We at ReadWriteWeb believe that innovation is a global business (as we noted in an earlier post on the Global Innovation Graph). The “death of distance” – the notion that the Internet makes location irrelevant – may be an exaggeration. Face to face always matters, and that will happen where hubs of expertise and capital emerge. Silicon Valley will likely remain the uber-hub for a long time. But the Internet does dramatically make it possible for an entrepreneur to start from anywhere and assemble a dream team of experts, partners, and customers from anywhere else. Innovation is not just a Valley story or a US story: it is a global story. And we want to write more about this exciting story. In this post, we’ll tell you a bit about how we are starting to do that.
English is the de facto lingua franca of global business (pardon the Latin). If you want to do business globally, you have to be able to speak and write English. But most of the world’s conversations occur in other languages. We want ReadWriteWeb to be a venue for conversations about innovation not just in English but in all major languages. We want to hear stories about innovation in those languages by people who live and work in those countries. We also want some of those stories to be translated back into English for a global audience – English serving as the hub, as it were.
Our Trailblazing Site in France
ReadWriteWeb France is blazing a trail that we want to follow into other countries. Web innovators in France can now read a selection of posts from ReadWriteWeb in French. Fabrice Epelboin and his team translate ReadWriteWeb posts into French, localize the stories, adding bits that make them relevant to France, and create new stories specific to France. Some of these stories are clearly important to readers outside of France, and we will be bringing these to our global audience. One example is Fabrice’s crusade against the Hadopi law. The law is specific to France, but the issues are global, and other governments are working on similar issues that could have alarming outcomes. We hope that ReadWriteWeb becomes both a local and global voice on issues such as this.
5 Other Country Versions in the Pipeline
Versions of ReadWriteWeb are currently being created for:
In each country, we are working with an entrepreneur who is passionate about Web technology.
These countries are all large economies. We already know how many people from these countries read our content in English. Many more will read and engage if the content is in their local language.
Engagement is critical. Reading is easier than writing. Many people are comfortable reading a post in a foreign language: even if they don’t understand everything, they at least get critical information that is not available in their native language. But writing a comment and engaging in a conversation is much harder in a foreign language.
Why We Naturally Take a Global View
Many people assume, looking at our content, that ReadWriteWeb is based in Silicon Valley. We are not. We do have writers in the Valley, and we congregate there frequently for major events. But ReadWriteWeb’s founder and editor, Richard MacManus, is based in New Zealand. Our COO, Bernard Lunn, is based in New York but is a Brit who was born in Berlin and has lived and worked all around the world. We are a networked business, with no single location, using the online tools that we write about to run our business. So viewing anywhere in the world as a good place to report from and not regarding any place as “foreign” comes natural to us.