Posts Tagged 'Japan'

November 16, 2012

Going Global: Domo Arigato, Japan

I'm SoftLayer's director of international operations, so I have the unique pleasure of spending a lot of time on airplanes and in hotels as I travel between Dallas, Amsterdam, Singapore and wherever else our event schedule dictates. In the past six months, I've spent most of my time in Asia, and I've tried to take advantage of the opportunity relearn the culture to help shape SoftLayer Asia's business.

To really get a sense the geographic distance between Dallas and Singapore, find a globe and put one index finger on Dallas and put your other index finger on Singapore. To travel from one location to the other, you fly to the other side of the planet. Given the space considerations, our network map uses a scaled-down representative topology to show our points of presence in a single view, and you get a sense of how much artistic license was used when you actually make the trip to Singapore.

Global Network

The longest currently scheduled commercial flight on the planet takes you from Singapore to Newark in a cool 19 hours, but I choose to maintain my sanity rather than set world records for amount of time spent in a metal tube. I usually hop from Dallas to Tokyo (a mere 14 hours away) where I spend a few days, and I get on another plane down to Singapore.

The break between the two legs of the trip serves a few different purposes ... I get a much needed escape from the confines of an airplane, I'm able to spend time in an amazing city (where I lived 15 years ago), and I can use the opportunity to explore the market for SoftLayer. Proximity and headcount dictated that we spend most of our direct marketing and sales time focusing on the opportunities radiating from Singapore, so we haven't been able to spend as much time as we'd like in Japan. Fortunately, we've been able organically grow our efforts in the country through community-based partnerships and sponsorships, and we owe a great deal of our success to our partners in the region and our new-found friends. I've observed from our experience in Japan that the culture breeds two contrasting business realities that create challenges and opportunities for companies like SoftLayer: Japan is insular and Japan is global.

When I say that Japan is insular, I mean that IT purchases are generally made in the realm of either Japanese firms or foreign firms that have spent decades building reputation in market. Becoming a trusted part of that market is a time-consuming (and expensive) endeavor, and it's easy for a business to be dissuaded as an outsider. The contrasting reality that Japanese businesses also have a huge need for global reach is where SoftLayer can make an immediate impact.

Consider the Japanese electronics and the automobile industries. Both were built internally before making the leap to other geographies, and over the course of decades, they have established successful brands worldwide. Japanese gaming companies, social media companies and vibrant start-up communities follow a similar trend ... only faster. The capital investment required to go global is negligible compared to their forebears because they don't need to build factories or put elaborate logistics operations in place anymore. Today, a Japanese company with a SaaS solution, a game or a social media experience can successfully share it with the world in a matter minutes or hours at minimal cost, and that's where SoftLayer is able to immediately serve the Japanese market.

The process of building the SoftLayer brand in Asia has been accelerated by the market's needs, and we don't take that for granted. We plan to continue investing in local communities and working with our partners to become a trusted and respected resource in the market, and we are grateful for the opportunities those relationships have opened for us ... Or as Styx would say, "Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto."

-@quigleymar

June 17, 2010

Mixi is next!

I am sure anyone reading this has heard of Facebook, but do you know about Mixi?

Mixi is the number one social networking site in Japan and technically predates the “full internet” version of Facebook. It shares many features with Facebook, but its social model is a little different. Mixi is by invitation only, and its users almost never use their real name. Instead, users adopt nicknames and use icons or photos of almost anything to represent themselves. Also, Mixi is also only available in Japanese for the moment.

One thing that was noticeably missing from Mixi until recently has been third party social apps. With third party apps, Mixi users can now enjoy social games similar to the ones found on Facebook, which have been around since 2007.

And when it comes to game hosting, SoftLayer is a leader. We have recently won the FindMyHost.com Editors’ Choice Award for Game Servers for May 2010.

SoftLayer is dedicated to supporting the game industry’s IT needs. We regularly attend game related conferences. We were recently at f8 2010 and GDC Canada. You can also find us at GDC Europe and then GDC Online in Austin later this year. You can see our conference schedule on our events page.

As a gamer myself, I feel proud to work for a company with such a presence in the video game industry and community. And as Mixi gains more and more attention, I will be glad when I can say, “You heard about it here first!”.

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