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September 12, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

How do you provide service if the phones don’t work? How do you drop ship if the planes don’t take off? How do you stock if the warehouse is constantly pilfered? In other words, how do you do business in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union? If you’re curious, you might go along to Esther Dyson’s first East-West High Tech Forum in Budapest, Hungary, set for October 21 to 24. Ms Dyson, the doyenne of US micro industry watchers, has spent months travelling in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union exploring the local markets and catching up with local computer people. This latest shindig of hers is modelled on her famed PC Forum, the industry’s annual by-invitation-only assembly of glitterati. The idea is to meet the players and get a taste of their business strategies, corporate structures and distribution channels. Formal discussions will focus on how to get into the market, what to do when you get there, who to sell to, the differences among the various markets, intellectual property, government restrictions and how to get the money out. Speakers will include folk like the head of the joint venture set up in Moscow by Merisel – Softsel/Microamerica, the founder of Novotrade, Hungary’s first private stock company, the author of the Soviet computer game Tetris, the manager of IBM’s Prague office, the heads of the Microsoft distributor JV catalogue in Moscow, an East German entrepreneur and founder of a new software reseller Software Direkt and westerners representing Bull, Siemens, Sun and Unix System Laboratories. Unix has its own slot along with OS/2, networking and groupware. Because conference space is limited, Ms Dyson can only accommodate 230 attendees and expects about a third of them to be from Eastern Europe, a third from Western Europe and a third from the US and elsewhere. The fees are structured so that Westerners will subsidise their Eastern counterparts. Cost is $3,000 or DM5,400 and includes the conference, a hotel room at the western-style Atrium Hyatt, meals and any related taxes. Only English will be used and there won’t be any translations.

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