Two things happened this week that made the Culture Map by Erin Meyer be particularly interesting ot me. First, I chose to listen to this book from Audible and Erin Meyer’s cultural sensitivity and awareness was easy to pick up on. My favorite part was that anytime Meyer wrote an example of something that would be said from someone of a particular nationality, the narrator in another accent, or another voice actor read it in the appropriate answer. On a production level I appreciated the integrity to the firm belief in the core value of the message. I imagine this was significantly more work to accomplish but it’s my hunch that the author insisted on the higher level of production to able to capture the ethos of the what the book’s content stood for. I remember the opposite happened when we read Visual Faith by Dyrness and they printed horrible quality images in their book which said images are important.
Secondly, this last two months I’ve been experimenting with a freelancing website fiverr.com to handle some of the more technical aspects of leading and growing my ministry. Navigating through fiverr.com is like walking through Toys R’ Us as a kid. My imagination was just running wild of all the things I could do. Video Animation, voice overs, live action commercials, ghost writing, digital marketing, translation and a lot lot more. Needing a video for my ministry I search a lot of different people and noticed that they were actually from all over the world. I began asking for quotes from people from Israel, Pakistan, India, New Zealand and more. I saw services also from US or UK but all of these costed significantly more. I wasn’t sure how I felt about moving my production a lower GDP nation, but I also had a limited budget, and they were offering highly competitive quality and prices. I ended up going with a guy from Indonesia who did the story board and final animation of the video. He sent me some portfolios of different voice actors and I had about 8 different languages and 8 different accents to choose from for the English language. I decided to go with a male American accent since the cartoon guy narrator the video kind of correlates to me. (and I paid a premium to get this guy who has also done McDonalds commercials. Cool, right?!) Here is the finished video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCUOcj5xF14, and here is the profile of the animator, https://www.fiverr.com/albertanimation. In the end I paid about $290 for a 68 second video. Much cheaper than the software I would have needed to make this video, and it saved me many hours. Also, it was much cheaper than just hiring a part-time marketing person to work for my ministry, which is what the predecessor of my current job did a few years back…
I’m very interested in your thoughts on this global experience I had in the creation of this video, as well as your thoughts on this video!
Randomly though… Now I am concerned I have taken the easy route. As opposed to developing a leader and giving opportunity for someone around me, I have hawked this job off-shore and the gig is now complete. If I continue this practice of using freelancers for all these random needs do I become (to steal an analogy from Good to Great) the genius with a 1000 helpers, but not a developer of leaders? I supposed this is a tension to be managed. The man my predecessor hired costed a full salary, but he is now a highly creative full-time children’s pastor, and the investment stayed local. I’m conflicted.
In just some brief conversations I had with the different freelancers I ran into some cultural differences. Of course, it is hard to tell how much was just perhaps not proficient in English, or perhaps even the digital culture of that website (digital culture is a thing no one talks about!). But it was a fun experience to be working so multi-culturally even if in a very small degree. Doing this work alongside reading this book really highlighted how much damage and lost potential could occur if this goes wrong. I don’t think I approached the point of benefiting or using what I learned in the book yet, from these small interactions, but I was much more aware of the dialogue and interactions than I would have been.
Reading through this showed me how much more culture plays a difference in people’s lives, to a greater extent that I realized. I knew it was huge, but never did I think someone could take something as abstract and invisible as culture and actually map it out into 8 dimensions. These 8 categories, communicating, evaluating, persuading, leading, deciding, trusting, disagreeing, scheduling all have a huge effect on whether ones working experience is positive or negative or effective or ineffective. Before this reading I probably could have only identified 2 or 3 of these 8 explicitly.
Now I am wrapping up my writing, but I am wondering if I just should have hired a ghost writer to do this? Would you have noticed?
A quick search brought up this freelancer from Canada who will write 1000 words for $30. Is it you Mark?