Mr. Thai Thanh Nhat Quang read again a 6-page letter sent by a young man, who worked for many fashion companies and had suffered from severe anxiety disorder for 4 years. The letter does not describe suffering, but writes about the fate of meeting people who helped him get out of those troubled days as well as many things he drew himself and wanted to share with people in the same situation.
“A 6-page letter sharing a 4-year journey like walking in the dark, having to find a way out to get out of depression. There are many cases like that, it is very difficult for them to find a way to get out and I want to create a supportive solution,” Quang said about part of his ZenMe journey.
That journey is new started about a year ago and will hit the big milestone this January when the ZenMe platform officially launches. But it has been accumulated from many experiences of taste This CEO for many years twhimper different positions in the field of technology, business and strategy.
Exploring cultural diversity is one of Thai Quang’s favorite things
He is having a solid career in Europe with the position of Deputy General Director in charge of strategy, business and technology of the billion-dollar hotel group Louvre Hotels Group. If he wanted to, he would also have a good position in America, where he had been successful. Why did you decide to return to Vietnam and start a business?
CEO Thai Thanh Nhat Quang: When Covid-19 broke out, my parents came to visit me in France and stayed there for 6 months. Every day I live closer to my grandparents and realize I need to return. In early 2021, I returned to Vietnam and received the position of General Director for a unit under VinGroup. Here, I have the opportunity to work with many excellent people. However, I still cherish the dream of applying my knowledge and experience to contribute to solving the social problem of mental health, not only in Vietnam but also in the world. That’s why I decided to start a business with start-up ZenMe.
Thai Quang has many years of living and working abroad
I see you use the word mental health, I hear psychologists use the word mental health. What makes him want will start ZenMe in Vietnam, not abroad, where he has worked and also had the opportunity. Why do you think ZenMe will be successful in Vietnam, when domestic psychological counseling services are still very primitive.
Living and working in developed countries has given me the opportunity to see that mental health problems in Vietnam are very similar to those of other countries. However, the level of social acceptance of it in our country is far behind. Our system also does not have many support services for this problem.
When chatting with friends, I’ve found that about 70-80% of them have at least one family member or friend with a mental health problem. Most of those depressed people are also young. They do not know who to share their problems with, have to learn and heal on their own through different sources. They do not want to medical facilities or psychological counseling services for fear of being labeled with the word “psychotic”. That’s why I use the word mental health. For many people, depression and psychosis are words, diseases that they are very afraid of.
But it’s true that depression is a disease that…
It is being considered a “bad disease”. That is, people with this disease are not “injured” like other diseases. Many people are prejudiced against depression, prejudiced against mental illness. Meanwhile, according to research, at least 80% of people will experience mental problems at some point in their lives. Mental problems can appear in many different degrees, and most of these cases can be resolved quickly so as not to become “sick” with the right approach. That is exactly what ZenMe wants.
He is a math and technology guy. What is the problem to solve with ZenMe, how do you solve it.
Reviewing the treatment options, I see one method that has been applied since ancient times, which is group therapy. It’s also been used in the past for addiction treatment groups. Usually groups have less than 10 people, with One person leads and they share with each other. People can share with each other because they have the same problem and understand each other. It means that a group with the same problems, the same passion, and the same leader can do it.
But this type of group therapy would be difficult to extend to society. The price is very expensive, in Vietnam it is 1-2 million VND/hour for psychotherapy. In addition, when doing such offline rounds, the number of participants will only stop at a small number. I can’t expand it because the room is just that, the healer can only talk to 10 people. Then no one wants to show their faces, they are all anonymous. Finally, not everyone has easy access to such therapy groups because they do not know how to travel. So group therapy is effective but only for small groups.
I stepped back and wondered, So can I solve those? Well, we can solve all four of those problems with technology. I built the ZenMe community network on top of all of that. Everyone can anonymously discuss and share and practice good things for their situation.
Positioned as a “community network” to support people to develop Body – Mind – Mind, what do you think ZenMe will be different from a social network like Facebook?
The feature of a social network is for users to make maximum friends and share everything in life. A social circle is a collection of dynamic groups that advocate selective sharing.
The social network Facebook gives each individual their own “home” where they can shine and connect with as many people as possible. The ZenMe community network consists of many small communities. For example: psychotherapy community, yoga community, meditation community, tea ceremony… These communities share the same goal of balancing Body – Mind – Mind and work together to form good daily habits. User is a participating member, under the guidance of the Zentor. Zentor are people with expertise such as psychologists, nutrition coaches, yoga teachers, etc.
ZenMe emphasizes the quality of connection between community members. The Zentors assist Users in developing good habits to change their own lives. If Facebook prioritizes revenue from advertising, ZenMe makes bringing value to users the top priority, revenue will come later.
You are an entrepreneur, and you say revenue goals are secondary when starting a ZenMe start-up?
I always keep in mind that when the value is large enough, the economic value will be an inevitable consequence.
Do you think this is a competition with Facebook?
ZenMe does not directly compete with Facebook because we start with different goals, and will solve different problems.
The primary purpose of ZenMe is to help and support the formation and development of good habits through daily activities. For such purposes, ZenMe’s algorithm will be very different from social networks. If Facebook users like yoga, they will be introduced to many yoga classes even if they are satisfied with their yoga class. As for ZenMe, if the user has attended a yoga class, the algorithm will recommend more “close” yoga classes such as meditation, tea ceremony. In a way, ZenMe will help users have a comprehensive view of personal development options.
Start-up in a new field, how will you avoid problems arising?
– I am determined that there will always be unintended occurrences. So the question to ask will be how to detect problems, find solutions and solve those problems in the fastest way. My experience is that this comes through knowing who your priority customers are, standing by them, listening to them, and acting with them as quickly as possible. For ZenMe, we have an excellent Zentor Care team that always accompanies Zentors, and I lead this team directly. I meet, work and participate in the selection of all Zentors, which means I spend at least 4 hours a day on the “frontline”.
What is your wish now?
I hope to attract more like-minded people to develop ZenMe as quickly as possible. On this path, I am only the one who laid the first bricks and urgently need quality resources in terms of talent, enthusiasm and finance to accelerate later. At that time, ZenMe not only brought value to Vietnamese people but also spread all over the world.