M.A.D. is a series on Marketing, Advertising, and Design in Vietnam.


I’ve had drinks with two very different CEO types at the same bar over the last year. In many ways, they’re opposite ends of a spectrum. I’ll call them small CEO and big CEO. There are big CEOs in small companies and small CEOs in big companies, and vice versa.

Both employed us to work on projects based on the strength of our past projects. But we consistently do good work for only one.

Working with different CEOs
The bigger the committee, the smaller the work.

The small CEO solicits a consensus from his entire company. One time, they even put our design to a vote within the company on a Google Drive spreadsheet.

The big CEO listens to feedback from his team and then decides. Never looking back.

Work over words.

The small CEO forwards studies and documents of gurus and experts with big words like innovation to inspire us.

The big CEO simply had open conversations with us first over a beer, then over a coffee, giving us a chance to understand his vision and letting us get to work for him.

Money matters.

The small CEO dangles a carrot in front of us. Expecting us to jump through hoops to get paid.

The big CEO understands that financial stability allows us to focus on creativity. He’s fair and collaborative when it comes to sharing the value that design creates.

The CEOs are an amalgamation of various clients I’ve worked with. And without fail they fall into either camps with various degree. My retelling isn’t to point fingers, but to offer a perspective of the types of clients that design studios like ours do the best work for. And the types of clients that you may want to fight for as designers, or that you should try to be if you’re a client.


Interested in contributing to M.A.D.? Email us at team at vietcetera dot com