Michal Waszkiewicz DTX 2019 Interview
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:15] Good afternoon. Welcome back to day two of Digital Transformation Expo. I’m Natalie Turner with Disruptive Live. And today I am joined by Michal, who is the sales and marketing director am I right? Intralink. Fantastic. Thank you so much for joining us here on the live stream.
MICHAL WASZKIEWICZ [00:00:30] Thank you for having me.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:33] No problem at all, It’s always a pleasure. So how are you feeling? how’s the expo going?
MICHAL WASZKIEWICZ [00:00:37] Well, it’s it’s quite great. It’s quite intense, I must say, its my second day here. So I feel, you know, the step count on my on my on my phone is quite, quite high up there. But it’s good. It’s it’s quite an exciting place to be today.
NATALIE TURNER [00:00:49] Fantastic. So it would be amazing if you could just introduce Intralink what they do why you’re here and a bit about your role and how that falls within the company.
MICHAL WASZKIEWICZ [00:01:00] Sure. Absolutely. So Intralink is British business development consultancy that specialises in East Asia. And we define East Asia as China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. And what we do is we work with Western, this can be European, UK or North American technology companies typically start-ups. And this means they’re looking to grow in that part of the world. And we are quite unique in that we do not only provide sort of strategic advice and, you know, do this, don’t do that in that part of the world. But we actually play a hands on role in implementing these types of strategies. And the way we do that is by using basically a team of fully bilingual sector specialists who are based in our offices in Tokyo and Seoul and Shanghai and Taipei. And they essentially become the extension of our clients business development and sales outfits. And they go out, they meet with people and and they try to identify and convert opportunities on their behalf on stage.
NATALIE TURNER [00:02:11] So why should Western tech firms be looking at the primary East Asian countries? What’s the purpose?
MICHAL WASZKIEWICZ [00:02:18] Well, so I think, you know, apart from the obvious things like Asia being the fastest growing markets globally, especially in terms of tech. I think a big driver these days is the concept of open innovation and just a quick history lesson. So, you know, if you go back a decade or two. A lot of these big well-known Asian companies your Sony’s, your Huawei, your Samsung’s, they you know for lack of a better word, they would. Their strategy was to take inspiration from Western tech equivalents and build similar stuff quicker and faster and cheaper. And they could do this because, well, you know, labour costs and things like that were quite low back then in that part of the world. So they could very quickly develop great products today. Actually, if you want to hire, you know, an engineer in Shanghai, he or she is going to cost. The same or maybe even more than one in Silicon Valley. So this strategy or this philosophy no longer works. And therefore, these companies are now opening up to collaborating with Western start-ups in Assamese. They’re looking for licencing models. They’re looking for emanation acquisitions. So I guess summing up. Back in the days, it was possible to get a licencing deal with some song with with with Sony. These days it’s actually desirable. These companies are actively looking out for Western innovators to make it part of their of their organisation in one way or another.
NATALIE TURNER [00:03:57] Off the back of that. Of all the all the vendors and the tech tech companies that you’ve seen and the services that being provided, who do you think has got the zest to do what you guys are doing over in East Asia?
MICHAL WASZKIEWICZ [00:04:11] So I think so. I’ve just spoke a few minutes ago with one of the companies here, and they summed it up very nicely when they said that today. Basically, every company is a data company. Right. And, you know, this is a powerful statement, in my opinion, and it carries a lot of sort of implications. So, you know, if you have data and if you have the technology to harness it, you can use it to, you know, to to to to optimise your operations. You can use it to, you know, to make yourself more as a company, more efficient. At the same time, you have to be careful because data can be breached and you have to protect yourself. So there is a lot of businesses here that enable these types of things using data. And I think the reason why I think this is important for Asia is that part of the world has traditionally been very strong on hardware, building amazing machines and devices, not so much of software. And so this bigger software ecosystem and data and cybersecurity, this is something that these companies out there are actively looking to to to source essentially because they just don’t have alternatives at home. So I think these companies around here particularly are quite well placed to to to do business with Asian companies, both in terms of actually selling their enterprise software to somebody like Samsung, that they can use it internally to improve their own sort of operational excellence, but also to, you know, to to sell embedded software or algorithms and things like that that companies like Samsung or Sony can then integrate into their solutions and their products. So it’s quite a lot of opportunity on the software and data side.
NATALIE TURNER [00:06:03] Absolutely, on the opposite of that opportunities, what are the major pitfalls to avoid?
MICHAL WASZKIEWICZ [00:06:07] Well, so I think from my experience and just just to give you a bit of an idea over the last 12 years, I’ve been working with a lot of Western start ups and scale ups and SME’s in the tech space trying to get into that part of the world. The majority of the time I actually spent in South Korea myself and what I’ve seen a lot and what I’ve had to very often quite strongly advise my clients and my prospects against doing was trying to go there a little bit too early. And what I mean by that is that these companies, even though I’m saying that they’re opening up and they’re looking for collaborations, they’re still very risk averse. Right. So if you have a product as a new sort of innovators, a Start-Up here in the UK, you have a product that may be the best technology out there at the moment. If you don’t have a customer base at home, if you don’t have, let’s say, two or three generations of your project products already up and running tests to try and tested in the field, if you don’t have a good base or portfolio of case studies, it will be very difficult to sell this type of a solution to to an Asian corporate. They want to see results. They want to see data that backs up that you actually you know we work. So going a little bit too early is something that I would say be careful with.
NATALIE TURNER [00:07:35] So, I mean, although that’s a really key piece of advice to wrap up, what would be your overall advice to other companies and to consumers? What’s what’s the key message you want to get away with today?
MICHAL WASZKIEWICZ [00:07:48] I would say. Well. Speak to advisers, essentially, that is, you know, Asia. I mean, we think these days that the world is so interconnected and you can do business over it. You know, conference calls and in LinkedIn and things like that. That’s true. You can you can probably start, but you really want to surround yourself with people who have been out there, who have to know what you’re talking about, who know the culture, who know the language. They have the network use their expertise to build your initial strategy. And then the second thing is, you know, go out there and just dip your toes a little bit. Go speak to the customers, speak to the potential partners in China or in Japan or in Korea and hear them out hear their feedback, because this will then help you refine your strategy and this will then help you build something that you can actually implement and actually you can turn into revenues for yourself as well as a company.
NATALIE TURNER [00:08:43] We’re going to leave it on that note as we’ve run out of time. But thank you so much for joining us on Disruptive Live. It’s been lovely talking to you.
MICHAL WASZKIEWICZ [00:08:50] Thank you.
NATALIE TURNER [00:08:51] As I said, that is all we have time for but please don’t go away. We will be back after a very short break. See you in a bit.