• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

Women 2.0: My Best Valentine’s Day In Silicon Valley!

Thuy-Truong

Entrepreneur Thuy Truong flew in from Ho Chi Minh City to officially release her Smartboard app on Valentine’s Day and pitch her company at the Women 2.0 Conference in front of a thousand people!

By Thuy Truong (Co-Founder & CEO, Greengar)

I learned more about entrepreneurship in the last two weeks than I have my entire life, and I learned the most from one compacted day at the 2013 Women 2.0 Conference.

My trip started with a visit to Google headquarters in Mountain View for a nice dinner chat with Thuc Vu, co-founder of Katango (acquired by Google last year) and Adam Lasnik, a project manager at Google. It’s really interesting to see how the entrepreneur mindset of people who work at a big corporate company – each project is like a small startup, and they don’t need to be called “founder” to be an entrepreneur.

I fell in love with the startup offices in Silicon Valley with high ceilings and open environments – helpful for your brain in the problem-solving and thinking processes! I visited Pinterest and AirBnB offices with Tracy Chou, an early developer of Pinterest.

Early employees are risk-takers – they should be recognized as much as successful entrepreneurs as well. Without these early developers, there might not even any products or platforms. The AirBnB office was my most favorite one – it’s like a whole world within an office. It inspired me in my plan for a re-design of my office space.

My entire Lunar New Year was spent just working constantly on the pitch and incubator applications. Working on the applications are actually forced us to think really hard about the business, which is very helpful for preparing the questions from the PITCH SF 2013 Startup Competition judging panel. And our hard work paid off!

On February 14, 2013, I decided to wear my most traditional dress to present at Women 2.0 Conference. I was really nervous about whether my dress was too elaborate for a technology event. Shaherose told us finalists that we should just be ourselves; therefore, I chose to wear what I felt most comfortable with. Traditional dress is a way for Vietnamese ladies show their respect at important events such as conference, ceremony, weddings, graduations, etc.

Though I didn’t win first place at the PITCH SF 2013 Startup Competition, I did try my very best and I’m glad that many people liked it. There were about 20 tweets directed at @greengar and many people downloaded Smartboard right at the conference. I received many compliments at the cocktail networking after that, as well as some personal notes and emails.

Women 2.0 CEO Shaherose described the culture of Women 2.0 as “give and get” – but giving is receiving! I have been receiving so much from this conference, especially the chance to meet two of my idols, Julie Zhuo and Lynda Weinman! I have never attend any technology conference that people are so fired up, so focused and inspiration for each other as at this event.

I met so many inspiring female investors and entrepreneurs, and was amazed by their focus in building products and companies. My favorite quote from the event was, “Don’t allow people treat women differently, they can only do that if you allow them to do so!”

I was completely exhausted after very long day/week/month, all of my energy was directed toward releasing Smartboard and the PITCH on February 14, 2013.

Here is my Valentine’s Day status on Facebook (written originally in Vietnamese, I have translated it below upon Angie Chang’s requested):

Dating is time consuming. But if you don’t date, how would you learn more about each others. I’d rather use that time to date with angels and VCs, who can write a check to invest to my company (who says I don’t like sugar daddy)Break-up is hurt! Though you don’t say it out, it’s still painful, lots of tears, and lots of time for recover. I’d rather use that time to build a product or a company; when it fails, the pain is about the same.

When we’re “in a relationship”, there are only two choices – get married or break up (it’s binary choice, by the way). It’s very similar to working with employees, partners or investors. If things go well, everyone are happy, we’re building careers, products, and wealth together. If things go wrong, we fall apart. They both consume as much time and efforts!

When we have boyfriend/girlfriend/good friends (with benefits), there will be someone to give us a hug, kiss our foreheads, or scrub our backs at night. But when I build a product with more than a million people using it, and see the digits in my bank accounts increasing, it’s an awesome feeling as well!

Everything is an investment, everyone has choice. This Valentine’s Day, I’m still single. But after my pitch, I got hundreds of people giving me a big round of applause, making this my best Valentine’s Day ever! That feeling is priceless and no one can bring this to you except yourself.

So, let’s go out there, build a product, build a company, change the world, change yourself, and I hope to see you next next V-Day in Silicon Valley!

This post was originally posted at Thuy Truong’s blog. Photo credit: (above) Renee Franzwa on Twitter and the rest are from Thuy Truong’s Facebook album.

Women 2.0 readers: What do you think about Greengar? Let us know in the comments.


4c907485b51e6cc8976d3ea9e7725bd01359378506About the guest blogger: Thuy Truong is the CEO and co-founder of Greengar, maker of mobile real-time collaboration apps. Greengar’s latest product is Smartboard, which launched on February 14, 2013. Thuy is a serial entrepreneur based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam with many years of experience in customer services, finance, food and beverage. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from USC. Follow her on Twitter at @thuymuoi.