Chief Digital Technology Officer & SVP
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Travel Notes: My Latest Adventure to Vietnam
Xin Ciao (that's hello in Vietnamese),
I just got back from a week-long journey to Vietnam, and as always I return feeling invigorated and motivated to talk about how much this country has grown economically and technically. I have visited Vietnam approximately nine times over the last three years and witnessed so much growth -- some good and some bad.
There are more cars and mopeds on the road, causing tremendous traffic jams. City driving, or I should say city maneuvering, is not fun. The good news is that by law everyone must now wear helmets, reducing injuries in the many daily fender benders.
Another big change I see is the international influence. When you pick up Vietnamese newspapers, they have a good balance of stories from around the world. In fact, the global perspective can make the coverage even better than our coverage. I was 11 thousand miles away just days ago and was able to stay current on the U.S. Democratic and Republican primary races.
Quality of Life Improvements
The government is also working hard to enforce several new laws designed to improve quality of life. Just a year ago, garbage was collected in the cities, but there was no system for garbage collection outside city limits. The refuse would simply pile up. Now the government is implementing a solution for garbage pick up across the countryside. The government is also now working to control the amount of billboard advertising in an effort to improve aesthetics and reduce visual pollution.
I got a chuckle at how American Idol, the new season, is a big hit in Vietnam. This Valentine's Day they are launching a sitcom in Vietnam called "Cheerful Singles," which is basically a Vietnamese Friends focusing on six single friends and their lives. The western influences in Vietnam can be funny at times, but I do hope the country never loses its sense of history and culture. You can't duplicate structures like these:
Another great aspect of Vietnam is the general friendliness and openness. I was walking in the countryside to visit an artist's estate (depicted above) with some colleagues. We ran into a group of people cutting down trees for a new bridge. As we passed, they all started saying "Hello." Smiling we responded "Xin Ciao," and they laughed and smiled back. Again and again, I find so many of the people I meet at work and at play engaging and charming.
This trip to Vietnam was with our client, msnbc.com. The company just launched a dedicated offshore team.
You can read some of our client's insights into the country and offshoring in Vietnam by clicking here.
My final travel note will be a recommendation. I cannot help but sing the praises of the fabulous hotel we stayed at in Hanoi. I call it "Vietnamese Venice." It's an Intercontinental, and I highly recommend it, the spectacular view and the authentic service and décor you find there.
Are you eager to explore this rapidly changing Asian gem? Wait for me. I just have to pack my bags, again.