July 4 Tribute: America Through the Eyes of Asian Entrepreneurs

July 4, 2012

11:00 am

July 4 is a time to celebrate the best of America, the vision that was created for our country over 200 years ago.

Despite all the controversies in the American tech scene – the alleged bubbles, the “un-popping” IPOs, and the brogrammers – we can still be proud of a culture that celebrates opportunity and entrepreneurial spirit. It’s a culture many entrepreneurs across the globe look up to and are inspired by – in every Asian country I visited, entrepreneurs talked about Facebook and Steve Jobs and Silicon Valley. Here are some of the things they said:

  • “If I have an opportunity to go to the US, I will. I believe that if you are surrounded with inspirational people, you will be inspired by them, even if you fail.” – Peach Rojwongsuriya, MyColorscreen (Thailand)
  • “Our experience in Silicon Valley definitely inspired us, especially with the influx of young entrepreneurs starting up companies – that excites us that we want to do something that we’re passionate about.” – Elisha Ong, Burpple (Singapore)
  • “In the Silicon Valley, there are lots of young entrepreneurs. They are talking about their dream and vision and their company that they want to do, so I realized: Oh, what am I doing right now? So maybe I should [start a company] right now.” – Tae Woo Kim, Moglue (Korea), who visited Silicon Valley for a job
  • “That’s how people view it from here – if I go there, I can work for Google and I can do amazing things.” – Tham Keng Yew, SocialWalk (Malaysia)
  • “When I was in Silicon Valley, when people have an idea, [other] people will be very excited about it. They may not really want to do anything or they may not believe in it, but they would respect you for trying to do it. … Ever since I went to Silicon Valley, I always thought that that is the mentality, the sentiment, the atmosphere, the romance, if you will, that I want to bring back to Hong Kong” – Paul Lee, Ximplar (Hong Kong)
  • “Young US people have invented some things that are really meaningful. … Basically I want to say that I appreciate that very much.” – Son (Sunny) Tran, Tamtay (Vietnam)

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact