Category Archives: Conferences

Plunet Summit 2018 – In review!

by Eftychia Tsilikidou, Project Coordinator at Commit

Plunet Summit 2018 took place on May 24th and 25th in an unexpectedly sunny Berlin with comfortable temperature creating a very pleasant atmosphere for this vibrant and live event!

The program was structured with presentations on Plunet features and Plunet users’ best practices, workshops, panel discussions, round tables and networking.

Plunet released its new version 7.3 giving its main focus on GDPR but they didn’t stop there. They showcased many new features that improve performance and boost automation and integration with major CAT tools.

The best practices track included two very interesting presentations by Dan Milczarski and Eugenia Echave. Dan presented the way Plunet Automation helped manage changes at CQ Fluency eliminating the naturally-present resistance when it comes to change. Following the ADKAR (Awareness – Desire – Knowledge – Ability – Reinforcement) methodology, the focus was to make all teams understand the need for a change, to appeal not only to the logic but, most importantly, to emotion, to make everyone aware of their roles, to provide knowledge AND skills to perform certain roles and to ensure change is maintained.

With great honesty and transparency Eugenia explained all the dilemmas and reasoning that lead their company to choose the merger path with a competitor and illustrated how a complete and organized system helped evaluate all the details and make the right decision at the right time.

The workshops track focused on certain Plunet functions and hidden “gems” through interesting games and exercises. Even for advanced users, the workshops proved to be very useful revealing unknown settings that could help save time and make a big difference in everyday management tasks.

The Summit closed with an interesting panel discussion about managing the extensive growth where representatives from different companies shared their experience and knowledge gained from the growth their companies achieved in the last years. It is very interesting to see that although we are all engaged in the same field and practically do the same thing, we all choose a very different approach and implement different ways to achieve our goals.

This is what makes translation a very interesting and motivating industry with many young and passionate people who are really committed to what they do!

A very big thank you to the entire Plunet team for the great event, the knowledge, care and hospitality!

Our experience at the ATD 2018

by Yuko Baba, Project Manager at Commit

The outside of the San Diego Convention Center was flooded with thousands of people from all over the world on Monday morning; and yes, we were one of them. Who could blame us for our excitement and anticipation! Even the regular attendees of ATD were surprised about whom ATD invited this year for the opening keynote – the 44th President of the United States, President Barak Obama. This 75th year anniversary of ATD had become a very special one for us.

As President Barak Obama walked onto the stage, the crowd cheered and gave him a standing ovation.  We were sharing the same room with the former president, and it was a big deal!! The attendees could not get enough of him as he gave the opening keynote. He spoke about learning, resilience, and value as he shared his upbringing, family and experience in the White House. One of the things he shared was to hold on to values that are tested and proven by our previous generations – values that do not change: values like “be honest”, “be hardworking”, “be kind”, “carry the weight”, “be responsible”, “be respectful”, and “be useful”. He shared that such values reflect our day-to-day interactions and the kinds of habits we form which transcend any issues or situations and they, as a consequence, become our baseline and foundation. “Those are things that will get you through hard times as well as good times”, he said. Those values will “sustain effort and ultimately give purpose to what we do” which will make us go above and beyond superficial benefits like getting paid. It is easy to put those values away and seek short term results, but with those values, we become successful in life. To say that he is a great speaker would be an understatement. It was a very in-depth, insightful and inspiring speech. To be honest, we wish he would speak longer!

This year’s ATD welcomed over 13,000 talent development professionals from all over the world as they offered more than 300 sessions with 202 exhibitors. Needless to say, all of the sessions offered were about talent development and its related fields; however, it was good information to be aware of, as we provide translation services to the talent development industry. Especially, with regards to the changes in the industry trends with the upcoming technologies of virtual reality and Artificial Intelligence – how the industry’s e-learning programs and the materials will be impacted – our industry will also have to make necessary adjustments to grow alongside our clients.  It was indeed a good learning opportunity to explore how we can use those new technologies to our advantage to improve our services. Also, through sessions like “Overcoming the Headache of Video Editing and Content Reviews” by Daniel Witterborn from TechSmith and “What’s Wrong with This Course – Quality Testing and Editing Strategies for Designers and Developers” by Hadiya Nuriddin from Focus Learning Solutions,  we had an opportunity to discover the challenges and difficulties the clients face developing an eLearning program. Also, it was interesting to know that most eLearning program developers and designers do not have a formal Quality Assurance in place.  This is something we can also consider when taking on an eLearning project to provide recommendations and offer solutions to our client. Over all, all of the sessions were very interesting and will be applied to our business practice.

Commit had a booth set up along with the talent development training companies, software companies, universities and fellow translation companies giving away lots of cool swag!  We had a good networking time with the people who came by our booth, who sat next to us during the sessions and lunch tables. We are grateful for those who came to visit us at our booth. We hope you had a wonderful and meaningful conference like we did!  We hope to see you next year in ATD 2019 in Washington DC!

Elia’s ND for Executives Catania – In review

This year, Elia’s Networking Days for Executives was held at The Romano Palace Luxury Hotel in picturesque Catania, Sicily. Commit was represented by our Chief Strategist Spyros Konidaris and our CEO Vasso Pouli.

The event featured two tracks, one on the Translation industry and company strategies and one on Financial strategies, and we attended both.

The first track was dedicated to the overall company strategy for LSPs and what the future has in store for the industry. During the first day, the two moderators, experienced and savy professionals, Kimon Fountoukidis from Argos and Dominique Hourant from TransPerfect laid down the main issues faced by today’s LSPs, including, but not limited to, organic growth and M&As, differentiating USPs, growth pathways, competition challenges, and many more. The second day was devoted to the attendees; several of them took the podium and opened up to share their personal experiences in many of the topics discussed the previous day. The track really took off with this exercise as sharing is really at the heart of this event and what provided the best value for all. After two full days, we left with many things to think about and apply to our company strategy.

The event also included a panel discussion with Iris Orriss from Facebook, Richard Brooks from K International, and Geert Vanderhaeghe from Lexitech. The discussion was representative of our industry as it included the opinions from both the buyer and the supplier side, especially with Geert being relatively new in the industry. Amazing takeaways here as well as the conclusion was that no matter what the size of the LSP, value is there to be added in providing services to the client.

The second track, Financial Strategies: The Golden Quest, was delivered – very successfully indeed – by Gráinne Maycock, VP of Sales at Sajan, and Robert Ganzerli, seasoned industry expert and former owner of Arancho Doc. Though rich in presentation content, the track very soon took the form of an open discussion and honest sharing of best practices, where P&L, EBIT(DA), accountability, monitoring, KPIs, budget, operating (whatever) and taxes suddenly seemed appealing and interesting. Corporate and financial strategy was at the heart of the track and reminding us that there is no size that fits all. So, it was indeed both a relief and a challenge to realize that we must make our own and make it our own! Ooh, and Minions were a very nice and fitting touch – those who were there know.

We spent 2 full days sharing knowledge, hearing different opinions and networking – we wonder what’s in store for the next edition of ELIA’s Networking Days for Executives next year!

ELIA Together 2018 – In review!

by Effie Salourou, Customer Operations Manager at Commit

ELIA Together, the premium event that brings together language service companies and freelance linguists took place last week and we couldn’t have been more excited! You see, it was hosted in our hometown, Athens, and we got to welcome and meet old and new business partners, colleagues and friends.

The venue

The event was hosted at the Megaron Athens International Conference Centre (MAICC) that is undoubtedly a stunning, state-of-the-art venue for conferences and events. With three different halls covering the three different tracks of the conference (Specialisation, Trends and Technology), there was a session for each taste!

The food

You can’t go wrong with Greek food! The menu on both days included fresh salads, mouth-watering appetizers, typical dishes for meat lovers, lots of options for vegetarians, and luscious desserts!

The program

The theme for the third edition of Together was Specialise to Excel and had 31 different sessions. Here are some of the sessions that we managed to attend:

  • Óscar Jiménez Serrano gave the keynote speech on Technology disruption in translation and interpreting mentioning a lot of successful examples (and some not so successful ones) from his personal career.
  • Wolfgang Steinhauer’s session had a very intriguing title as he promised to show us how to drastically increase our productivity in order to manage to translate 10.000 words per day! His method and point of view was very interesting, and this is something that we will definitely investigate further.
  • Another informative session was the one presented by Sarah Henter, which was an introduction to clinical trials. She focused on what makes the linguistic work on clinical trials so special, what kind of texts and target audiences there are and what knowledge linguists need to acquire in order to efficiently work in this area.
  • Josephine Burmester and Jessica Mann gave a presentation on Marketing localization and the complexities of this field. They gave very vivid examples taken from the German advertising industry and showed us how something global can become local (or not!).
  • Daniela Zambrini focused on the purposes of Simplified Technical English, illustrating the structure of the ASD-STE100 Specification and its advantages for translators and technical authors. This session was quite interactive since at the end we had to re-write sentences according to the Specification.
  • If you wanted to learn more about patent translation, you had to attend Timothy Hodge’s presentation called “You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to translate patents”. Showing interesting facts and examples from our everyday life, he gave us an insight on the life of a patent translator and also gave us some tricks for finding and using the right terminology for translating a patent document.
  • This year, Commit presented a session as well! Our CEO Vasso Pouli addressed an important point about specialisation: the huge value we can add by combining vertical, task and technology knowledge. She made an interesting point by showing how we can expand our localization services by adding new skills to our portfolio.

Our booth/our team

Commit had a booth and we got to showcase our new corporate image and marketing material. We got to meet and greet lots of familiar faces as well as new business contacts that we hope will lead to fruitful collaborations. We would like to thank everyone who visited our booth and of course the ELIA organization that made this conference possible. Ευχαριστώ!

ELIA ND Bucharest 2017 – In Review

And off we went…

Destination: Bucharest, Romania

Purpose: ELIA’s 21st Networking Days

… an opportunity to meet with friends and partners from around the globe, share insights and pick the minds of peers on industry trends.

With six tracks in just two days, and as many as 22 presentations, this was yet another inspiring and thought-provoking event.

What impressed us was Andrej Nedoma’s presentation on KPIs, goals and incentives, who explained how we can turn most challenges that many of us – LSCs – face into key performance indicators and how in this way we can resolve very common-place issues. He made it sound easy enough, but let’s see what happens when we put it in practice (more to follow on our progress with that, and possibly some pics as well).

Another interesting session on the technology spectrum was the presentation of the TILDE team, Rihards Kalnins and Didzis Klavins, who shared valuable figures and graphs on how MT has come to impact the localization industry and how feeding an MT engine with clear data can drive performance to unprecedented levels. Did you know that with well set-up and trained MT engines per field, and the use of account-specific terminology glossaries, you can increase the productivity of your translators by 150%?

Moving on to People Power, Annette Lawlor touched upon a rather painful aspect of our industry and that is talent shortage. Is it really that we are lacking talented people or could it possibly be that we are either too picky or not looking in the right direction? Maybe if we tried to engage with the candidates we are interested in through motivating job ads instead of boring and impersonal job specs, we would be more successful in finding better matches for our companies and our teams.

A session that ignited passions and heated discussion was Laurentiu Constantin’s about the relevance of Single Language Vendors in today’s translation chain – are they obsolete as the model of MLVs working directly with freelancers (amongst others) is gaining acceptance? No definite answer was given as the session also pondered upon the eternal question: Grow or Die?

A double session on SEO and Digital Marketing for LSPs shed (a lot of) light on the science behind Internet/search rankings. Especially Chris Raulf demonstrated how Google treats our lives and businesses and lots of hints, tips and tricks were shared to be used immediately by our IT people (say who? – most LSPs admitted during the UnSession that they are outsourcing IT management and administration 😊).

Two sessions that were particularly interesting for Project Managers were Lena Sarbacher’s session on Project management and Christopher Carter’s session on Gross profit margin. Lena talked about the number of roles a Project Manager should adopt and the complexities of today’s disrupting reality, and shared some interesting tips from her personal practice on how to control the complex and dynamic environments on a long-term basis and communicate better with teams and clients. At the end of her presentation Lena shared a very interesting check list to help make motivation and improvement an ongoing everyday process. Chris presented a detailed case study on how to increase margin by providing a detailed step-by-step guide and tools that would help companies achieve their goals through detailed measures of every small or big aspect of the business and shared some ideas on how to measure change in staff’s behavior.

To sum it up, this year’s edition of the Networking days was all about ideas, meeting old and new industry peers and gaining a lot of new knowledge. We enjoyed it thoroughly and can’t wait until next year’s event in Vienna!

Our take from Elia’s ND Focus for Executives

by Vasso Pouli, CEO at Commit 

How does the theatre of Epidaurus, Zeus, the king of gods, and Talos, the ancient robot, play into a Mission, Vision and Execution workshop? Well, to start with, the ELIA ND Focus for Execs conference took place last month at a magnificent resort just one-hour drive from Chania, Crete, thus the allusions and references to Greek history and mythology were unavoidable, to say the least.

On the other hand, the comparison between the old and the new (the ancient theatre of Epidaurus and a contemporary state-of-the-art concert hall), when addressing a rather dissimilar group of executives in the language industry, some having founded companies as many as 30 years ago, some being rather new in the localization industry and some representing the new blood in already year-old companies, offers a new perspective to the concept of business transformation: how important it is for the viability of the company, how tricky it is to get it right and how the success stories and failures of others can serve as useful examples to imitate or to avoid.

Zeus, the god of the sky, thunder, law and order was a nice introduction to the M&A scenery, and how one can lead and strategize for potential alliances, mergers or buyouts even from the beginning. Then, the story of Talos, the mythical giant automation which circled the shores of Crete three times daily to protect the island from pirates and invaders, was a smart allusion to the concept of operating leverage and how an organizational model can tweak and shift to accommodate new realities.

Tuyen Ho, VP of Corporate Development at Welocalize, offered great insight in how one can plan, implement, stay the course, pivot and change, but especially how one can go about executing on what they have envisioned as leaders for their people in order to ensure that their offerings stay relevant to their customers both today and in the future.

Thank you, ELIA Program Committee, for an insightful event and for the traditional Cretan dance experience!

ELIA ND Brussels 2016 – In Review

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It’s been a week after the ELIA ND event in Brussels but it’s never too late for an impressions review, right?

This year, Elia’s Networking Days event was held in the heart of the city of Brussels, very close to the astonishing Grand Place and the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. Commit was represented by General Manager and former ELIA Director Spyros Konidaris, Operations Manager Vasso Pouli and Account Manager Nikoletta Kaponi.

The mix of people, sessions, topics, venue and location made this edition of Networking Days another successful event. Here are some highlights of the conference through our eyes:

The workshop From Manager to Leader – develop your leadership skills by Eszter and Tamás Avar gave us some very useful insight into what leadership consists of and how it is different from managing, and they did this by allowing us to experiment hands-on with the abilities and potential of human behavior. The workshop was a window to a new school of thought and we hope we get the chance to see more of that in the future.

On a different note, Inger Larsen shared some of her valuable experience in recruitment and explained why we should value the ‘trouble-maker’ and the ‘finisher’, as she very aptly put it there is usually an angle these people see that others may not.

Analisa Delvecchio’s presentation on the successful adoption of a Translation Management System was literally breathtaking, as she moved from one slide to the next without taking a breath. It was one of the most comprehensive and composed, though more time for Q&A may have been a good idea.

The Customer Analytics session by Madhuri Hegde was rather intriguing, as most attendees could identify with the inflow of unexploited data and Madhuri’s modest tips on how to use this huge pool of customer information to grow our business have definitely hit the spot.

We also got the chance to learn more on the intricacies of crowdsourcing during Yota Georgakopoulou’s session on Microtask translation workflows, which included some very interesting findings from Yota’s work with “external and internal crowds” for the purpose of developing high-quality machine translations for all text types included in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

On the QA front, Alan Melby presented the Multidimensional Quality Metrics (MQM) framework for developing metrics appropriate for various types of translations, and he also put forward a very interesting definition for translation quality, stating that “Translation quality is: meeting good specs”.

And of course– we were in the heart of Europe after all – the EU track was full of comprehensive information about how to get into the European (and international) institutions’ translation market, and what is expected after we are awarded a contract, with detailed and practical sessions by Claudio Chiavetta and Jean-Paul Dispaux, long-time experts in this field. Additionally, Aikaterini Sylla highlighted how the EU is finally taxonomizing our industry professions.

With our eyes set to the future, we attended the panel discussion on globalization to find out What the future of the future looks like. The panel consisted of globalization-involved professionals from some of the most exciting companies in the world: Netflix, Prezi, The Nielsen Company and ANZU Global. Their insights on the client needs which constantly evolve, diversify and multiply, as well as their different workflows and approaches to localization gave us the bigger picture of the priorities and strategies that leading companies are putting forward when it comes to going global.

Last but not least, the keynote was indeed an eye-opener to how biased we are by definition as human beings not to mention in our professional and business exchanges. It is amazing what a fly in the men’s toilet bowl can do, besides entertain them also reduce cleaning costs, and it is fascinating how we can ‘play’ with human psychology to achieve our goals. “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” (Abraham H. Maslow), so here’s to thinking outside the box and to more incisive decision-making!

Training, learning and networking, amidst chocolate, beers and (a lot of) mussels – we wonder what’s in store for the next edition of ELIA’s Networking Days next year in Bucharest!

ND Focus for Executives – In review

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A series of new events was launched by ELIA, the first one being ND Focus for Executives. The Focus events are targeted to specific stakeholders within the LSP industry and Commit was once again there to attend this event; the venue was intentionally secluded to allow for brainstorming without distractions, and Barceló Formentor at Cape Formentor, Mallorca, fulfilled every promise for reclusiveness.

The event featured two tracks, one on Business Strategies and one on Mergers and Acquisitions, and we attended both.

The Business Strategies track was moderated by Arturo Quintero, co-founder of Moravia, who offered a valuable insight in the landmarks of strategic planning an organization must have in place in order to achieve sustainable growth. The track included a few workshop features on determining the basic tools and processes towards corporate identification and development. An intriguing discussion evolved around the necessity and usefulness of mission and vision statements and their role in employee engagement. Two interesting exercises that revealed the many different levels of both maturity and expectations in the group – more than 50 people, among whom were both company owners and managing directors – were the internal and external assessment and the SWOT analysis. Arturo shared examples from his wealthy experience at Moravia encouraging the attendees to also honestly share their own personal challenges and concerns. The Business Strategies track has indeed been an inspiration for setting our eyes to the future and taking the necessary steps to get there.

The Mergers & Acquisitions track was moderated by Geert Vanderhaeghe, who brought in many years of banking experience, along with his recent involvement in the LSP industry. As the topic of M&As can be a really wide one, the sessions tried to cover the essentials of mergers and acquisitions, both from the buyer and the seller point of view, including financials, market opportunities, and some dos and don’ts. What we found really interesting was the exercise that took place during the last session, where we were called to identify the pros and cons of both our industry and our companies. Lots of opinions were exchanged, revealing the different perspectives of LSPs of many sizes, plus the views and struggles of company owners trying to distinguish between running a corporate or a lifestyle company.

Lots of knowledge to be absorbed but there is enough time till the next edition of the ND Focus for Executives to be held in Greece in 2017! See you all there!

 

 

Elia Together 2016 – In Review

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On February 11th and 12th 2016, the European Language Industry Association (ELIA) held its first Together Conference in Barcelona, Spain and Commit was there!

The moto of the event was “Developing our Connections” and it aimed in bringing together freelance language professionals and companies. The conference consisted of three streams: Relationships, Growth and Technology with the purpose of covering every aspect of the LSP-vendor relationship.

During the conference we got to connect with many freelance translators and other language industry stakeholders from all around the world and had the chance to exchange views on “hot” industry topics.

The Conference started with the “Welcome to Together 2016” session, followed by the keynote speech “Stronger Together: revitalizing the agency-freelancer relationship”, held by Stephen Lang, where he stressed that the agency – freelancer relationship is the foundation of our industry. We left the session having a better understanding and appreciation of our counterparts and their respective challenges.

We also attended the “Keys to effective relationships between agencies and freelance translators” presented by Robert Sette. It was an enlightening presentation under the Relationships stream exploring “both sides of the coin” in situations of placing/accepting translation projects.

Sue Leschen presented “Confidentiality issues and problems for interpreters and translators working with LSPs”, explaining that defining confidentiality is problematic as it doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to everybody in the language services industry.

The Panel consisting of Sarah Griffin-Mason, Dr. Ana Hoffmeister and Anu Carnegie – Brown “Tailored certification and training for freelancers based on ISO 17100 and the role of LSPs in translator continuing professional development (CPD)” provided unique experiences of a certification concept for freelancers which was piloted in 2015 and will soon be available in German-speaking areas.

Josef Kubovsky tackled the issue “Can enterprise, LSPs and freelance language professionals work together in a transparent way?” whereas Maria Kania-Tasak presented the “The LSP X Factor” just before the Closing ceremony.

Last but not least, it must be mentioned that the ELIA Together 2016 was held in one of the most beautiful European cities, Barcelona. The venue was the World Trade Center, a lovely seaside conference and business center located at the heart of Barcelona, just a few minutes from downtown and the tourist-filled Las Ramblas street. The proximity to the city center along with the great Spanish weather added much to the success of the event.

Commit enjoyed the ELIA Together Conference very much and wishes all the best to all participants! See you in Berlin next February for Together 2017!

ELIA NETWORKING DAYS KRAKOW – IN REVIEW!

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Another successful ELIA event took place at the beginning of this past October in the picturesque city of Krakow and Commit was there, as always! Once again, ELIA gave us the opportunity to connect with our fellow peers, exchange ideas, extend our business networks and catch up on the latest trends of the localization industry, in a friendly and welcoming environment.

The program included not only interesting presentations, but a number of entertaining social events as well that allowed all attendees to relax over a glass of wine – or more… – and enjoy delicious treats. The official unofficial cocktail at The Baroque, the cocktail and banquet at the Rynek Underground, a brunch of the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow, the dinner at the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the Adventure Game in Krakow’s Old Market were all equally exciting and fun!

However, we did find the time to attend several sessions that gave us enough food for thought until the next ELIA event. Here are some of the highlights:

Mika Pehkonen presented The Quality Myth – A deep dive into what our customers think and gave us an insight into the client’s perception of quality and F-Secure’s agile approach to the localization process. By using automated workflows and extensive scripting, Mika mentioned they have managed to reduce management costs, avoid delays in product development since localization is performed as the product is being developed, thus being able to simultaneously launch localized versions of any given product, get measurable results on errors and bugs that can be fixed on-the-fly and keep both vendors and clients happy!

In The Evolving Use of MT Technology, Kirti Vashee was quite persuasive on the benefits – yes, there are! – of machine translation, shedding some light on the most common misconceptions and the reasons why so many MT deployment projects actually fail. While there is still an ongoing debate regarding machine translation technology and its effects on the role of translators, pricing and the localization industry as a whole, Kirti chose to address the subject from an entirely different point of view, that of using MT technology as a business development tool and, admittedly, made a strong point.

In an interactive workshop, Bob Donaldson gave us a few useful pointers on Overcoming Common Barriers to Growth. In a nutshell, no matter how small or big your business is, the basic principles of business development are the same. You need to establish a proper organizational structure that will allow you to be prepared for the future, having the necessary, experienced and properly trained resources, or as Bob put it: Go “tall” before you go “wide”! Effective communication and cooperation between departments, suitable performance metrics, corporate policies that reflect your vision and delegation are some of the most important factors on your road to success.

Finally, the keynote presentation, The New Differentiator: ‘Below the Waterline’, by Dr. John J. Scherer and Amy Barnes, was by general consensus one of the highlights of the event. With equal doses of interaction, education and fun, the presenters captivated their audience’s interest from the very first moment to the last, providing an interesting view of what can actually be our differentiator in an ever so competitive market. We all know, from our personal experience as consumers that the way we feel is often what drives us to choose a specific product or service, even if the price is not the lowest one. So, achieving this sentiment in our communication and interaction with customers, employees, resources etc., or in other words finding that “sweet spot” where our needs are perfectly aligned with the needs of the others and the situation, could become a competitive edge over competition.

If you’re intrigued, don’t miss the chance to attend ELIA’s next event “Together 2016” in February, the first one to bring freelancers and LSPs together. And the “Focus” event in Mallorca next Spring, a brand new event as well, focused on LSP executives. Commit will be there!