Raidboxes will increasingly position itself internationally in the coming months. An important step, for which we were able to win over a prominent face from the WordPress community: Caspar Hübinger. In this interview, he tells us more about his exciting task.
Opening up new markets - a complex project
Caspar, you are responsible for internationalisation at Raidboxes\. What are your first steps?
Besides the technical internationalisation of our product, my first priority is to make Raidboxes an internationally attractive place to work. This includes strengthening a "remote" culture in the company and introducing English-language documentation and organizational structures.
You are well known in the WordPress scene, among other things as a speaker at WordCamps all over Europe and beyond. Why did you switch from an international WordPress agency to Raidboxes, which has been operating relatively locally until now?
True, I am (hopefully still) relatively well connected in the global WordPress community, and I would like to actively maintain and use this network in my work. I have always enjoyed doing that at WordCamps.
My previous employer worked exclusively in the enterprise market, i.e. large companies (Fortune 500, etc.). Even though I learned an enormous amount during my time there, it always made me a little sad that my community background was simply worthless for my job.
Raidboxes I have been watching since its inception, and its ethically strong approach with sustainability and holacracy has always fascinated me. It became concrete when I wanted to pitch a product idea to Johannes at a WordCamp and it turned out that pretty much the same idea was already on his roadmap for Raidboxes\. So I thought: ok, this is the right place for you. Then I thought: ok, you've come to the right place.
The internationalisation project involves numerous tasks that run through the entire company. How do you keep an overview? And how do you pick up everyone?
Internationalisation is such an umbrella term, under which a bunch of more specific topics come together: a localisable product, branding (voice, sound), marketing, partnerships, go-to-market strategies in different languages and regions, community relations, but also team-related topics such as diversity and culture, English as a lingua franca, remote work, labour law, etc.
Many of them are closely intertwined, others build on each other - priorities and a roadmap can be derived from this.
The cultural shift
The leap into other countries and languages causes a cultural shift. This triggers anticipation in the team, but sometimes also concerns and fears. How do you react to this?
With the decision to make Raidboxes more visible and attractive beyond German-speaking markets, we embarked on a journey as a team - and as with most journeys, a lot of things feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar at first.
The human brain first releases stress hormones in uncertain situations. In this respect, we all function in the same way, but it would be undignified to try to level out the individually very different stress levels with a blanket class trip rhetoric à la "Hey, welcome to the party bus, next stop: we all speak English!
With a team of currently about 30 people from different backgrounds, I cannot expect to "pick up" everyone at all times. What I can do is minimise the potential for interpretation (and thus stress) by making the planning and implementation of concrete steps as transparent as possible. For example, naming our Slack channels in English, or converting internal documentation to English. What is happening now? Why is this important now? What does this mean for the team in detail?
Strengthen local markets
What do you say to customers from German-speaking countries who fear that the advantages of a local host will be lost?
Ah, good keyword: internationalisation is actually about localisation. Similar to a grocery shop that opens a branch on the other side of a language border, Raidboxes will in future be present in more local markets, including non-German-speaking ones.
However, you, dear German-speaking customers, will not necessarily notice anything of this - except that you will benefit, for example, if you work as an agency for customers in other language regions. Server location in Germany, data protection conformity, competent German-language support, Dashboard in German - everything that makes Raidboxes attractive for you remains.
Customer experience is in the foreground
At the beginning, you started with the "Peer Boxes" project. What was that all about? And what conclusions did you draw from it?
"Peer Boxes" is a market research experiment. Raidboxes was initially launched in German, both as a product and as a company. The Dashboard (Hosting Panel) has been available in English for a long time, but we didn't have any data on customer experience in English yet.
So I contacted WordPress experts from regions where English is either the official language or at least generally well understood and spoken. Within the project I supervised, each of these experts then implemented a website for their clients on Raidboxes, whose development and hosting we fully sponsored for one year.
The feedback loop with this group validated many of my assumptions about where we are still lacking in the English-language customer experience and how we can best address these issues.
You are actually no longer "new" to Raidboxes, but have been with us for over half a year. Why only now this interview?
My probationary period has only been over since the end of February. ? I just wanted to wait with the interview until it was really clear that Raidboxes and I would stay together for the foreseeable future.
We in the team appreciate your clear but at the same time very mediating communication - perfect when things get busy in projects. How do you manage to stay so patient?
Hm, a certain demand on one's own professionalism perhaps and ... age? At 46, I feel pretty laid back. ? But honestly, the team is great. What I need most is patience with myself.
A few words about you: What do you do when you're not making plans for Raidboxes?
I make sure I get enough fresh air, in warmer weather I also like to go longboarding. Or I write on my blog.