Day 3: Cracking Open Glass Egg

This day began in a similar fashion to the last, with two classes at UEF.  The second one was again a Vietnamese language class, while the first was a lecture on the history and development of the Mekong River Delta.  I was fascinated to learn about the individual zones of the delta and how they differ, and I believe this information will be helpful during our Mekong Delta trip this Saturday.  After the classes concluded, we then traveled to Pho24, where I was finally able to try one of the most classic Vietnamese dishes.  I can say without a doubt, it did not disappoint.

From there we traveled to Glass Egg, a digital media company that specializes in 3D video game outsourcing projects.  We began with a tour led by the COO of the company, Guillaume Monier, who led us around their workspace, which spanned two floors.  On each floor, we saw hundreds of computer artists toiling away, all separated into groups based on the project type they were working on whether it be cars, other objects, environments, or in-house games.  It was clear from this tour how much the company has grown in recent years, and how much more the company is involved with than just 3D cars.

Next, we were led into a meeting room where Guillaume delivered to us a presentation that described the basics of how Glass Egg operates, and also allowed us to see some of their products, such as the cars in Forza and Need for Speed, as well.  It was also at this time that the CFO, Steve Reid, joined the group.  The session then concluded with a Q and A period, which provided lots of interesting information not covered in the normal presentation.

One of the interesting topics covered was the challenges faced by the company today, particularly pertaining to those dealing with being located in Vietnam.  Steve and Guillaume discussed how at times being in Vietnam can hurt them because they’re often very far away from the most recent advances in their field of technology.  This means that they frequently have to travel to various game conventions in the U.S. and other countries to ensure that they are staying on the cutting edge of the industry.  Additionally, they stated that another disadvantage to being in Vietnam is that often times when potential clients come to Asia to survey various outsourcing companies, they choose to only go to China, where there are hundreds of options, as opposed to Vietnam, where there are drastically fewer.

Despite these issues, though, they also made sure to mention the many advantages to being in Vietnam as well.  Namely, the labor costs are far lower than in countries like Japan or China, and also the worker retention rate here in Vietnam is much higher.  This can again be traced back to the lower level of competing companies in this country, which consequently means there are much fewer competitors the workers could leave for.

The last subject that Steve and Guillaume covered were their current expansion goals for the company.  They stated that their main focus currently is on their environmental design section, to which they will be adding nearly fifty employees in the coming year.  They want to ensure they are known as far more than just a car design company, and they believe this is the best way to do so.  All the information aside, both Guillaume and Steve were both incredibly gracious and charismatic throughout the visit, and it made it both informative and entertaining for everyone involved.  The Glass Egg trip was one of the best events of the trip so far and undoubtedly something I will not forget!


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