Daniel Nguyễn, CEO and founder of WriterZen. — Photo courtesy of WriterZen
Daniel Nguyễn, CEO and founder of WriterZen, a new advertising and software startup, is an entrepreneur with two startups already under his belt at the age of 30. He was a speaker and advisor at TEDxĐakao and co-organised the event Việt Nam Digital SEO Summit 2019. Recently he took centre stage as the only Vietnamese representative at the Ad World Conference 2021.
Việt Nam News talks with Nguyễn about his participation at the Ad World Conference, and his plans and experience in establishing a startup.
Staff at WriterZen. The team helps Daniel Nguyễn get substantial achievements. — Photo courtesy of WriterZen
Inner Sanctum: Please introduce yourself and tell us why you chose to work in the marketing tech industry.
I am Daniel Nguyễn, the CEO of Resonance Technology, the company which owns WriterZen, an SEO/content optimisation software that we launched early this year that was fortunate enough to gain some recognition from both local and global users.
One of the key reasons I chose to start a software company is my passion for creating high-impact products that help solve a universal problem. And software is the type of product that can achieve that. It is highly complex, requires multi-dimensional reasoning, and is extremely scalable. I also love the design aspect of it and with our background as an SEO agency, the decision was quite easy to make.
Inner Sanctum: You were the only Vietnamese representative taking part in the Ad World Conference 2021 which gathered 100 of the world’s brightest minds in advertising. Please describe some memories of this.
It was a brilliant experience. Definitely, a unique feeling to be able to share the stage with some of the most brilliant minds in the modern marketing age and listen to their insights on the future of marketing and beyond. I could feel the excitement and a huge wave of pressure at first, thinking that not only do I have to find a topic that would add value to the audience, but also the fact that I was the only Vietnamese speaker among such a great lineup. People I greatly admire like Seth Godin or Sir Martin Sorrell are industry giants who have helped shape marketing history for decades now. As the event progressed and I was able to see the positive interaction of our audience toward our speech, I felt more relieved and appreciated the opportunity.
Due to the time limit of the presentation, I wasn’t able to share much about the Việt Nam market but from the interaction we got from our audience, we are confident that the topic we shared and the toolset provided were of great value. We look forward to more follow-up work and seek to share more with our audience about Việt Nam and the advertising market here.
The overall feedback so far has been mostly positive, with people sharing with us how much they appreciated the insights and information from our speech. We should be able to gain more insights and feedback with more follow-up work once the event is over. The virtual aspect of the event made real-time interaction a bit more difficult than usual, so we plan to do more sharing work on our post-events follow-ups.
WriterZen's staff at work. The company continues to focus on product creation at least until the second quarter of 2022. — Photo courtesy WriterZen
Inner Sanctum: What is the potential of the advertising and digital marketing industry in Việt Nam? What advantages and disadvantages has the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the industry?
The pandemic has left devastating consequences on the world, but it also has brought about new changes which normally would take years if not decades. One of the most obvious changes is how fast things become digitised. It used to be just knowledge, but it is now arts, goods, products, documents, and even government. And with most things digitised, so is the whole ecosystem surrounding those. These changes will bring more uncertainty to almost every aspect of both the online and offline economy, but it will also create the next great leap for those who can capitalize on the opportunities it presents. Việt Nam is now in a unique position with its young, ambitious, tech-savvy, and exceptionally bright population, with an open world being even more open now. I truly believe that we will see more products and concepts like WriterZen making their mark on the global stage in the future.
Inner Sanctum: Your company, launched in May this year, has made substantial achievements, so could you share with us about this? What have you done to help your company overcome challenges and reach success during the pandemic? What are the company’s plans for the near future?
We officially launched in May 2021 and by July we became one of the best deals in the Appsumo MarketPlace segment with more than 4,000 paid users and 300+ five-star review across all major independent review websites. By September we received seven badges in the SEO category in the G2 Fall Report 2021 and were rated as one of the fastest-growing SEO Software companies in 2021.
None of this was expected and I think I would like to contribute this to two things which helped carry us through the past two years.
First, the ability to focus on quality output in every aspect of our operations and planning. Be it meetings, design, product creation, marketing, or communications. We place quality output as the only important attribute, and that reduces our margin of errors by a large percentage, giving us more time to think, plan and execute better.
Second is the focus on the people. Without my team, there wouldn’t be me, or WriterZen, or any of this achievement. The people are our greatest assets and we like to truly emphasise that in all of our works. Investing quality training, time, and efforts on our team have been the best investment decision of our company.
We will continue to focus on product creation at least until the second quarter of 2022, with AI writing assistant and team functions being developed. I'm very excited and confident that it will bring some pleasant surprises to our users. The next goal for us would be growing our B2B market segment, which should be at the end of 2022.
Inner Sanctum: You are a successful startup with two companies. What helped you succeed in a time when the economy is affected by the pandemic? What is your advice for other startups in the country?
We were fortunate to be in an industry that has been the least affected by the pandemic, which is Saas (Software as a service), and even more fortunate that we were able to create a product that fits well with global standards, needs and demand.
If I had to give advice to other startups, they should focus on people first. They’re your greatest asset. No idea, planning, revenue modelling or forecasting, or even huge investment can truly make your startup successful. Great people will create great products.
Furthermore, give enough emphasis on product design in an age when even our grandmothers know what a good design should be, what colour will feel pleasant to the eyes, and what font will convey what intention. Be aware, alert, and very thoughtful about how you design a product or an experience. Functionality can only carry you so far. VNS