Meet the CEO, Mr. Truong Dinh Hoang at Asian Tech Inc.
My name is Jeffrey Moon and I am in charge of marketing at Asian Tech. We have revamped our website, and this is a great opportunity to highlight the founder and CEO of Asian Tech, Truong Dinh Hoang.
Here is a brief introduction of Asian Tech before we start with the interview of Mr. Hoang.
Asian Tech Inc is a Vietnamese offshore software development agency founded in Jun 2014. In 2015, the company made a capital tie-up with Monstar Lab Group. Since its establishment Asian Tech has grown rapidly from 10 to 350 employees. With his experience as an IT engineer for many years in Japan, Mr. Truong Dinh Hoang has worked relentlessly to recruit and foster young talents, making them employees with a sense of ownership - the strong and abundant human resources of Asian tech Inc. Mr. Hoang also created a standardized cycle of sustaining efficient development process and established a Japanese quality control team. As a result, Asian Tech has gained trust from customers and conducted an increasing number of projects in recent years.
Mr. Hoang shares stories from the early days of his career, the origin of Asian Tech and his vision for the company’s future.
Name: Truong Dinh Hoang
Age: 39 (1980)
Nationality: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Born in Hue City: Hue is a city in central Vietnam that was the seat of Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802 to 1945.
Education: Studied Computer Science at a Vietnamese University but did not graduate. Studied Japanese and Computer Science school in Japan but did not graduate in 2002.
Mr. Hoang technically has not a finished university degree. However, he is always wondering about new culture and loves to learn new knowledge and gain experience and proud of his country. Since he decided to go overseas, he started to learn Japanese and Computer Science. This led him to start his 1st job in Japanese IT company as System Engineer. He successfully completed his internship prior to getting the 1st job as well.
Here goes our interview with Mr. Hoang.
Jeffrey: Could you share your experiences with your 1st and 2nd job in a Japanese company?
Hoang: Sure. I will share what I learned and experienced in Japan.
Career I( Love now): College dropout to Super Quality Control (QC) Tester and Engineer
Hoang: Although I did not have a college degree or much work experience in Japan, I had a chance to work with large Japanese corporation. I worked at Brycen for 5 years from 2005 to 2010. I practiced coding and learned how Japanese enterprise companies operate - their technology, work culture and IT developments.
I was eager to explore programing languages and development related tools such as Java, Struts, C#, PHP5, B.NET,Symfony,Ruby on Rails,Mysql,Db2,Oracle, System Design, Architect design, Test design, Security system, Customer support as well as Sales.
Jeffrey: Could you share with me some challenges in your 1st workplace?
Hoang: Sure. Here are two challenges in my first company.
1st episode: from Beginner to Super QC tester
The first job I was assigned was in quality control (QC) team and the client was EC-one.When the project was initiated there were 20 members in the QC team. Time after time, everyone resigned due to the long working hours and less motivation and I became the last one in QC team. So I had to test all the environment and quality test by myself. Although I did not have previous QC experience, I am the only one who knew every system and could work on it. I successfully delivered all the function and moved to the next project.
How to overcome:
I always focus on my current job. I have a responsibility to deliver the quality with 150% efforts.
At first, I did not really like QC projects but I changed my mind and focused on QC and decided to be a Super-tester. Since I changed my mind, I wanted to understand the system design and all the development environment. By knowing more about quality control and testing, I felt so excited and motivated to test all the function. That is the biggest rewards for me. I always try my best with given task and mission. I always commit 150% of my efforts on whatever mission I took or received. The reason why I gave 150% is delivering 100% is for meeting the client’s expectation. Extra 50% is for servicing the client more. I also invest in each client’s project with my extra 50% of effort and knowledge. I learned that by focusing on 150% of efforts, I can find how to make a better solution and a better way to develop. I believe that even though my investment did not return as 150% it is ok in the short term. It is difficult to explain why I commit 150% all the time when I do every client’s projects. It has really become my personality.
Jeffrey: If you see the people who don’t give 100% of their effort, how do you see and judge those people?
Hoang: I do not judge and get angry to those people. Because everyone has a different personality. I try to communicate how anyone can be better if they want to become better. Moving on to 2nd challenge, after I learned about QC and I realized that I wanted to move next project with coding opportunity. While gaining QC experiences, I also improved Japanese and other communication skills.
Jeffrey: it was a great story of how you took the QC work and improve your skills in the QC team. What challenge did you encounter?
Hoang: This episode is more about problem-solving as an engineer.
The Career II (See problem as opportunities for growth): Never leave the toughest tasks behind you
2nd challenge: Tough Problem Solver became a Super Engineer
My 2nd challenge is about Java project and I became a super programmer. The system was already made but a huge bug was found. It was a very tough problem to solve. There were 10,000 code lines. It took 3 days to search for the solution. It was quite difficult and everyone gave up solving the bug.How to overcome: I discussed with the Project Manager (PM) and suggested a plan to redesign the function. It took me 2 weeks and 1300 code lines to complete this function. Before that everyone had tried to find bugs and fixed them many times. My approach was different. Instead of fixing the bug within existing code lines, I developed new lines.
That gave me a great chance to apply my coding skills. I learned how to code simply and efficiently. I could apply my quality control(QC) skills and experience to this coding more effectively and challenge to perfect with no bugs. In addition, I also learned about the importance of system design. Once I worked intensively in enterprise projects, one thing remained in my mind that I could not see my end users at this company.
Jeffrey: You have intensive enterprise experiences. But at the same time, you would like to learn and seek a new challenge which allows you to see end users.
Hoang: Yes, I have a strong passion to learn and experience various perspective on software development.
The Career III (Big Change): If a homeless can do it means I can also do it
Hoang: I wanted to have a chance to communicate with the real end user and client directly. So that I can serve and see the real-time response from end users and think about improvement more effectively. My second company work experience started at OK Wave from 2010 till 2013.
OK wave was a company that developed client mobile application(APP) Development. It was my first time to develop a mobile app in my life. During my 1st day of my work in my 2nd company, I had a chance to meet Kanemoto Kanedou(Founder and CEO) of this company which listed in the Japanese stock market in 2006. I also read his book(The meaning of working from CEO who used to be homeless) and talked with him. I found that the CEO experienced 3 years of homeless life in Tokyo.
The beginning of the company’s situation was not good. However, this company became a listed company in Tokyo Stock market in the end.
Kanemoto-san built a Q&A platform at the beginning. He could not get any contract and even could not pay employees. He tried to introduce and share his service to potential clients but it was very difficult to get accepted. However, he did not give up and kept trying to engage with potential clients. Sales staff could not get sales as well. Every week he tried to visit potential clients for his service. He kept visiting for 3 months. After that, he got his 1st contract with a very small amount of sales. He brought back his contract and showed to all employees.
“I got a contract!” “I got a contract!” “I got a contract!”
After listening to this news, all other sales members started to get sales and motivated all the members of his company. They began to realize that “We can do it”. The company started to grow and grew fast. A lot of things happened in his company and learned a lot from this CEO.
At that time, I was thinking about one idea which changed my life. I read and I know from his story that “his condition was not good but he made it”. One day I can create my own company. However, I do not know how I can do it yet. I was thinking about this. I thought to myself, “I don’t have enough money, potential clients, management skills. It seemed not so easy to establish and run a company.” I had learned a many things about project management but I did not have much confidence until I met this CEO.
His story empowered me. My ideas became clearer. All my worries were gone. I realized that what I worried about was not important. Kanemoto Kanedou had no money or potential clients. He only had his mind and will power.
“IF A HOMELESS MAN CAN DO IT, IT MEANS I CAN ALSO DO IT”
This changed my mind that “I can do it” I asked myself that homeless can do it why can I not do it? I can do it. But one thing still existed in my mind.
I tried to study about feeling, angry, disappointment feeling etc. At that time, I focused 150% on my job. After finishing the job, I learned how I could improve management skills by attending various seminars. I spent a lot of time and money on self-development.
I worked for 3 years in OK Wave. After having enough experience in client service of app development, I decided to go back to my own country and do my own service in Vietnam.
Jeffrey: Wow! You really got inspiration from OK Wave CEO who used to be homeless.
Hoang: Yes. That was the moment that I wanted to do my own business and know I can do it.
Jeffrey: So you decided to go back to your home country, Vietnam. What is the story in Vietnam?
Hoang: Yes. Let me share the story in Vietnam.
Startup: Failure is a new turning point
Hoang: I came back to Vietnam and I made tabelog and cookpad kind of services in Vietnam which provides restaurant information and matching restaurant and the customer who looked for various cuisine service. I launched my service while I was working in Japan. After one year later, I left Japan and moved to Ho Chi Minh City. It was such a busy time to prepare my own business at that time. However, I believed that I will be very successful with my new business in Vietnam.
After 4 months of moving to Ho Chi Minh City, I had to face with a big accident. I borrowed hosting server service from the Japanese company, but they did not maintain the server system well. Data for all system was gone and could not get recover. It was a furious moment. How could it possibly happen? I spent all my energy on this service and system but all data is gone with this stupid accident. I could not understand and accept this.
I changed my mind again this time. It was not easy to build a business by myself. Life is not easy but I know I had to keep going forward. Finally, I need to accept the failure and adopt to the situation.
Big accident taught me that how I can face this kind of situation and problem happening in my life. For me, this was a very important moment. I needed to control my feeling of disappointment, upset and all the blames. I took the action once I realized that I need to move forward. I decided to leave Ho Chi Minh and moved to Danang City. I was not sure but maybe Ho Chi Minh was not a good place for me.
Startup zero to one: Vision and Core value are making the masters of makers(creators)
Hoang: I started a new business called Asian Tech in Danang.
Jeffrey: Why did you start Asian Tech?
Hoang: I had a great opportunity to study abroad in Japan. I also worked there for many years. I met various business people from around the world including China, Korea, US, UK, Spain, Taiwan, Indonesia. One day I would like to contribute my knowhow to my country. I wanted to do something for my country in Vietnam. That was why I started working in Japan. Danang has great potential to develop in the near future so I decided to do business here.
I decided to develop in Danang. When I came to Danang, it only serviced the Tourism industry. So thought if I could develop an IT industry here, that would make the city more exciting. Combining IT and tourism industries seems like an exciting idea. One day client visits Danang, they will work and enjoy the attractive place of Danang.
My vision for AT is to develop people. People are our most important asset. I focus on employees and myself. I want to become positive influencer for people’s skill and development. Focusing on developing our human resources that is key to perfecting our services.
We are the makers. That is why we focus on our core value. The core value is developing the people as the master of makers(Creators). Recoding History is the history of our growth story when we face a difficult challenge together with our members. The joy doubles and the sorrow halves. We focus on developing our people’s knowledge, experience, skills, capability and network with the whole of our passion.
Jeffrey: How was the journey from zero to one? The Difficulty, how to overcome, Reward
Hoang: OK. I will explain that.
I had no money, no customer, no potential clients. I also lacked experience. I only had a strong faith and a vision for the future. My plan was to hire 500 engineers in the next 3 years. In the beginning I had no project but I decided to hir 10 engineers to be started with. I had a friend who can introduce potential client and projects for me. I shared with my friend this business plan and action plan. He was so surprised and got angry that I hired 10 engineers without any project.
He asked me “why did you hire 10 people without discussing with me?”
I decided to take a risk and responsibility. You don’t need to worry about it. This is how Asian Tech is started. We started some small projects and study how we can do the project better.
How to overcome:
I decided to hire 10 engineers without any project. I think it was a good decision for me. I put myself in a challenging environment and create an urgent situation that forced me to survive and thrive.
“If I can not do it this, I will die.” I had no choice but overcome this challenge.
I felt sad and stressed. I never asked anyone for a solution. I only asked myself how to solve the problems.
1. What do I want?
2. Do I want to overcome or give up? *I always recall why I established this company and what did I want to do.
3. I try to answer those questions.
At that time, I decided that I won’t give up. All those problems and challenges made me stronger because I had to overcome those challenges somehow. In our life, there are always many fluctuations, good and bad situation. When a face bad situation, we often fall into a negative loop. We think about negative things. We cannot make good decisions.
When I decided to overcome the problem, that decision made me stronger and helped me find a solution better. Asian Tech is one of fasting growing company and the number of employes are no.1 and the operating profit has been the record in Monstar Lab Group.
Startup now: My recent daily routine and personal life
Jeffrey: What’s the current challenge?
Hoang: For a personal challenge, I cannot speak English very well. I want to master English as soon as possible. For an organization challenge, our organization would challenge to use English as an official language. https://youtu.be/8nS7vq7g7pg <--Please check current Asian Tech
Jeffrey: What’s the goal for next 3-5 years?
Hoang: I really want to improve my English skills. I am a challenger and I feel excited if I get a new challenge.
Jeffrey: What message or advice do you want to give to future startup CEOs? Make action louder than words. (Don’t be NATO! : No Action Talk Only) The idea is worthless even for 1 mm.
Jeffrey: How are the routine these days?
06:00 Wake up
06:30 - 08:00 Come to office / Study English / Read books while drinking Coffee
08:00 Start working
08:00 - 19:00 Finish working
19:00 - 20:00 Study English
20:00 Go back home
I often go to the office and do some own tasks which I could not do my task during the weekdays. Although I am very busy, I would like to learn English more if I could have more time.
Additional questions regarding personal life
Jeffrey: What are your hobbies?
Hoang: Studying English, Reading fiction novel: Make me “think outside of the box”
Jeffrey: What books do you like?
Hoang: Japanese, Vietnamese, English Books(for Management, Love to hear Crazy New Ideas etc)
Jeffrey: What music do you like?
Hoang: English Music(Slow Music)
Jeffrey: Whom do you respect and why?
Hoang: Elon Musk. The reason is that he is crazy to commit action.
Jeffrey: What kind of exercise do you do?
Hoang: Kickboxing, Table Tennis
Jeffrey: Whis is your life’s motto or slogan?
Hoang: “Life is short so don’t wait your chance to come. Make and take your chance.”
Thank you for reading.