Welcome to The Bicultural Podcast.
This episode will give insight into
- Dan’s story about being bicultural
- The difference in business across cultures
- Important skillsets for the workplace
Hi, Dan, how are you doing?
Dan Harris (00:34):
Yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine. Yeah, you know, the lockdown is loosening up, but, yeah, we’re hanging in there and, you know, managing and trying to do our bit for the country.
Janina Neumann (00:46):
We are, and it’s really great to have you on because it’s going to be so interesting to talk about community around the world and your experiences.
So tell us a bit more about where you’ve grown up, how you became bicultural.
Dan Harris (01:03):
I grew up in Upstate New York, which is closer, actually, to Canada then to New York City. It was near Niagara Falls in that area of the world and, you know, the U.S. and Upstate New York, we’re an immigrant nation. So I’d say from the beginning, you know, your friends are Italian Americans, Irish Americans, you know, African Americans, you know, it’s quite a mixture and that area of the world it is predominantly white, but still, you get a nice mix of immigrant groups, as you do in many parts of the United States. So, you know, so I was culturally aware, you know, early on, but I think what really did it for me is when I was at university and decided to go to London, my second year, I was going to a university in New York, State University of New York, at Brockport.
Dan Harris (01:59):
And the second year I went abroad for a year, the whole year, and this is in the days before mobiles and the internet, I’m dating myself. So when you went abroad, you went abroad, and there was, you know, communication was with back home, was through letters and, dodgy phone boxes, and things like that. And I just thought that was quite eye-opening. I got the bug for, you know, international living. And, so I came back and did another degree at, that was at Brunel University, the first one my year abroad was at Brunel University in Oxbridge. And then a few years later, about four years later, I came back and went to London School of Economics. And there, that was just amazing, I just loved that year, one of my favorite years, and I say that proudly because that’s the year I met my wife as well, so there you go. Yep.
Dan Harris (02:57):
But it was so, London School of Economics in that area is so international, it’s incredible. You know, just the way the university is set up, and where you have to walk, you’re amongst, I would say, over 50, easily, 50 nationalities and sure you’re bumping into people from across the world, going to that university and had a great time. As I said, I met my wife, we subsequently got married a few years later and lived in London. And then we upped sticks and went to California. And we worked, both of us worked for Apple Computer for like six or seven years. Had a fabulous experience there and then came back to the UK briefly, then went to live and work for Apple in Paris. After that my career, I worked in Luxembourg for another, a large online company, and then eventually came back to the UK. So, I’ve lived in the UK, Europe, and the United States predominantly, you know, talk about bicultural and multicultural, and there is a little bit of a difference between the East coast of the United States and the West coast, but we’re looking at something more between nations, I think here, but still, you know, it’s quite a mixture.
Janina Neumann (04:20):
Wow, there’s so much to talk about.
What really striked me is how you talked about your university experience and how actually all of these cultures fitted in. Do you think there are any specific things that, that university did to make sure that everyone felt like they were included?
Dan Harris (04:41):
I don’t think they did, I mean, LSE didn’t, you know, make any overt attempt, you just pay your tuition, you go in and you have to make do, and get on with it. You just can’t help in that setting to interact with different cultures and all that. So that’s, you know, and that was wonderful. Actually, after my first year at Brunel University, when I went back to my university, undergraduate university in New York, I worked in an international education office for a couple of years, and I would recommend very much, and I think obviously it’s built into certain degrees that you go abroad, but I would make it almost mandatory that just about every degree that one takes, whether it’s in physics or sociology, whatever, that you spend a year abroad. And I think that would help the world a great deal, so I’m a big advocate. It certainly helped me, and it’s eye-opening. It’s life-changing. You can’t help be help, but be life-changing. So, and you learn just so much, you know, not just from your studies, but you know, culturally as well. So, I’m a big advocate of international education.
Janina Neumann (06:04):
Yeah, I can definitely relate to that. The more cultures you meet, the more you actually become a bit more critical about how you think. And certainly, I had the privilege to go on holiday into so many countries, and of course, that’s only a holiday. You don’t really spend that much time there, but actually the more you interact with the local people there, the more actually you learn about how they might do things differently. And it’s so good to sometimes take parts of someone else’s culture and integrate it back when you’re at home into your life, and to actually improve your life. And for example, how you eat or how you interact with family. That’s been always a really interesting point for me.
Dan Harris (06:48):
Yeah, and I think even if you take food in this country, in the UK, when I arrived in ’79 and ’80 at Brunel, the food, admittedly, and I think I’m not, you know, besmirching the cuisine here too much by saying, I think it was pretty much accepted that it was, it was rather bland. But I think through travel, you know, like Freddie Laker, the Channel Tunnel, you know, Eurostar and, you know, the onset of more travel to Europe and all that, the food in this country has vastly improved. I mean that is such a big area of culture, obviously for one’s society. And so now you can get almost anything in the UK. Whereas when I stepped on these shores in ’79, ’80, it was fish and chips. The big thing there was big cultural thing was, oh, I think it was the introduction of possibly the first McDonald’s at that point, you know, that was the big cultural shift for the UK now. You know, it sounds terrible, I don’t mean to patronise or anything, because United States was pretty isolated as well during that time. So, but it does make a huge difference and to me all for the better.
Janina Neumann (07:58):
Yeah, I watched a TV programme recently and they talked about so much about understanding kind of local producers. And I think having different cuisines in the UK has actually helped, these local producers, talk to restaurants a little bit more, and actually understand how they can use their produce and be inspired by other cuisines, and create something that belongs to their community. So I found that really interesting because culture connects and food connects, you know, when you share food with someone, you get an insight into, you know, their customs, how they prefer things, they might tell you family stories of how they learned to cook, I think it’s really connecting.
Dan Harris (08:42):
Yeah. To go out and have a meal, to go to a restaurant, to go on a date, to have a business meeting, whatever, you learn so much over food in so many settings, because it’s a, should be, an agreeable activity. So you’ve already by sitting down with someone, you know, and breaking bread, you know, and that old traditional sense, you know, that cuts through so many barriers, because as you ask about cultural barriers, you know, and like you just said there, you’ll learn so much just by watching what they do, how they prepare, the care and concern and all that. Because then you learn about, you know, in business, you know, if I’m sitting down and even at a restaurant, okay, the person who may invited me might not have as much control, but he’s chosen the restaurant and there’s certain norms and behaviours in that restaurant, you know, whether that be in a Japanese restaurant or German restaurant or whatever. And so you’ll learn, you know, and the type of conversation they have over food and things like that. So, you know, you learn a lot in these kind of informal settings.
Janina Neumann (09:53):
Just interested in, you mentioned that when you moved before technology really came through, is that when you moved, you moved, for that amount of time.
What kind of things did you miss from the other country that you just left?
Dan Harris (10:10):
What I’ve noticed over time, and I’ve been here now, somewhere, nearly 30 years. And I didn’t notice it at first, at first I thought this was, it was quite engaging and interesting and how people live, but it’s how close together people live in the UK. If I’m speaking, particularly in the UK, because not Paris or Munich or San Francisco, I mean just here, where I’ve lived in the UK, it’s just how close we live. So if you asked me what one word would it be? I would say space. And space because, there’s a book I would recommend your listeners to read or look up, if you want to know a little bit about the cultural dynamics of the UK. I found it very interesting. It was in the news in the early noughties, around 2003, 2004, it’s by Kevin Cahill, it’s called, ‘Who owns Britain’. ‘Who owns Britain’.
Dan Harris (11:08):
And basically it, you know, there hadn’t been a survey of land distribution in this country since 1872, and so he did a lot of research on who basically owns the land now because we talk about, you know, the government really struggles with the housing policies and building more houses and the land, free up more land. And it’s always, it’s always a struggle, you know, and, but the real issue to me is that’s not being discussed, and which affects the cultural issues here, and makes us all, you know, I find it very fascinating myself, is the scarcity of land has caused, and which causes a scarcity of housing stock, which, you know, affects the environment that we live in and how close we live and how the British, you know, people who inhabit this Island live together.
Dan Harris (12:01):
And that shapes our personality, you know, how closely we live together. And because, you know, you get these stories of how, you know, you could, like in Wales, they’re very friendly and very open. They have fewer people in that land. And, they’re just, you know, it is, and I’ve lived in Wales, myself, very friendly folks, it felt great there. Here, yes still friendly, but in a different way, they’re little bit more suspicious because they live close together and they just try to keep a little bit of their own privacy, you know, or privacy, in American English. They just keep their sanity, this is how I view it, my personal opinion. So, you know, because they’re all living closer together, because the land is so scarce, and the houses are so tightly built together, and we’re not talking inexpensive houses, we’re talking, you know, houses that could cost quite a bit of money, you know, right next to each other.
Dan Harris (12:59):
So from this book, which I mentioned Kevin Cahill, about ‘Who owns Britain’, it’s 80% of the population of the UK live on about 8% of the land, roughly speaking, you know, just put your mind to that and think it’s because of the land distribution, and who owns that land, and the land availability. So, you know, and that shapes behaviour it’s got to, you know, and how we interact with each other, you know, in our daily lives. So I, that’s all, I’ll say I’ll get off my high horse, but I think that to me is just fascinating and what I miss most, obviously coming from the United States where, you know, it’s the one country, it’s a very large country and people live in all parts of the country from Maine to California, from Florida to Washington State, you know, you’re talking thousands of miles, whereas in other large countries that is not so, like in either in China or in Russia, they live in certain parts of the country because the rest of the countries, or part of the country, is inhabitable really, or desolate.
Dan Harris (14:07):
Whereas in the States you can live in any part, you know, also in Hawaii or Alaska, it’s pretty cold up there most of the time, but still, I mean, it all shapes our behaviour and, and getting to it, you know, it also, it affects, you know, your attitude, your personality and how you conduct business. And I can go into that, you know, as well, and the difference between, you know, East coast and West coast, and also the mentality of those two versus Europe, and, how we conduct business here and what people have to learn, you know, to adapt. It’s one reason why I like living abroad because I think it’s fascinating that interaction,
Janina Neumann (14:54):
Wow. That’s really interesting to hear about. And just on living together quite closely, I find it quite interesting, like you also said, how people interact with each other. And it’s just interesting to hear one of the things that, you know, communities struggle with and the public sector always wants to encourage is, how do I get people to talk to each other and talk to their neighbours? Because actually the more you talk to your neighbours, the more you know their first name, the more secure you feel, and actually you feel like there’s someone out there for you. So if someone’s suffering from mental health, they’re, for example, more likely to go and speak to their neighbour, which has a knock-on effect. You know, they might not need the doctor further down the line because they actually have that interaction closer to home. So it’s really interesting to hear about how sense of space actually affects your behaviour, and perhaps why some people, you know, don’t want to talk to their neighbours and want to rush home, and have some peace and quiet. So that’s really interesting.
But yes, tell us more about some of the differences that you’ve noticed in business depending on where you are in the world.
Dan Harris (16:12):
Well, I think the one thing, just coming from the States originally, and I’ve been here again off and on for about 25 to 30 years, although, when I opened my mouth, people still can ask me when I arrived. You know, they think I’ve recently arrived, but I think the attitude, business attitude, as you go from, if you start in California, it’s a very individualistic society, you know, these inventors, these engineers, this individualism is very strong in California. And as you move further East, you gradually get, you know, in a loose term, kind of a collective approach to things, not so much like in Europe, it just gets more so, but, you know, Eastern Seaboard, like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, going on down now to Atlanta, you know, that has a different kind of business culture, a little more aggressive, more established, obviously over, you know, a century or two.
Dan Harris (17:23):
So, but then you go across the ocean and it becomes, instead of becoming individualistic and volume-based, it certainly turns to more as you hit Europe, it’s more relationship-oriented. And I think I’ve heard previous speaker on your programme mention that, and I agreed that, you know, in Europe, particularly after I think the UK, you know, is still is not as relationship-oriented still as the Europeans on the continent where, you know, you have to take time, you know, build trust, get to know them before they will do business with you. California, all the way through Europe, and you can, of course, go further and, you know, get to Japan and talk about that society, which I don’t have any direct experience from except, you know, visiting there or just doing business there or, you know, and, people I know from Japan, who’ve worked with me in the States or here, but still it’s just knowing that kind of style will help people be more aware and it will be more amenable to do business with.
Dan Harris (18:29):
And eventually, of course, you know, if you understand that, you should hopefully be more successful with that knowledge, so in your business dealings. So, I just think it’s just important to travel as you’re going through college, if you can, or if there’s a chance to take a posting in some other country if you have not been there. You know, to use that and to pluck up your courage and to make the jump, if it’s right for you, if it’s not, you know, it’s not going to cause too much difficulty. If you can do it, do it. I encourage, you know, people definitely do it because one, it’s great for you. It’s great for your outlook on life. Hopefully, it’s, you know, rewards you financially, and it looks great in your background, you know, to have done that.
Dan Harris (19:20):
Because it says so much, it says so much about the person when I look at a CV or resume myself, and I see people who have made those kind of jumps. I think of a lot of things. I think the person must be open, you know, adaptable to change. They also must be good communicators, whether it’s, you know, even if they’ve operated in English, you know, like if they’ve gone to, from Australia to England or to the States or whatever. It’s a different attitude, it’s a different language in a way, you know? So, not to mention learning French and German or Italian or Spanish, you know, that’s another level, but, still, it just shows openness, adaptability and that they must have some good communication skills, and that makes a valuable employee.
Janina Neumann (20:06):
That’s really interesting to hear. And also how you speak about making a valuable employee with so many people sometimes now facing redundancy, I think is a great time to address some of the skill sets that people can learn.
So how can people perhaps learn similar skill sets locally? How can they get involved in community projects, for example, do you have any advice on that?
Dan Harris (20:36):
In business get involved in an international project if that’s possible if your company does that, you know, try to have an international outlook, which I think whether you agree not with Brexit, it’s still very important, very important. I mean, even more so, you know, globalisation is not going to stop, it’s going to increase. Okay. It doesn’t matter what we do here. It’s just that globalisation is going to happen even faster I think. But, as far as locally here, I would say, get involved in projects in your firm, getting involved in projects in your community, maybe take a class. If I see someone who’s or they want to improve their skill set, and they’re taking Italian or they’re taking German, that sets them apart. That sets them apart. I think, wow, you’re doing that. You want to know, you want to learn about other cultures.
Dan Harris (21:33):
You’re not just, you know, a monoculture, you know, as far as I’m concerned, you know, because more often than not, most organisations will be internationally affected by international trade commerce or some kind of other cultural aspects. So it sets you apart and it’s just, it’s good for them. It’s also good for the brain learning a language, no matter what age you are, you know, it’s good to have that kind of facility and that mental ability and exercise to learn a language and to understand, and through the language, you can understand the culture of the of the country that you’re studying. You know, so that just goes hand in hand. You just can’t avoid that. And that’s, and that’s very valuable.
Janina Neumann (22:19):
That is really valuable. And I’ve noticed when I learn a new language that some things come up and the idioms that, you know, don’t directly translate, but actually it gives me an insight into how that culture interacts and kind of how personable people are.
Do you have any examples of idioms that you found quite interesting as you traveled?
Dan Harris (22:44):
That old saying between America and Great Britain, and being separated by a common language. It’s just amazing that when I watch, I watched the reaction of both from a social aspect or a business aspect of when people interact and, you know, either coming from the States or coming here, and the look on their faces when they think they’re in an English setting. And, say, for instance, an American coming over and they are lost, they don’t know what the person has said. And just, I find that quite amusing and, you know, I feel a little bit anxious for them. I mean, I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve been here for so long. I think I can tell you, if someone’s talks pretty much where in the country they’re coming from, here it’s so varied, you know, not just from region to region, but almost, you know, from county to county, and town to town almost, you know, because of the, you know, people have been inhabiting isles for centuries and centuries. So it’s really, developed and, and you know, been kind of almost institutionalised across the country, these different idioms and mini cultures, you know, from Gloucestershire to, you know, London to whatever.
Dan Harris (24:02):
And I’m sure as you, you can say the same for Germany, you know, Germany is the same with different areas. You know, from Berlin, I watch a lot of videos and, you know, about the cultural aspects of Germany between, you know, people living in the black forest versus people living in Berlin. What’s the difference, you know? Oh, and you know, or just their attitude of any going anywhere from the country into Berlin and what they think about Berlin, for instance, I think that’s fascinating, you know, because it’s Berlin is quite a different city in Germany, isn’t it?
Janina Neumann (24:35):
Dan Harris (24:36):
But yeah, so as far as the idioms go, to me it’s not the idiom itself, it’s the reaction to it. And how you deal with that, how you understand it, you know, and how you react to it. You know, I’ve been here 25, 30 years, I feel like I’m on some kind of holiday, which is ridiculous because you know, I’m working or doing whatever. But I just find it still stimulating, I guess, is what I’m trying to say.
Janina Neumann (25:08):
Yes. And I think it comes because we’re so curious about finding out about different cultures or just people’s kind of background and what they’re interested in and how, you know, perhaps there’s sometimes a mixture of different cultures or experiences that have shaped who they are. And I think that’s why we’re always going to be curious and learn different things. I think that’s the real advantage that bicultural people have.
Dan Harris (25:36):
Yeah. I think, I mean, one of the other aspects besides the ones, the three skills, I sort of mentioned, being adaptable, communication skills, and being open, I think that another big one that I would look at is, which is kind of hard because it’s a soft skill, but it’s curiosity. You know, they’ve got to be people, if you’re not curious about where you’re going, you know, and wanting to know whether you are able to learn or not. But if you’re just to be curious about it, so you can understand it a little bit better, is so important. And I just see how maybe that’s part of openness, but you know, I just go a little bit further and say, look at how curious people are in their dealings with, you know, their colleagues or their friends, you know. It’s because it’s a bit of a compliment when you’re curious about somebody you’re not just, you know, in your own realm, thinking about your own bubble that you’re in. When you step outside your bubble, and you’re curious about other people and how they’re doing business, how they’re doing or how they’re eating or how they’re living. It shows a lot about the person themselves.
Janina Neumann (26:45):
Certainly, and I also think ties in with how comfortable you feel about being vulnerable. I certainly have realised that I don’t feel quite as intimidated as going somewhere, just because, you know, I’ve sometimes felt like I don’t quite fit in. So I’m more likely to be curious because if something comes back that I don’t understand, I know how to deal with that situation by asking more questions or just reassuring them, how I feel about them. I think that’s really a great point to be more curious.
Dan Harris (27:23):
Yeah. It basically, it’s building your own kind of confidence and self-esteem in a way. You know, it’s the confidence to deal with different situations. So it goes back to businesses that when you’re looking at someone, evaluating whether you want to work for a company, you’re looking at a CV or resume, and as far as, you know, bringing on an employee. You know, those kinds of soft skills, I mean are so important, you know, technically can they do the job? Technically, do I want to work with them, whatever? Yeah, I could see that they can do something like this, but what are they really like? You know, and I think one of the factors when you see on job specifications, you know, excellent communication skills. Well, you know, people say, “Oh yeah, of course I can do that. You know, I can do that”.
Dan Harris (28:11):
You know, this is both a bicultural, monoculture or, you know, if you’ve got somebody who’s, you know, can speak several languages or at least lived abroad or whatever. You know, they’ve had to use their communication skills to get their points across and to work in that environment to exist in that environment. So that is important. That could be a factor where you weed out a lot of people, you know, people that’s the employer’s way to say ‘no’ to somebody or ‘yes’ to somebody. You know, even though they might take all the other boxes, their communication skills, if they can’t communicate properly, both in writing or speaking or whatever, then, you know, that’s their way to say ‘no’ to you. So, you know, going abroad, and being multicultural or bicultural, certainly helps your cause a great deal.
Janina Neumann (29:06):
Yeah, it certainly does. And also I’m just thinking about if people would like to develop that skill further, you know, there are always plenty of opportunities to gain experience in that field, and actually for the employer to see how you work and on a day-to-day basis and perhaps, handle different situations, whether it’s about delivering positive messages or about dealing with conflict, that’s where your communication style shines and, you know, further on along the line, perhaps convinces your employer that you’re the right fit, which is brilliant.
Dan Harris (29:50):
Exactly. Yeah, it’s all about the right fit. Reducing the risk of taking you on, because, you know, you’re giving confidence, you’re showing confidence, not just your outward demeanour, but you know, the way you interact and all that. And you know, that’s what the employer wants. If you have confidence, you’ve got that little instilled confidence in them to hire you. I guess it’s just the difference between both the technical skills of being able to do the job, whatever the job is, but the soft skills are becoming in this world a lot more important, a lot more important than they ever have been. So, we’re not getting less international, we’re getting more international. I feel like languages are being deemphasised, certainly, after just say during the Labour years of 2000, 2010 or something, they would really try to make it more engineering-driven, and you know, computerised. And now I’m here, I worked in high tech for many years. And so yeah, I can understand that. But at the same time, I thought there was not enough emphasis on the communication skills, on writing, reading, but particularly languages and languages seem to be getting, were getting sidelines. Now I leave it to other people, people in the educational sector, to come and tell exactly what it’s like today. But I hope that you know, through increased globalisation and internationalisation that people can at least appreciate, and maybe emphasise in school curriculum the languages more so now than what I was seeing 10, 20 years ago.
Janina Neumann (31:30):
Yeah, I think that would be a great step forward. But also, and like you say, learning a language gives you so much more skill sets, such as, you know, making your brain work harder and becoming curious about why things are the way they are. So I think it’s a really positive thing that people can learn.
Dan Harris (31:53):
One aspect, I think understanding, you know, the humour between, you know, trying to understand the English humour versus the American humour, and the German humour, you know, or things like that. Like we talked about food earlier. For instance, there’s a quote by George Bernard Shaw, which I think maybe your listeners would be familiar with, as you know, “It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him”. I mean, I think that’s obviously it’s quite whimsical, quite ironic, quite funny, but at the same time kind of depressing as well. So it’s just understanding, where people are coming from and part partly, that has very much class undertones to it. You know, as far as, you know, you open your mouth here and people can pinpoint you and pigeonhole you as a Scouser or whatever, or a Cockney or coming from different parts of the UK at least.
Dan Harris (33:05):
And I imagine the same as in Germany, but here it’s, I think it’s the class system that’s, I’d like to see less emphasis on the class system going forward, it’s too bad. Because I think that there’s too much division in this country on many subjects, like particularly recently on Brexit or, you know, left versus right. I think, you know, we somehow got to pull together a little bit more, and I think that’s a cultural issue, it’s a bicultural issue, a multicultural issue. So, and things that might cut through that in our understanding is, you know like we’ve talked about all along here, about communication skills, but, you know, and things like humour, and just learning and being able to, you know, get along and laugh with our counterparts abroad. So, I think that’s great, just respecting each other’s differences. I mean, we’re not all going to be the same, but let’s just respect and actually cherish our differences, because one thing that made America great is that, you know, we’re an immigrant nation. But that made us stronger, you know? So, you know, we harness the talents and different perspectives, different ways of looking at a problem, rather than one cultural approach. So, I think that’s a real benefit for society.
Janina Neumann (34:31):
Yeah, I definitely feel the same. In a different episode, I spoke to Tiffany Dawson, who described that there’s this research going on that actually, you know, different perspectives and diversity actually creates more innovation because people have different viewpoints and will point out different flaws. Whereas if you’re surrounded by people who think the same as you all the time, you’re not going to spot that. And I think with the situation we’re in and the drive for change, it’s just really interesting how different perspectives can come together and actually form a better future for us.
Dan Harris (35:15):
Oh, exactly. I mean, in one good exercise, and I agree totally with Tiffany there and what you say, I mean, a simple exercise on, you know, I’m a marketing consultant by trade, and I was working on a brand, a logo, and I had one perspective myself, but at least through my background and my experience, I realised I’m a middle-aged white male with this type of background. Okay, I worked internationally, whatever, but I still wanted to hear from different people, different people, what they thought of this logo. So I, you know, distributed around to old and young alike, a surprising amount of, you know, different perspectives and experiences just with that logo and what it meant to them, you know, from a culture point of view, from a demographic, from an age, good asking men versus women, getting women their perspective, getting men their perspective. However you define multiculturalism or bicultural, you know, it’s just these different perspectives, as you mentioned, you know, that really strengthened a country and a society. So, and I just want to use that one micro example, that logo was improved by doing that exercise.
Janina Neumann (36:39):
Yeah, and sometimes we feel so under pressure to create a concept and a design, such as a logo, and actually it’s really important to be aware, like you say, of your perspective and how you view things. And it’s just really interesting also the language that we speak in, actually influences the way we think, what vocab we have to put together concepts. So actually, you know, a logo is so important to have that diverse feedback. So that’s brilliant that you did that.
Dan Harris (37:14):
Yeah. You know, with a brand it’s so important, you know, I mean, most when branding exercises, especially for international companies, you have to go around the world and see the viewpoints from Asia to Europe, to the States, how a certain brand is depicted, what it means and the brand values and all that. So, you know, that’s kind of, you know, common sense, but from a macro point of view, that’s a large example, right down to a small example like that, you know, as far as just the logo and just the colour and what does it mean in Japan versus what it means in the States if it means anything. You know, you get blown away, you could just, you know, use the wrong colour in certain aspects in the Middle East and ain’t going to go anywhere, you know, it’s not going to be successful for you. So it’s just that kind of sensitivity and awareness, I mean, it’s very important in business.
Janina Neumann (38:14):
It certainly is.
So if people love listening to you, Dan, how can they connect with you or perhaps work with you?
Dan Harris (38:22):
I run my own management kind of marketing consultancy called hymnsheet.com. That’s like singing from the same hymn sheet. It’s just basically pulling together, you know, the whole aspect of hymn sheet was pulling different aspects of a company, particularly sales and marketing together, and then getting them all singing from the same hymn sheet. And you can find at hymnsheet.com. I’m the vice president of the Chamber of Commerce in Cheltenham. But you know, I work across Gloucestershire as well. I think those are the main things, and be happy to take any questions or insights about this subject or about marketing, or anybody wants to drop me a line, that would be great.
Janina Neumann (39:14):
That sounds fantastic.
And would you like to tell us a little bit more about your very own podcast that you’ve got coming up?
Dan Harris (39:21):
Oh, well, thank you. I haven’t launched it just yet, but, and I’m looking forward to maybe having you as a guest as well. It really goes to a lot of what we’re talking about here, but it’s something that’s called, “Over here over there”, and it’s as others, people see us, and you know, we know what we feel about ourselves and it’s important, you know, to express how we feel about what we’re trying to achieve, but it’s very good to have someone from afar or, you know, have sight of you give you, give their impression, their perspective. So we’re getting, you know, some very interesting people from various parts of the globe on a team to look at various subjects like could be healthcare, inequality, could be food, fashion, you know, or politics, which as you know, I’m very much interested in, especially as run-up to the November election.
Dan Harris (40:29):
So we’ll get, you know, people from Germany, from France, from Japan, and the States, you know, whatever the topic that we’re discussing. We’ll have a team to look at it and to comment on each other’s perspective, you know, so it’s all basically looking at best practice, you know. There is a best practice in Germany, best practice in the States, and what we can learn from those kind of best practices and what we can adapt back home. So that’s what we’re trying to do, foster this kind of understanding and cooperation, and valuing each other’s perspectives, and you know, differences, and seeing how we can adapt to them, use them, you know, back home.
Janina Neumann (41:16):
Wow. That sounds so cool, and really looking forward to listening to your podcast when it’s available Dan, that sounds brilliant.
Dan Harris (41:24):
Yeah. Well, thank you. I’m looking forward to having you on and launching it as soon as possible. So I’m working very hard at it. It’s a lot more work than I thought.
Janina Neumann (41:37):
Oh, fantastic. Oh Dan, thank you so much for today. It’s been fantastic to talk to you. So many new insights and I loved how you talked about community, and also skill sets, I’m sure a lot of people will take a lot from that.
Dan Harris (41:54):
Yeah, well, thank you for having me, it’s been a real pleasure. And good luck with your own podcast, this has been a wonderful experience.
Janina Neumann (42:01):
Thank you, Dan.
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