42 Years ago, I was an Airborne Infantry Soldier in the US Army preparing to deploy to Southeast Asia in the next anticipated battlefront...Cambodia or Laos or one of the other anticipated war zones. Vietnam was de-escalating and our troops were returning to the US after a debilitating 20 years and over 55,000 troop deaths. There were well over one million combined Vietnamese deaths from the war. It was a demoralizing time for our country and certainly a devastating time for the Vietnamese.
Today, the united country of Vietnam, still officially Communist but in reality, a strong capitalistic "Asian Tiger, " the guiding beacon of light of all Asian economies... is a new but strong ally of the United States. Through a series of interesting developments, I am actually at the forefront of a partnership with the country of Vietnam...brought to me by two Vietnamese brothers, orphaned by the war and raised by a former US soldier who brought them back and adopted them as young boys and raised them in the United States.
These young boys grew into talented and successful Vietnamese-American businessmen and nearly 20 years ago, returned to Vietnam and brought with them the introduction of the Internet to their birth country. Since that time, these brothers have worked ceaselessly with the Government of Vietnam and the Junior Ministers they originally worked with have matriculated to the very highest leadership in the Vietnamese hierarchy.
During the 6 months since my chance encounter with one of the brothers at a VC presentation in San Diego, this relationship has nurtured and grown into a friendship as well as a significant business partnership. In effect, the country of Vietnam, through our well-connected friends, has become the largest (by far) client for our new travel company, Avia Travel Services (www.aviatravelservices.com) and the upside is enormous. There are 100 million upwardly mobile Vietnamese citizens with an average age of 27. Our new partners have also just announced that they are bringing the country of Laos under our travel banner next.
The point here is that over time, life affords us with many random opportunities to make your mark in the world. In the span of over 4 decades since I served in our country's military, our enemy has become our friend and a chance encounter with an accomplished and friendly Vietnamese-American has turned into the largest business opportunity I've had in my career.
Life is wonderful. Enjoy it with your families over this holiday season. And remember...you never know when an opportunity may knock so be aware and grab it with both hands when it presents itself!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!