Are New England Companies Behind the Curve on Globalization?

Mass Technology Leadership CouncilOn Friday I attended the acclaimed Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council UnConference about the “Future of Software and the Internet”.

The event drew some 250 attendees including many C-Level executives, technology gurus, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from Massachusetts and the surrounding area.

Now keep in mind that this was an unConference. The agenda was to be assembled by the attendees at the beginning of the event. To help let the juices flow, the organizers offered some ideas by email and during the registration process to include the following:

Market Forces & Innovation Catalysts
– Industry Consolidation — Good, Bad, or Ugly?
– Innovation Catalysts — Low barriers are bringing in new competition: who are the rising stars and who are the established forces to be reckoned with?
– Localization & Globalization

Business Models, Platform Shifts, & Infrastructure
– Traditional to Cloud Computing: the changing business, access and technology models
– Perpetual License, On-Demand or hybrid?
– Mainframe, Mini, PC, Handheld — what’s next?
– Broadband — will it be the next utility?
– Privacy, Security, IP, Data Retention, Jurisdiction — what do businesses need to know when operating in the cloud?

Technology Trends
– Mobility — Anytime anywhere access
– Social Networking, Twittering, Crowd Sourcing, Collaboration
– Business Intelligence, Search, Data Mining, AI, Modeling, Predictive Markets, Analytics — how do you monetize data?
– Interoperability, Standards, Open Source.

Having seen “Localization & Globalization” (I underlined them above) as a possible topic of discussion on the list, I planned to attend my first unConference.

When the discussion topics were solicited from the audience at the unConference, I was waiting for someone to propose a topic on Globalization & Localization. When no one did, I proposed the following: “The impact of Web2.0 on Globalization & Localization”.

I intentionally scheduled the meeting to take place during the 3rd hour of the event. It seemed to me that much of the audience was interested to hear about cloud computing which was scheduled for the 1st hour. I figured, by the 3rd hour, everyone will be back from the clouds to earth.

There were many good sessions proposed, roughly 10 or so for each of the 4 hours. So there was some hefty competition among the sessions. But with 250 attendees, I figured I’ll have 10 or 15 people interested to discuss Globalization and Localization.

When the session’s time came, only one person showed up! Only one out of 250 people was interested enough to hear about Globalization trends to show up! We nevertheless had a spirited discussion about globalization trends and how Search-Engine Marketing and Geo-optimization of web campaigns can facilitate international market evaluation, validation and penetration.

But we could not help but wonder why no one else joined us. Is New England so much ahead of the curve in globalization that people don’t need to discuss global issues or trends anymore? Or are we so far removed from globalization that people don’t really care to discuss them?

What do you think?

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