Interview with Kerstin Ewelt
Kerstin is a media and technology professional with over 10 years of experience in leading interdisciplinary teams on complex projects (Operations, Business Development, data management).
mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge. A vast amount of the knowledge that would be valuable to many people is currently only available to a few — either locked in people’s heads, or only accessible to select groups. Quora wants to connect the people who have knowledge to the people who need it, to bring together people with different perspectives so they can understand each other better, and to empower everyone to share their knowledge for the benefit of the rest of the world.
Could you please introduce your work with Quora and how marketing for the German market is unique from marketing to the American market? How has your role grown or shifted in the last year since you started with the company?
Quora's mission is to share and grow the world's knowledge. As Head of Marketing for Quora in German, I am responsible for the development of the German-speaking community on Quora. Quora was founded in 2010 in Silicon Valley and has over 300 million unique visitors per month. Over two years ago our founder Adam D'Angelo made Quora accessible in other languages. Why did he do that? Well, only 20 per cent of the world's population speaks English so it seems just logical to offer non-English speaking users the opportunity to share their knowledge on Quora in their mother tongue as well. Quora is currently available in nine different languages and German is one of them.
Let's talk about marketing in the US versus Germany. When entering the German market it's imperative to engage a lot in content marketing. The biggest mistake any US company can make when entering the German market is to just translate the US style content into German. Why does it not work? Because the differences between the US and Germany are fundamental. In short, Americans pay more attention to authors and Germans pay more attention to facts, therefore localization is key and should have a high importance when a company wants to expand internationally.
Quora it's a very lean managed company and so it is not surprising that our roads are evolving constantly, also as a result of our market growth.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your work as a startup mentor? What lessons have you learned from your mentees?
I think it can be rewarding for both, mentor and mentee. A relationship between the two of them can provide a lot of opportunities to learn from and share with each other, gain new insights and discuss experience. For me personally, it has to do with the reward of giving back, which goes way beyond a good feeling. Especially when you know that you played a role in the mentee reaching his goal through the guidance I offered. That goes for professional and private mentoring.
You recently became a Mentor with the Founder Institute in Berlin. What is the best piece of advice you’ve given to an entrepreneur or startup so far?
Once I started to become a mentor I did a lot of research on what that really means, what a mentee would expect, what would be a desirable outcome, etc.
One phrase got stuck in my mind, 'Be true to your conscience', a mentor at the University in Lagos once said that and it resonated in me. I think a mentor should remind his mentee of that again and again and hope to always ask the right questions in order to adjust the playbook without abandoning their initial idea.
I guess that has to do with teaching them how to think rather than what to think. What I mean by that is that we should give people the tools they need to rely on themselves and their own thinking. Preferably as fast as possible to come to their own breakthrough closer.
Quora is now a media partner of Founder Institute Berlin. Do you plan on initiating partnerships with similar institutions in Germany?
Quora is very happy and proud to be part of the Founder Institute. The partnership also makes sense because we have countless good content on Quora that deals with starting a business, being an entrepreneur, coping with mistakes and success. Written by experts with specialist knowledge and all which was their personal first-hand experience and insights. Basically, Quora can also act as a mentor by itself for knowledgeable and curious young entrepreneurs.
So the answer to the question is clearly yes. We are always interested in sharing the knowledge that has accumulated on our platform with more and more people in the world, and the language barriers are getting lower and lower, now that we are already available in nine languages. Thank you.