Asia offers more than just a business opportunity

One of my criteria for a new start-up venture was to have an international twist.

Having lived and worked in Europe and Asia, I was comfortable with either or both. As fate would have it, I’m heading back to Asia and couldn’t be happier about it.  If the business plan is well executed, we’ll be in Europe soon enough. Discussions are already under way.

For now, I’m excited about coming back to Asia. It’s so different here than the US, and that’s a good thing. I get to be reminded about a whole different point of view, and that’s invigorating. People are capable of such diverse approaches to life. What a privilege to have chances to witness these differences.

On our plane ride, my colleague Ed Kim and I realized that we both brought Vietnamese phrase and custom books. Mine, thanks to my niece Aileen who lives part-time in Vietnam.

Look, we know even just being able to say courteous Vietnamese phrases will require a lot of time and effort. The joy, however, will be in trying. That attitude will change everything forward about our experiences in Vietnam regardless of how much Vietnamese we eventually learn.

Yes, we are going to Vietnam with a compelling business plan, but what a shame if we came back not having soaked in some of the local culture as well. I’m determined not to let that happen.

Right now, during a four-hour layover at Taipei Airport, I saw a person who looked curiously at me. I smiled as warmly as possible looking straight into that person’s eyes. She ended up helping us get into a wonderful Airport business center that has made the layover enjoyable and productive. So, in many ways, we are so much alike as we are different.

We want to keep smiling at locals with an attitude of professionalism, empathy and respect throughout our business ventures in Asia.