global mindset

Being Global Requires Understanding, Not Just Presence

This week I was pleased to be a member of the San Francisco audience in a private equity roadshow for entrepreneurs. I was there as an entrepreneur grooming myself to become investment-ready. The event was produced by a global investing network that stressed we must exercise due diligence before getting involved with a venture.

Warming up the crowd, the founder of the entire network announced the opening of its new Israeli branch.

He asked us, "Does anyone here speak Israeli?"

That's not global.

Local, regional, geographic, ethnic culture should be an aspect of your own due diligence when you’re a global operator, if for no other reason than to be personally aware.

 

I take from this experience the lesson that even investors who are planning to make equity commitments in the wider world need a lot of help understanding it.

Everywhere Is Exotic Or Nowhere Is

At the opening of TED University, a pre-event of TEDGlobal 2010 in Oxford, England, TED Curator June Cohen emceed. During a technical difficulty, she filled the time on stage by asking us in the live audience of 600 gathered from around the world, "Who came the farthest to get here?"

A few people shouted out locations. Kenya. India. Los Angeles.

Cohen repeated into the microphone each place. When she said Los Angeles, she deflected it as a possible winner for farthest by saying, "LA isn't exotic."

But that wasn't the question she put to us. And --

Exotic is relative. The only way it belongs in a global mindset is as a constant for everyone. So, either everywhere is exotic -- or nowhere is. We are all exotic, or no one is.

 

For me, the moment highlighted an ingrained provincialism at a supposedly global conference dedicated to "pushing the boundaries of what is known and expanding the possible."

The idea of what global means is still badly under-developed, and like this instance, too often freighted with the most self-centric assumptions.