“We empower people a lot. We have our developers work directly with our clients. We have people who it’s their first job, and right away they’re working directly with the CEO of a startup in Silicon Valley.”
Founder & CEO, East Agile
“Starting a new company is a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs. But I really love building something meaningful and creating value through that process.”
Hồ Quang Khánh
Founder and CEO, CungMua.com
Hồ Quang Khánh started his career at Mekong Capital, steering private equity investments to promising Vietnamese companies. After a few years of working with entrepreneurs he decided to become one.
“The tourism industry’s forecast of continuous high growth in the next decade will create fantastic opportunities for Vietnam. Not only will it be a great means to introduce Vietnam to the world, but it will be Vietnam’s most important industry for job creation and prosperous communities.”
Trần Trọng Kiên
Chairman and CEO of Thien Minh Group
Originally Kiên studied to become a doctor and ran local tours to fund his medical studies. He enjoyed the tour business so much that he decided to found Buffalo Tours in 1999. Since then Kiên has pioneered many adventure tours in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
“The key thing is to put “talent” at the center of everything you do. You’ve got to feel deeply that your #1 job is all about people – attract the best, manage them, grow them and keep them.”
Lê Hồng Minh
CEO, Chairman, Founder of VNG
Lê Hồng Minh is a friendly man with a smile that reveals the enthusiasm always bubbling below the surface. A passionate gamer, he led the Vietnam team to the World Cyber Game competition in Korea in 2002. Two years later he founded VinaGame. Tapping the previously untapped market for online gaming in Vietnam, VinaGame enjoyed explosive growth and quickly dominated the market for massively multiplayer online games.
Recently I returned to the “Diễn Đàn CEO,” or “CEO Forum” program on VITV.
Mr. Hà, the host, felt that the viewers would find two CEOs more engaging than one (maybe by creating some drama and getting us to argue?). I invited an outstanding CEO I met a few months ago, Mr. Trần Trọng Kiên. He is founder and CEO of Buffalo Tours, one of Vietnam’s largest and most successful tour companies. Not only a great CEO, but a super cool and interesting guy.
Born in Vietnam, Connor grew up in Kansas USA. He has a long history as a sportsman and coach. He is a certified “Pro 1” by the US Professional Tennis Association, the highest testable tennis coach certification level in the USA.
Connor moved to Vietnam in 2007 and founded the Saigon Sports Academy, Saigon’s first multi-sports training school that teaching tennis, soccer, basketball, swimming and chess. He also is one of the co-founders of the Saigon Heat, Vietnam’s first ever professional basketball team and part of Air Asia’s ASEAN Basketball League. The Saigon Heat will have their first game in January 2012.
Today I’m beginning a new feature on my website: Interviews with business leaders to discover and share their leadership secrets.
My first guest is Chad Ovel, an accomplished high-altitude mountaineer who has conquered some of the most challenging mountains in Asia, the tallest being Pakistan’s Broad Peak at over 8,000 meters.
Chad is the Chief Executive Officer of AA Corporation, a Vietnamese-owned company with 2,000 employees. AA Corporation has led the market for interior furnishings and construction in Vietnam since 1993.
Here’s a short interview I did with VITV in May 2011. The topic was “Retaining Great People.”
- Think of the people who work for you as your most important customers
- The most important product you sell is called “Working in Your Company” — make it valuable
- Always treat well the people who choose to leave your company
In August I shot an interview with Mr. Trần Quốc Khánh, host of the “Me and Vietnam” program on the FBNC business television network here in Saigon.
We discussed building a fun company culture, how we treat our people as customers, finding your passion and motivating teams. Khánh was a very engaging and relaxed interviewer.
Khánh’s team even took some footage of me delivering a “$2 Award” to a Dream-Maker and dancing swing outside the office. It was a lot of fun.
The interview is in English with Vietnamese subtitles. I’ve included a transcript below.
Here’s an interview I did in May 2011 for the program “Người Đương Thời” which roughly translates to “People Today.”
The host, Ms. Bich Loan, likes to interview people whom she believes have interesting ideas. She likes to surprise her guests and put them in novel situations to observe how they react. It’s very effective.
We met at Hanoi’s “HR Day” in 2010 and she saw me speak about “Ducks and Eagles.” I was flattered she invited me as a guest on her program. The interview is in English, but dubbed in Vietnamese. I haven’t figured out how to get English subtitles in there yet.