About 15% of our customers hail from the UK, also known as the country of Shakespeare, the Sex Pistols and a long‐reigning Queen. In a way, Sibers and the UK have been strategic allies for what feels like centuries. English clients are smart, dedicated and confident: they always know what they want and what the fair price is. Also, communication is always a cinch: we’ve never had to explain anything twice, and all involved parties make their unique contributions to a smooth process and relevant results.
With the above in mind, it was a no‐brainer to finally make a long‐delayed visit to London in order to meet the majority of our customers in person and be inspired by their business ideas. A chronicle of our adventure follows…
Been there, done that. Or not?
This isn’t the first time we’ve traveled abroad this year. Previously, we took a business trip to Australia, where we visited the CeBIT conference and met with our Australian clients. This time around, organizing the trip was even easier, thanks to all of our partners who helped us collect the necessary documents and visas. It might sound unusual to Europeans and US citizens, but a bit of bureaucracy is a small price to pay to enjoy these vistas:
Meeting with Clients and Partners
After the Australian trip, we learned an important lesson: pre‐planned meetings are the way to go. Life is unpredictable, and scheduling meetings ahead of time provides the flexibility needed for the inevitable rearrangements that crop up. It wasn’t easy, but in the end we created a very useful (and stress‐reducing) agenda.
During our two weeks in London, we booked 20+ meetings. Our schedule was tight, but we managed to keep things under control. In fact, while attending conferences and various points of interest a few bonus meetings took place almost accidentally. In honor of our hectic stay, we created a collage using some of the contacts we made. Check it out!
Lest you think this trip was all hugs, kisses and teddy bears, our meetings weren’t just about accepting our customers’ compliments and sharing our expertise — no, we also touched on some areas where we as a company need to improve.
We also discussed many new plans, projects and possibilities, but if we had to pinpoint the highlight of the trip, it would definitely be the business and personal relationships we created/strengthened. Gaining a better understanding of our clients’ personalities and needs trumps profit any day.
Conferences and Locations
November 19‒22, 2012
London International Conference on Education (LICE–2012)
LICE is an international conference dedicated to the advancement of theories and practices in education, promoting collaborative excellence between scholars and professionals. LICE’s aim is to provide an opportunity for bridging the knowledge gap between research and practice, and promote research esteem and the evolution of pedagogy.
We attended LICE mainly to gauge the relevance of our eLearning solutions and compare them to teachers’ actual needs. Presentations were made by teachers from 20+ countries and a wide range of issues were discussed, in areas ranging from nurse training to pedagogical career‐building. We spoke with teachers and professors and discussed their eLearning area needs; lucky for us, most of them were interested in accessing our applications.
Despite the fact that some of our software features were welcomed with genuine excitement, we came away from the conference with a slew of new ideas for needs we hadn’t thought of before, such as a real‐time system for ensuring how many people attend lectures, and how many of them correctly understand the material.
November 26, 2012
Mobile Monday London
Mobile Monday is a great initiative where the mobile technology community comes together to network and discuss key industry issues, as well as share experiences and ideas. At MM, asking questions is mandatory. True story: our delegate was so overwhelmed by people’s curiosity that he literally didn’t have time to take off his jacket before being engaged in conversation.
November 20‒21, 2012
IT in Housing Exhibition
From November 20‒21, the UK’s largest housing technology exhibition took place in the Olympia Conference Centre, London.
The IT in Housing Exhibition is the perfect opportunity for delegates and exhibitors to keep up appearances. 300+ decision makers, 200 delegates and 80 exhibitors (some of whom, i.e. IBM, are extremely prestigious) contribute to the home technology and improvement field. Vlad Labetsky, our man on the ground, managed to strengthen our existing partnerships and create some new ones by showcasing Sibers’ solutions to hundreds of visitors. All in all, the Exhibition was definitely a useful learning experience.
November 26‒28, 2012
Techhub helps startups get better faster.
TechHub is a unique environment where technology start‐ups can ramp up faster. TechHub nurtures an international network of like‐minded, tech‐focused entrepreneurs, providing a space where they can work, meet, collaborate, network, learn or just have fun. Getting the right people together is always the best way to make good things happen. At Techhub we learned about the teams and processes behind “start‐upping”. People of all ages were there, from teenagers developing their first website to experienced developers in the age 25‒30 range. Heck, there were even some thirty and fortysomethings who’d left the finance sector to start their own business. Thanks to initiatives like TechHub, tomorrow’s tech stars have a chance to shoot for the moon.
For a Siberian, London’s weather is comfortable and warm; one big plus is that in London you don’t need a wide range of seasonal clothes. In Russia, and Novosibirsk in particular, people always have a special winter outfit, as well as one for spring, summer and autumn. And though Vlad hates to bring this up, while he was in London his hometown was “enjoying” a nippy −40°C.
For music lovers, London is a veritable Mecca. Good music and musicians are everywhere: in the streets, in storefronts and in all the pubs (as a matter of fact, many pubs have an “open mic” policy). While we were there the streets were decorated for Christmas, which only enhanced the city’s positive energy.
Last but not least, in London you don’t need — and probably don’t even want — a car. They’re absolutely useless: cars entering the city center must pay a fee, there’s a stunning lack of parking lots, and unless you’re a professional stunt driver, the roads are difficult to navigate. In short, trains/the underground is the way to go for visitors and residents.
Our UK experience was priceless. We learned a ton about our clients, strengthened our long‐lasting relationships and outlined next steps for new partnerships. Attending the aforementioned conferences provided an external point‐of‐view of our place in the technology and outsourcing world, and offered useful tips for polishing our future approach. We learned about solutions offered by other companies, and shared with them our 15 years’ experience in commercial development.
London is a very favorable environment for start‐up creation: not only is the City is the best place to be when it comes to funding, but the talent pool it attracts is incredibly vast. We won a number of new projects in London which are already in development, and a few more that we’re discussing with newly‐acquired clients.
So where to next? Singapore, perhaps? It’s quite warm there this time of year — or any time of year, for that matter.