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Don’t do normal stuff, don’t ask for money, and look for magic. These were tech CEO Le Hong Minh’s words of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018.

“You just play a game and you can start a company,” Minh told an audience at the Open Forum event.

A passionate gamer, after visiting the World Cybergames in South Korea in 2002 Minh was inspired to set up his own café back home in Viet Nam and set about licensing his favourite game from China.

That idea has now turned into internet giant VNG, Viet Nam’s first unicorn - a start-up with a valuation of over $1 billion.

“I often say to my friends, we are the very lucky generation,” he says. He described becoming a teenager in the early Nineties when the computer and internet first came to Viet Nam.

“For those of us who grew up 20 years ago, used to dial-up modems, you go to a forum and someone responds to you – that is magical.”

Minh said that today’s young people should think about the next big leap into the future.

“You all have a smartphone in your pocket, you all can connect with hundreds or thousands of followers on networks, but all of that is normal today. Don’t do the normal stuff because the future is happening with something that today you think is magical, is unimaginable.”

Minh also warned against taking on debt from Venture Capital funds, friends or family; although most start-ups depend on access to capital to grow.

“Don’t go ask for money. Do something that people want to give you money (for),” he said. “If you go ask for money, it can be painful.”

You can watch the full session below, and follow #asean18 for more updates.

Written by Ceri Parker, Commissioning Editor, Agenda, World Economic Forum.

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