If you had told me in 1975 that 40 years later Silicon Valley would be hosting an informational meeting to advertise an upcoming tech conference in Vietnam, I would have said you were crazy.
Like millions of others in April 1975, I watched apocryphal images on the nightly news of thousands of refuges being airlifted off rooftops in Saigon and military helicopters being pushed off the decks of aircraft carriers to make room for the human detritus of the final throes of decades of war, the last 10 of which included overwhelming American involvement and a death toll far in excess of a million lives.
Even today, that war, its architects and aftermath, are proving themselves to be contentious, divisive topics in American homes and in our national arenas of political mud-slinging.
Yet this blog is not about all of that; it’s about the aforementioned tech conference. But to start without a brief mention of 1975 is to write about a small brochure lying on the tabletop while a massive elephant stands muddy and mute in the middle of the room. At least for people of my generation.
In Vietnam today, however, folks of my generation are no longer the norm. The population now stands at 93 million-plus, the median age is 30, the country is young and optimistic, and looking to its future as an admired destination for tourists and international business interests alike.