Entrepreneur’s blog charts the challenges of running a global business through the economic turmoil from 2008 to the present day.
Blogs are hardly big news these days but when thebigword’s CEO Larry Gould started his blog in November 2008, it was rare for a leading businessman to put his life online; and to be quite so candid!
Over the subsequent five years, Larry’sBigWordBlog has charted the trials, tribulations and triumphs of running a multinational company during the biggest economic crisis in living memory – attracting more than 51,000 visits to the blog.
thebigword is one of the world’s largest translation and interpreting companies. Now in the global top-20, it employs nearly 500 staff and ever month, interprets more than two million minutes of speech, fulfils 14,500 face-to-face interpreting appointments and translates 35 million written words.
Commuting as he does between Leeds, UK and New York, US, with frequent business trips to China and across Europe Larry, through his blog, has presented an unusual perspective of the global business world. From being pursued into the street by a New York waiter who believed he had been under-tipped, to being strip searched in a Chinese airport, meeting former bankers in Wall Street wearing billboards offering to buy gold, falling out of a narrow hotel bed in Dusseldorf, and coping with snoring seat companions on transatlantic flights – it’s all documented in enthralling detail.
As, during the five years, the economy plunged and the news became ever more doomy, Larry explains in his blog his decision to cancel the newspapers, turn off the televisions and news feeds throughout his offices and ban the ‘R’ word: Recession. He berates UK business people for developing what he calls ‘whine flu’; constantly moaning about their economic problems.
However, the challenge of running a business almost pales into insignificance besides Larry’s relentless efforts to become fit and slim. From numerous gym memberships to a personal trainer, to many different diets, the agonies of trying to create the body beautiful alongside the constraints of business meetings and constant travel are well documented.
The blog also charts new business preoccupations – or at least new words for them: social networking, green policies, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, partner-shipping, information security standards, centralised procurement, content management systems, among others.
The drive for staff training, service automation and the development of new IT solutions to meet clients’ demands for faster, more accurate and cheaper interpreting and translation are a recurring theme of the blog.
Larry Gould says: “Just like reading your old diaries, my blog reflects my main preoccupation each week as I wrote it. Some of these sound trivial now, some totally justified, and others surprisingly prophetic. Unlike a diary, my blog has been shared with more than 51,000 readers. If I thought seriously about this, it might terrify me into blandness – but I promise that will never happen!”
Despite the challenges detailed in Larry’s blog, thebigword has grown throughout the downturn, including achieving an increase in revenue of nearly 40 per cent over the past three years.