Sven Boermeester is a global publishing entrepreneur with a career that spans over 20 years with stops in more than 100 countries. He was born in Antwerp, Belgium and grew up in South Africa. After completing his business studies in Cape Town, he opened his first media company and started publishing the trade and industry directories for South Africa followed by the launch of the Best of the World publishing series in Dubai. Fast forward 20 years and 183 ‘Best of’ editions across 60 countries, Sven now lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and young son. He is working on disrupting the publishing business by mapping out the Innovation ecosystems of every major city in the U.S. and around the world, through his latest Innovation books and augmented reality video series.
How is the commercial book publishing world being disrupted?
Some clients joke with us that we are bringing back a dying art form as books are cool again. The business model, however, has changed completely, gone are the days of pay to play by selling advertorials or advertising. A great book on an ecosystem or industry needs to be authentic and all-encompassing of all the major players sharing their story, not just whoever paid to be in there. To finance that we moved to a crowdfunded book-buying model where the market and the participants buy the books in bulk to use as gifts to clients, visitors, investors, and employees. You also need to add technology to the printed book by embedding augmented reality videos into its pages, we do that by hiding QR codes behind the images that a mobile phone can read to activate a video. The books also need to be available online as ebooks, a blog and ultimately a forum where all the participants can communicate with each other.
How do you set up your business in new cities and countries?
We look for skilled marketing professionals in each city that know their community well and form 50/50 partnerships with them where they collect the stories and we design and print the book. We are a fast-growing tribe of fun and energetic publishing entrepreneurs, partners, and friends. We all share a passion for innovation, beautiful places and cultures that we want to embrace, share and showcase with the rest of the world. We are always looking for marketing entrepreneurs to join our team, please reach out to me on LinkedIn or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you set up a global business quickly?
My advice is to set up a small branch in Dubai and spend some time there if you have the means to do that. Dubai even more so than Singapore is the crossroads of the world for many reasons. The top three reasons being, Dubai has more than a million business savvy expats living there from 120 different countries. When you network in Dubai you network with the world. Going Global means you have to fly constantly. When it comes to flying, the world is flat and Dubai is in the middle, you can reach more than 80% of the globe with a direct flight. That is a big deal when you add up cost, time and jet lag. Last but not least, Dubai is a tax-free country with no business or personal taxes. That being said you cannot beat the lifestyle of Tampa Bay so the head office will always remain right here.