A European View on Web 2.0
Gregor’s article in Techcrunch “Web 2.0 in Germany: Copy/Paste Innovation or more?” pushed me to finally publish the slides from my presentation at the Web2open during the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.
[If your feedreader does not display the embedded flash presentation, click here to see the slides]
As it was a 45 minute presentation, these are of course just some ideas to toss around.
I would love to talk about questions you might have on this. I am thinking about changing the presentation to a kind of little handbook, so additions are of course welcomed as well (which is why I have not published it before because I wanted to edit it first.)
Some side comments
I should have read my presentation and thought about it because then I would have known that only very few Americans would show up at the presentation and I got a mostly international audience. ;) But I had some very very nice talks afterwards which totally made up for it. ;)
Readers of my blog already know my passion in talking about why you should take users / customers outside of your own market seriously. In this special posting, I again take the point of looking at the US market versus me living in Europe. Reading blogs from around the world, listening to podcast, shopping, making conversations as well as work online with customers throughout the world.
Before the internet, that was complicated. But today, in a connected world it is not. While I sit in Lübeck, Germany, nearly 3/4 of my regular readers come from the States. If you trust Wikipedia and some reports, you will find that the European Union has over 300 million people who speak English as a second language. Connect them to the internet and they have an interest as well going online shopping etc etc.
But very often “we” get rejected – based on the fact that we are no US citizens or we do not live in the states.
When companies, especially in the US, build their services they forget about the market which is outside of the US as in “we do not care”. And if they care, they say next “but it is so expensive and we never could go to every country in the world and adapt, which is why we stay in the US.” Which of course is bullshit.
Yes, a total localisation of software and products is costly and takes a lot of time, but there are a lot of steps between the 0 and 1. Many times it is about the small details and the little things which you can take care of without any problem.
The presentation is intented to give you some ideas on this as well as some numbers.
What I have not done into the presentation are examples like the monolingual problem. If you speak more than one language (and believe me, many Europeans do not just speak mother tongue and English) you do not care that Technorati allows you to SELECT a language. You want all results in all language you understand – a small but important difference.
And just because I come from an IP address in Germany does not mean I want to have everything in German – most translations are so lousy that I rather stay with English. There are already so many information you can gather through different ways so it does not need to be so obvious what you are doing or trying to do when adapting to the local markets, and as I said there are big steps and small steps.
Coming back to Gregor’s article about the copycats – if you think of them only as copycats, you are mistaken. That is one of the biggest misconceptions, it is often believed that when the “real” company comes into the local market, they will naturally win. Which of course is nonsens – because many times the new guy on the block does not understand the smallest thing when trying to enter the market. And fails miserably.
What can you do?
Think about globalisation and going international when you start your services and then decide when to implement which step when. But make sure that you have done all the basic steps needed – or you will have big problems later.
Additional video, very fitting for this purpose:
Loic has made a nice recording of “Ola Ahlvarsson on how to go international”
Tags: european view