10 episodes

Welcome to the International Expansion podcast. My name is Ramsey Pryor, and I spent the past five years taking one of Silicon Valley's fastest growing startups into new markets all around the world.

Tech companies are able to expand overseas faster than ever before. But there's quite a lot that goes into getting it right, and each new market has its own unique and fascinating set of quirks and challenges.

The best way to prepare is to learn from people who have been there before, so I started this podcast to gather the best practices from tech's most admired startups.

The International Expansion Podcast with Ramsey Pryor Ramsey Pryor

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Welcome to the International Expansion podcast. My name is Ramsey Pryor, and I spent the past five years taking one of Silicon Valley's fastest growing startups into new markets all around the world.

Tech companies are able to expand overseas faster than ever before. But there's quite a lot that goes into getting it right, and each new market has its own unique and fascinating set of quirks and challenges.

The best way to prepare is to learn from people who have been there before, so I started this podcast to gather the best practices from tech's most admired startups.

    Episode 10 - Rachel Carruthers, Head of Internationalisation & Localisation @ Canva

    Episode 10 - Rachel Carruthers, Head of Internationalisation & Localisation @ Canva

    Rachel is Head of Internationalisation & Localisation at Canva. Canva is an online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere. Since it was founded in 2013, Canva has grown into a unicorn and one of Australia’s most famous tech companies. Rachel has been at Canva for over 4 and a half years, so she’s overseen an incredible period of international growth as Canva now reaches over 60M MAU in 190 countries and over 100 languages. Rachel is a member of the international mastermind network and a Bay Area native that is now living and working in Australia, so we share a lot of common interests and connections, and I’ve been looking forward to having her as a guest for a long time. Here's what we covered:


    Rachel's background and decision to leave the Bay Area and live and work abroad.
    Planning international expansion starting from Australia
    Localization and Internationalization - what these terms mean to Rachel
    Rachel's day-to-day role at Canva
    Going live in 100 countries - what goes into it, and the motivation behind such a big push

    • 52 min
    Episode 9 - Robyn Larsen, International Growth and Marketing at Shopify

    Episode 9 - Robyn Larsen, International Growth and Marketing at Shopify

    Robyn Larsen is an International Growth and Marketing UX leader at Shopify. She’s a front-end developer, entrepreneur, and speaker, and advises numerous startups across multiple industries and frequently mentors women in tech and STEM. In addition to the work she does at Shopify, she teaches Zero to Launch workshops for entrepreneurs through Embrk. Shopify powers over 1.7 million businesses in more than 175 countries, and in this interview, I had the chance to ask Robyn all about her learnings after spending the last 4+ years localizing Shopify's experience for markets all across the world. Below are the topics we discuss:


    Shopify's current international presence and state of localization
    Things a tech founder should know about what it takes to make technology resonate in global markets in a first-class way
    The capabilities she recommends building in house, and the things that are ok or even better to buy or outsource
    How to choose where to start, and which regions and languages should be top of the list for localization
    The companies are doing the best job of localization, and what they do they do differently
    The mistakes Robyn made, and advice that could save someone else from making the same mistakes
    Pseudolocalization - what it is, and how it can help your localization team
    UX experiences that many learn the hard way

    • 56 min
    Episode 8 - Jeffrey Paine, Managing Partner at Golden Gate Ventures

    Episode 8 - Jeffrey Paine, Managing Partner at Golden Gate Ventures

    Jeff Paine is a Co-founder and Managing Partner of Golden Gate Ventures, an early stage technology venture capital fund based in Singapore. Golden Gate Ventures currently has over US$175 million under management and has made investments in over 45 companies since 2012 across Southeast Asia.

    Jeff also started and manages the Founder Institute incubator in Singapore. Since 2010 the Founder Institute has graduated over 100 companies in Southeast Asia and Japan, and he received the Director Award for “Greatest Ecosystem Impact” Worldwide for his work there. He’s currently an investor and advisor to Redmart, Tradegecko, Coda Payments, and mentor at JFDI Asia, Chinaccelerator and of course at the Founder Institute.

    Jeff is a Singapore native, but he spent the first eight years of his career in early stage venture and private equity in the US, and he graduated from USC, so he understands how things work in Silicon Valley and in Southeast Asia, and he's is an ideal person to help folks like me understand how to think about the region when taking technology from here to there. 

    Below are the topics we cover during this hour-long conversation:


    How the investing and startup environment has evolved over the past 10 years in Southeast Asia, and since the pandemic began
    How to think about and prioritize the markets that make up Southeast Asia
    Where this region should fit in a global expansion timeline
    The types of businesses that are succeeding in the region
    The best places to find engineering talent, and what to look for
    The first wave of regional unicorns, and lessons being applied by the second generation of entrepreneurs in SEA
    Advice for founders and entrepreneurs on how to approach this region, and things to be cautious about

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Episode 7 - Robbie O'Connor, GM EMEA at Notion

    Episode 7 - Robbie O'Connor, GM EMEA at Notion

    This episode is a crash course on entering Europe from Robbie O'Connor. Robbie had led the local charge for Google, Dropbox, Asana, and now Notion, and in this interview, he reflects on the best practices he's learned first hand, from setting up the team, segmenting the continent, and localizing the go to market approach. We also discuss how each of these things have evolved, and what's coming next. Below is the full list of topics we cover:


    What Notion does, and the responsibilities placed on the GM of Europe
    Benchmarking Notion's presence internationally users, geos, and headcount as of June 2021
    How to prioritize geographies when a company has clear product market fit and plans to be everywhere eventually
    The pre-req's and milestones your company should achieve before expanding internationally
    The advantages of setting up a European hub in Ireland - talent, tax, and regulatory benefits
    The current funding environment in Europe, and other talent hubs on the continent
    Ways to segment Europe into sales territories - initially and as your team grows
    The amount of localization that's currently required to succeed as a SaaS company in Europe
    Whether a single sales methodology works in all markets around the world, and the right way to adapt the sales approach for each market
    The pros and cons of starting with a functional leader such as a sales leader versus a general manager when entering a region
    The challenges and soft art of being a regional leader
    Best practices and tactics for staying aligned with HQ and building bi-directional communication
    What companies can do to set their regional leaders up for success
    Knowing what good looks like when you are getting started in Europe
    The importance and impact of data privacy laws in Europe, and what companies should know before entering
    The mentors and opportunities that helped Robbie build his international leadership skills
    Expectation setting and preparing for the bumpy road when going into new markets

    • 58 min
    Episode 6 - Ron Schneidermann, CEO at AllTrails

    Episode 6 - Ron Schneidermann, CEO at AllTrails

    Ron Schneidermann is the CEO of AllTrails, and has been building technology that helps people enjoy the outdoors for over 15 years. He's an accomplished entrepreneur and a hands-on leader who devours data and isn't afraid to veer from the standard startup playbook. Many of the folks listening know AllTrails as the outdoor app that helps you find the perfect activity for your preferences, and once you’re there, you can take advantage all sorts of detailed maps to keep you on the trail, even when you’re out of cell service. AllTrails has been around since 2010, and now hosts over 200,000 trail guides in 190 countries across all 7 continents, and has over 1M premium subscribers worldwide. This isn’t Ron’s first expedition as an outdoor technology leader. He co-founded Liftopia and built and ran the world’s leading ski lift ticket booking tool for 8 years, backed by all-star investors like Marc Benioff, Chris Sacca, and First Round Capital. He also led Growth at Yelp before taking over the reins at AllTrails. In our talk, Ron shares his approach to covering the globe, lessons he's learned the hard way, and the questions he's still chewing on. Here's what we cover:


    Ron's experience taking AllTrails from 6 people to 100 people, and through a really tough transition period.
    Carving a non-conventional path as a startup. Going for profitability early, and deciding the early adopters were not the profile to build around.
    The inflection point that led to the focus on becoming a global company.
    The pros and the cons of using acquisitions to fuel growth.
    The pandemic experience - the explosion of hiking, helping people stay healthy, and growing the team during lockdown.
    How AllTrails approaches international expansion and coverage across all 7 continents.
    Translation vs. localization, and things that broke when going from one market to the next (even from the US to the UK).
    Machine translation - when to use it, when to avoid it.
    How to support one billion end users around the world, and the trade-offs between centralized vs. de-centralized teams.
    Ron's advice and hindsight for companies going global and maximizing momentum.
    Hindsight on acquisitions, and things NOT to do to avoid making users really angry and avoid bleeding eyes :).
    How best to structure your team to get the most out of each market, and to diagnose problems when markets aren't performing as hoped.
    The aspects of international expansion that are still up for debate at AllTrails, and most likely at many other growing companies.

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Episode 5 - Nataly Kelly, VP of Localization at Hubspot

    Episode 5 - Nataly Kelly, VP of Localization at Hubspot

    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

    • 1 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
1 Rating

1 Rating

Top Podcasts In Technology

Lex Fridman
Jason Calacanis
Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin, The Center for Humane Technology
NPR
Jack Rhysider
Jason Calacanis