I made my biggest business mistake 2 years before I even started my business 10 years ago. I met a guy who is today one of my two business partners, and he said to me:
"I'm making a ton of money running an affiliate website in English. Let's make a similar website, but for Croatian audience!"
I said yes. We were both fools. But we were 20 years old then.
It took me years to realize what a small town our country is. I'm writing this because I don't want other young people to make the same mistake I did, and in this post I've prepared the simplest math to prove my point.
I give you two words:
"Pas" means "dog" in Croatian. It took me the same amount of time to write down "pas", as it took me to write down "dog". It takes me twice the time to write "pas" and "dog" one after another. This simplified math becomes life-changing in the next few sentences.
The first word "pas" is understood by 22.3 million people in 7 South European countries (Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro). That's a whopping 0.003% of the world population.
The second word "dog" is understood by 1.5 billion people, spread across almost every country of the world. That's almost 22% of all the people living on Earth right now.
It's astonishing how a simple choice of letter combination magnifies my potential by the factor of 67. But, what's in a number, right?
For every 1 person that reads my blog post in the obscure language of my small country, there are 67 more people that can be touched, inspired and influenced by my ideas - but aren't, if I don't write in English.
For every like, follow, plus, comment and share I get from my fellow countrymen and neighbors who understand me, I can get 67 likes, follows, plusses, comments and shares from people all around the world - but I won't, if I don't write in English.
For every dollar I could make on the market of 22.3 million people in 7 countries, I could make 67 dollars selling to my fans everywhere in the world - but I won't, if my product is not offered to English-speaking people.
For every friend I make in Smallville, there are 67 new friends eager to meet me in Metropolis - but if I greet them with "Bok!" instead of with "Hi!", we can never be friends.
Oh, that reminds me!
Yesterday on Google+, I became friends with a guy from Greenland.
Greenland! Do you know anyone from Greenland? Well, I do! I now have a friend there! I could put that under "Bragging rights" in my Google+ profile.
Greenland might be the largest island in the world, but only 56.000 people live there - and they natively speak Greenlandic and Danish. My new friend spoke English when he talked to me, and that's why we were able to connect. Good for him!
Because, if he ever created a product or a service that was easily offered and distributed over the Internet, I could become his customer. If he chose to limit himself to 56.000 people speaking Greenlandic or Danish on a big wonderful icy world called Greenland, his chances of me ever buying anything from him come close to zero.
I have online friends in Finland, South Africa, United States, Netherlands, Italy... As well as in Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. The neighborhood doesn't go anywhere if I choose so, and guess what? When us neighbors meet online publicly, we all speak English. This way, others can join our conversation - and they do.
One day, some of my online friends might buy stuff I make. One day, I might buy some of the stuff they make. For that reason, and because my life is too short for translation, I only create in English.
That is, until the Chinese decide to finally conquer the Internet.