Well peeps, the gravy train had to end sometime. Nearly two full months of being gainfully unemployed. I got up when I felt like it, watched whatever I wanted on TV, drank coffee, read the paper, road tripped up the East Coast, stuffed myself with mama charvey's cooking in Vermont, chilled chez Vu and partied like a rock star in San Francisco (I felt so in the know when we went to that after hours warehouse club in soma), took side trips to Cambodia, Bangkok and into the Vietnamese countryside with the folks. Glorious times, all. But alas, it has ended.
It's all good though. On Wednesday I started working on a consulting project for Vietnamworks. It's an online job site, similar to Monster or Hotjobs. Initially I'm doing a business overview of the entire site, with the intent of choosing a few areas (such as customer service and sales) to focus on and come up with concrete suggestions for improving traffic, sales and profitability. Just in case I don't come up with anything good I have a really slick powerpoint template prepared. Style triumphs over substance every time my friends.
I'm also going to do some consulting for another Internet-oriented company here called Vinagame. They are what's known as an MMOG company -- Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming. It seems that young Vietnamese are gaga over playing fantasy and action games online with their friends. Go into any Internet cafe here and you'll see about 40% of the patrons playing an online game.
A few weeks ago I went to a spectacular Vinagame media event announcing the launch of a new game. It was more of a show than a media event -- there were dancers, bongo drum players, videos and a pounding soundtrack (the Vietnamese love everything at top volume, all the time). The highlight though was about 30 models all dressed as a popular female character from the game mixing with the crowd. It was like something out of a Hollywood gala.
Another business area I've become interested in is exporting furniture to the USA. There are tons of furniture maufacturers here. Not only is their quality high, but their prices are lower than other Asian competitors. Lots of expats I've met here are into the furniture business and doing rather well. So -- if any of you know furniture retailers or distributors in the USA who might be interested in finding a new, high quality source of furniture let me know. You can view some samples of Vietnamese furniture at this website.
My Public may rest assured that there will be more boondoggles in the future. On the short list are Phnom Penh, Hue, Dalat and Nha Trang. The lowdown on each will be posted here, oh yes. Also wanna visit Manila, Singapore, China and Japan.