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