ReachLocal EVP Steven Power: An Australian in America

Steven Power

Today’s guest blogger, ReachLocal Executive Vice President, Global Sales Operations, Steven Power, shares what he’s learned after moving to the U.S.

As an Aussie living in the US, it’s been fascinating to experience life in America over the last 6 months as an individual, an employee, husband, and as a father of 3 young girls.

Essentially, at a high level, things are very similar in most respects to living in Australia. However, like many things in life the devil is often in the details. And so here’s just a few things that I’ve learned so far…

Language

  • There are some words which mean unusual things in other English-speaking countries which you should use, frequently, in all sorts of social situations – dude(!) is one of them.
  • We may all be speaking English, but in some cases it might as well be Latin, or Cajun.

Food

  • Meal sizes are much larger, in fact they are huge. Over here an entrée is a main course, and it could feed a whole family, and their neighbors back in Australia. So don’t try to finish your whole meal, I suspect it’s a trick that they play on foreigners.
  • There is an American version of most exotic foods, and in many cases it bears a distant resemblance to what they eat in the place of origin, but the restaurant will probably be a perfect reproduction of that nation’s environment.

Transportation

  • Americans love driving cars. Cars are cheap, petrol is cheap, many roads are incredible feats of architectural brilliance, and you can drive anywhere on a highway, even when your destination is less than a mile away.
  • Many things over here are very impressive. Air travel is not. It’s like being on an old bus that flies, and the hostesses are invariably not really that happy to see you onboard, despite what the ad they play before you take off says.

Culture

  • America is not really like the place you see on TV shows, and the people are not all like those who you see on Oprah or even Jerry Springer.
  • Americans in various states can be quite different to each other. Americans from New York aren’t like Americans from California or Texas, and none of them are like Americans from Louisiana (I mean this in a nice way).

Humor

  • Make it obvious when you’re going to tell a joke by outlining that you’re about to tell the other person about the funniest thing that they will ever hear in their life.
  • Americans don’t normally find dry wit amusing, in fact they may think you are being serious and be genuinely concerned about you.

Business

  • Business is hyper competitive and moves fast. Really fast. Are we done yet?
  • Attention deficit disorder is considered an asset – it’s ok to be constantly in search of the next big thing, just say that you are a visionary and people will be in awe of you.

People

  • People are generally very friendly, and helpful, particularly to Australians, except in New York City, however people there don’t seem to really like anyone (except for the people in our office there who are particularly awesome).
  • People are very proud to be Americans, and of what their nation stands for, although many can’t recite the national anthem or tell you the name of their Vice President.

By the way, this is all said with my tongue firmly planted in cheek (or as they say over here – just kidding)…go Team America!

To keep up with Steven Power’s insights and observations, you can follow him on Twitter and his Cast Page.

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The ReachLocal online marketing blog shares practical tips and advice for those who want to reach local customers online. Learn about online marketing from our in-house experts and thought leaders.

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