This year I again had the pleasure of attending and speaking at LocWorld Asia. People flew in from all around the globe for the event, yet this is a more intimate LocWorld than you will encounter in Silicon Valley.
The growing diversity in the LocWorld programs and audience focuses global and industry trends into two informative days and a few hundred attendees. LocWorld39 was a big opportunity to grow the knowledge, contacts, and relationships that are critical in succeeding in the local markets.
- Why care?
If you look at the numbers, most of the next billion people to come online will primarily not be from Europe and North America.
More and more, Asia is where the action is.
Kuala Lumpur is Easy to Get Around In
Linguistic pluralism is a given in this part of Malaysia, and visitors abound from all over the world. The local food and shopping were both excellent (and also fairly inexpensive from my Bay Area perspective). English use dominated at the conference, but when out and about - you may find things easier in Mandarin, Tamil, or Bahasa Malayu depending on where your travels take you. All four are major languages here, and skills in more than one can lead to some fortuitous results (including my delicious lunch at the mall on Friday after the sessions).
The Venue and Event
As per usual LocWorld provided lovely venues for the daytime and evening events. The venue - the Shangri-La in Kuala Lumpur also played host for the King of Malaysia during the conference, as he and his wife were also there enjoying a room, and the food and serenity of the Lemon Garden Terrace.
Multiple conference tracks provided multiple choices, I picked to start off by attending a career session by Celina Cao, which was good for the new and the experienced alike to gain perspective on how the broader industry changes are transforming what we do. The impacts of software development, agile processes, and release compression are requiring new skill sets and working models.
I made time to see the PayPal presentation - where they were making public some aspects of how they are bucking the trend on traditional business practices as a key part of their plan to scale the number of languages they offer. Considering how much PayPal has impacted the language business (how many translators get paid with PayPal?), it’s not surprising to see them come out and try to do it again.
Are US organizations missing the changing trends in India? When the US began exporting products to Europe, they found many people would not use them, and companies quickly learned they needed to provide local languages and culturalization to succeed. In India alone 750 Million non-English speakers are coming online, the availability of new eyeballs is growing at an unprecedented pace. Now is the time to look at another sub-continent for the same models to apply, albeit in new ways. Winners in subscriber growth for these markets must focus on native Indiian languages and mobile-only experiences to succeed in reaching 90% of this burgeoning market.
Dinner was held at a lovely venue, with great food and a wonderful view, including the monkeys on the golf course next to the restaurant. Leading us to ask each other - what to do when a monkey takes your golf ball? I am sure Nicholas Goh would have been able to answer the question, but he wasn’t at our table for dinner!
(from a quick search later: you play it from wherever the monkey drops it.)
Nic and other experts shared more perspectives on creating and building a business in Southeast Asia at the panel on the ASEAN Market on Day 2. Western business who have not developed their guanxi will face many challenges with relationship management, and need to shift the focus of their business paperwork to down to earth contracts that say everything simply. So, be open to new things, and be rewarded with new opportunities!
Hitting the Stage
LocWorld39 ended for me with my own session on building businesses globally. My room host Morgan was great, and a few dozen people joined me for some lessons learned from over 30 years of growing in the industry - and supporting the first few billion people online.
There is a lot to learn about supporting the next few billion, and LocWorld39 was a great chance to learn and share. My thanks to the LocWorld team and program committee for putting together another great event.
All Photos taken 2019 by Ben Cornelius, released royalty free and without copyright