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Thanh Van Dang believes, “If I can do it, you can do it better.” She is fascinated by the tech industry and how quickly people are adapting and using technology in their lives. Her business savvycom is a tech business using mobile applications.

What’s your story?
I grew up in a small village and started working to earn an income when I was a child. My life changed the day I enrolled in University, and got a full scholarship to study my IT degree at the University of Sydney, Australia. Four years of studying and living in Australia, meeting different people from different cultures has nourished my dreams and my passion in technology. I have always questioned how to make an international product using Vietnamese engineers.
After graduating, I came back to Vietnam with the dream of building a better Vietnam. I have worked across several roles such as Researcher, Coder, Project Manager, Business Developer, Consultant, Country Representative and even Assistant , but my passion for a technology product has always been there. I decided to start my own business with four people in 2009 when the global economy was still impacted by the echoes of the financial crisis years ago, and the Vietnamese economy was not on the bright side.
Many difficulties and obstacles along the way brought me down, but I believed I was going in the right direction. Savvycom was born in 2009 to provide beautiful mobile applications.
As an entrepreneur who is passionate and believes in a beautiful life enabled by technology, I enjoy sharing and adding value to society. I want to encourage people and women in specific to do what they do best, chasing their dreams and passions. “If I can do it, you can do it better.”

What excites you most about your industry?
Information Technology has developed rapidly and changed people’s behaviour in an innovative way. People are starting to use mobile devices more frequently than before in the workplace and to do housework, and it is becoming a necessary thing in modern life, driving more innovations to catch up with the development of intelligence. In the golden age of technology, the mobile technology revolution continues to develop dramatically and changes every minute. We have to change ourselves to adapt with it or we’ll be left behind.

What’s your connection to Asia?
We provide innovative mobility solutions in healthcare and education.
We also partner with startups and fast growing businesses in Asia – Singapore, Japan, Korea and Myanmar.

Favorite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my favourite city for business. This amazing city is an Asian tech hub where many big technology companies came together and relocated such as Google, Youtube, Apple, etc. Singapore is different from other cities in Asia, even though its land size is the same as Vietnam’s Island – Phu Quoc, the value of technology’s innovation starting from here is priceless. I have also met many bright minded people through networking in Singapore. That’s why Singapore is my favourite city for business.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“The way is found when we go,” and an “idea is only an idea.”
When you start, you might not see clearly its end or how to do it. So, just get started, you’ll find the way to do it.

Who inspires you?
There are two people who inspire me the most. They are Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg inspires me with his youth, creative mind, passion and dare to think, dare to work. On the thorny way to be successful in Facebook to the the present, he had to go on his own in some parts when all his colleagues left and did not believe in him. Mark still kept his beliefs, passions and hopes in what he thought right and changed the world in an innovative way.
Bill Gates is the greatest person ever. He has not only been successful in business, creating the personal computer revolution, but also, he cares a lot about global health. Bill Gates with his wife, has spent time and money in researching vaccines to help thousands of people around the world to have better lives.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I listened to a speech by Mark Zuckerberg at a Harvard ceremony in 2017. He delivered such a valuable speech to the millennial generation, creating a renewed sense of purpose and connecting people around the world. Zuckerberg inspires me and drives me to make a positive impact on the global community.
His message is encouraging. Mark explained in his speech a really powerful message about how you come up with your own idea and you shouldn’t be afraid to take it, even if it is not fully formed, as it becomes clear as you work on it. He also said, “it is good to be idealistic. But be prepared to be misunderstood”. There are some people who might slow you down, however, you need to believe in what you think it is right.
My journey with Savvycom seemed like an idea at first, not fully formed, but I believe it will become what I want it to be.
Nowadays we are living in the golden age of technology. We know the role of technology in changing people’s lives innovatively and connecting people is easier than ever. So, let’s do what we do best to make the world beautiful.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t change anything, because everything came to me naturally and at the right time. I have enjoyed the journey which has brought me unexpected things along the way.

How do you unwind?
I usually read books. I also listen to other people’s stories that inspire and drive me.
I have my small lovely family with whom I enjoy my time the most. We go together to the northern villages of Vietnam where I grew up. I have found many brilliant children that need our support for a better future. We enjoy learning from them and helping them as much as we can through sharing our experiences and encouraging them to live better.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
My Vietnam. I love our suburban places, my hometown where you can see mountains next to mountains, feel the fresh air and live a wild life. All of it, I could not find in a busy city.

Everyone in business should read this book
Value Proposition Design – by Alan Smith, Alexander Osterwalder, Greg Bernarda, Gregory Bernarda, Trish Papadakos, and Yves Pigneur
Good to Great – by James C. Collins
The Fountainhead – by Ayn Rand

Shameless plug for your business
Savvycom – Vietnam’s most trusted app developer and T]tech co-founders. We make apps successful by providing more than just development. We help market, scale and improve your app idea, effectively acting as an extended CTO.
Founded in 2009 by a small team of passionate people, Savvycom now has a balanced blend of technology skills and domain knowledge of seasoned IT professionals, powered by a passion for IT.

How can people connect with you?
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thanhvandang/

Twitter handle?
@thanhvandtt

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnectsCallum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

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Callum Laing has started, built, bought and sold half a dozen businesses in a range of industries across two continents. He is a partner in the Private Equity firm Unity-Group. Co-founder and non-exec director of The Marketing Group PLC and is CEO of Key Person of Influence (Asia). He is author of 'Progressive Partnerships'.

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