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Cultural Misunderstandings on the Web

really enjoying writing my series on international Web apps and I’ve gotten some great
feedback that others are enjoying it too. The previous post about Russian Web
has gotten the most interest so far, including from some people in Russia who
took issue with it. The comments on my post are
informative, but also Alexey Andreyev wrote an open letter to
on the webplanet.ru website. In it he appeared to take offense at my use of the
word “market”, explaining:

“This is quite an ethic problem for me, Richard. Should I help the foreign market
sharks to swallow our poor country the most effective way? Or it would be better to
support some bubble story and steal their green paper before it burns in some other
Russian’s red right hand?”

I have to admit, I think there is a cultural gap here and I don’t fully understand
some of the objections. I appreciate the feedback though, especially the corrections and
suggestions on my post about Russian web apps. So I left a comment on webplanent.ru to
say that my main interest is what kind of web apps people are building in Russia,
rather than the financial market implications. I also noted that I am a New Zealander,
not an American as Alexey’s post implied (although I don’t think it matters much, as a
lot of my readers are American and so I identify strongly with them). My comment did
provoke one amusing reply from a person called JP, who called me “an American cyborg
pretending to be a hobbit” 🙂 I hope it’s not out of line of me to say, but I do think
Russians have a great way with words – as their rich tradition in literature proves.

So I have learned a lesson from all this – even though Web apps across the world are
similar and each country has a lot of their own unique apps too, there are still cultural
issues to work through when making such comparisons. Thanks to all the Russian readers
who left comments on my post and on webplanet.ru, because it certainly helps to have
conversations about these matters.

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