About me

This is me and my wife at Bygdøy, Oslo making a fire in the winter of 2021

Last update: 12.2022

Hi! 👋

My name is Vu Nguyen Thai and this is my story.

I grew up in Danang, then a tiny coastal city in the center of Vietnam thinking I would become a comic creator like Hergé, Walt Disney, or Akira Toriyama. From childhood, I spent most of my time playing Nintendo Famicom, sketching, and painting.

When I was around 7, my best friend next door showed me a computer in his home that we were allowed to use. He had a game called Prince Of Persia, which we played together for days on end without getting bored. I can still remember him teaching me how to use the floppy disks so I could start the game.

My friend led me to the computer world from that day.

Everyone follows different paths to their spot in life. Starting work at 17, I became a freelance editor and IT technician, and one day I decided to become a software developer to find a better job. I learned Java, my very first programming language, learning about how to create a button, a menu with Java Swing, file handling with Java SE, etc…

I got hired by a US-based company as a junior Java developer in 2008. One day my boss asked me to join a new project and the customer was Hyundai USA. As I joined the project with no prior knowledge of HTML, CSS, JS, and Photoshop, I would spend my weekends studying Photoshop and coding some basic web pages with XHTML, CSS, and JS. This was a huge challenge for me but I learned a lot, especially how to design a web app from the Hyundai USA design team.

Consequently, I decided to switch careers.

I’ve spent the last 10 years across different surfaces of digital design—user research, native mobile design, UX, and visual design, applying these approaches to problems of all shapes and sizes. In the intersection of design and development, I’m skilled in designing digital experiences with an iterative and data-driven approach. I’m also comfortable coordinating with the development team to solve more technical problems. I have a background in web development and enjoy learning new things to keep up with the pace.

During my many years of working with first-time entrepreneurs and startup founders, I learned many hard and valuable lessons. Knowing these things would definitely have saved a lot of time and effort:

  • Sell before you build.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel.
  • Know what problem you are solving, and consider the value of your solution.
  • As a founder: communicate the vision, hire great people, and don’t burn the money.
  • Be open to new ideas no matter how silly they are.

Working for startup companies has helped me with many new ways of thinking and lessons that would prove useful in my future career.

If you think that I would be a great fit for your team, check out my CV and feel free to contact me via email or LinkedIn, and let’s talk!


Or, if you’re a fellow designer, let’s connect on LinkedIn. I’m always looking for talented people to work on projects together and to share knowledge related to design.

Other than work

I’m a father of an awesome kid 👦🏻 and a happy newborn 👶🏻 and am married to an amazing wife 👩🏻 who make me proud to be a father and a husband every day. 💪

My children have become my motivation to be the best version of myself.
My children have become my motivation to be the best version of myself.

I like to sketch app ideas, read books, take photos, play retro games, and go fishing, biking, camping, or hiking in my spare time. I love keeping plants around my house and taking care of them – check out my little garden on Instagram.

Personality

  • Introvert (but extrovert with the right people)
  • Sensor
  • Intuitive
  • Thinker
  • Perceiver

Languages

  • Vietnamese (native).
  • English (confident both speaking and writing).

Favorites

  • Colors: Black, White, Blue
  • Season: Summer
  • Animals: 🐕, 🐈, 🐠, 🦎, 🦜, 🐝, 🦌, 🐢
  • Foods: 🍝, 🍜, 🍕, 🥖, 🥗, 🍣, 🧇

Tools

Software
  • This website is built with WordPress, hosted on DigitalOcean and uses LAMP.
  • Design: Figma, Sketch, Balsamiq, Photoshop, Adobe XD
  • Brainstorming: Miro, Figjam, coggle.it, paper and pencil, whiteboard
  • Prototype: Protopie, Proto.io, POP, Marvelapp, Quant-UX, Keynote, Powerpoint
  • Task management: Jira, Trello, Asana
  • Analytics: Hotjar, Fullstory, Google Analytics, Matomo
  • Design handoff: Marvel, Zeplin, Figma
  • Coding: Visual Studio Code, Nano, Vim (I know how to exit it 😏)
  • Music: Spotify
  • Terminal: iTerm2
  • OS: macOS, Ubuntu
Technologies

  • Languages: HTML5, CSS3, SCSS, LESS, Javascript, PHP
  • CMS: WordPress, Hubspot, Wix
  • Server: Apache, Nginx, Docker
  • Cloud: Amazon Lightsail, DigitalOcean
  • Framework: Bootstrap, Tailwind, Bulma, JQuery, VueJS
  • Source control: Git, Github, Gitlab

Hardware
  • M1 Macbook Pro 14 inch
  • iPhone 12
  • iPad Pro 2018

Hobbies

  • Lego
  • Retro computing
  • Photography (enables me to see the world a little differently, I’ve got more than 2 million views on Unsplash)

Learning

  • I’m learning TypeScript, SwiftUI, and Blender3D in my spare time.
  • Learning Norwegian is currently my main priority, and I aim to pass Skills Norway’s A2-B1 level competency test by the end of February 2023.