In my last blog entry, I talked a little bit about some of my experiences and impressions at a recent EO University even in Buenos Aires. My time in South America was really enjoyable: culturally, there’s plenty of curiosity about who you are and why you’re visiting, and, while the language barrier presents some challenges, Argentina is a country that celebrates good customer service and recognizes the importance of business travel. Aside from the specific ideas and entrepreneurial energy that was evident throughout the event—which was both personally and professional invigorating for me—my biggest takeaway was being reminded of the entrepreneurial value of literally and figuratively expanding our horizons through global networking and engagement. Whether you are talking to those looking to bring their products to the U.S. and forge new partnerships, or simply picking the brain of someone who sees things from a slightly different perspective than your own, sometimes the best way to understand your own business is through the eyes of someone else.
It’s clear to me that, no matter how many cultural differences there may be between nations, business culture tends to have some core similarities: markets might be a little different, and the professional environment might be a little different, but basic entrepreneurial principles are pretty consistent around the world. The other side of engaging with other cultures and entrepreneurial perspectives is the opportunity to represent your own values and ideas in a positive light. For me, that meant talking quite a bit about Detroit. Detroit’s bankruptcy is a big deal in the news—not just nationally, but internationally—and you really get a sense of that at an international event like this. Everyone wanted to talk about Detroit, and I really enjoyed the chance to be an ambassador for the city, and to help folks understand that it’s not all doom and gloom. From a financial perspective, a lot of people around the world continue to face financial stresses and deal with similar challenges, and that made our conversations about the people, passion and possibilities involved in any successful business particularly interesting and enlightening.