My Name is Ninh and I’m a designer from Munich, currently designing epic sh** for frog design. I created this blog out of personal interest in entrepreneurship and personal development. I will share my thoughts and the lessons what I’ve learned along the way and hope that it will also benefit you and help you to create your own future.
Originally born in the capital city of Vietnam, I moved to Germany with my family when I was 4 years old and almost spent my entire life in Germany.
When we moved to Germany, Vietnam was still in bad condition and recovering from the war and only a few people got a chance to go abroad for work. My father was one of the lucky ones and he was offered the opportunity to move to Germany and start a new life.
Life in Germany was never easy for foreigners especially if you live in the east of Germany where you have to deal a lot with racism. Finding Jobs was also always a challenge and as far as I can remember, my father never really had a “job” but always created his own businesses to support our family.
Over the years I saw my father creating various kind of businesses. I saw him investing a lot of money in building new ones which didn’t work out, but he kept moving on and creating one after the other because he just had to in order for us to survive.From selling merchandise to selling food, he did almost everything.
Later on my family moved away from merchandising and focused on the food business. I can’t really remember a summer, where I didn’t have to work. The older I became, the more responsibility I got. I always hated the summer because I could never really spent time outside of the kitchen travelling or hanging out with friends, especially not worrying about things.
I envied my friends for having fun at the beach and enjoying their freedom while I had to fight with the heat in the kitchen. But now looking back, these days taught me valuable lessons that I started only to realise when I moved to Munich for my studies and was on my own.
When I finished high school my father wanted me to study architecture. Architects were always needed. If not here, then in Asia or somewhere else in the world. People will always need ho
Luckily my university gave architectural students the opportunity to also participate in industrial design classes and slowly my interest for industrial design began to arise. I did more and more classes and slowly moved away from architecture, partly also because the market for architects at this time was very saturated. The statistic said, that there were more architects in Bavaria then in whole Australia back in the days. Competition was high and salary low. I didn’t want to be in that market. But I was too far in my architecture studies and it was too late to give up so I continued and hoped to find a job as an industrial designer afterwards if I can get some work experiences through internships or whatsoever.using. Since I always loved to draw and build stuff, I decided to give it a go. During my studies a friend of mine introduced me to industrial design, which I never heard of before.
A decision that changed my life
During my 7th semester my plans suddenly changed through the emerging opportunity of getting a scholarship and studying for 8 month in japan. Life is strange. It offers you opportunities when you don’t expect it but never when you actively look for it. Since I had nothing to lose and I always wanted to visit japan (because I practice Karate) I went for it.
Unfortunately timing wasn’t ideal because japan was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami a year before I wanted to move. Fukushima was a horrible disaster with not foreseeable consequences. The fear of going there and get health problems for the rest of my life was growing and everyone was telling me not to go. Friends who also received the scholarship backed off.
I’m grateful to have a family that always supported me and got my back in any decision I made. I decided to go and today I don’t regret a single moment. Sometimes we walk through life without knowing where to go but we are also not willing to take the risk to try things out in order to see if it might take us somewhere. I knew that if I wouldn’t go, the opportunity would be gone and I would never get it back. My life today would have been a completely different one. I don’t want to live a life of regret: always wondering what I could have done. This was a very important life lesson.
This experience was completely new to me and it was my first time on my own living abroad in a country where I couldn’t speak the language at all. But it was the best thing that could happen to me because I learned so much in this short amount of time and most importantly, I met friends for life and expanded my view on the world. I also learned to take more risk and just to go for things without worrying too much about the outcome. If we walk through life just wishing things we will never get anything. We have to take action.
This is actually how I became an intern at Toshiba where I was applying for an industrial design internship. I knew my time in Japan was limited and that I wouldn’t be back in the near future. Instead of travelling I decided to take on internships in order to expand my portfolio. I applied for dozens of companies that appealed to me for industrial design. I was really into consumer electronics at this time so I applied for big japanese consumer electronic companies such as Sony, Fujitsu, Sharp or Toshiba. I didn’t really expect anything to come back and I received declines from all of them. But two weeks after I received a negative answer from Toshiba the design manager came back to me directly and in the end offered me an internship. Man, that was more than luck. It was a huge success for me at the time because I could never imagine to work for such a big corporation. It changed my reality and for the first time in my life I really believed that everything is possible if you give it a shot and go for it.
I really loved the internship. Designing TV’s and Interfaces that potentially millions of people can use was an amazing feeling. This is how I discovered my love for UI / Interaction Design. After going back to Germany and finishing my degree I decided that I wanted to dive deeper into software which led me to where I am right now.
I love what I’m doing, I love designing products and I love the challenges in my work. I work for a great company that I never imagined to work before. I have a good life because I earn enough money for travelling and see parts of the world that my parents never had the chance to see. But somehow I feel the urge to strive for more and just “poke the box”.
About 2 years ago I came across the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” which is my all time favourite because it directed my thinking into a completely different direction. I started to learn more about personal finances, investing and the mindset of rich people. The thinking of spending my whole life in a job and waiting until retirement and relying on the government to cover my bills scares the hell out of me. But what’s most frightening to me is to live a life of regret, wasting my time on earth and not doing the things I would love to do.
My father always said, that I should be good in school, study hard and get a good job in order not to have such a hard life like he has. He is right in some ways. Education is important. But I believe that there different kind of educations. The education you learn in school/university and the one that you learn throughout life. I believe the first should only give you the very basic skill set to survive and find a job when you finish university. From there you need to grow and invest time in yourself in order reach the next level and not to stagnate. I believe what’s more important is what you learn in the real world by putting yourself out there than the theoretical knowledge you accumulate by studying books.
Everyone chooses his own path. I created this blog to help like-minded people who are looking for the same, because I believe that …
“…You should build your own dream, or someone will hire you to build theirs”