After more than 25 years in the IT business, Yahoo vice president Luong Vinh Tuoc has become a world-renowned search engine specialist.
More than 29 years ago, on his first day at Berkeley University, California, Luong Vinh Tuoc (also known as Tuoc Luong) asked his instructors: "Which job is the easiest to find?"
Tuoc ultimately chose computer science as recommended by his professors.
Little did he know it, but that first step into the world of information technology (IT), would eventually lead Tuoc to become the executive vice president (EVP) of world renowned Yahoo!, Inc.
During his days as a student, Tuoc would attend school by day while working in a motorbike shop by night.
He also held down a part time job delivering newspapers.
The day he graduated, four different companies offered Tuoc a job.
Three of the companies were already well-established, while the fourth had yet to make a name for itself.
"What will I do within the first six months?" Tuoc asked each of his four potential employers.
The three big companies said they would give him more training and then let him work.
But the director of Informix Software, the newly-established company with just 17 staff, said he would put Tuoc to work after just one week of training.
Eager to get started, Tuoc decided to take a chance on Informix.
After six years on the job, Tuoc had become familiar with many different aspects of the company.
He eventually became a manager and focused on localizing foreign products and developing multilingual software.
Informix Software grew from a meager staff of 18 to 1,500 in just six years.
But Tuoc, feeling he needed a change, ultimately decided to leave the company.
He would go on to work for such enterprises as Baan/Aurum Software, Borland, Pyramid Technology, and Oracle Corporation.
At Pyramid Technology, 31-year-old Tuoc led a staff of experts older than he was.
He quickly gained their respect, however, and surprised everyone with his leadership skills.
Tuoc says that gaining such experience at a relatively young age proved invaluable in his later career.
He learned early on, he says, who to trust and how to interact with a wide range of personalities.
Many of his coworkers came from different countries and had different expectations and working styles, said Tuoc.
"As a leader, I have to understand each of them, deal with different situations and develop their strengths and potentials as well as plant belief in their mind."
In 1998, Tuoc went to work for Microsoft Corporation where he managed the company's BackOffice/Small Business Server and Hosted Services Division.
He then became an executive, undertaking Microsoft's "Software as a Service" initiative, which was the predecessor of .NET.
Tuoc also joined Ask Jeeves, Inc., which later became IAC Search & Media.
As the senior vice president of engineering and product management at Ask.com, he was in charge of all aspects of the domain's technology as well as a team of more than 300 engineers.
According to executives at Zazzle, where Tuoc went to work in 2006, he "had a dramatic impact on the company's [Ask.com]'s success."
Robert Beaver, chairman and CEO of Zazzle, meanwhile, called Tuoc a "world-renowned engineering executive."
"Tuoc has a demonstrated track record of building extraordinary engineering organizations and cutting-edge technology solutions," he said.
In his forties, Tuoc decided to follow a new path search engines.
He went to work for Yahoo!, Inc. as the EVP of engineering for search technologies.
Working for more than 10 different IT companies and corporations over the past 25 years, Tuoc said his job at Yahoo! has been one of the most interesting.
"Search engine [technology] is really attracting and interesting.
Whether you are rich or poor, whichever nationality you are, and wherever you are, you have to use the skill [of searching]," he said.
"It is a business as well as a contribution to the society."
After 41 years in the US, Tuoc, now 47, has made a trip back to Vietnam with his children.
He wants to introduce them to their grandparents, he says, and give them a chance to practice their Vietnamese while learning more about their roots.
Source: Tuoi Tre