Is GV a family?

GV is the most amazing and coolest organization that I ever know. Nine years ago, as a Taiwanese nerdy blogger and media graduate student who complained mainstream media for their terrible representation of the world every day and got really frustrated. When I learned GV and what GV was doing it was like “this is it!”.

I started to translate GV into Chinese and literally made a GV copycat site in Chinese. Sure later the copycat site turned into a huge project called Lingua, but that was not because of me, it was because GV was willing to make it real. It is never easy for any NGO to adopt an idea came from some guy you don't know, but GV absorbed it and re-shape it much better in a very fast speed. I always remember the talk about how GV Chinese works that I gave during our summit in Delhi was terrible. I was not prepared, and my English presentation sucked. But everyone gave me a big applause when I left the stage, and they were eager to make their own language version of GV. GVers has been and still is my another family since then, maybe a better family than my original one I must say.

When I was the Lingua director in the core team, I was really naive and incompetent for this position. The tsunami of emails and cultural and interpersonal differences and my not so good English writing ability… I didn't stay long on the position. I still admired the lessons that I learned and felt grateful to other Translation Managers who joined and help during that time. I mean it. Because right now I am running my own online media startups(under 1 NPO and three companies), I have become a real professional manager and executive editor of my own business/online media. My day-to-day job is to lead my team and solve various of problems in a very fast pace. So, I at this moment, know how to do thing better.

However, I don't have time for GV anymore. GV in Chinese still has a great brand, but the performance and innovations are not catching up with other new online media in Taiwan. The media environment changes a lot and keeps on changing. I know GV in Chinese could be much much better and influential, and I know how, but I just don't have time. I have tons of ideas that I want to experiment on GV in Chinese, some of them were also talked about in previous and this summit, but I didn't implement it. I didn't make it real like years ago when GV made Lingua real.

I think as GV keeps on growing, the world is also quickly changing. A part of GV needs to keep on doing what we have been doing for ten years, which keeps our value on a solid basis, while another part of GV needs to innovate itself very quickly, to catch up with the latest trend, technologies, and even go beyond them. Many of us join GV not just because GV is great, but also because it is different and relatively fast in adopting new things. However, I know, as a volunteer-based organization in such a world scale, it is almost impossible to move the whole chunk of us together toward some direction, but, if we are moving in small parts, things will be different.

In the past two days of the internal meeting, I joined several interesting topic discussions, including alternative revenue models, how to cooperate with universities, how to create content/guides, and how to finally start cross-country and cross-regional cooperation and how to make things done with apps like wunderlist and slack and hackpad. I think many of these topics had also been discussed in other summits, and each time we gained some more insights and consensus. That is good, but not being able to implement these ideas is not. So I will start from GV Chinese, and try to do things in relatively small scale. GV x University is going to be my first new project, and it will start locally in Taiwan, and then maybe HK, Japan, and South Korea. Let us try and do things more autonomously, there might be some trouble, and things might just discontinue(like some lingua sites), but I believe in starting is important, and as long as it is worthy, we will do it better and better.

[Photo: courtesy Flickr user and GV photographer Laura Schneider CC BY NC 2.0]

1 comment

  • Thank you so much Portnoy for voicing your thoughts as a Lingua Editor, and I always offer my services to help in anything that doesn’t include knowing Chinese, from creating users to training them. I know we are going to have better times for Lingua Chinese in the near future, but the offer is and will always be there ;)

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