CEO Kobayashi Taihei: A vagabond past and the amazing journey to Vietnam

At the age of 17, I left my house to vagabond. At the age of 29, I traveled abroad for the first time and went to Vietnam. Here, I had a different life, and created magic via technology together with more than 1400 members of Sun*.

Dropped out of high school, got kicked out and wandered everywhere 

With my passion for music, at the age of 17, I dropped out of high school and told my family that I would live on this passion. Of course, because of this, I got kicked out of the house and officially became a vagabond.

I lead that lifestyle for a year and a half in Shinjuku. The winter was so freezing that I thought I would be dead. Luckily, during my hardest time, I was saved by an owner of a popular Club (Bar) owner among the Rock community in Tokyo. The owner gave me a job and a place to stay. After that, besides working at the bar, I also resell CDs on Yahoo Auctions for a living. 

Surrounded by negativity

When arranging my emails, I came across some IT engineer recruitment news and felt interested. I started to learn programming by myself. With this new passion, I was recruited in a tech company. 

Life passed by peacefully with no troubles. Until March 11 2011, the tranquility was destroyed when the earthquake and tsunami hit Fukushima, 300 km away from Tokyo. Though 7 years have passed, till now I can still clearly remember what happened that day. 

While I was deploying in my office on the 3rd floor, the whole building suddenly shook vigorously. Everything on the table fell to the ground, clothes hanger got snapped. I quickly finish my task and ran outside away from danger, everyone outside are frenzy and confused. The surrounding high buildings were crazily shaking, the ground was cracking bits by bits. All phone lines are disconnected, so I had to update information on the occuring disaster through the Internet. Of course, the train stopped working, and I had to walk about 10km home.

The scene that day was like a giant migration of the whole nation, lines of people moving on the street. When I got home, the TV constantly gave updates on the earthquake and the tsunami in Fukushima. The radioactive leak from the nuclear power plant becomes alarming. After hearing the news, I got even more worried about not being able to contact my grandmother because her house is located in the tsunami area. 

I decided to pack my bags and head to Vietnam 

“Let’s build a company in Asia!’’ – The surprising proposal from Mr. Kazunari Fujimoto and Mr. Makoto Hirai 7 years ago is like my escape during the terrible times. 

Besides, since I had the chance to work with the programmers from Vietnam and China through Skype, I thought that it was quite an interesting idea. I felt like coming to Vietnam, everything would change. Finally, I decided to join them. 

Right the next day, I handed in my resignation to the old company director and returned my rent. Before I left, Mr. Fujimoto said that we would go to Hanoi, so I searched it on my computer, but no results came up, and it felt a bit strange. Truthfully, I didn’t have any plans and hadn’t been to a foreign country before, so I just got surrounded by troubles. After a long time of dealing with my documents, I finally reached Vietnam. 

Treaching Vietnam, I could feel that there was a strong aura of life here. 

The bustling life, the crowded motorbikes, children running everywhere, everyone is so youthful and full of energy. I start to blend in this life with excitement. 

Working and living in Vietnam, I slowly formed a mindset on how to make the world around me become better. And I know that I need the companion of the young people here, not that we can change the world, but we must change the world.

What values can you bring the society? 

Do you understand peace or war?

What’s the meaning of life, or “happiness”, after all?

Honestly, up till now, I’m still looking for a satisfying answer. 

There is one time I happened to hear a conversation between a customer and my employee. The customer asked: “Why do you work in Framgia?”

And the employee said: “There are many reasons, but simply every morning, I want to hurry up and get to work.” I was very surprised, because this is nearly the answer for all the questions I have been looking for.  

We come to the company not just to work. We are here for our love, our passion, creating grander values, first to get over our comfort zone, then to contribute to creating a better world.

Like Uber or Airbnb, I want to create more start-ups than can completely transform the existing structures and mediocre thinkings to bring new feelings and experiences to people. To do that, we need revolutionary technologies like Blockchain or Deep Learning and experiences to successfully directing a start-up. 

However, not just writing source code and completing the product, but first we have to think about how to create emotional experiences for the users. 

Yes, we are not a software developing company, but a Platform to promote the success of Start-ups and bring happiness to people. 

To me, those emotional experiences are illustrated by a word, called “Awesome”!

Sun* will take on grand missions 

On March 3rd, me and the company’s Board of Director continued to another amazing experience, changing the brand name from Framgia to Sun*. I think it is a good time for the members in the company change their mindsets, their thoughts, and also a time to express the changes in scale and field. 

Regular annual growth of Framgia leads to the members living in the comfort zone. Meanwhile, I want them to focus more on the shared tasks, and view it as if it is their own. Changing the company’s name is the way that me and the B.O.D. redirect their attention to new goals. 

During transition, I want to change the old name Framgia - commonly related to an offshore outsourcing company for a new image of a Digital Creative Studio - a place where experts comprehensively solve all of society's problems by the power of technology. 

A new start with Sun*, I view it as if starting up for the second time. But I’m not the one who changed Framgia into Sun, we all made this change together. 

My decision to come to Vietnam 7 years ago has brought me a magical journey. I found my dream and motivation to wake up every morning. I always hope that everyone will have the same energy in the morning to achieve your dreams. It will be awesome if we can create a world like that!

#kobayashi taihei