Summaries

Leading a Global Expansion | Dan Westgarth | Slush 2023

Published
December 7, 2023
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3
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Updated
December 18, 2023
Jenna Pitkälä
Leading a Global Expansion | Dan Westgarth | Slush 2023
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Want to learn the best business insights from remarkable speakers at Slush 2023, but don’t have the time to watch the full speeches on YouTube?

You’ve come to the right place. Below is a summary of Dan Westgarth’s speech “Leading a Global Expansion”.

(psst: the notes were automatically generated with Wudpecker's AI notetaking tool. If you'd like to check these notes + transcript + audio recording without needing to log in, press here.)

<p class="h1-rich">🤏 TL;DR</p>

Startups should build their infrastructure to be global from day one and understand customers deeply to build a product they truly want. When choosing where to expand, consider the ease of expansion and potential of markets. Focus on skills of people rather than their location when hiring talent, embrace and respect local cultures, and decentralize decision-making. Take small incremental steps and move quickly in international expansion and never assume that countries or customers are the same.

<p class="h1-rich">✨ Summary</p>

Considerations for International Expansion

  • It is important for startups to build their infrastructure to be global from day one.
  • Building a product that customers truly want in each market is crucial for successful expansion.
  • Choosing the right countries to expand to requires deep understanding of the customers and their needs.

Choosing Between Easy and Difficult Markets

  • Deciding whether to expand to easier or more difficult markets depends on the company's resources and growth stage.
  • Technically easy countries may have fewer barriers, while politically easy countries may have simpler regulations.
  • Entering difficult markets requires advanced teams and resources to navigate political challenges.

Product Adaptation for International Markets

  • Copying and pasting a product into new markets rarely works; it is important to understand local customer preferences and adapt accordingly.
  • European fintechs have had success in the EU by offering multi-currency capabilities to cater to diverse customer needs.
  • Deal focused on creating value for customers globally, allowing for easier product adaptation in different markets.

Hiring Trends and Talent Acquisition

  • Remote working is increasing, with companies hiring talent in APAC and Latin America.
  • Latin America offers opportunities for European and American companies due to shared time zones and increased talent availability.
  • Smaller budgets can still enable international hiring by focusing on skills rather than location.

Managing Cultural Differences in International Teams

  • Embracing cultural diversity within the company is essential for successful international expansion.
  • Education and awareness of different cultures among team members can help navigate intercultural management challenges.
  • Combining local market expertise with global product knowledge can turn cultural differences into assets.

Overcoming Challenges in International Expansion

  • Decentralization and empowering local teams to make decisions can accelerate expansion and avoid bottlenecks.
  • Taking small incremental steps and maintaining deal speed helps break down the expansion process and maintain momentum.
  • Never assume that countries or customers are the same, even if they share language or currency.

<p class="h1-rich">✅ Action Items</p>

  • Build infrastructure to be global from day 1
  • Understand customers deeply and build a product they truly want
  • Consider the ease of expansion and potential of markets when choosing where to go
  • Focus on skills of people rather than their location when hiring talent
  • Embrace and respect local cultures, and educate your team about international culture
  • Decentralize decision-making and give autonomy to local teams
  • Take small incremental steps and move quickly in international expansion
  • Never assume that countries or customers are the same
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