Keep your curiosity, and follow your passion

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Last week I got an invitation to share with FPT Polytechnic students. It was fun to talk to fresh minds who have bright futures waiting right ahead.
I drafted my note here as it may be useful for some others.

Question 1. For many people, going back to Vietnam doing startup is such a crazy idea. I believe that you did have a clear business plan and preparation, is that true?

Absolutely not. 10 years ago, I just wanted to go back Viet Nam doing something. There are so many things I believe that it’s working and it’s not. I did fail many times and constantly asked myself about the decision. In fact, life is so unexpected when we are young in our 20s.

In your 20s, you couldn’t write a business plan for your life, but you could definitely have a growth plan of yourself – how could you become better each day. And it’s how things go.

Question 2. Should students start startups when they are still at school? How about the success rate of doing so?

I rarely give advices and don’t like to do so for many reasons. Here we have to assume that you are my younger brother, so it would be clear for me to say “Don’t”. But it’s not because of the success rate because “startup is simply the game of outliers” (Mark Andreessen) who don’t count on probability.

Ten years ago, startup was something so bizarre just a few try or dare to do. Right now, startup becomes a flashy word and people are attracted by buzzwords and trends. It links startup stories to venture capitals and raising a big round and showing up on Shark tank. It links success to the story of how to become rich overnight and having people throw money at you, believing that it’s what a startup is all about.

On the other hands, no one would teach you about how to genuinely be interested in a problem, how to try very very hard even though no one believes in you, how to make good values, and how to NOT be distracted by investors.

It’s not about raising money (even though it’s important). It’s about building a company. And for building a company, it’s about caring for your people, paying them well, serving your customers, making good ROI for your investors, and writing lots of code. “If you start a startup, it would take over your life” – as Paul Graham once said and it’s so true.

So don’t, because it’s logically impossible to be both at the same time, when you can still enjoy a lot of great things in school. You can always start up later on.

Question 3: Just a few years ago, everyone talked about “4.0”. Right now, some talks about “5.0”. The technology world is changing so fast every year. How do young people, especially FPoly students, react to this changing world so that they are not left behind? What is your thought on “triết lý nằm thẳng” (I can’t translate this phrase)?

The world today has become much more complex and much more confused. It puts lots of choices and comparisons in front of your face everyday. I remember when I was young, we didn’t have choices or questions like that. Most weren’t born in rich families. The only thing we have is time and the only option we have is just to try very hard.

The world is changing – in the next 03 years – we may have “6.0”, so how should we react? To be honest,  I don’t think such a new era has anything to be scary of. It’s hard to have an exact vision of the changing world, but you could have a clear vision for yourself.

There are THREE things:

Firstly, you have to be really/absolutely good at one thing. Everyone only has 24 hours so it’s impossible to be good at everything. Just try to be among the few best of one or two things.

Secondly, learn to have dedication at what you do and have a positive energy whenever you do it. It’s even more important than skills and I’m sure that you would be the best coworkers to work with.

And finally, constantly asking “why”. In our world right now, no one would try to show you the fundamentals and the keys and the paths. It’s your opportunity to figure out the “why”.  Being curious to what happens around you, you would gain the freedom and conviction to follow what you truly love.


Nguồn: https://www.facebook.com/hung.stanford/posts/10159320950746885

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