Looking after the Magento Community on the other side of the world: Meet Thai Son, MMA Vice President SE Asia!
I was born in Vietnam but I spent my childhood between the age of 6 and 13 with my father in Cuba. Believe it or not, I was first exposed to Internet there where my passion of doing innovative things that enabled growth through technology. Currently I’m focused on building our agency, SmartOSC, to become one of the premier ecommerce solution providers.
2. What would be the best/worst thing about one day without any internet-ready device?
I imagine that would be like back living in Cuba; I would be super happy spending the day relaxing with my family, going around beaches, and partying with friends.
3. What is able to drive you up the wall (not only in your daily working routine)?
When promises are broken or lies are told.
4. What’s your favorite place in the world?
It’s hard to tell now as I need to add some more travel time and explore new places, but from the ones that I have had the pleasure to visit, I definitely like Melbourne. Apart from the fact that the weather could be better, the food is delicious, people are nice, and the city streets are vibrant.
5. Remember: what was your career aspiration as a child?
My parents were diplomats, so as a kid, I always wanted to be like them. Travelling on three-year missions, getting the opportunity to meet world leaders, and helping enterprises to grow their business. Then as I grew up and started travelling, I had a passion for driving formula 1 cars. I like the speed, team spirit, technology, innovation, and most of all being involved in elite competition. My idol back then was Fernando Alonso.
6. What was your first contact with Magento? What make you stick around?
It was around December 2010 when I first reached out to Roy Rubin to ask for a partnership. We were migrating most of our clients to Magento from other platforms, so I thought we should formalize a relationship with them. Then I attended few conferences like Magento Imagine 2012, and built up many friendships and new connections, which makes me want to stay around for the years to come. I feel that the community Magento has built up is friendly, supportive and quite unique. You feel like it’s your extended family.
7. What do you like about your Magento life the most?
I enjoy the travelling to new places (hopefully my wife isn’t reading this!), and learning what retailers and solution partners are innovating with the platform. Also, meeting new people, with many of them now becoming good friends. One of the greatest experiences was also organizing the Meet Magento event in 2015. It was the first time ever we brought the conference to Asia and to be honest, we didn’t know what to expect. there were too many unknowns, especially around people’s interest in attending. When the day came, we got more than 500 participants rom many countries; the local press was promoting the event, as well as sponsors were happy.
8. If you were leading Magento, what would you change? (development, whole company, events …)
I think many people will agree that the new independent Magento is much better than it was in the old Ebay-owned days. However, one thing I would love to change (I might be biased though) is definitely more investment in Asia. I feel that a lot of the focus from Magento is in North America and Europe (partner support, marketing, events, etc.), with perhaps also some focus on Australia. I believe we in Asia are sometimes kept in the dark or are at the back of the line when it comes to changes. Southeast Asia is the world’s fastest growing internet region, and is expected to grow in value to more than US$200 billion by 2025, with ecommerce growing around 32% annually.
9. What are your main responsibilities/projects in Meet Magento Association?
We heard about the Meet Magento events a few years ago, and were fascinated with the vision that the Association has. As a result, we reached out to Thomas Goletz to organize the first event in Vietnam in 2015, which has received positive feedback. When Thomas asked me to help the Association increase its presence in the region, I didn’t have to think twice. I hope we can give back the community through our Meet Magento events in Vietnam, Indonesia, and hopefully many other places in the coming years.
10. What was your favorite Meet Magento event that you didn’t organize?
From the recap videos, especially from the parties, I would like to give Meet Magento Germany a try.
11. What are your future plans with Magento?
In the mid to long-term, that would be keep investing in and building on our capabilities in terms of Magento 2 and Order Management. I am also interested in building a larger community for Magento in Southeast Asia. In the short term, we’ll be focusing on the next two events, supporting Meet Magento Indonesia end of August and Meet Magento Vietnam in October.