Kieu My (Kimiko) Doan: Pioneer in Connecting Vietnam’s Tech Network with the World

Women in Technology

YellowBlocks is a trusted Vietnam tech gateway to provide local insights, premiere networks, marketing strategy, digital transformation expertise to leading companies in emerging tech (ABCD – AI/ML/Robotics, Blockchain, Cloud, Data). 

The company has more than 150 strategic partners in over 40 countries, with an extended reach of 100,000+ audience in the tech startup space. YellowBlocks was recently featured in Business Insider as the first Emerging Tech Ecosystem connector for Vietnam and received the Best Media Relations Campaign Award in the 2020 National PR & Communication Awards, organized by PR Newswire. The company currently runs three initiatives to support the ecosystem: ABCD Tech Vietnam recognized as a playground for the tech community, specialized in ABCD Tech (AI, blockchain, cloud, data); Women In Tech Vietnam, an open community aiming to highlight more women’s stories and inspire many others to join the field of tech and Chuyen Doi So” (Digital Transformation) which serves as an accelerator in the process of digital transformation in Vietnam companies.  

The services offered by YellowBlocks include: 

– Digital transformation strategy 

– Software and product development  

– Premier marketing planning & execution 

– Marketing/ business development strategy 

– Corporate identity package 

– Media & PR services 

– Social media & community service 

– Content production 

– Event master planning & execution 

 

Aligning Leadership to Create a Superior Customer Experience 

Kieu My (Kimiko) Doan who goes by Kimiko, is the Founder / Initiator of YellowBlocks. She graduated with a Computer Science and Telecommunications degree from Helsinki University of Technology, now known as Aalto University (Finland), then returned to Vietnam to join a system integration IT company. Realizing that having expertise in business was so crucial, she then pursued an MBA at the University of Gloucestershire (UK). After that, Kimiko worked as a senior executive in the marketing communications industry, consulting multi-million marketing campaigns for various industries. In 2018, she founded YellowBlocks, the first emerging tech ecosystem connector in Vietnam. It connects investors and organizations to create a win-win strategic partnership. As a founder, Kimiko sets the vision for YellowBlocks and has built the core teams from scratch. 

Kimiko’s personal philosophy is that she wants to create a 10X value for her employer and her client. 

As an executive manager, she was in charge of both the front-line and the back-office teams which forced her to optimize internal processes to create a superior experience for customers. Fortunately, her Tech background enabled her with logical thinking, and she was always willing to try new things. Lastly, she is an avid learner and after a great challenge, she always came out as a better person; always embracing difficulties. 

Kimiko considers that reading books about leadership thinking, business thinking, technology, and innovation can be a priceless time for her to recharge her battery while adding multi-dimensional perspectives in different areas. 

 

LongTerm Vision to Overcome Challenges 

Speaking on challenges, Kimiko feels that connecting and developing a tech ecosystem is intangible work, which sometimes is hard to convey. One has to be extra persistent when onboarding new partners. The vision has to be long-term, so the need to build the right platform for sustainable partnerships is crucial. 

YellowBlocks was built from scratch. Like other startups, the company had to maximize limited resources, building operations, expanding services, balancing short-term gains and long-term strategies at the same time. Because of that, sometimes Kimiko feels like a lonely juggler. But most times she is astonished by how far the lonely juggler has come with the team. She thinks that all startup founders and staff deserve a pat on the back for choosing the less traveled, often bumpier road. 

 

Transformational Leadership Driving Innovation 

Kimiko asserts that “Integrity” factor is on top of transformational leadership attributes. A successful leader is the one who builds ‘trust’ from his/her employees, customers, and partners. To make that happen, the entrepreneur has to show her/his skills, effort, commitment, and on top of all, the ability to “make things happen no matter what”. Transformational leaders also think beyond what they can do today. 

YellowBlocks is a B2B company, really focused on being the trusted source of information as the connector of solutions. The team always thinks of what is best for its clients and what would add more values to them. The innovative solution approach is to solve their pain points and enable them to grow and expand their businesses.  

 

Using Emerging Technologies to Foster a Win-Win Partnership 

“The unexpected COVID pandemic truly reminds that we are living in a VUCA world (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity). Disruptive technologies remind us that speed of innovation is faster each year. At YellowBlocks, we use emerging technologies to connect and foster a WIN-WIN partnership”, says Kimiko on disruptive technologies driving innovation.  She further adds that, “In the current digital transformation revolution, the role of leadership is ever-changing. It is no longer good enough to have an efficient operation but to develop products and services to provide an engaging experience for our customers.” 

 

Unlocking Tremendous Future Opportunities 

Today, Vietnam already embraces foreign expertise together with local specialties. Within six years, the tech and business population will enjoy much more open access to structured, curated, and transparent information. Many legal and social barriers will be removed. 

The management at YellowBlocks expects that the local ecosystem, exposed to international frameworks, will mature closer to global standards. This will unlock tremendous investment opportunities in the tech space. YellowBlocks will still be a boutique consulting firm. The team has established its brand and enterprise know-how to facilitate Fortune 100 projects. Together with the rise of the startup ecosystem, it would continue to grow with new opportunities. The company has a lot of work now and is assured that there will be a lot of work in the future. 

 

A Word for the Women Leaders of Tomorrow 

On ddvising women leaders of tomorrow, Kimiko ask’s them to work hard and find out their true potential. She says emerging leaders must manage their reputation, always do the right things; find people who are right / to share values. She says that for women leaders to be successful, they must be kind & thoughtful, and value Integrity on top of all.