Weekends dessert: Black sesame sweet soup

At this time of the year, probable after the Lunar New Year, it is around February to April. It is the hottest time and the most uncomfortable time of the whole year because of the annoying weather. No one is willing to spend time to go outside under the boiling heat of the sun after 10 am each till evening time.

Every year, this cycle will begin again, but people changes. The destruction of weather will show on your face before you have even noticed of its existence. Several years ago, you might have been a twenties-something female who were in your blossom period. You appear carefree and lively. Time goes by, you become aging. Work, family and other trivial pressure are the main sources which suck all your youth and energy.

Anyway, it is the law of nature. Why should we against it? By obeying the rules, we might extend sometime for ourselves. Why would worry of such an obvious thing on weekend. Take some time to clear your mind and enjoy something sweet to cool down the heat of Sunny Season. Despite of just having a few hours, it is enough time to peacefully enjoy a delicious and healthy black sesame sweet soup. This kind of dessert is known as the fountain of youth, and it is true since it contains Vitamin E which increases antioxidants activity. Something have been strongly linked to anti-aging, cancer prevention and promoting heart health.

Những quán chè Hoa nên ghé ở quận 5

As I live in Ho Chi Minh City, a never sleep city just as the “sleepless Seattle”, I would suggest to go a Chinese dessert shop to enjoy this magnificient sweet. There is nothing better than enjoying something in a well-fit atmosphere.

Several Chinese sweet stores in Ho Chi Minh mostly in District 5, a Chinese community.

The meaning of food

The art of cooking in Western style is undeniable. Every dish which is made by famous Chef in luxurious restaurants is an art work putting on your dining table.

When watching the series of Master Chef, I adore the cooking skill of those contestants. What a remarkable work! How could they combine different kind of food into a single perfectly-decorated edible dish? Every penny you pay for the dish is worth. Whenever, you dine at a high-class restaurants, you expect high quality of food, and this is what you will be offered by a skillful chef.

Nonetheless, besides enjoying the texture of the food, enjoy the greatness of food decoration, dining out in restaurants is also a social activity. No matter that the culture of eating is vary from country to country, the happiness of enjoying good food in a great place with your friends and family brings joy to our life. What would you expect when you come into a restaurant besides the food? Personally, I love to have a space of my own. However, few restaurants realize the dedicate need of customers at which they can enjoy their meal in their personal space. A fine cooking and nicely-decorated dish might not be a dish which can last for a life time if you have to enjoy it in a crowded, noisy and stuffed space with others. Some says a good book cannot expose all of its value if it is put in a wrong hand. So does a the finest cooked dish. How does it feel to enjoy a piece of art in a wrong place?

It is very easy and earthly act to come to a restaurant, order their signature dish, enjoy it in every bite, and then leave. What would have left after the meal? The taste of the food and the fragrant of the food. Anything else left for you to remember and reflect?

If i can choose, I would choose to go to a place where i can feel a sense of belonging, where they knows what I want, where I can share the special moment of dining with my others, and finally where all my needs are taken into concern. That’s the reason why I put this place in my dining list since they foreseen my dining habit.

Banh Mi Challenge

During this busiest time of the year, everyone is hurtling to prepare for Tet holiday. Some comes back hometown, and the other some stays in the exciting and crowding city to make some money in the holiday time.

For awhile ago, you sure heard of some called Ice bucket challenge which spreads worthwide on Facebook and the Internet. For me, I think of a challenge called Banh Mi challenge.

If you are an expat living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam or if you a white collar with a decent office job, would you ever thought of that Banh Mi (a Vietnamese style sandwiches) is a luxury food to have? Most of the time, this is considered a kind of affordable street food, yet for some good quality Banh Mi, such as Nhu Lan and Huynh Hoa located in District 1, it is a kind of luxury food since some lottery ticket sellers and xe om drivers might not pay that much (around 30,000 – 50,000 vnd for one piece).

Purpose: Share happiness with others and introduce your famous street food to the world while you can participate in a fun and meaningful charity

How:

  1. Gather a group of people as many as it could be.
  2. Raising fund for buying Banh Mi, or you can contribute in another way by drive you bike full of petrol to deliver Banh Mi
  3. Coordinate the work and brief the task.
  4. Some will buy as many as Banh Mi from Nhu Lan and Huynh Hoa (those are two shops which I could think of since their sandwiches have many meats, picked food, cucumber stuffed inside, and those are the delicious street food with high quality).
  5. Some will navigate the route and identify low-income people, for example, homeless people, old ladies selling lottery tickets, wandering children selling lottery tickets or children beggars, or anyone which you think that a Banh Mi would cheer up their hardworking day with a warm smile and a full belly.
  6. Once all the sandwiches are in head, then it is time to split up every corner of District 1 to deliver Banh Mi to identified targets.
  7. Remember to take pictures and capture some funny moment while you do your charity
  8. Record all the Banh Mi that you share to the low-income and their families

What is the fun part?

  1. To beat up your competitors with a high record number of Banh Mi that you deliver.
  2. Share the happiness with others and enjoy the moment.
  3. Introduce your famous street food to the world.

Wanna make it more challenging? Invite your foreign friends to participate. Send them out to deliver the Banh Mi without the help of a translator. One idea is that you could ask them to write one sentence in English or their native language; then, you can help them translate in Vietnamese. When they approach someone, show them that little hand-written piece of paper and a smile, that is all you need to start having fun, or even you might don’t need anything at all, but a sincere and touching smile and a careful heart.

When: It could happen anytime at the end of the week at which people have their time off from work and the others still work for a meal on their table.

Where: It starts first in District 1, downtown, which is a glamor and beautiful part of the city. It shines in the morning, and lights up at night with coffee shops, restaurants, bars and many other entertainment activities as long as you have money to pay for that. Behind the curtain, it is a hard life of people in the other side, who have to live in small alleys in a small house with a big family, and have to work in the early morning till the end of the evening to earn their living.

It is an idea at first, but I desperate to make it into a dream come true.

Time and loneliness in an endless fight

It has been nearly 3 months of mine in a start-up environment. I’m the person who always look for challenge and growing opportunities since I’m easy to get bored from repeated and tedious job at which there is no chance to grow and reach your unknown potential. Sometimes, during hard time at which it seemed impossible to reach deadline, or it seemed no hope as deadline was closed, but there still more works had to be done, I felt a bit of hopeless and exhausted. At that moment, I asked myself whether I was a stupid or a stubborn person who tried to wear such a big hat that it barely fitted my head. I could have stay with my stable job, and felt content with everyday life. In stead of that, I quit and started in my desired environment of start-up. Through those glamor articles about overnight success of tech start-up, it motivated me to be in this harsh and hectic environment to learn, work and grow. Occasionally, it was hard to accept that those stories only reflected a small piece of real stories. To be success and build a legendary empire, such as Apple or Google, it was a pile of no name job and hard work of those passionate people, also known as geeks. It was not all sweet candy a long the way, but it was more about bitterness and sour.

Today, I learned a valuable lesson of timing and priority. I underestimated the time for the paper work for applying sub-certificates. To run a restaurant is not an easy job, not alone having all proper permits to open just a small restaurant. Thus, being an entrepreneur to coordinate and manage everything all at once is the most exciting, but tiresome job. The glory always comes with bitterness and scarification. Sometimes, there was only you on the race while most of your team left home at the end of the day. There was time when you achieved your goals, but it was too short to celebrate as you had to get back on the race after a minute or two to refill and repair tires. It was absolutely no time for resting. It was an endless marathon as I would put it that way. You had to keep your strength as every tomorrow is a big day for you to deal with unexpected things, such as breach contract from suppliers or constructors, robbery at factory sites or frustrated neighbors coming to complain about all the dust in your renovation site. Besides of being more smart in using your time, it is also crucial to stay fit and be optimistic to consume all the lemons which life could throw at you.

What is the hook to keep someone coming back to buy from you?

Nowadays, customers have more choice and can access to an abundance sources of information, ranging from product promotion from product review. One question for marketer is how to keep your customers coming back and shop from you. How to establish a strong and reliable brand inside your customer’s mind? How to engrave your brand into your customer’s head and how to make your brand pop up at customer’s mind when they want to buy something in your product range? A ton of questions need to be asked, but finding the answer for all these questions shall take time, and it requires a lot of hard for searching and assessing the solution.

One way to get your customer’s attention is to provide the best service in one area and acceptable services in other areas. If you are good at something, and your customers satisfy with your product or service, they could be a volunteer and reliable salesmen for your brand. Besides, they could be an effective brand ambassador. Furthermore, people tends to have high trust with word-of-mouth reference or recommendation from friends. Thus, it is how you reach out to your potential customers through their social channel. Gradually, when using the circle of trust, for example recommendation from friends or positive shopping experience shared among an open social network, the effectiveness and the impact on customer’s buying decision are rather high. Again, an old question, how to make this happen? How to compete in a blue ocean market where you are still new to customers? Or how to compete in a red ocean market when you grow big as a corporate? Let’s figure them out together.

How long can you reach?

Recently, I have just started to work at a start-up, probably nearly a month. One thing did make me a surprise. For all these years, I thought craving for more knowledge would made me success and reached my dream easily. However, I was totally wrong. The more time you spend with a community who has the same interest and expertise, the stronger network you have.

This might be called the power of connection.

A short tour at the market

A morning full of sunshine, and it happens to be Sunday, so I took a quick trip to the other town market. Arriving at the market around 9 o’clock in the morning, I saw people going around and searching for fresh vegetables to put on their table for lunch and dinner. At first sight, some middle-age women wearing light coat to prevent sunburn were selling any kind of noodles. Next to them, another women wearing a big, torn hat covered half of her face sole all kind of fresh vegetables. She was weighting and packaging some vegetables for her customers, during that time, she was mumbling a complaint for having to sell her fresh-picked vegetable from the garden with low price. Anyway, the customer ignored her word and went deep inside the market to buy some meat. Outside the market, along the gate, there are sellers with big baskets full of rice papers of yellow, white and orange color – those are a kind of tempting street food for all-age of people. Besides, noise are all around. It comes from those gossiping ladies standing in a shade corner and talking about their neighbor newborn child. Or, the noise comes from those metal tank crashing from one another while people moves them from here to there. Still, it comes from those fashionable and stylist bikes with angry riders who tried to go through the crowded place.

I noticed an old lady with a big leaf hat, frying some cakes. The smell was so irresistible that I would have come to buy some myself. However, my stomach could not bear those oily food. Hence, that thought vanished just in a second. Suddenly, I heard a terribly scream right behind me. I looked back and saw a young lady in her pink sweater and a short who was still terrified at that time. She was robbed because some bad guys noticed her expensive black purse. The market is not a very safe, though.

A new opportunity in real estate: Co-working space

In the past, when your company grows and unable to fit in a small space in your living room or your garage, it is time to move out into a real office. Yet, the price is not cheap for renting a comfortable place, set up everything from decoration to operation.

In 21st century, renting an office doesn’t sound so much trouble. Actually, I think it is a new perspective to look at real estate. In stead of renting out a free space, space owners can make it become something ready-to-use for companies from as small as a start-up of one person or big companies of several to hundreds of employee. If you don’t have financial constraint and look for a great place to settle your business, Regus could be a wise choice.

Some people find that working alone at home is unable to activate their creativity. Locking yourself in front of your laptop isn’t bring new ideas to mind. Then, the concept of co-working space emerges in the time of financial recession, approximately in 2007. Independent workers, freelancers and small start-up firms are the first pioneer. They could share an open work space with others, especially like-minded people. Although they can work on different projects, occasionally communication and social hangout among co-workers in shared space might be an innovation push for them. It is a kind of social-gathering, yet people are here to work not for networking.

When the wave comes, and brings in an abundance of fish, there shall be fishermen here to take the catch. I notice some giants offering a service of office sharing and coworking space, such as Regus and Sharedesk. When choosing the former one as your partner, you can access to 1500 office centers worldwide. All you need is at a finger tip, and the only thing you have to do is to book a place and then move in. About Sharedesk, they are far more advanced to Regus as you can search and book a place through your mobile app. They help office owners to completely make use of their work space. How to differentiate two of them? Think of Regus as a formal adviser for office renting, and you can work with them online or in person. They have a varied location of offices for your choice. On the other hand, Sharedesk is a match-maker; it means that they will connect the office owners with the tenants. It is a free platform for you to reach customers globally, and they only take a small fee for making a connection.

References:

  1. https://www.odesk.com/blog/2012/06/why-coworking-fresh-look-growing-trend/
  2. http://www.inc.com/adam-vaccaro/coworking-space-growth.html
  3. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2010-03-18-coworking18_ST_N.htm
  4. http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2013/05/28/why-coworking-spaces-are-here-to-stay/

Critical mass in a network market of taxi-booking app

In strategy thinking, especially in network market, it is essential to gain critical mass and become a market dominant. For taxi-booking app, there is no standardization. For example, you can find GrabTaxi or EasyTaxi on Android, iOS and Window phone.

It is about changing human behaviors, to use technology to make their life more comfort and convenience. The question is how to change? When you start small, of course, few people know about your existence. To be recognized, it is better to form a strategic alliances with a strong reputation partner. In Ho Chi Minh, Vinasun and Mai Linh are the big taxi operators, yet the former has a bigger market share. Why would they prefer to form a partnership with a small taxi-booking app? They can operate more efficient and stay ahead from the market with the help of technology. More and more people own a smartphone with 3G connection. The digital age generation is the demanding and impatient customers who want to control time and get access to resources quickly. That is what a taxi-booking app can do because it connects customers with drivers just a click away. Everything is operated based on data and numbers, so it is easy and cost-saving to hand over the customer service job and operation job to a taxi-booking app. Both Vinasun and Mai Linh could focus their capital on investing in recruitment, training and buying new cars.

In addition, imagine that you can see taxi running around the city with logo either GrabTaxi or EasyTaxi on their doors, it makes the app become more visible and gradually increase awareness among users. The more you see and heard about something, the more you remember. It would be fun and curious to know about how frequent the logo of Grab or Easy appears on the cab’s door. Next time, when you want to a cab, you just remember whether it is a Grab or an Easy. Don’t have to remember a long list of phone number, for example 38.27.27.27 (Vinasun) and 38 38 38 38 (Mai Linh). On the top of that, an app is free to download and only Internet connection is required to do the booking, no more fee for calling.

What is behind the curtain of merger and acquisition?

In business world, to be a competitive player in the field, once your company shifts from a start-up phase (an infant phase) to a mature phase, you should consider whether it is time to grow organically or inorganically. Organic growth means that you grow slowly from the inside while inorganic growth, also known as merger and acquisition, is another way to make your company become big and powerful by forming a partnership or acquiring other firms.

Growing should go together with profit. It is unwise to expand your business without making profit. Growth and profit are two terms that go hand-in-hand together. However, the profit driven from merger and acquisition of biggest technology companies is a hidden treasure. Looking closely to those incredible big acquisition, you might wonder where the profit is.

The acquisition of Whatsapp in the beginning of 2014 is a concrete example. When the news first leaked out, every title of newspaper was mostly about the purchasing price that Facebook paid. How lucky Whatsapp was to be acquired with 19 billion dollars! What a big price to pay! Then, it is time to question about why Facebook should acquire Whatsapp. To stay ahead from the competition, it is crucial to acknowledge the trends and make your competitors to be your partners instead of a threatening rival force. On the other hand, the pricy acquisition will help Facebook become a powerful player in even a mobile platform. It is a shortcut to be a big brother in another field without spending much time to develop the technology or platform. Moreover, it is an easy way to get access to the latest technology of your ex-competitors.

For technological companies, when deciding to grow through acquisition, it is the culture and vision, not the earnings and revenue, that are of paramount importance. Is that the story? Of course not. It is the matter of staying ahead and recognizing future trends so that you could take a first jump. That is the Eureka moment for most tech companies, to be a leader of trend instead of a follower.