January 8, 2013

Lessons Learned at “Startup Vietnam” Conference

“You have to make money.  You have to manage your cash with care.  When you don’t have cash you die.”

Willis Wee
Founder and CEO of Tech in Asia

Ray Wu of accelerator JFDI.Asia

Ray Wu of accelerator JFDI.Asia

A few weeks ago I joined “Startup Vietnam,” a conference aimed at sharing lessons for technology entrepreneurs in Vietnam.  The speakers shared some pretty good lessons from the crucible of experience.

Key takeaways:

Ray Wu, Amabassador, JFDI.Asia Startup Accellerator

  • Don’t give away your product for free because no one will value it.
  • Talk to your customers, a LOT.  Get inside their problems.
  • No one cares about your cool technology — they care only about how it can help them solve a problem. (More on this in my interview with Brian Tracy.)
  • Find your early adopters and find out what problems they care most about.
  • Time is the most valuable resource and the biggest cost of anything you do.
  • Read the book “The Lean Startup

Follow Ray on Twitter at @raywu

Hieu Nguyen, Digital Media Director, Ringier Vietnam

  • Make the design and UI look elegant, not only the code.  No one sees the code.
  • Delay starting the company as long as you can until you make the first sale.  You will save costs and prove the concept.
  • Make sure you can find developers who can build on the platform you choose.
  • Don’t underestimate the value and importance of operational things — payroll, accounting, office management — without those you can’t run your business.

Willis Wee,  Founder and CEO of Tech in Asia (website covering Asia tech news)

  • People want to know the writer’s opinion of the company, not just what it does
  • Choose your coverage segment and don’t go outside it.  Don’t write stories on topics others cover better than you do.  For example Tech in Asia doesn’t cover Google or Facebook.  Instead we cover AirBNB entering Southeast Asia.
  • You have to make money.  You have to manage your cash with care.  When you don’t have cash you die.
  • CPMs are low in Asia.  It’s hard to monetize media sites.  Instead, make money through sponsorships and events.
  • Maintain your journalistic integrity no matter what.  Don’t ever allow a sponsor to affect coverage.
  • If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting, change your strategy.
  • Create a brand for your site through the language you use and the kinds of stories you write.

Follow Willis on Twitter at @williswee

Chris Harvey

Founder & CEO at ITviec.com
Chris Harvey is the Founder & CEO of ITviec.com, a jobs site featuring the best IT jobs in Vietnam. He enjoys building great teams and writing about leadership.
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