Interview with Roger Serra… | English: a must have for entrepreneurs | What's Up!

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Interview with Roger Serra… | English: a must have for entrepreneurs


Roger Serra worked as an Associate Professor of International Relations for eight years at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.His work has taken him to China and around different countries in Asia where he took on a variety of projects and carried out research for the university. Now centered back in Sabadell, he has successfully taken his experience and transitioned into the world of the entrepreneur. What’s up! Sabadell is happy to host Roger Serra as our first guest speaker sharing his knowledge and insights into the world of start ups in a series of talks on starting a business.

English has become the technological lingua franca. As a software development company CEO … How important is it to have a team equipped with excellent English skills in this field? 

English is a must on the digital business because it has three special characteristics: 

1. Digital products have no geographic barriers. A website, an app, a program, etc. can be programmed and accessed from everywhere in the world, so your market and your potential clients can be everywhere. You may be an small company based in Sabadell but easily end up working for clients in California, Switzerland or Holland (as we do) in DAU Apps.

2. Even if most of your clients are local, you would have to deal with many companies (Apple, Google, etc) at an enterprise level, that would only have English as a way to communicate.

3. The digital revolution speaks English. Innovation goes so fast that the latest information is most of the times only available in English. And it changes so often that most of the times it never gets translated to other languages.

Would you say it’s essential to travel abroad before embarking on the journey towards entrepreneurship? How come? 

Traveling and living abroad really helps to open your mind, and being open minded is a must to be an entrepreneur.

Traveling is a great way to learn other ways of doing things. Specially if you travel in a way that allows you to interact and get involved with the locals. I think it’s much more interesting to be working for a week in a foreign country than spending one month just sightseeing

Interview with Roger Serra…

Could you tell us what you’ve learnt from working in such culturally diverse teams? 

Culturally diverse teams need an extra effort in team building, and also in communication and planning. Trying to find a way to monitor thing objectively (calendars, tasks well defined for every member, working procedures, objectives, etc) At the same time, trying to create activities to reinforce the team and build trust among their members (a party, a cultural event, a day off together doing some sport activities, etc).

      Interview with Roger Serra… Notas para flauta (ES): Los peces en el río, notas para flauta

What made you end up returning to Sabadell and establishing your headquarters? 

China is good for doing business and saving money but in my opinion it’s not a great place for rising kids. Even after three years there I could not feel like I was home, and when my girlfriend visited me in Beijing she didn’t like it either.So when I was thinking about starting a family I decided to come back and start a new company here. I chose Sabadell as headquarters because rents are cheaper, and it is also very close to Barcelona. From my Beijing neighborhood to the Beijing city center I spent much more time commuting than from Sabadell to Barcelona city center.

Name 3 moments in which English has been personally and professionally rewarding for you. 

I think that English for me has been very rewarding in many way and moments. But if I have to choose the most important ones would probably be:

1. Being an Erasmus student in Norway. I was supposed to spend 6 months but ended up staying for a year, working and even getting my Policy Science degree there. An experience that changed my career. I could not have had this opportunity without English.

2. Working as an Electoral Observer for OSCE. Monitoring the electoral processes of Kazakhstan and Kyrgizstan for that organization, with other observers of 27 different countries, was a great experience.

3. Backpacking Asia and the Middle East. I love traveling and in my twenties I traveled alone for months and through very different countries (from Korea, Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Syria, Egypt,…). In every one of them, English was the only way I could communicate with locals. Even more, I would say that everybody there expected me, as a foreigner, to speak English. 

Interview with Roger Serra…

Even though our whatsupper commnity is already very creative and entrepreneurial, could you give them any other tips to become highly ambitious professionals? 

* We are living in an open, interconnected, cooperative and social era, and I think that this also applies to the changing way we do business.

* Don’t be afraid to share your ideas or projects. Having ideas is easier than having them done.

* Don’t try to do everything on your own. Get help for the tasks you don’t master, ask for opinions: build a team!

* Try to collaborate with other business, projects and people. A competitor can end being one of your best clients.

Interview with Roger Serra…

Thank you very much Roger!

The What’s up! Team 


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