Son Le Thanh

Jan 10, 2022

Why I started Vietneer community

When I was 38-39, I felt my professional career was stagnant. Everyone whom I knew was moving at a much faster speed. I applied for 10 different jobs and was rejected entirely.

In 2016, I stopped running Startup Grind Singapore to spend more time on young children. I mentally changed from an energetic individual into a dull one. I tried to figure out the next project that I can be back to who I used to be. I hosted several talks with some tech leaders. I built 3 different brands before Vietneer but discarded them all. I was doing a bunch of random stuffs without any clear direction.

When I was 3 months away from 40 years mark, I decided to push myself creating a brand that is close to my heart.

I go back to my origin. I am a Vietnamese immigrating to Singapore 16 years ago. I was a community builder. I was a software engineer. I know some good Vietnamese engineers in Singapore. I know many young Vietnamese engineers want to look for jobs in Singapore or seek career advice from senior engineers. I asked Tuan Naka who was working at Facebook as a software engineer at that time. He agreed on the idea and willing to be the first speaker. I invited a few other engineering friends working at other tech companies in Singapore. The first event went live on 28 August 2021 with 25 people attending via Google Meet.

When I build a community with a good cause, community takes off.

The next 2 events attracted 15 and 20-ish participants. The 4th and 5th events attracted 200-ish participants. The number skyrocketed. This happened because I worked with other community leaders in Vietnam. They helped me share the talks with students, friends, community members. I also experimented with using Sli.do to curate questions from audience. I took feedbacks from participants after events ended. I was applying all the best practices that I learned from my experience with running Startup Grind.

I started to receive appreciation from participants even before the events start. I know what I am doing is meaningful to the community.

My story:

• If you don't know what to do, start a community.

• You need to start with a "Give First" as the guiding principle for driving the community.

• Go very slowly as you move but consistently show up regularly.

• Once you invite great speakers, it should not be a problem to attract sizable audience.

• Work with other community partners as you move along.

Son Le Thanh

I am a software guy but enjoy community building. I found Startup Grind Singapore and now https://Vietneer.community. I am based in Singapore, dad of 2 boys.

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