India + 1 cafeteria

I ordered an iced coffee with milk, this time not in the to-go cup.

I just want to sit down, and take it all in. No I am not in India.

But close. I am in formerly known as Saigon. On the  8th floor. REBOOT CAFE.

The LogiGear building. Offshore software testing center. Young engineers

might as well be in India, where I read so much about (their call centers offered training in accent reduction, their corporate night-out etc…). As of this edit, there is a sister branch in DaNang 200 testers strong.

Back packers who are first timers in Vietnam often cocoon in Ta Hien or De Tham.

From that standpoint, they observe  people walking the street in pajamas and cone hats.

Here I am sitting on the 8th floor with back-up generators, CAT5 running up the stairways, and engineers test all sorts of things, from TRANSFORMERS the game to Steven Covey‘s Habits-forming software.

Sure, who wouldn’t suffer from the economic downturn.

But young Vietnamese engineers have somewhat been spared. They have grown up not demanding too much space for oneself.  Here, on the 6th floor, they can play a game of ping-pong, sing a song like they would at school recess.

It’s not Electronic Arts, and it’s not India. But it’s something that has potential to take off. Everybody is on the path from pajamas to tuxedos.

Some of us got as far as shirt-and-tie. Others in uniforms.

Most perhaps will never own a tux or wear one.

But one thing for sure, online, no one knows or cares if you wore a pair of shorts underneath (Peter Jennings used to report from the balcony of the Continental Hotel with sport coats and tie, wearing shorts).

After all, Facebook Mark wore his pajamas to a Venture capital meeting.

I don’t condone such practice. But take heart. A nation will advance not only from its broadband built-out, but also due to its young and thriving work force. Here, I see ingenuity, commitment to excellence and team  work.

This morning, I saw a candidate, perhaps in for an interview.

I held the door for her, and can’t help seeing the sweat on her forehead.

It’s hot here in Saigon, and perhaps, she carries a mixture of cold sweat as well.

I wish her luck. In the western sense, luck is something you can control,

first by showing up. She did that (90 percent down, 10 to go). See you at REBOOT CAFE.

Not India. Just India + 1. Vietnamese are used to delay opportunities, as long there were any at all.

No wonder the nation still stands on its own legs, after having driven out the giant in the North (then pleaded for peace throughout its history). It’s less insulting to title this India+1 (high-value service driven economy) then to call it China+1 (manufacturing driven and less sustainable).



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