Doan Kieu My — The rise of the super-connector in Vietnam Tech ecosystem
Though the startup ecosystem in Vietnam is flourishing to folks outside, it’s quite fragmented and lacks the super-connectors to connect the dots.
Super-connectors know everyone and everyone knows them. “Super-connectors are invaluable people” — Said The Entrepreneurs — “They match people with opportunities and, in doing so, they leave their connections with a positive opinion of them and their abilities.”
In an emerging startup country like Vietnam whose components of the ecosystem are still fragmented, YellowBlocks comes with the mission of becoming a super-connector to connecting the dots.
1. To become a super-connector
As of October 2018, Kimiko founded YellowBlocks — the first emerging tech ecosystem connector in Vietnam. Super-connector is the inspiration for this startup. In particular, a “super-connector” is a term referring to a person or an organization in society that connects and creates strategic partnerships with partners from different areas.
“Being a super-connector requires multisectoral insights from diverse fields, negotiating skill and the ability to connect and create superior value for the society with pure passion. In fact, YellowBlocks not only makes high added-value matches between individuals but also uses our expertise in emerging tech to provide consulting services in technology, business, and marketing for Tech enterprises and VCs”. — said Kieu My.
Over the past year, YellowBlocks has acquired strategic cooperation projects and signed an MoU — a cooperation agreement — with four governments from Vietnam, Australia, Singapore and Austria.
According to Kieu My, YellowBlocks has three main goals for 2020: Supporting the technology community; Expand the PR — Communication service package targeting to Vietnamese Tech enterprises; Continue to play a role as a reliable solution for big corporations and VCs oversea to build their networks with the ecosystem in Vietnam.
“This is a very new model of consultancy in Vietnam, therefore, it’s difficult for us to explain to our clients that the outcome of projects is measured not only by the time we have spent for it but also the priceless experience we have gained for many years. We would love to bring our best for Vietnamese enterprises, but it’s the fact that foreign businesses still make up a large proportion of our clients.” — said Kieu My.
2. The makings of a super-connector
One of the most common thoughts is that people who have many relationships can become a super-connector, but it is not just that simple.
The reason YellowBlocks has no specific model is that each country has its own development stage of the technology market as well as its tech ecosystem. To successfully navigate the strategy means that the super-connector has to fully understand the local culture. Until now, we have leveraged its core values to gain its permanent market forehold.
Our core values at YellowBlocks are:
Trust, Integrity, and Ethics — We take the utmost pride in our work, our reputation, and our goodwill.
Value-driven — We are driven by the value that our services can bring to our clients.
Respect — We are a team of diversity. We respect everyone’s background, ideas, contributions, and hard work.
Collaboration — We believe in sharing the cake to make the cake bigger. Every project is taken with win-win-win thinking.
Passion — Everyone at YellowBlocks works day and night for long-term success. Passion is our growth fuel.
When referring to success from her own perspective, Kieu My has put the “Credit” factor on top of all. “A successful person will be the one who gets‘ trust ’- from his/her employees, customers, and partners. To make that happen, the entrepreneur has to expose their effort, commitment, capabilities, and work performance. To me, “credit” is a leading factor both in work and in life.” — Kieu My said.
3. Pursuing perfection
Graduated from Computer and Telecommunication Science at Helsinki University of Technology, now Aalto University (Finland), Kieu My then returned to Vietnam to join an integration system company.
“At the beginning of the day, I thought that being hired means that I had to create 10 times more value than what I was paid. The reason for that was I was in the front-line team to directly interact with customers — and my work performances could effectively motivate my back-office colleagues.”
“Getting a promotion as an executive manager, I was in charge of both the front-line and the back-office team, which drove me ‘obsessed’ about optimizing internal processes to create superior value for customers. Fortunately, my Tech background equipped me with logical thinking so I was always willing to try new things.”- Realizing that having expertise in business was so crucial, Kieu My later decided to study the MBA program at the University of Gloucestershire (UK).
Admitting that pursuing perfectionism is sometimes the downside: “Sometimes I stay up until 3–4 am to finalize and correct the very minor details such as word choices or the punctuations” — Kieu My said.
Kieu My has enjoyed her work though it requires her to work 24/7 with no weekends for many years. Her day starts at 6 AM and ends at 1 AM every day — including online/in-person meetings with her employees, partners, customers could be arranged whenever she’s available — on airplanes, cars, offices.
For the rest of the day, she spends her time with the family. Despite the hectic schedule, Kieu My takes advantage of 1–2 hours before bedtime to read books about leadership thinking, business thinking, technology, and innovation… “It’s a priceless time for me to recharge my battery while adding multidimensional perspectives in different areas.”
As of March 2020, Doan Kieu My was proud to be the first and only representative of Vietnam — invited by Victoria State (Australia) — to attend the “Women in Business Summit”. At the event, She shared her overview of the women’s role in the tech ecosystem in Vietnam as well as outstanding women-led initiatives such as “Women In Tech Vietnam”. [See more details].
Here are three advice for businesswomen who are thriving in the tech ecosystem from Kieu My
Networking: The digital age has provided us with mix-variety online social platforms to connect people, but that doesn’t mean they are superior to meeting people in-person as the way we interact with others in real life space is completely different. Go to an event, make a list of whom you want to meet, and what topic you will discuss with them. Networking is the time to meet new people to learn and share valuable lessons from and with impactful women in the ecosystem.
Maintaining a diversity of knowledge and skill-set: Technology itself is a normal industry. Working in Tech requires basic knowledge in related fields such as Tech Understanding, Business Understanding, Marketing Understanding, Finance Understanding …
Accepting the challenges: Ignoring gender, we are all individuals with our own thoughts, ambitions, and passions. Find out what you want to do and be completely determined for it.
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**This article is written by TheFace Magazine and translated in English by YellowBlocks.
YellowBlocks is the trusted Vietnam tech gateway to provide local insights, premiere networks, and business / marketing / tech strategies for leading companies in emerging tech (ABCD — AI/ML/Robotics, Blockchain, Cloud, Data).