Friday, August 28, 2009

Share, share, share!!!

When I was at the Webwednesday in Saigon, I was listening to a speech by Bryan Pelz. He is the founder of Vinagame, number one in internetwebsites in Vietnam. In his brief presentation he pointed out that the biggest obstacle in Vietnam is the lack of education. And in business language spoken a lack of cooperation. To develop the market companies must cooperate, to educate customers, to evolve business.

and that's the problem: Vietnam has still ap problem with sharing information. That's why there is no innovation coming from here, that's why they need foreign help in nearly every sector. If you sit on your information and keep it, that you will never know if it's right or wrong and how to do things better. If others don't share you will never get a new idea. And so Vietnam still sticks with coffee, rice and fish (and Nike shoes) as export goods.
The recent web events I joined (except the Webwednesday) are transforming from open geek meetings into beer driven small talks with nothing to learn. In opposite, joining a 2 hours afternoon meeting in Phnom Penh last month brought me a lot of ideas and contacts.

In a world, where are no secrets anymore, just information you don't know yet, it's kind of stupid to hide your ideas. Together with openness in import rules thats the biggest challenge for Vietnam: Transforming into a member of the new global business order.


Tim said...

Nice posting Thomas, however whilst Vietnam shows so little respect for originality and copyright, it won't happen.

My industry is a case in point. Everyone copies everyone else, everyone sells the same products. Every year Exotissimo put out their Vietnam manual with loads of new itineraries, & within days those same itineraries are copied wholesale onto Vietnamese tour ops' websites. When Exo rebranded themselves a few years ago, within weeks a local tour op had copied their logo. Do a Google search for 'sinh cafe' and count how many websites are claiming to the 'real' Sinh Cafe.

We try to offer unique, special products, but because of the nature of the industry here I can't even display these on our website. And would I attend a networking meeting to share such info with local tour operators? No way! Until they prove they can be trusted not to abuse the information they might receive, they'll have to remain in the dark.

Thomas Wanhoff said...

Dear Tim, yes, I agree, they misunderstand sharing with copying and as a one way street. Regarding Exo, believe me, they also used some picture they didn't have the rights for. They are not the good guys either, I know them as well.

And: forget the copies, as long as you have a strong brand. Why most of the social networks in VN don't make any money? Because they copied without having a basic understanding. And actually I was talking about educating in sharing and of course I adressed the VN companies to share, as we do it already.

Mush Heads said...

I'm seeing some extra space at the top of Wanhoff's blog site - more than on other web sites, to be sure. Yes, sharing is good. Vietnamese are too happy to grab stuff and disrespect intellectual property, that's for sure. If it's going on the web, however, you can protect your stuff by using flash and flex, which make it much more difficult to steal. So, if you use HTML, people may still your good stuff. Of course, we know this to be more of an issue in Vietanm, but that's also a fact of using HTML. So, use techniques or infrastructure (and add value in the process) to protect your good work.

Thomas Wanhoff said...

@Mush Heads: Sorry but Flash websites are just a bad way. You cant see them on some mobile devices, Google still doesn't like them and they are slow. It's not about protecting, it's about sharing.

Mush Heads said...

I won't say use Flash in every case - not even - it's just an example of one possible way; likewise, I won't say use 100% HTML in every case - that's just so passe. Obviously, Compatibility and SEO factors are very, very important, but it depends on the project and how it's done. Flash can be quite light and provide near universal client side support if you target Flash 6 through 8. Flash or other technologies should be integrated into a larger HTML framework with appropriate tags and metadata for Google to find for SEO reasons; so SEO factors are not really the problem. There are many technologies out there, not just Flash. For example, URL rewriting with other server side, or AJAX technologies, and sometimes IFRAME (not my preference), etc. And you can use fallback logic when a given technology is not supported. Due to session variables, Javascript is almost always required for most e-commerce web sites; and it's generally a very safe assumption in the business world that there will be Javascript support, even for mobile devices. If you want to have 100% compatibility in all cases, forget about AJAX, and it's going to be a boring HTML world with some CSS decorations. (I have seen too many German web sites that look like so early 1990s stuff!) Customers expect more today; rich apps are important for e-commerce; and you can reach a larger audience, because, customers will be more interested in your message and content, and they'll come back. And, if it's done right, you don't have to give away everything to the competition too. Look at the best web sites today, and you'll see what's really working out there.

Thomas Wanhoff said...

Actually my point was about sharing information and knowledge, not so much how you can protect it technically. Design can always be copied.

Mush Heads said...

You're splitting peas again, which you do best ("ja, aber" undsoweiter). And, no, you cannot always copy the design and content - a good "design" prevents that. Sharing is good; indeed, you should probably share more than not, but a point was raised that sometimes sharing in Vietnam is bad for business; and you are clearly talking business in Vietnam in your blog piece. Anyway, I can see your points; it just depends. Bis spaeter und viel Spass!