Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Of LISA's Insolvency and Other Events

"As of 2011 February 28, the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) is insolvent. In spite of the financial constraints LISA faces as an organization, we are exploring ways to continue the association's good works for the industry."

With this short notice on their website, LISA announced what had been obvious for some of us, industry insiders for a while: The LISA model was unsustainable and obsolete. Since the formation of GALA and the successful series of events organized by Localization World, LISA had become irrelevant. IBM's withdrawal from LISA a couple of months ago was the coup de grâce.

I was always very fond of LISA. It was there that I made my first presentation to the industry. It was there found a buyer for Lazoski, Beninatto, my company in Latin America. It was there that I met my wife. And it was there that I forged strong relationships that I maintain to this date.

But I am not sad. The industry is much more mature than it was in 1990. Companies have many more choices, and the fragmentation of industry events is an unavoidable reality. Localization World and its separate specialty events like the upcoming Apps Go Global and Worldware Conferences cater to specific needs of the buyer and vendor communities without the requirement of a hefty membership fee.

GALA, which was originally created as a vendor-only association, is now trying to attract localization buyers to its membership, and will certainly pick up the crumbles from LISA. The industry must only avoid repeating the same mistakes and I certainly hope that GALA does not become another pay-for-play event organizer and remains true to its mission to promote the industry as whole.

As a conference-hawk, I have shared my views about industry events several times in this and other blogs. For a refresher, take a look at my posting about specialty events and at the video conversation I had with Kirti Vashee on the subject of events.


  1. Nice article and thanks for mentioning Worldware. It's the sleeper event of our industry and may have more client participation than locworld (which is also great). Worldware is more developer/business focused, and the content is refreshingly strong.

  2. Same thinking! Sorry I missed Worldware as another focused event in the industry, but the truth is exactly what we both express in our thoughts, LISA is another 20th century victim of 21st drive for innovative thinking. Our blog entry on this http://pangeanic.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/lisa-closes-operations/

  3. You wrote that to a few industry insiders the LISA model was obvious for being unsustainable and obsolete. I agree only on unsustainability. LISA's original mission would still be up to date. The GILT (may I still use this acronym?) industry desperately needs standards to grow, evolve, and thrive. Did you see any "disruptive" standard coming from the industry, lately, at least since LISA has abandoned its original (and self-assigned) role?
    Please forgive me for not thinking that GALA, Localization World, and even ELIA are working for the industry's sake, "to promote the industry as whole". Maybe that's their nominal mission, but I can't see any factual effort to concentrate forces on a common goal. Because the industry's sake is a common goal, isn't it?
    Maybe I am playing the old role of mine, the nasty, negative, bad pain in the ass (oops..., no Google Translate app for iPhone here), but I think that GALA (and not only) has long become just "another pay-for-play event organizer".
    I still think that I would pay a thousand bucks to attend to a conference only I if had the at least reasonable certainty to get back home with something useful (better say disruptive again). Maybe that's why I'm not a regular visitor to industry events.
    I hope in a domino effect, hope that LISA's shutdown will lead to consolidation and to a stable calendar of events around the world, with selected speakers and subjects, and to a renewed effort in the production of standards.

  4. Anonymous10:31 AM

    "Since the formation of GALA and the successful series of events organized by Localization World, LISA had become irrelevant."

    This langauge is not quite precise. It is not any single or two other associations that diminished LISA role; it's the mere natural multitude of players that came when the market started to grow, and also of course the free events and groups that offered similer networking opportunities - for free :).