How to avoid being bitten by the ants when you climb a tree?

Me: When I was a kid, there was a big tree in front of my house that had a lot of yellow ants. I like to climb that tree but I just hate the fact that I will be bitten by the ants and it’s really painful. I was so naive to think that if I stay still, the ants will mistake me for the tree and leave me alone. So I pretended to be a part of the tree.
They: You need to work on your vocabulary. You use the wrong word all the time.
Me: Which word?
They: It’s not naive, it’s stupid.


Salty Diamond Rocket

3 months back, I was pitching my then startup, Salty Diamond Rocket. It’s so controversial that a lot of people think I’m out of my mind. It might sound stupid at first, but it’s not. Let me tell you more.

Working with a lot of teams across the globe, we came to acknowledge the huge problem of poverty and inequality.  A lot of countries are still being underdeveloped while a lot more are becoming super rich countries. That’s just not fair and we wanna solve that.

Solution: Salty Diamond Rocket – A rocket that can solve all the poverty and inequality problems within a couple days, all around the world.

How it works.

It’s really simple. It’s the rocket that was filled with diamond. Once we launch it, the rocket will explode after reaching the altitude of 10,000 feet and here it comes the best part, all the diamond will find its way to land at a preselected location. The local people will pick it up and use it to buy stuff.

Let’s say, using our emotion recognition technology, if the system finds a woman dying of hunger, a moment later, a diamond will be dropped right at her doorstep, problem solved. We use AI to locate, track and analyze the wealth level of the local people to make sure that we distribute the diamond to the right people, at the right time. That’s a lot of work.

How can we make money? Great question. We monetize it by selling ads to the big brands. We charge them $10,000 to put their brand name and logo on each diamond. Let’s imagine this. After the rocket exploded up in the sky, all the diamond will be distributed to the poor. So, what do they do after they pick up the diamond? First, a couple moments of happiness, craziness and then they will go buy stuff. But what to buy now? Let’s go find the brand that was tagged on the diamond. Easy, right?

People still ask, but it’s still a diamond, how can we compensate the cost?

Here is something that we are really excited to talk about. Our cutting-edge technology allows us to produce diamond out of seawater. Yup, you heard it right, it’s sea water. That’s why it has “salty” in its name. First, we detach salt from the sea water so we have salt and drinking water. Then we use salt to produce diamond while we can have another business of selling bottled water. Using this technology, we are not only cutting the huge cost of producing diamond but also helping to solve the problem of water scarcity and sea level increasing. Those are the biggest problems in the world right now.

Competitor: We are having the advantage of being the first mover in the world. No one else is doing the same thing. By the time I was presenting, we just finished the deal with NASA and SpaceX to launch our first rocket in Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world. By doing this, we disrupted the whole philanthropy world. Potentially, a lot of NGOs like UNICEF will be out of business, Bill Gates is gonna hate us for stealing his philanthropy jobs…

Yeah, that was me three months ago. As you can see, that’s was me holding the business plan and on the left side of me, there’s a logo on the whiteboard that was poorly drawn by my cofounder @Stacey. Until now, I don’t even understand what the hell I was talking about back then. But the fact is, the judges blamed me on pushing the inflation level and making people lazier, and therefore they only gave me the second place prize for that shit.

What’s up in Malaysia?

It’s an Islamic country with more than 60% of the population are Malays. So on almost every advertisement I’ve encountered, there would be a woman wearing hijab, especially mobile phone advertisement. For example, a muslim woman taking selfie with an Oppo.

And people drive car. In a normal family in the city, almost everyone has their own car. So tv advertisement would heavily be about car, petrol, oil…

Houses in Malaysia are well organized and they have only one architecture for the whole area, designed by a group of community developer. One cannot design and construct the house himself.

In the residential areas, a living house is normally shorter than the house in Vietnam but all the gov buildings look like the castles, so big, mysterious and weird.

People must be really in love with coconut here. They put it into almost everything out there.
There’re three races: Malays, Chinese and Indian. So there are three types of food accordingly:

  • Indian food is full of curry, not my type and I don’t wish to try much.
  • Malay food is still half-full of curry but the spiciest. Not fun at all.
  • Chinese food is similar to Vietnamese food. I eat it every day. It’s not as good as Vnmese food tho.

When I say I’m from Vietnam, ppl will normally ask: “But you speak English well” or “how did you learn English”Even the other day when I met an investor and he wanted me to recommend some good programmers and marketer in VN and he asked: `but can they speak English?`

Even the other day when I met an investor and he wanted me to recommend some good programmers and marketer in VN and he asked: “But can they speak English?”

People drive on the left, just like in the UK (they were colonized by Britain for a long time)

People use Whatsapp for everyday things and they will create a group chat for almost everything, chatting with friends, family, company-wide communication, the business community, residential community, hiring, shopping…
The other day when we met the Chairman of ipay88, he asked us to send him the pitch deck, but through Whatsapp, even though we had already sent through email.

In stead of getting email or facebook, people will ask for your Whatsapp.

Malaysians are so afraid of the number 4 as it’s pronounced the same way with `death`, so they try to avoid using it as much as they can. When you walk into an escalator in a big building. it’s normal to see 3A floor instead of 4. 3 – 3A and then 5.

I’m wondering when a kid reaches the age of 4, at the birthday party, people come and say:

Congrats, now you’re 3A years old already


Happy 3A birthday

There’s a road in Kolkata, India called Ho Chi Minh road, where the American embassy is located. Everybody there knows that and that’s how they started to know Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh city.

In Malaysia, the place of the meeting will depend on the role of two parties. If you’re asking anything from them, you go to their place or somewhere nearby they decided, and vice versa. It’s an unspoken rule.

Indian is black, Chinese is white, Malay is somewhere in the middle.
Wondering if there’re any connections :thinking_face:

Talking about Vietnam, especially when it comes to food, the normal conversation will be like.

oh, beer is really cheap there, right?


Vietnamese coffee is really strong

And one Malaysian asked:

You guys are still having a security guy writing the ticket for parking right?


how can you guys be so skinny?

First experience in Malaysia

The very very first experience: almost got ripped off.

When I arrived at the airport, I knew that my friend Stacey was waiting outside so right after going through immigration inspection and collecting my bags, I walked as fast as possible to the exit 8. My flight was delayed for half an hour and it took nearly one more hour for immigration inspection as it was Sunday, a lot of people were traveling. So we couldn’t meet as expected. I didn’t see her, I couldn’t call her (actually I already registered roaming service but somehow my mind was so dumb to realise that I can just call her from my phone), I wanted to get a local SIM card. I ran into two security guys standing near the exit 8 and asked for a place that I can buy SIM card. One guy was like this: SIM card huh? and then he looked around suspiciously and started to talk to the other guy in Malay that I could not understand a word. Then they asked me to follow them. Instead of showing me the telco store, they lead me to a corner, one guy turned his back to me and tried to pull something out of his wallet which I was not sure if it’s a SIM card, while the other guy asked me to pay RM200 ($50 or so). I wasn’t so familiar with RM, I did have a couple thousand of RM in my wallet that I can pay but after doing a quick math, I smelled something wrong. There couldn’t be that expensive. One more thing was that they were so suspicious. My instinct told me to run, and I told them softly:

“Hmm, you know what, I didn’t expect it to cost that much of money then I don’t have enough cash here. Maybe I should go meet my friend first and she will help me withdraw cash from my card then I will go back to you for that SIM card later”

I didn’t wait for them to answer, I walked away as fast as possible towards a group of local drivers there, to make sure that those two guys do not follow me.

A few munites later, Stacey picked me up and I found out that I can buy a SIM card with one tenth of that price. I knew it.

My street philosophy

Almost everything we hear and see everyday is just the matter of opinion. Somebody said that A is just an asshole, then somebody else said that A is super friendly and thoughtful. There is a book telling us that we have to burn our youth, we have to work 18 hours a day in order to have a successful life later on, there’s another book telling us that don’t be a dickhead, let’s have a life. Except science facts that they seem to be the most credible things at the moment (maybe in the near future, people will find out it’s exactly opposite but it works for now), nothing is totally right or wrong, it just the point of view. I have to put a doubt on anything I encounter. It’s not that I don’t have faith or too skeptical but the way I choose to see thing. as long as I feel good, it’s good.

It’s so ridiculous to see that people are spending too much time talking bullshit on social media. We are trying to show that we have a grand life, that we feel positive all the time and that’s the right thing to do. Meanwhile, other people are feeling shit because of seeing it. I do not have that thing, I didn’t try that, everybody seems to have something better than mine so obviously my life is much more worse than the average. I’m just a piece of shit.

We are all trying to be sophisticated and pretend to be nice to each other. I do it sometimes I whenever I do it, deep down in me, I found myself guilty for not telling the true feeling. Well, I’m way too sophisticated now!

Relationships matter. I don’t mean contacts we got from the networking events or ass kissing at work, which is bullshit to me, but the real connection between us with the ones we love, the ones we like. Our parents, our siblings, our close friends, our fiances, etc, the ones that we care about and want to do something good for them in return of nothing. Sometimes I took for granted that they are there and will always be there for me, no matter what, as if they have the responsibility to be in my life and I forgot how to appreciate them appropriately. Only until I started to wonder if they weren’t there, if they didn’t show up for me in my life, would I still be myself today, that when I realized how bad I behaved. That’s sad. We don’t need to tell them how we love them or how we feel thankful all the time, that sounds ridiculous, but to show them simply by being there when they need us.

Health is gold. There’s no strong mind inside a weak body, I hear it somewhere and that’s 100% true. There was the period of time that I didn’t do any exercises, even walking. I sleep next to the work place, I eat at work. My schedule was to wake up, sit and work, eat, work and sleep, continuously. Then one day, I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, breathing hardly. It’s like my heart wants more work but the lung insists that’s too much for the heart, they had a conversation and the lung was going to win, and the brain came up at the right time as a referee, to wake me up. I stayed up the whole night. I was freaked out. I didn’t even dare to go back to sleep because I was afraid that if I went to sleep, I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. As long as I was awake, I was still be able to breath normally and call for help easily incase something bad came up to me. That thought scared me for the next whole week that I couldn’t go to sleep until 2pm, and I tried to wake up at 6am the next morning, to escape the nightmare. That was the terrible time. Then I decided to workout. I started to run and do some pushup, plank at home. My health improves tremendously. I feel thankful for that.

[Updating continuously]

30 Days Challenge

I started running.

For this year, my highest priority is to improve my health. A year ago, I joined a Yoga class but I didn’t seem to enjoy practicing it much. I found it addictive when I have to suffer the body pain of working out, especially those exercises that require a lot of fast moving and make me sweat like hell. It’s not enjoyable at first but I feel relieved. After a while, I will miss it and aspire to taste it again. That’s weird but true to me. That’s why Yoga seems so unfit to me as it requires moving slowly and sitting patiently. I decided to quit Yoga and run instead.

I challenged myself to run everyday, at least 5km for he first month then increase the target on the way. I will 100% commit to this exercise for the first 30 days because I heard somewhere that if we stick with something long enough, says 30 days, it will become our habit and I want to make it a daily habit.

I have been running for over a week and it’s exhausted like hell but believe me, I can see that I turned to eat like a pig, sleep better and something new came along recently.

When I stop giving my words

I often say out loud about what’s wrong or what you should do to fix it only when I care enough about you. Once I stop talking about it, that means I stop giving notice. Because if I still care, I cannot just watch it going wrong and don’t let you know that, I have to say.  So, if you don’t seem to enjoy hearing what I say, just let me know and I will stop. Or you don’t have to, I will be able to know that on my own.