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The GlobalSaké Conference – Nimdzi Conference Report

An Event That Needs to Go on Everyone’s Map

2 March 2020

This conference report was written by Jarek Hrstka.

So what is GlobalSaké?

GlobalSaké is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help ensure that products make sense in international markets. It was founded by Talia Baruch (Founder CEO at Yewser, formerly at Google, Linkedin, SurveyMonkey) and John Hayato (Senior Strategist at btrax and Business Developer at Intralink). They hold annual events sharing know-how and experiences on international expansion.

For the first time in 2020, GlobalSaké organized their own “larger” event, The Conference. The event took place in San Francisco on February 19th-20th. Based on our own feelings as well as discussions with attendees, this first edition definitely wasn’t the last one. 

Industry experts involved in internationalization and globalization related matters now have a newand very interestingevent they should include in their watchlists.

Image source: Nimdzi Insights

The conference focus this year was to provide tips, best practices, insights, and answers to the following questions:

  • Is international expansion a corporate core objective priority on your 2020 roadmap?
  • Do you wonder about what key factors to consider beyond language support to gain global growth?
  • Do you want to create meaningful, relevant experiences for your customers in priority new markets?  

Image source: Nimdzi Insights

The event started with an evening welcome reception on February 19th at an astonishing venue of DZINE Arts Studio. Apart from the unique venue, other memorable activities like Saké tasting, taiko drumming, and an interactive arts exhibit helped to make this first evening really memorable. Pre-conference reception attendees enjoyed a warm, informal atmosphere perfectly suited for networking.

The main GlobalSaké event

The main program was condensed into one full day. It kicked off with an introductory keynote at 9 am and finished with panel discussions at around 5:30 pm. 25 speakers, all professionals from various areas of international business and product, took turns at the main podium during the day. The program consisted of “TED-style” presentations (up to 30 mins each) and panel discussions.

Image source: Nimdzi Insights

The venue for the main conference day was the HQ of Zendesk in downtown San Francisco. It provided a very nice backdrop for a day packed with interesting presentationsan informal and warm modern style, yet very professional place for such an event. On the main floor, discussions were taking place around coffee tables or at one of the booths of conference sponsors. The basement floor then offered a place where the main action took place.

The topics centered around the following subjects: 

  • Data-driven go-to-market strategy and international expansion
  • International user research, user experience (UX) design and SEO/SEM
  • Global payments
  • Global-ready strategy in product, people, and platform
  • Product marketing localization

Image source: Nimdzi Insights

The vast majority of the talks provided valuable insights on the above topics, and the presenters showcased their hands-on experience and examples from real-world projects. A particular highlight was the lesson on neuromarketing and consumer behavioral insights given by Dr. Matt Johnson. While it was a bit more academic, it was presented in a really catchy format and provided practical points that anyone can use and implement in their daily jobs. 

Image source: Nimdzi Insights

While this conference wasn’t without a few minor hiccups typical of brand new events just starting out (it’s an interesting social experiment to see what happens to the conference attendees if coffee is not available for a few hours), they were all forgiven in the end. Overall, every one of around 300 participants got what they came for. And as far as the Nimdzi team heard, many are already looking forward to the next GlobalSaké events.

Image source: Nimdzi Insights

What you need to take away from the event

  • GlobalSaké focused on topics around product internationalization activities and going-global strategies
  • It’s an event of just about the right sizenot too big, not too smallwith good opportunities for networking and sharing knowledge and experiences
  • As far as the audience goes, there was about a 50/50 mix of partners and service providers to end-users and buyers
  • The event offered TED-style presentations focusing on hands-on use cases and real-world examplespractical insights attendees could draw inspiration from

Image source: Nimdzi Insights

 A few fun facts we learned at GlobalSaké

  • After Coca-Cola introduced their 2l bottles in the Spanish market, they realized that those bottles wouldn’t fit in most commonly used refrigerators in that country
  • Humans will naturally mimic each other’s communication styles and are very susceptible to subtle differences in non-verbal communication
  • Beyond just the localization team, leading international brands have entire teams of user experience research teams that are focused on studying user behavior across markets. What’s more, there is a good opportunity for collaboration with the localization departments, since interests are well aligned 
  • CHITU was a “spin-off” of LinkedIn introduced purely for the Chinese market
Jarek_Hrstka_Localization_Adviser_Nimdzi_Insights



This conference report was written by Nimdzi’s Localization Adviser, Jarek Hrstka. If you wish to find out more about the GlobalSaké Conference held in San Francisco, please reach out to Jarek at [email protected].

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