Now that Yahoo! 360 will officially be closed, where will you move your blog and friends to?

By , November 20, 2008 12:30 pm

Yahoo! Singapore country manager in Vietnam confirmed: Yahoo! 360 will be closed in April 2009.

Yahoo! 360 is hosting more than 4 millions accounts, 2 millions of which are from Vietnam. The service has been very buggy for more than a year and development was ceased.

Yahoo! introduced Yahoo! 360Plus Vietnam with Vietnamese interface in April 2008. A utility to migrate part of data from 360 to 360Plus Vietnam has been provided.

Local players from Vietnam are in a race to win users dropping out of 360. Meanwhile, Facebook Vietnamese interface is going to be launched.

If you use Yahoo! 360, where do you plan to move your social graph (connections) to?

Addenda

  1. Yahoo! 360plus Vietnam is expected to be integrated into Yahoo! Profiles in April 2009.

Hypothesis of Emotion-driven Deal

By , November 19, 2008 12:25 pm

Hypothesis of Emotion-driven Deal

Business lessons from Keangnam Vina, observed through the Request of Commitment

By , November 18, 2008 1:32 pm

The Request that invoke excitement

Vietnamese citizens, especially Hanoians and people in the construction industry, are excited by a recent request for fulfillment of commitment sent to Keangnam – Vina (K) by a group of war veterans and construction experts (R).

The request, as reported on many newspapers, can be summarized as:

  • The 1000th Anniversary of Thang Long – Ha Noi, the one millennium year-old capital of Vietnam, will take place in 2010.
  • Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Towe, constructed by Keangnam Vina has been appointed as a tribute to the great event.
  • (R) believes that (K) will not be able to meet the deadline for the event.
  • (R) challenges (K) to an agreement:
    • If (K) can meet the deadline, (R) will reward (K) with VND 100 billion (approximately USD 6.25 million)
    • If (K) cannot meet the deadline, (K) will then apologize Hanoi citizens and compensate VND 100 billion to (R)
  • Both sides propose to donate the money to charitable organizations.

Media and observers’ reactions

Almost immediately, the buzz rose throughout Vietnam on this agreement. Two topics are usually exchanged in conversations:

The technical aspect of the agreement “can they (K) make it?”

and who would win the what-they-call wager.

The business lessons

What I am intrigued is I have learned various business lessons from Keangnam Vina’s response to the challenge.

Asset Management

(K)’s offer for the deal includes 11 apartments on the sixth floor and one penthouse whose total value is estimated to VND 1 billion.

It is important to note that during this economic recession, the real estate market is going slower. There has been evidence of downturn on luxury apartments’ price. While it is difficult to predict the price of these assets in 2010, experts agree that the chance these assets will increase in value in the next two years is slim.

Keangnam Vina’s offer can be considered smart in terms of financial values.

Reputation Management

(K) has been very responsive to inquiries regarding the agreement. This has boosted their visibility on the news and the company is now more well-known by Vietnamese people than ever.

(K) also promised to donate the money if they win to charitable organizations, makes it a diplomatic move.

They have done a very good PR pitch on the field.

Project Management and Resource Management

Though this is usually not easy to observe from outside, we can expect more advanced Project Management and Resource Management techniques by (K) to reach the committed deadline.

Quality Control

Quality Control is also an interesting area we can watch.

What do you think of this incident?

How to use Facebook as a Social Customer Relationship Management tool for FREE

By , November 13, 2008 12:20 am

How to: get the most out of an article

By , November 12, 2008 2:37 pm

When we read an article, what do we look at?

CTC scan head

Creativity and sharp words are like skin. They beautify the article.

The knowledge the author presents is like flesh. Arguments, hypotheses, conclusions, opinions etc. are what we learn from the author.

The methodology is bone. If we look past the knowledge presented, we might be able to see the method/approach with which the author employs to reach what s/he presents. What we learn from methodology can be re-used to establish our own reasoning.

We want to get the most out of an article by examining each and every layer of it.

***

Image courtesy: ThinkQuest

Social Media homework: how do you plan to be a Social Media Consultant?

By , November 3, 2008 3:12 am

Assignment 1: promotion and expectation management using social media

Requirements

Chan Than San is a Vietnamese model working in East & South East Asia region. He has a Xanga site, a Yahoo! 360 site, a MySpace account and at least 2 Facebook accounts which he maintains manually himself. In 2010, his modeling career is rocketing it consumes most of his time and his manager wants him to fully focus on his main task as a model.

Suppose you are hired to be the Social Media Manager for Chan Than San.

  1. How will you get to know him both professionally and personally? Detail all assumptions made.
  2. How do you plan for the transition from he to you on the current accounts? Also clarify the legal and ethics issues relating to account management.
  3. How do you manage expectation in communities in which the language used is not comprehensible to you? For example, you speak English and Vietnamese and want to see what Indonesian fans say about him – of course they use Indonesian.
  4. Which media will you use to promote him? Why?
  5. How do you manage the community? Detail all assumptions made.
  6. How do you deal with criticism, negative responses, flaming, spamming, trolling from the communities both within and out of your management? Detail all assumptions made.
  7. How do you collaborate with his manager, stylists, event manager, photographers and fan club coordinator?
  8. How will you do SEO on his fansite (if any)?
  9. Who do you expect to report to? Detail all assumptions made.
  10. Think of a case when conflict of interest arise. Detail that case. Propose solutions you want to take in order to tackle the conflict.
  11. Where do you see yourself in the next 3 years in your career?

What the…?

What is this joke about?

No this is not a joke. I’m serious.

This is a piece of career orientation I’m giving for the enthusiasts in the social media industry – if you care enough.

Social Media gives a platform on which new business opportunities are built. What businesses? Every single kind of business you can name.

In social media, there are not only the product implementers (creators), the advertisers (trader), the analysts (observers), the investors (angels), the users (clients). There is also the role of the consultant.

Consultants are ones who utilize knowledge and reputation influence to assist the business growth. Financially, this role helps generate revenues, and adds another link in the cashflow of this industry. These are also people who spread the words, standardize the concepts, educate users and businesses.

Where are these people in Vietnam? I can see Nguyen Viet Hai from i360 and Do Quang Tu. I know some others who are doing jobs very close to this role.

Are you interested? Think about it. And I hope you have been inspired.

Trivia

Do you wonder why I chose this particular person to write about, not another more well-known Vietnamese celeb? The reason is that he is not known only within Vietnam, but in other adjacent countries as well. The regional opportunities and challenges if working with this person are interesting to raise. The second thing is that he is using some social media properties including Xanga & Slides, apart from the default-in-Vietnamese Yahoo! 360 + Flickr, which should intrigue/interest the social media experts. This is similar to the buzz in the social media world about Britney Spears on Twitter.

I’ve heard about a fansite for Hoang Thuy Linh being developed by several young social media initiators. This could be a great opportunity for experiment with new media interactions. It will be interesting to see how a fansite built by the 2.0 people will differentiate itself from other sites.

What do you think?

Again, why Facebook will dominate the Vietnam market

By , October 31, 2008 1:15 am

The argument which was left unclosed…

On the fly with the news, I hastily posted an entry on the status of Facebook’s translation to Vietnamese project. That entry was left unfinished with a big gap between my premise and my conclusion.

Facebook flow

So here I am to fill the that gap with more complete points

…urged me to review basic principles of the market…

The search for the answer reminds me of two articles that should be read going further into Facebook’s strategy

“Facebook is a relationship-centric SNS”

TanNg, Vài gợi ý cho người dùng mạng xã hôi ở Việt nam

***

“As with the overseas Vietnamese students, we tackle them by word of mouths. So far, we have identified a number of key Vietnamese student networks in the US and the UK. But again, it depends largely on “viral effect” – one person sign up, love it and spread it to others. We have great faith in our product and are working hard to constantly improve the system. So yes, we plan to use a combination of word-of-mouth and traditional outreach strategies.”

Khoa Pham & Thanh Le, Interview with faceViet’s CEO

Leave these points here, we’ll come back to them later.

…to get the foundation questions answered

1. How does Facebook acquire users?

Facebook started off in Ivy League’s colleges. Then these students introduced the website to their connections. More and more joined and used the service because it was a useful product.

Facebook user acquisition 01

That’s why we say Facebook is a relationship-centric SNS. The motivation for users to use Facebook is mainly their connections. Facebook’s user acquisition is organic and natural as long as it remains useful a product to the users.

Facebook user acquisition 02

How about Vietnamese users? A picture is worth a thousand words

Facebook user acquisition 03

2. What builds reception readiness?

In the illustration, I put my hypothesis on reception readiness of Facebook particularly and the social network concept as a whole.

So what found this readiness in users?

1. The use of interactive IT systems in their work/study

Emails, KPI management systems, deal tracking systems (yes, CRM or issue-tracker if you’re more familiar with either of them), e-learning systems, version control systems, discussions boards, digital submission systems, scheduling (or timetabling) systems, accounting systems, payroll systems…

The more proficient people with (some of) these systems, the more ready they are to use interactive SNS.

How familiar are the majority of Vietnamese students with these systems?

2. Media coverage & user educating

Or how well the media educate potentials users of the values SNS bring them.

User educating is not PR; it’s about values. It should not involve throwing the product on users; it’s about attracting them. It’s not about exposing your greed selling to users first; it’s about solving their problems first.

3. Water the root

Social network spread of efforts

Correctly if I’m wrong, but I believe that spending more efforts on power users would reinforce the organic introduction loop.

Where is the root of Vietnamese SNS users? Mr. Thanh Le from faceViet mentioned his point above and I agree with him.

3. Why will Facebook dominate the Vietnam market when they launch?

1. Because Facebook has the root of the roots.

2. Because Facebook is mature in all product, brand recognition and business model, if compared to other competitors from local market.

3. Because Facebook will stand longer. This crucial point is usually, and possibly intentionally, ignored in many discussions on SNS in Vietnam. All Yahoo! 360 users have gone through the fear of losing their contents and social graphs. They will make judgment in choosing the next destination! I think they are smart enough to know how big (which in turn means stable) the world’s biggest SNS is and how long it is going to last store their contents and social graphs as compared to competing services.

But Facebook doesn’t satisfy the needs of many Vietnamese users…

What do the majority of Vietnamese users need now?

  • A blogging platform? Well, Facebook is relationship-centric, not content-centric. Nevertheless, it has a powerful Notes application.
  • Media sharing? Well, Facebook is relationship-centric, not content-centric. Nevertheless, it is launching a music site.
  • Customization? Well, Facebook is relationship-centric, not ego-centric. Nevertheless, certain application allows users to customize their page.
  • Facebook is overwhelming with feature. Well, writing on walls, sending messages and uploading photos are way too hard it took me forever to learn. Fortunately, Yahoo! 360 and Flickr did are doing very well to educate users (including me) on these three extremely difficult tasks. Other features? If you don’t like them just leave them be, they won’t bite.

OK, leave the details there and take one step back to look that the big picture.

Vietnamese users, in their first experience with Web 2.0, were given a blogging platform (Yahoo! 360) and very basic social networking features. They want a place to communicate, express and share. The options for them were way so limited while local services are still not mature, or in other words, many Vietnamese users have not used a full relationship-centric SNS yet. We don’t know how Facebook will change their preferences until it does. This we don’t know, doesn’t make an argument whether Facebook satisfies their current needs or not. Reality will answer.

Conclusion

This entry fills the gap I left from my previous argument: Facebook will dominate.

How do you disagree with me? Or which service do you think will challenge Facebook?

Acknowledgment

With special appreciation to these people for helping me with this post:

Duy Doan, VCCorp

Thu H. Nguyen, Australian Consulate General

Heating up Saigon in November 2008: Barcamp Saigon and Google DevFest

By , October 26, 2008 3:06 am

The two events that are going to heat up tech communities in Saigon this November with innovation, collaboration and new outspreading concepts.

BarCamp Saigon

BarCamp Saigon

What is a BarCamp

BarCamp is an international network of user-generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants — often focusing on but not limited to technology. Topics typically include programming, web design, technology usage, education, entrepreneurship, etc.

There is no audience, only participants. Attendees must give a demo, a session, or help with one, or otherwise volunteer / contribute in some way to support the event. All presentations are scheduled the day they happen. The people present at the event will select the demos or presentations they want to see.

When

November 15, 2008

All-day event

Where

RMIT International University Vietnam

702 Nguyen Van Linh Boulevard, Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

More info

The official website: barcampsaigon.org

If you’re on Facebook, join this event BarCamp Saigon 1

If you’re on Twitter, follow @barcampSaigon

You may also want to read why you want to join BarCamp

Read updates from some BarCamp Saigon organizers

Kevin Miller

Thomas Wanhoffs

Hung Nguyen

Step2 Radar

Chip 2.0

Google DevFest

Google Code

Following their announcement of launching in Vietnam, Google organizes its first Hackrathon in Vietnam.

When

November 4, 2008

Where

University of Technology

LinkHay brings more opportunities to explore and express

By , October 23, 2008 12:31 am

LinkHay launched a new interface and here’s a quick sum-up:

Features I like best

  1. Personal feed [linkhay.com/u/<username>/feeds]. Values it brings:
    • Historical data. This helps when I need to reorganize information or refer to a statistical figure
    • Effort tracking
  2. Friend feed [linkhay.com/friend/<username>/feeds]. Values it brings:
    • Central place to follow conversations
  3. More spaces for content by shifting the menu up

Other ambitious features

Profile [linkhay.com/u/<username>] and Friend feed [linkhay.com/friend/<username>/on-net] show LinkHay’s ambition of growing the product to a real vertical social network by offering the two key elements which attract user engagement in a web service.

Values

Overall, the new interface brings two major values to its users:

  • Increased explorability of information by pushing more visibility for the feeds
  • Encouraging expressions of personal preference for seeing the web by offering the profile

Yahoo! New Profile creates no buzz!!!

By , October 17, 2008 2:35 pm

1. New Yahoo! Profile launched.

2. I started surfing the web rather late in 2001. Yahoo! Profile has always been there in the same address profiles.yahoo.com – that means it should have always been there in the last decade without people’s notice

3. Compared to the old profile, new profile only adds Feeds, Guestbook and reorganizes the profile.

4. Yahoo! Profile is NOT a social-networking site.

5. Yahoo! Profile is another step in their Open Strategy, but how useful is it to users? Users do NOT think like roll-then-scale-then-integrate-then-sell strategists do. Don’t challenge their patience.

Conclusions

  • Don’t bother comparing Yahoo! Profile with 360 or 360plus or the late Mash, they’re not the same.
  • Don’t bother dragging Facebook or Blogger here, it’d only make a not-funny-at-all joke.
  • Yahoo!’s hints are but hints, promises are but promises, buzzes are but buzzes. No hit created.

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