• Nataly Kelly is currently the VP of Localization at Hubspot. As most are aware, Hubspot is one of the foremost CRM platforms out there in market, and for context on their global presence, they have over 4500 employees across 11 global offices, and serve over 113,000 customers in over 120 countries. Nataly has been doing amazing work in international business for over 20 years, from localization and translation, to research, consulting and advising some of the largest companies in the world on their international strategy. She is also an author of two books on translation, a frequent contributor to publications including The Huffington Post and the Harvard Business Review, and she has a fantastic blog called Born to Be Global which I read regularly and highly recommend checking out.

    Below are the topics we cover, and links to the resources discussed:

    Nataly's journey from rural Illinois to Ecuador and the influences that led to a career in translation and international business Defining translation, and how that concept and the field has evolved over the past 2 decades The story of the $71 million dollar word - a cautionary tale about translation vs. interpretation The best definitions of the following terms I've ever heard - translation, localization, internationalization, and globalization The ideal first hire on your localization team (it's not what you might expect) Machine versus human translation, and the best use cases for each The role of translation agencies - pros and cons, and when to leverage them Where companies waste money localizing content How to achieve consistency in your marketing tone and brand voice all around the world Cultivating Content Design - by Beth Dunn How to hire people you can trust to convey your brand voice in different languages and cultures The hallmarks of operating as a world class global-minded company What’s coming next in terms of innovation within localization - velocity, differentiated workflows, continuous delivery, and the metrics that matter most Nataly's mentors and role models
  • In this Episode, my guest is Abe Smith. Abe is currently Head of International at Zoom, where he oversees the business, AKA spreading happiness, globally in EMEA, APAC, Japan and Latin America. Over the past few years and throughout the pandemic, Abe has overseen an unprecedented amount of growth and challenge, as Zoom has become a verb and as the technology has taken a central role in the daily lives of businesses, governments, schools, and individuals all around the world. Prior to taking on this role, Abe was President of EMIA at Cision, and has held senior leadership roles focused on emerging markets at Oracle, Badgeville, Mindjet, Cisco and Webex. Abe has established a tremendously successful track record as an international commercial leader and operator, scaling up teams in emerging markets for well over 15 years. See below for the topics we covered during this conversation.

    How and why Zoom became the verb for videoconferencing despite all the competition in this space
    The mindset and commitment needed within Zoom to keep the platform and operations running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
    Responding to huge spikes in demand and never before imagined user scenarios
    Benchmarking where Zoom was before the pandemic, and how much the company has scaled since then
    Tactical questions on international expansion - when is it the right time for companies to begin, and what are the pre-reqs?
    The value of starting with lower complexity markets
    The role of the pioneer, and setting the foundations for a continental strategy
    Factors to consider when to move into more complex but large or strategically important markets
    The level of localization needed to begin selling internationally in the early days, and over time as the sales organization matures
    The extra-challenging expectations often placed on remote sales teams
    Ways to create transparency and visibility for remote teams, and to help the organization think from the perspective of those outside of HQ
    Ways to embrace regional tribes within the company while reinforcing values globally
    The most important values inside of Zoom, and what it has been like to find and onboard the right people during this period of hyper-growth
    Speed of Trust - required reading at Zoom
    Beyond advertising - the importance of product and PR when building a brand like Zoom
    Advice for a founder or CEO before going into their first international market
    What it's meant to Abe to be part of Zoom during the pandemic, professionally and personally
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  • In this episode, Ana Guzman shares her journey starting from El Salvador, moving to the US for university, driving Squarespace's early international expansion team, and then founding International Mastermind and a bilingual education company. She goes deep into the cross-functional effort and pre-work that her team at Squarespace undertook to properly localize their product and message for the German market, and shares lots of valuable learnings and hindsight from this experience. See below for the topics we covered during this conversation.

    Ana's journey from El Salvador to the US and into international expansion as a career
    How international expansion started at Squarespace, and the foundational pre-work that went in before expansion began
    Signals and data used to help prioritize markets
    Entering Germany - why this market was chosen first at Squarespace
    Localization - what was required beyond translation and currency to succeed in the German market
    The cross functional teams needed to make this happen - which departments were involved, and how to lobby for constrained resources
    Getting buy-in and executive support behind the international initiative
    The process and work that went into building a brand in a new market
    The resources that helped inform Squarespace's expansion strategy
    The importance and benefits of spending time on the ground before entry
    What it means to be market-ready versus what it means to launch the business in a new market
    KPIs used to measure success post-launch
    Setting expectations and benchmarks, and communicating progress internally
    Key learnings, and applying the lessons learned in the first market to countries that came later on
    Keying into cultural nuances - why this matters, and an example of what resonates with German consumers vs. American consumers.
    Product requirements and effort needed to set up a localization layer within the product.
    International Mastermind - what this group is, and the vision that led Ana and her co-founders to start this group
    Helpful resources that Ana reads regularly - Ben Thomspon, and Nataly Kelly's Born to be Global blog
    Ana's advice for people who want to pursue International Expansion as a role
  • In this episode, Talia Baruch provides a masterclass on how to properly localize a company's Vision, Mission, Value Prop, and product experience, and why it's so important to take on a global-ready mindset from the start. She goes into dozens of real world examples of how companies including LinkedIn, Evernote, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola adapted their approach in order to succeed overseas. Below is a chronological list of topics we cover with links to external resources. Enjoy!

    The ParlamINT - Talia's GlobalSaké monthly series covering the holistic, cross-functional areas for building a global-ready and geo-fit product strategy, integrating the right regional and cultural factors to win local new markets on a global scale. Yewsdene and Talia's Influencers. How far Localization has come in the past 20 years How to set up your company to be global ready from the start, and the re-work needed if you don't Learnings from companies that nailed the local approach in Japan and China - Evernote and LinkedIn Localizing your brand and lightweight entry strategy for China Localizing the entire user journey - way beyond language How should you build your international team, and where this function should live within the organization What's the right first hire, what other skills do you need on your international team Internationalization vs. Localization and what most companies overlook. The spectrum between straight translation, localization, transcreation and local content origination. Setting up your platform infrastructure architecture the right way to prevent code re-factoring and rework later Vision, mission and value proposition - how these concepts intersect, and what should be adapted to fit your priority new markets How Starbucks and Wix had to adapt their brands to not offend customers in the Middle East and Germany. Here's a video of Wix turning an awkward brand name mishap into marketing gold (hint: Google 'Wix in German'). Is anyone big enough to not need to localize? Germany and Japan - why these markets are so different from the rest and what they have in common Localizing your Marketing approach for Europe and Asia The pitfalls of localizing for Asia but without local content The importance of "guanxi", reciprocity, and trust in Asia Fun ones - Talia's biggest cultural learning, favorite hotel, tips for jetlag, and biggest influence

  • Hello and a very warm welcome to this inaugural episode of the International Expansion Podcast! 

    On this podcast, we talk with the people responsible for taking their companies into new international markets. They share their best practices, what they got right and wrong, and valuable hindsight so that we can all learn from their experience.

    In this episode, Tariq Mahmoud describes what it takes and means for Reddit to enter new markets. He also shares some of his learnings from taking on similar roles at Roku and Verizon Media.

    Here's what we cover:

    The international team at Reddit - size, reporting, growth; Reddit's DAU and international growth; How the product is localized for new markets; How markets are prioritized; Keeping stakeholders on the same page (literally) using Decision Documents (love this!); Managing across timezones and languages; Implementing matrix management; Getting into the role of International GM - what it takes, how it happens; Resources on expansion and and the CAGE Distance Framework; The hardest markets to enter - Japan and China; Biggest surprise learning, and getting C-suite buy-in