Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Working with Americans...

I feel mentally finished
Generally, I am pretty comfortable working with Americans. At least there's no language barrier there, but having business meetings with Americans usually leave me quite exhausted. Us from Sweden, we come from a cold and harsh country where communication is kept to a bare minimum. I did a post on it a while back (see here).

Having a meeting with Americans usually requires at least twice the time compared to a meeting with the same agenda with only Japanese people. The reason is that Americans like to hear their own voice and be active in the meeting, irrespective whether they actually have anything to contribute or not. I just came out of a meeting and it went something like this (discussing a product launch):

Mr. Salaryman: So, all things considered, I think that we should focus our promotional message on the usability of the device and also highlight the user interface that we designed especially for Japan
American 1 Mike: Yeah, I think it would make sense to focus our messaging on the usability because that's one of needs we want to address, but the user interface is important too
American 2 Jessica: I agree with what you guys just said, the user interface is really nice to show but in the end the usability is where we make or break it so that's our core focus
American 3 Ray: I think Jessica really hit an important point there, the interface is really unique so that's definitely something that we want to include in our messaging so let's position that after the usability
Mr. Salaryman: OK, that's great, sounds like we're all in agreement then, let's focus on usability first and then the user interface in our messaging
Jessica: I completely agree, usability first, then interface
Mike: Definitely usability, then interface
Ray: Sounds fantastic, let's just not forget to include the user interface
Mr. Salaryman: (Screaming inside my head: IF WE WERE ALL IN AGREEMENT FROM THE BEGINNING, WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS??!!!) For sure, let's not forget that. Shall we move on to the next point?
Jessica: I really like the concept of the usability as the pillar in communication
Mike: Yeah, it's a fantastic concept!
Mr. Salaryman: (checking out and hums the A-team theme song inside my head until the heated discussion about something we all agree on finally dies out)

I find it mentally exhausting, but at least people are friendly and talkative...

11 comments:

Chris said...

I will state in a non defensive manner that the available study sample in Japan is exceedingly poor. I have met 2 or 3 Americans in Japan over the years that I wouldn't spit on and kick to death if given the green light.

They quote manga and shit and know more things about shit they shouldn't than any other group over here. I'm sure other countries got their own version but the American expats are a fucking embarrassment.

If you are an American and you have more than 10k in the bank and it's NOT being saved for an inflateable fuck doll...then I'm not talking to you.

Nayalan Moodley said...

The hardest thing for me to deal with since moving to Japan are the yanks.

Ἀντισθένης said...

"If you are an American and you have more than 10k in the bank and it's NOT being saved for an inflateable fuck doll...then I'm not talking to you." Beautiful!

I don't get Yanks and Aussies, nothing against them. I know when a Canadian or Brit is entirely insincere, but the other two, I can never tell, so can't trust them all. Nothing personal.

And to be gratuitous, check out this classic from Canada. Right or wrong, Canadians tend to think of Americans as our idiot-cousins, but are too scared to say it to their faces.
http://youtu.be/BhTZ_tgMUdo

hardkoretom said...

Some of us really do have the "Hey look at me!!!" mentality. I know I do, but i also have a slight case of adhd, so its quite understandable.

Captain America said...

The hardest thing for me to deal with since moving to Japan are the Limeys, Bogans, Paddies, Kiwis, Wogs, and Darkies...
Other than that I love it here

kathrynoh said...

Wow, I thought it was MEN that did that, not Americans. Now I will adjust my thinking to Australian men = Americian meeting style, Australian women = Swedish. Seriously, put just 1 man in a meeting here and the time will blow out x3 at least. Alpha male, has to talk.

Usage Unit said...

As a native American (not to be confused with Native American), I always feel like I much more understand American culture after reading posts like this of yours. And that's despite myself having had a very similar meeting today...

Martin said...

They were probably trying to do as Captain America (in the picture). Trying to finish (talking about) what you started and I guess they were successful at some point?

shadowzach00 said...

not all Americans are bad....

Mr. Salaryman said...

Chris - These bunch of Americans were here on a visit from HQ though. Oddly enough, the Americans I've met here in Japan are usually a bit less self-centered than my image of Americans back in the states. But most of those are working in business and are a bit older. Younger English teachers are probably bad...

Nayalan - They're not so bad, but can be slightly draining to interact with.

Ἀντισθένης - Pretty fantastic that youtube thing, some americans are painfully ignorant of the world outside the states...

Hardekoretom - Yeah and I kinda fall into that behavior to some degree as well when working with the Yanks to my own annoyance

Cpt. America - Don't get me started on the Bogans...

Kathrynoh - In my company there's quite a few alpha females as well and believe me, they do the same thing

Usage Unit - Thank you, you hit the nail there too, in the end it's just about culture and the smaller clashes I have with it as there's no right or wrong, just perceptions

Martin - At one point the meeting ended so they did finish it and me

Shadow - Don't get me wrong, that's not what I'm saying. Generally I like Americans and have plenty of American friends, this is a post on cultural differences not what's right or wrong really

Anonymous said...

Did I miss something? You want to talk to Americans saving money for sex dolls?

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