Thinking big is tough, and thinking global is even tougher. But the truth is that it requires exactly the same amount of time as thinking local, with maybe an added complication or two because of language barriers and different fiscal frameworks. And that’s it.
If you live in Spain, you probably do it already. Many regions have their own languages, which are now mandatory, and taxation systems. For a business in Madrid, selling in Catalunya is almost the same as selling in Germany. The only difference is that the German market is 20 times bigger. And let’s not even get started on selling in the United States.
All statements of the obvious, perhaps, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore them. There’s another difference, too. Markets outside Spain are performing much better than our own.
I was reading an article yesterday about Steve Case, the founder of AOL, who later carried out the merger with Time Warner and took a lot of flak. When they merged, AOL was valued at over $150 billion. And now they’re thinking of selling AOL again, as an independent business, and they’re talking about a value of more than $20 billion.
A total failure, then? Well, the reality is that Steve Case has since had a great run: he left AOL and set up a number of companies. One of them was Revolution. In 2005, Revolution was already planning to invest $200 million in various projects.
Recently, Case listed another company, Zipcar, and, with the capital earned from the sale of his stock, has already recovered all the investment he planned to make. And he still has six more interests to develop. His secret? He aims to make each of his projects into a global business.
A useful case study, then, and one we aim to emulate. Or, at least, we’re trying to. To make our projects into truly global ones that reach everybody and let them transform our ideas into their own. We really are all part of an increasingly global world.
Another thing I read in the news today (I don’t just read the papers…) is that Burger King has just launched a new sandwich – two beef patties, a chicken breast, and two slices of bacon, all in the same bun – with the highest calorie count in the world in… Wait for it… Japan!
Can you believe it? I didn’t, and I’d never have guessed, either. But that’s the deal. Japan, land of the lotus flower, a country that has centuries of unique customs and its own rich culture is the first customer of this particular serving of globalization.