For this week’s Simply CSOFT blog post, we have another CSOFT Stories interview – with a twist. Not only was this interview conducted live at CSOFT’s 10th Annual World Summit in Sanya, but our interviewee also happens not to be a CSOFT employee. He is, however, a member of the CSOFT family. Having worked with CSOFT for the last 10 years, Paul Liotti, Manager of Technical Communications & Localization at Carestream Health, has seen both CSOFT and the localization industry grow and change over time. In his interview (transcribed below), Paul shares his thoughts and insights with CSOFT’s Senior Manager of International HR & Corporate Services, Meg Connelly.
Meg Connelly: What do you think of the Summit and what are your thoughts on CSOFT’s
Paul Liotti: Ten years is a tremendous milestone, and it’s a tribute to your senior leadership, your vision, and your complete buy-in from your employees, because – in the States for example – most companies do not survive the first three years. But when you get to ten years, it is a tremendous accomplishment, and once you do – and I want to model the mountain metaphor from Ruben [Payan] – you know you are beyond the ‘point of return’ when you can actually see the summit and you keep right on going.
Meg: You’ve been with CSOFT for a long time, so could you tell us perhaps about some of your early experiences?
Paul: Well, interestingly enough, whenever we had a difficult project because some of our processes were really lacking back then, if we couldn’t figure out how to do it, we’d just say “maybe CSOFT will figure it out,” and they usually figured it out – actually, they always figured it out. Those experiences really helped to solidify a relationship that has lasted now for about ten years.
Meg: You’ve clearly been in the industry for a long time. Can you share your insights as globalization has evolved over the years, and maybe some of the secrets to your success?
Paul: Well, I think an open mind to new technologies is critical. The industry is very young [as compared to] energy, or technology, or IT. So you have to be very flexible in understanding that what you’re doing today and what you’ll be doing tomorrow might not be the same as in two or three weeks’ time. So I think [it’s necessary to have] constant flexibility to that, and understanding and welcoming that.
Secrets to my success…well, when I find them I‘ll tell you about it. Laughs. The “secrets” I think I can give are open mindedness and not settling for the status quo in understanding. A lot of [what I discussed in] my presentation was being true to your deadlines and constantly, continuously improving to avoid getting left behind.
|Carestream Health’s Paul Liotti interviewed live at CSOFT Summit in Sanya|
Meg: Looking into the future, what do you see as a necessary industry change?
Paul: [I believe it’s necessary to undergo] a transition from “customer relationship” to “client relationship.” There’s a big difference that I’ve recently been looking into. With a “supplier-customer relationship,” the customer is always right, and it forces you, as a supplier, to sometimes under-deliver on the front end. But if you’re dealing with someone who is a client – and not just a customer – you’re going to occasionally [have to] give them the harsh truth: “This can’t be done because of X, but we can do it this way instead.”
A lot of times those on the customer side fall into the trap of saying “deliver, deliver, deliver,” without fully understanding just what they’re demanding. Clients don’t like to hear “it can’t be done” and it just stopping there. It’s up to the supplier – as the experts in the industry – to provide a deeper explanation. That’s the way to developing that partnership.
Meg: In that same vein then, what would you say are your three key points of advice or mandates to success?
Paul: I think that – and I touched a little bit on it, and will a little bit more – to be more open minded to technologies will get you to the “next level.” Whether you’re a linguist or a purchaser of desktop publishing services, or even engineering services, technology will get us all to the next level – it’s just more efficient, and more cost effective. Another is to be open to contingencies, and to build processes that account for these contingencies. And the other one is continuous incremental improvement – you have to always do that.
Meg: Alright, to wrap this up, one last question: what song signifies CSOFT’s past ten years to you?
Paul: In 1986, Timbuk3 came out with a song, “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.” [places sunglasses on face] Now, I can’t get YouTube here, but [I’ll share some of the lyrics]: “Things are going great, and they’re only getting better/ I’m doing all right, getting good grades/ The future’s so bright I gotta wear I shades/ I gotta wear shades/ I gotta wear shades.” So that’s what I think CSOFT is all about in the next ten years.