A Russian reader asks,
I don't know how the political sutuation changes our business. What you think from your side? Not about Crimea, but about business opportunities for Russian companies in USA?
I think it is very tough for Russian companies to make an impact in Western markets. So far, the best way has been to work as sub-contractors to American and European CAD vendors.
The problem stems from a number of reasons, not all of which are rational:
- Russia is still seen as the looming enemy from its Soviet era, and from how it is portrayed as the menace in movies (even today)
- Russian companies have odd names that can be hard to pronounce
- Russians don't do a good job of marketing themselves; perhaps lessons can be learned from Samsung?
To build up mindshare, marketing in another county takes a long time. Unfortunately, this costs a lot of money. I was impressed at what Alexander Tasev accomplished while he was the head of Autodesk CIS. Today, nanoCAD has a North American presence through Evan Yares. In its early days, Autodesk did it by having one of its German-speaking employees live and market AutoCAD in Germany.
Following my trip to Russia some years ago, I wrote a whitepaper that talks about the marketing problem. The Russian MCAD Market is in Russian and English, with translation by the fine folks at LEDAS.
In its 126 pages, I interview seven Russian MCAD software firms, and then travelogue my experiences travelling halfway across this immense country, from Saint Petersburg (shown above) to Moscow to Novosibirsk.