Fail Fighters: An Unexpected Networking Event

activities - Saigon/HCMC: March 22, 2019

Michel Le Quellec’s key to success is a strong team of employees

Carsten Ley encourages flexibility in your journey to success

Patrick Gaveau doesn’t let failure deter his success

I hate going to boring and predictable networking events and motivational speeches where a panel of stuffy people recount all of their seemingly superhuman successes. Still, as an entrepreneur, I’ve been to several of these networking events in Saigon, and each one has been more drab than the last. So I wasn’t exactly giddy with anticipation when I was asked to attend Fail Fighters #5. However, I was pleasantly surprised!

Fail Fighters turns the concept of traditional motivational speaking events on its head. Instead of recounting ridiculous and rare successes, speakers are relatable and, well, human, as they share their failures and how they’ve overcome them. The events rotate around comfortable and trendy co-working spaces in Saigon, instead of icy, sterile conference rooms. Fail Fighters creates a wonderful energy and atmosphere to network with people in various industries, people that are passionate about reaching their goals.

The panelists for Fail Fighters #5 included Michel Le Quellec of Wall Street English, Carsten Ley of Asia PMO and City Pass Guide’s fearless leader Patrick Gaveau.

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It’s the People that Matter

Wall Street English is a multi-million dollar English language center franchise headed by … debonair and genuine. The founder of Wall Street English in Vietnam, Mr. Michel Le Quellec, focused his talk on building a strong and loyal team of employees. He insisted that to avoid problems that will “kill your business”, you must take great care of your employees. To accomplish this, he offered three main suggestions:

1. Be courageous and fair in all areas of management and customer service.

2. Have very clear rules at the start of your business for employee responsibilities and behavior and then diplomatically enforce the rules.

3. Make the hard decisions. He cautions that if you allow people to cut corners, it can become a cancer, ultimately killing your business.

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Besides a diligent focus on building a team of reliable people, Mr. Le Quellec also attributed much of his success to exceptional - and admittedly expensive - marketing strategies. He suggested that entrepreneurs should have a clear brand that fills a void and is consistent for at least a year before making big changes.

Don’t Limit Your Journey

Carsten Ley is a customer experience specialist who went from a high ranking position in Lazada to head his own company, Asia PMO. His talk centered around being open to opportunities, being persistent and being flexible. By relating his personal experience of missed opportunities and ultimately working up the ranks in a business unrelated to his field of study, he encouraged the audience to seize every viable opportunity that comes. He insisted, “It doesn’t matter where you start in a company. There is always room for growth and change.”

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Mr. Ley also encouraged the audience to get out of their comfort zones daily to build stamina to overcome other challenges that make you uncomfortable. Trying new activities regularly, even when fearful, is how he builds confidence in his own abilities and will. For example, Carsten Ley overcame his own fear of public speaking by performing stand up comedy. Pushing through the nerves has served him well, as he now fearlessly takes on new opportunities and goals.

It’s Failure When You Quit Trying

Patrick Gaveau, owner of digital marketing company Innovo and City Pass Guide, entered the stage as a confident and charismatic man. However, he proved to also be down-to-earth as he recounted a lifetime of failures with honesty and wit. Armed with visual aids of childhood photos and some questionable hairstyle choices, he passionately shared his experiences and dropped plenty of nuggets of wisdom on the audience. The centerpiece of his talk was persistence in pursuing your goals. He left the audience with five points to ponder:

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1. Learn more by challenging yourself and pushing your limits. Just keep going!

2. Make wise choices about how to move forward. Consider all of your options and don’t waste time or energy on things that don’t matter.

3. Money is not a goal; it’s a means to an end. If you do something to the best of your abilities, you are winning.

4. Be aware of your breathing, take care of your body, and make healthy choices.

5. Learn to love, love everyone equally and cherish your loved ones.

Mr. Gaveau’s final words, in my opinion, perfectly sum up the philosophy of all three speakers: Live life fully, try your best, go wild, move with passion, and take risks! We all have one life to live. It will be filled with grand successes and epic failures, but we should always strive to keep going.

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If you need some inspiration or you want to meet the up-and-coming business minds at a truly unique networking event in Saigon, be sure to follow Fail Fighters on Facebook. The next event, Fail Fighters #6, will be on 25 April from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. It will be held at WeWork E. Town Central in District 4. The speakers are to be determined, but you can pre-register now at this link. I am definitely excited to be in attendance at the next one!

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