Clash of cultures

Travelling might be a good chance to help some local entrepreneurs on the way. Besides it would be a great opportunity for us to really meet the locals and avoid being a tourist everywhere we go.  So the first goal is to meet some of those entrepreneurs and see if there’s a match.

People tend to force their own view on others when dealing with other cultures. Not understanding that some things work completely different leads from small uncomfortable situations to full blown disastrous projects. I already experienced this while outsourcing to Asian countries before and would soon learn more on this subject. 

First things we personally ran into was the level of ambition of most people in ‘poor countries’. In the West we assume people reach for the top and think ahead. This is not exactly how most people think that we met so far while traveling Asian countries. In general, people are late, live from day to day and never left their hometown. 

In the West we assume people reach for the top
and think ahead. This is not the case in most countries.

By now we already travelled across Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan and China. This is not a travel blog so I won’t write about this amazing experience here. We met some people along the way, but very few to be honest. Maybe it’s the cultures, language barrier, the winter season or the fast-paced travelling we’ve been doing.

The first potential entrepreneur crossed our path in Tibet. A young, very energetic and somewhat rebellious tour guide wanting to start his own company. While meeting him in a local bar we talked a bit about his plans and how we might be able to contribute. Very exciting, since this could bring our ideas to life! 

So we set up a real meeting to discuss more just before we had to leave Tibet (unfortunately due to Visa difficulties). The guy never showed up because he went drinking till late the night before. Very difficult to understand since he was so psyched about our ideas and really seemed to have serious plans. He apologized later but we were gone by then. Where we come from this behavior means you’re done and we won’t be working together. Later, we thought we might have to change our point of view.. 

We found out that this happens a lot in South East Asia. Anyone doing business there can probably recognize it. This shows for instance when someone wants to quit a job he/she simply won’t show up anymore. Or when you’re having a (business) meeting and someone else walks in, it simply means the meeting is over, something that’s not done in most Western countries.

We’re wondering how many serious entrepreneurs there are who could use our help,
and if we are able to meet the right ones.