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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Traveling to Europe a few times for work over the last couple years made me realize just how myopic I’ve been in looking at the size our market.

Until traveling overseas, I looked at the U.S. as our market. We could go down and up in law firm size for customers, we could develop new products and we could look at customers other than lawyers and law firms, such as organizations.

All the while though I am swimming in the same sized pond, competing against the same crowd.

The competing crowd, which once blew off blogs as ill fitting for legal, selling at too low a price to make any money, and not understanding blogging themselves as an impediment, has gotten a lot bigger. Not that our blog product isn’t better than the competition’s, it is, but unknowing people buy inferior stuff.

Introduce our products overseas and our pond grows by multiples. The U.S. is only the third largest country in the world. Introducing our products into the main five Anglo countries, alone, would increase our market by 50%. Let alone a world market which would grow our market by multiples.

Not say selling overseas doesn’t have its challenges.

  • Smart law firms in the states have built their reputation and grown business by sharing their intellectual capital for a long time. Blogs just changed the way it was done. It’ll take some leg work to see how open lawyers overseas are to giving away their intellectual capital. My gut says they are, particularly in the UK, just a decade behind the states in doing so online. A decade behind is good for us.
  • Cultures are totally different from country to country. The legal and business culture will differ as well. When Howard Schultz took Starbucks overseas he did so with partners in the foreign countries. When he went alone, I think it was in Germany, Starbucks first entry was a failure.
  • Legal ethics rules. What’s allowed? What isn’t? What apologies should be drawn to cross the chasm before acceptance?
  • LexBlog is a known and trusted brand in the States. That’s not the case overseas. Sure I was recognized at some legal tech and innovation conferences in Europe. But I don’t believe I can get in the door of large and credible law firms, by emailing that I am in town and I’d be remiss if I didn’t let their leaders pick my brain on blogging and networking through the net.
  • Sales people. Who’s going to travel overseas, regularly? Is there someone located overseas already who could help us?

We do have some things going for us.

  • Our platform is language agnostic. LexBlog’s managed WordPress platform is being used by customers in multiple languages, including in Chinese dialects and in Arabic. The front and backend can easily be set per language.
  • LexBlog is publishing data in the form of text and meta data to give the text more morning. This is in contrast to legal publishers having to interpret, index and publish the law, and its nuances. Our platform customers interpret and publish the law.
  • WordPress owns the content management system (CMS) market with nearly 70% of the websites using a CMS running WordPress. Our market knows and uses WordPress. What we’ll deliver will be intuitive and easy to run.
  • LexBlog scales. We believe, to a fault, in the art of a product, versus an agency model. We can deliver and support growth – including regular core upgrades and feature enhancements.

Thinking about foreign expansion, we may have something on hand to gain a beachhead overseas. Our Syndication Portal product.

We approach an organization comprised of lawyers, an equal of a bar association in the States. Take The Law Society in the UK.

We look at the existing publications kicking out an RSS feed being published by members of The Law Society. Our Portal product would generate an aggregated display of content (later curated), with profiles of the professionals, their organization and their publication.

The benefits to The Law Society include shining a light on members, a body of law for legal professionals and the public, and new publishing revenue for The Law Society.

For LexBlog we gain recognition as a trusted publisher and a position to grow the number of legal professionals blogging or amendable to moving existing publishing to our platform. Those professionals looking for additional exposure overseas beyond the UK, would pick the exposure up through LexBlog’s growing network.

Who knows, maybe I am missing something here. But it seems a return visit to The Law Society in London is in order – after doing some leg work on UK legal publications with an RSS feed. If there are few, if any, we may need to develop an option B.

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