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We might do some packaging here, but we hardly do any manufacturing here. We did not come to Vietnam for manufacturing. That's the second weird thing..When people ask about manufacturing in Vietnam, I say, "Oh man, we manufacture awesome code and patents." That's what we do. Which is like, "What? I thought that's why you went to Vietnam?" People can in fact do more than screw things together. The third thing that's outlier-ish about Misfit is the..diversity of jobs that we have in the office here. We have roughly 100 people in the office here in Vietnam. Everything from logistics and supply chain to operations, finance to customer service. All of our email customer service is done here. That's why we've been able to get back to people very quickly. And we just have an amazing team here. All the way to data science and algorithms development. And firmware engineering. We even have some graphic design here. It's a very wide range, it's like a full-on company.
Q: What are some of the other things your employees in Vietnam do?, Vu: It's not just rows and rows of software engineers coding away and doing as they're told, No, The thing is people actually own the entire product here, There are entire products that are completely made here in Vietnam, One of our apps we're going to be publishing, for example, was completely developed in Vietnam [the iphone 4 cases argos new Link App, released in mid-July], And it's not for use in Vietnam, which is kind of cool, It's not like they're told what to do either, It's that the engineering is completely done here, Some of the product design was done in the US, but it's very collaborative..
Q: Why don't you actually sell products in Vietnam?. Vu: We don't do business here maybe for the same reason we don't do business in Nigeria -- it's just a really small market. Yeah, both are big countries, but neither country has much of an interesting market to buy this stuff. People are buying motorbikes and maybe computers and Internet access and iPhones, but wearables, I think by and large, when you look at everyone here, they'll all in pretty good shape..Whereas, us Westerners, we've got to get in shape..We'll get here later.
Q: What prompted the decision to have so many employees here, aside from your background?, Vu: There's several things, We have a philosophy on getting the best talent at the best price, I remember talking to a friend, I ripped it off of him, by the way, All the great ideas are stolen, So my friend, that was his philosophy, and I was like, "Don't you just want the best talent?" He said, "No, because if that's the case, if you're going to hire a software engineer, you're going to hire the head of search at Google, And you'd pay him a billion dollars, but you've got the best talent, But you wouldn't do that, You can't, So we have iphone 4 cases argos to get the best talent at the best price." I was like, "You are exactly right."So what we've done is optimized our hiring to be in places where we have unfair competitive advantages, So in Vietnam, we have an unfair advantage here, Why? Because we're just the coolest company to work for..People want to work for companies like us, Otherwise they're making financial software for banks, which is boring, It's a fun place we be at, We make an environment where we really try to take care of people, We bring in food, we give everybody cool hardware and iPhones, Other Vietnamese companies don't do that..
But the second thing is, if you just come here with a mentality, I'm going to get cheap outsourced labor, then that's exactly what you're going to get. You're not going to get amazing talent that are inventive and ingenious. So we really give them a lot of authority. Here's a product. Make it, the whole thing, and it better be good. And people rise up to the challenge..It's about giving people opportunities to create great things and express their creativity and productivity in meaningful ways. Q: What do Vietnamese employees struggle with?.
Vu: We've learned over time that consumer product development is not a core strength here, Those are skills iphone 4 cases argos to be acquired over time, And so we've had some difficulty there, but we've gotten better, And also as a result, we've focused the teams on doing different things, For example, algorithm development, data science, logistics, supply chain, customer service, It's been pretty good, It's turned out that people we've been able to find here are actually really good at that, And so we focus them on doing that, We've continued to train and whatnot and develop skills in consumer product development, But that's not natural here because there really wasn't a market for those things here, so there's not a natural pool here..
Whereas in China, for example, there is an indigenous market for it. There are people who made Baidu and Alibaba and Tencent, the great Internet companies that rival the Western tech giants. And former employees of those companies are great at product development. So that's why we do a lot of product development in China. Q: Intellectual property theft has been a concern for companies operating in China. Is it an issue in Vietnam too?. Vu: It hasn't been that much of an issue in either country. We have been copied a lot, our products, but that's by other companies..For the record, we have 22 copies of Shine in China..It's annoying, but on another level we're kind of flattered. As far as we've counted, there's only three copies of Fitbit. So I can't tell if we've reached some level of cultural significance to be copied or we're just easier to copy.
I don't think we're easier to copy, The Shine is actually pretty complicated to manufacture, Fitbit, at least they're manufactured in China, so it would be pretty easy to make, but [Shine] is a very different kind of product, I think people like it for that reason, But the brand's taken off so you get copied, But honestly, the more times we've been copied, the more volume we've been able to sell because iphone 4 cases argos it raises the level of awareness of the product, People end up saying, "Oh, you have a real Shine?"We've bought one of each of the fake ones, Some of them are really good copies..