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Picture of a Japanese cartoon sign about works in progress

Language services anyone?

Picture of a Japanese cartoon sign about works in progress

The world is now an open plan. As such, business happens on a global scale regardless of boundaries, borders, culture or even just company size. Small businesses gain customers on the other side of the world. Corporations expand and enter new regions of the globe – multiple countries – at once.

Yet, while technology is progressing and borders becoming more open, a few obstacles still remain.

One of them, languages. Another one, culture.

How do you send your goods to China and ensure they enter if your documentation for the customs is not translated to Chinese? Do you know how to meet and greet properly a fellow businessman in Japan? And are you sure your marketing arguments  sound right for Ukraine?

Just a few of the questions you may have to ask – or just the items to check on your international growth list.

I have now joined forces with Absolute Translations in order to help businesses – and even governments (local, state or national) – tackle these issues and think globally. In the right, appropriate way.

To learn more and discuss these topics further, feel free to get in touch anytime (via the form on this website or directly on the Absolute Translations website).

And in the meantime, feel free to check out the following document summarising what language services are about (hint: much much more than just translation).

Absolute Translations booklet

Earth globe picture - post on working remotely

How to work remotely from international destinations

Earth globe picture - post on working remotely

The evolution of work has seen the old-fashioned “telecommute” become the new “remote”, let alone digital nomadism. While IBM is “quietly dismantling” work from home options, the current trends rather suggest that remote work is the new normal.

Talking about international remote work (as opposed to digital nomadism), I happened to work remotely, mostly for Europe, from the USA, from Japan, Eastern Europe and various other places.
I also worked for a Scottish startup (based in Glasgow) while living in Australia and am currently still sitting in Australia while working with Absolute Translations, headquartered in Australia but with the CEO living and working in (and from) Singapore.

The “how to” to make it successful is actually quite simple.
At least the X Factor is. First and foremost, what is required is trust and understanding.
Without it, regardless of whatever tools, or organization, are put in place, the outcome will not be favorable.

Technology these days makes it quite easy to work from anywhere.
With a laptop and some internet, the foundations are set. Speaking of Internet, subscribing to the internet or buying a personal mobile hotspot is highly recommended, not only for security reasons but also being able to benefit from an acceptable connection.

Connectivity can be an issue, especially if – and it is one tool that is generally used too – the company allows access to shared data via a VPN.
Note that a VPN should be mandatory to keep corporate data – and infrastructure – safe(r).

Tech, map and people working

Beyond that, with instant messaging and a number of tools on offer, the only requirement is to keep in touch regularly and ensure managing to have a couple of hours matching the other regions to be able to interact with people (for updates and fixing issues).

As such, voice communication is crucial (and easy via the likes of Skype, WhatsApp, etc.).

In this regard, my smartphone play a crucial role for me as I do have about a dozen clocks available to be able to keep track of times and organize catch-ups accordingly (also made easy by Google calendar allowing to schedule based on different time zones).

The bottom line is that working remotely is “easy” for anyone willing to put a little bit of effort into it and get organized.

As for the toolbox, as mentioned, a laptop with power adaptors, smartphone (unlocked to be able to add any SIM), ideally a mobile internet device and, then, a VPN, collaboration tools (Google Suite, Slack, etc.), communication tools (Slack still here, Skype, WhatsApp, …).

At the end of the day, the two main obstacles to working remotely are:

– Seriousness; the ability not to drift, stay focused and organized. And deliver
– Mental strength; being able to handle loneliness, working from a distance and in a context that can easily favor depression if not handled well

Flexible – and remote – work isn’t just the future of work; it is already here and the concern of both workers and companies should be to make sure to be ready, organized and make it successful.

Graphics - huawei - head image - samuelpavin.com

Huawei, technology, purpose, and the path to a fully connected world

Graphics - huawei - head image - samuelpavin.com

“Harnessing the Power of Connectivity”. With wireless connectivity as the foundation of growth, as recently demonstrated by the findings from Huawei’s Global Connectivity Index (GCI 2017).
Policy makers who aggressively invest and proceed to necessary adaptations “in ICT Infrastructure should find that their nation can achieve economic growth and succeed with niche market business opportunities based on their own available resources and talent […]”.
Such findings and recommendations are nothing new; in the words of the White House:
“Few technological developments hold as much potential to enhance America’s economic competitiveness, create jobs, and improve the quality of our lives as wireless high-speed access to the Internet. . . . “ (From White House Memorandum, “Unleashing the broadband wireless revolution” (June 28, 2010))
At Huawei’s recent Analyst Summit, in Shenzhen, I had the chance to be part of a small group of attendees invited to a presentation by Fupeng Zhang (Director of GSM&UMTS&CDMA Marketing Operation Department, Wireless Product Line) on “Maximizing Network Value”.
Beyond the progress made everyday on connectivity and the promises shown by 5G, as we are now, the spectrum remains the same and the overall connectivity can not expand indefinitely on the current infrastructure. So, what is Huawei’s solution?

Building connections through value and ROI

“A Better Connected World”. Huawei’s motto sums up the steps they have taken towards better offerings (both on the technical and business side of things) in order to help carriers – and countries – increase their coverage and connectivity. And, down the road, bring voice connection to the 1 billion people still left without any and data to 3 billion with no current access.
Mr Zhang offered an insight into how they are currently working with carriers in developing countries with a new kind of offer, embracing not only technical challenges but also the need for lower costs and maintenance, both in urban and rural areas.
Introducing @PoleStar and RuralStar. A new breed in the world of mobile towers, aiming at leveraging existing infrastructures both in urban and rural areas and drastically reducing operating costs and the carbon footprint by leveraging solar power (as deployed in Africa).

Image of Huawei Pole Site in Kenya - samuelpavin.com
“Everything as a one site”. Re-use the existing structures (traffic/lighting poles,…) paving the way to reducing expenses too (e.g. rents to be paid to landowners for towers).
The benefits of this approach based on better technology and faster ROI lie beyond reducing costs. They do actually align with Huawei’s goal of expanding the global coverage. With products which are easier to install and maintain while offering a better return on investment, carriers would then be able to dedicate both the time and savings towards expanding their network (and, overall, customer base).
From the sheer technical point of view, these products can support 2G, 3G and 4G. Yet, most of the focus, for developing markets, is on 2G where most subscribers are. And that is also where the number of subscribers outweighs the spectrum bandwidth issued.
Carriers, operators, are also making different choices and with users still on 2G/3G, with no immediate migration in sight, different devices and various issues remaining, Huawei are here to help operators and assist towards a smooth evolution.
Huawei’s other main focus comes into play here: the cloud. Leveraging their CloudAIR offering, they can help maximize the spectrum use and distribution and enable MBB in limited spectrum. In developed markets, there is now just about one spectrum saved for 2G/3G. Yet there is still demand for these in emerging markets.
In saying that, Huawei are showing a strong focus on emerging markets.
With mobile broadband subscriptions (and usage) growing at solid speeds in developing regions, our first world problems of “not getting 4G in this place” do face real life competition with a continent like Africa going from nearly no mobile broadband subscribers to 20% in just seven years; and the potential for the remaining 80% to be able to consider a subscription within just a few years from now.

World mobile subscriptions - from Wikipedia - on Samuelpavin.com
Technology and purpose vs the world?

Building a better world and offering an added opportunity for a country to potentially increase its GDP (as per the White House, Huawei GCI and others, connectivity contributes to creating wealth and assisting the development of countries) while helping the planet (with solar-powered devices) is the great take from where Huawei are going with this wireless offering. As an advocate of technology with purpose, the words did deeply resonate.

However, as much as my parents would certainly have loved to see me become a doctor or a lawyer, I find myself writing about technology, marketing and startups.
Huawei may face the same fate, not as a provider of technology, but as a company with the will to contribute to a better world.

“Build it and they will come” – said no entrepreneur ever.
Offer carriers better and cleaner technology, coupled with savings, and they will extend their network to better serve the population and bring connectivity to those who have none – was never witnessed ever. Or was it?

Building a better world lies in the hands of governments and carriers; mostly the latter when it comes to connectivity. Which is also where the weak link may be.
Investing time and money to serve the few may not always come as a business or political priority. But, at the end of the day – and Facebook’s fail in India showed it clearly – private operators can only offer solutions. The implementation will be decided and run by the local powers.
Without even delving into political instability, fraud or just poverty to outline such a “risk”, a closer look at a “developed” country like Australia (I am drawing from first-hand experience) shows the roadblocks. In a country where the NBN (National Broadband Network) has and is still failing (to the point that it recently made it to the pages of the New York Times) and where the regional internet is not even close to average (1.2mbps download on a good day…) there still is no incentive for the big players to invest in bettering the network.
Telstra, the big player, former national telecoms company, boasting a near-monopoly situation recently announced that a recent decision not to validate domestic mobile roaming (yes, same country but roaming still…) would allow them to keep investing towards developing the network – which, otherwise would have been jeopardized. Why, then, would they even find an incentive to spend money to fix old copper lines that still – kinda – work?
Talking about a stable, developed countries, where the process of improving networks and connectivity should be quite a standard practice, this does illustrate how carriers in countries with less stability or regulations may not be tempted to invest for the greater good.

A chat with Mr. Zhang

Profile picture of Fupeng Zhang - samuelpavin.com

Once the presentation ended, we did have a chance to ask Mr. Zhang some of our burning questions. But you know how it is when you are having fun, time flies and some remained unanswered. Back in Australia, a chat with the amazing Walter Jennings offered me the opportunity to borrow some of Mr. Zhang’s time to dive further into this matter but also clean power, competition and the future.

– On the matter discussed above, of carriers, operators being a potential obstacle.

Huawei are here to help carriers solve problems and increase their coverage and revenue. Not to push them to expand or make decisions that are outside the scope of the business relation.
Ultimately, Huawei remains a provider and their first goal is to define how they can assist the carriers “cover more with less”. Especially, for instance, in contexts where the population is heavily distributed.

– Developing further, as I see my 4G mobile broadband being a lot better than my (copper) cable internet in Australia. Could Huawei also not go beyond bringing connectivity to the “unconnected” but also bring acceptable connectivity to the first-world whiners like me when historic infrastructures are obviously failing and far too costly to be replaced?

Huawei’s LTE is good enough and can be a solution to such issues. Maybe less in Australia than in regions with more (serious) needs. Like Sri Lanka where such products allowed a fast deployment or Eastern Europe where leveraging the masts allow to bypass any structural (ground) work which would be required to lay down cables while drastically reducing the costs associated with the works but also buying/renting land and tower spots.

– This serves as a reminder that Huawei’s PoleStar and RuralStar technologies have been built and thought out with emerging markets in mind. Hence the focus on 2G in the presentation. But why not 4G since the “towers” are both 3G and 4G-ready?

There are still challenges for countries needing technology to cover rural areas. And mobile penetration in rural areas reaches only about 50%. With “feature phones” being far less expensive, the main focus is not yet on 4G and usages which are more linked to smartphones.
The priority is to create the connection/connectivity; then they can build 3G/4G into the system depending on the customers’ requirements.

– The network is one thing, that Huawei provides but what of adding services on top to facilitate the growth and adoption?

Huawei is a leading ICT provider. And they provide services as per their competency.
Fupeng Zhang noticed that there are a lot of good applications in Africa, Asia, which can enable various services. So, when Huawei’s solution is ready and brings connectivity to a rural area, the customers can benefit from said services.
For example, “M-PESA (Africa) can only be enjoyed when we help provide the connectivity”.

– We spoke of Africa but the continent is not the only region where Huawei are deploying such products. Solar power has been chosen as the preferred energy source but, as Jim Harris did point out, some places (Asia at monsoon time) may pose a challenge to that.
Beyond diesel as a backup (but not so green) solution, what is there on offer?

Africa being the country of focus initially, solar was an easy choice. Solar power also proved to offer the best ROI, hence being chosen as the energy source.
They have also considered hybrid models and, in Huawei’s tradition, are collaborating with local companies, not only as a provider but as a partner too in order to adapt and define the best solution depending on the conditions.

– Technology is evolving extremely rapidly these days and with the rise of smart cities, is there not an opportunity to leverage these products and work directly with cities to actually provide the wireless grid they need? Especially as the IoT can thrive on 2G individuals could leverage 4G.

Operators provide the connections. However, this is indeed something that Huawei Enterprise Solutions are working on and developing. Because the smart city trend definitely is growing and there is even more to be considered. This is not only a Huawei vision. The operators and the cities are also wanting to provide more (features, services, …).
Huawei are working on both sides, the enterprise business approach and helping carriers develop their own side of the business.

– And a last take on providing connections. With the likes of Facebook, Google, sending drones to “offer” some internet, Elon Musk planning 4000+ satellites to beam internet from space, where is the opportunity for Huawei (or the risk with the added competition)?

They are competitors but also partners. Regardless of their vision, they also need more IT capabilities – and Huawei is still a provider of IT.
But the whole industry needs novelty anyway. Technology is ever-evolving and such moves contribute to triggering new ideas. And Huawei are also doing research in similar fields.
At the end of the day, they compete but also cooperate.
“Coopetition” was quoted some years ago now but it perfectly sums up not only Fupeng Zhang’s take on what the wireless division is doing right now but how the whole of Huawei thinks and acts.

As an individual, my two business values reside in collaboration and finding purpose in technology. Both values that I have gladly found in every interlocutor at Huawei during this Analyst Summit.

[Bonus, enjoy the following video on how “mobile is changing the world”: https://youtu.be/oaNfeClDMu0]

 

DISCLAIMER

As a KOL (Key Opinion Leader) for Huawei, I can be invited to take part in various corporate events both produced by Huawei, as well as any other corporation. While Huawei, partners or other corporations may cover my travel expenses to these events, I’m not a paid spokesperson for Huawei or any other company; as such, nothing I say or write about is in any way required, nor forced by Huawei. My opinions whether related to products or companies, both positive and negative, are mine; and mine alone.

green vertical lines of data on a laptop - Lead validation

The Critical Importance Of Lead Validation In Internet Marketing

green vertical lines of data on a laptop - Lead validation
Got leads?

Your lead generation website may not be generating all of the leads you think it is, and you’ll never know exactly how successful it is unless you have a means of validating all of those leads. Nearly half of all website conversions are completely unrelated to sales — things such as job applications and customer service requests. Unless you can separate these from true sales leads, you might end up chasing shadows and wasting resources. The following presentation details how important lead validation can be for Internet marketers, so make sure your efforts aren’t being wasted by chasing leads that turn out not to be leads at all.

 

 

Profile picture of Aaron Wittersheim

 

 

Aaron Wittersheim is Chief Operating Officer at Internet marketing agency Straight North. His focus is on Internet marketing and website services, and technology. 

 

 

 

P.S: Sam here; I want to thank Aaron and Straight North for offering me the opportunity to feature this guest post here. Check them out, they rock!

Image for samuelpavin.com - Marketing success

The secrets of marketing success

Image for samuelpavin.com - Marketing success

The secret to success (or marketing success). A winning formula which sounds like an offer of flowers and rainbows for your business world. Yet, there is no actual secret to success – and that may be the secret – or maybe there is. Work. The “secrets” I mention are actually more pointers than actual magic formulas.

They, however, bear one promise. No bullshit. Just plain stupid and efficient plan to moving forward, building momentum and growing something amazing.

First step: Stop wanting to and start doing!

Or, actually, just start. Take one step forward and get going.

Do not be yet another of these people buying a gym membership for a fortune with the “strong” will to get ripped but will never come for more than 5 sessions. The secret here is not about wanting or having subscribed to a membership. It is all about getting a move on and having consistency. Marketing success relies even more on consistency. The “buzz” is nice. But consistent presence and traffic are great.

 

Let go of all the BS!

Second step: Plan

Get a notebook, a calendar or a blackboard and define the plan. The starting point and the finish line. They will serve as the line on which to draw a frame. Frame that you will then have to fill with content, products, services, etc. As long as the goal is there and the frame solid, you can add new ideas and new content, change it or create variations. The point here is to have direction and keep the focus on the end game.

 

Third step: Be yourself

In the early days of my career, I had this talk with my boss about the fact that our products, pricing and offers were very similar to our competitors and was offering advice about how to differentiate them. Little did I know that, while my points were right and taken onboard, I would learn the most important lesson of my professional life.

In my Manager’s words (those I recall at least 🙂 ): “Yes our offers are quite similar to our competitors. And if the products, their quality or even the pricing are not decisive selling points, it does not really matter. We still have a better argument and a difference that our competitors can not beat. YOU. You are the difference. No other Sam is out there. There is only one you and you are the quality, the product, the service you are selling to our clients.”.

Marketing is the same. Bring personality into your strategy and actions. Nobody else has the same.

Do you want a bonus tip?

There is an X factor which will allow you to achieve success. That is actually still giving a f**k about this piece one hour, even one day, after you have read it.

Motivation works in this funny way. You see the piece, get inspired, then forget about it or, at least, just wish you were taking action towards achieving your dreams. Success comes to the one percent who do actually take action, plan and deliver.

So get going! Do not close this post, open a blank page or grab a sheet of paper and start working. Plan and take a first action.

Repeat tomorrow.

And let me know, a month from now, where you stand.