The day started off with breakfast, and then a lecture on the Mekong River Delta. We read about the river’s struggles with global warming and dam construction before coming, so all of that was not a surprise. I was amazed though by how large of an impact it has on the region. So much of the economy is dependent on the region and it’s impacted people’s lives, too, forcing them to adapt to the changing landscape.
After the lecture, we had our Vietnamese language class (which is quite the struggle) and then we got lunch at a pho, or beef noodle soup, place. It was delicious and my favorite meal of the trip so far. We went from there to Glass Egg.
Glass Egg was awesome. We had read an article about the company so I knew a bit going in, but I learned far more today. The first thing that got me excited was that I’ve played a couple of the video games that Glass Egg has done work on. I’ve driven the cars they designed in racing games called “Blur” and “Need for Speed”, and I’ve used the weapons they designed for “Titanfall 2”. Additionally, the colorful work environment was very modern and casual, reflecting the personalities of the two company leaders we met with.
As a digital media company in Vietnam, Glass Egg faces a few challenges. For starters, they’re away from all the action of the gaming industry. If an American gaming company is visiting Asian digital media companies to do business with, then Vietnam isn’t exactly in the neighborhood of all the companies in China and Japan. Furthermore, digital media is an extremely competitive industry, and you can’t get good business until you are established, but it’s hard to get established without good business. This forced Glass Egg to fund raise lots of money earlier on in its life, and it seems like Glass Egg is just now settling in to a comfortable position in the industry.
Being located in Vietnam does have its pros though. As the CFO said, there’s no place he’d rather have this kind of company than in Vietnam. One reason for this is the low cost of labor. This is a huge advantage over similar companies in Japan, China, and the USA, and it probably played a role in them being able to survive for years while first starting out. Additionally, since there are few other companies like this in Vietnam, there is a very high retention rate of employees. Even in 2008 when business was bad and wages were cut severely, most employees chose to stay and wait out the storm.
I was very impressed with Glass Egg. They have definitely had tackle a few problems, such as entering the market and expanding their business from just car design to other stuff too. They have been able to conquer these issues because of their distinct place in the industry and due to the relaxed culture of the company itself. It will be interesting to see the cultures of other companies going forward, and see how being based in Vietnam challenges their business.