A note to myself from myself

Dear myself,

An old man told me that I should watch out for the next three days. If I let my emotion take over me, I would be dead. If I can take it slowly, let it sink, slow it down, and let it go, my future will be bright.

Sound interesting, doesn’t it?

Well, I have no problem to let my emotion go. It’s just what’s going on with me internally.

Yet, what the old man told me was an excellent reminder.

On Sunday, some of my employees sent a note telling me that they would not be in the office on Monday.

When I saw the note, I got angry. We are people of integrity and live by the law of integrity. We communicate immediately when we know we can’t keep our words.

Yet, I interpreted that they waited till the last minute to tell me that they wouldn’t be in the office on Monday. It was a clear communication before the break that everyone would be in the office by Monday.

So I was angry. I wrote back a note with anger.

The words from the old man came to the rescue. I saw that my communication didn’t come from my heart; it was from my anger. I removed what I wrote before many would see it. If I was at the receiving end of what I wrote, I would react badly.

Warren Buffett once said that we should hold onto what we want to say when we are angry at someone; let it sit in our mind for at least 24 hours; if after 24 hours we still feel we should deliver the message, we should do it.

Well, myself, it shouldn’t be just three days. Do it for the rest of your life. Respond to anger with love. Come from the place of love and take it from there.

Just love it.

From myself to myself.

Habit of success: figure out what works and do it

Figure out what works and do it.

Figure out what doesn’t work and stops doing it.

This is incredibly simple. And yet, like anything simple, it’s incredibly hard to do consistently.

When I first learned martial art, I did a lot of things that don’t work. For the last 13 years since I joined Musokai Karate, I learned to do more what works and less what doesn’t. And it’s more like climbing a mountain with no top. The climber learns to enjoy the climbing and the views on the way. If the climber ever loses the focus of doing what works, the climbing itself becomes incredibly tough and it’s only getting tougher and tougher.

When I got into the corporate environment, I learned a few things that don’t work such as gossiping, bullying people, following what everyone else is doing, being a lone wolf… And few things that work: personal development, teamwork, leadership, customer-focus,… Yet, it’s just too easy to be busy with doing what don’t work. Figuring what works and doing it becomes a mantra that separates being successful and being miserable.

When I figured out that being in a declining and bureaucratic environment doesn’t work, I moved on.

When I figured out that being a victim doesn’t work, I chose to be an owner.

When I figured out that being an effect doesn’t work, I chose to be a cause in the matter and takes a firm stand.

What have you figured out in your own experience that don’t work? What are you doing about it?

It’s really a choice to choose doing what works. And overtime, it becomes a habit: figure what works and do it.

PS: Check out http://www.achiezy.com if you need help from great coaches. You don’t have to figure out everything like I did till I discovered that a coach can really help.

What I learned from Warren Buffett’s 2019 Annual Letter

If my $114.75 had been invested in a no-fee S&P 500 index fund, and all dividends had been reinvested, my stake would have grown to be worth (pre-taxes) $606,811 on January 31, 2019 (the latest data available before the printing of this letter). That is a gain of 5,288 for 1.

I first learned about Warren Buffett in 2006 when I picked up the Intelligent Investor. My immature mind discarded him completely as I loved getting rich quick schemes of speculators more. In 2013, after being hit for many years with heavy punches to the gut and receiving the final blow to my head, I decided to study the Oracle of Omaha to understand why he’s been so successful for such a long time while my idol speculators either killed themselves or died poor. The study took months as I poured into his writings and his talks.

The results:

  1. I stopped losing money feeling like a fool and a gambler.
  2. I founded a value investing fund to invest in Vietnamese companies. After 5 years of investing, what I learned from Warren Buffettt and practiced is working wonderfully.
  3. I became more at ease with being myself. The most notable is that I happily live a frugal lifestyle and pay almost no attention to what others say.

Every year at this time, I am eagerly waiting to receive the annual letter from Warren Buffett. Today is no difference. It’s the first thing I looked for when I woke up.

After many tries, I finally could download the letter. There must have been too many people trying to get his letter at the same time since Berkshire Hathaway’s website was extremely slow.

In this letter, Warren Buffett again showed his love for America and his belief in the long-term prospect of America.

Buffett’s buying criteria: “to buy ably-managed businesses, in whole or part, that possess favorable and durable economic characteristics. We also need to make these purchases at sensible prices.

Buffett has written many times that he paid little attention to daily fluctuation of stock prices, quarterly earning, and even one year earning. What he focuses on is the business and its prospect: “Focus on operating earnings, paying little attention to gains or losses of any variety.

Next, Buffett gave an outstanding lesson on “Focus on the Forest, Forget the Tree“. Berkshire Hathaway has many different businesses. If taken out to analyze each business, one might be very concerned as there are undoubtedly bad businesses or diseased trees in the forest. And there also are many healthy businesses/trees which will continue to grow in size. Taken as a whole, the forest is booming. “At Berkshire, the whole is greater – considerably greater – than the sum of the parts.

Will Buffett make more purchases in 2019?
My expectation of more stock purchases is not a market call. Charlie and I have no idea as to how stocks will behave next week or next year. Predictions of that sort have never been a part of our activities. Our thinking, rather, is focused on calculating whether a portion of an attractive business is worth more than its market price.

Where have fundings come from?

  1. Debt. Berkshire uses little or no debt though some of its subsidiaries might leverage debt when it makes sense.
  2. Equity. Buffett retained all the earning to invest and compounded it.
  3. Insurance float. Using float to invest has been a cornerstone in Buffett’s compounding machine.
  4. Deferred tax income.

Finally, as usual, Buffett dedicated the last portion of writings to teach. This year, he taught about American Tailwind or his belief in the long-term economic growth of America. This is worth reading several times.

Buffett made his first investment in the stock market with his $114.75 saving at the age of 11. “If my $114.75 had been invested in a no-fee S&P 500 index fund, and all dividends had been reinvested, my stake would have grown to be worth (pre-taxes) $606,811 on January 31, 2019 (the latest data available before the printing of this letter). That is a gain of 5,288 for 1. 

Is Gold safer than stock? If I ask people, the answer is mostly YES. However, history proved that most people are often more wrong than right.
If the same amount of $114.75 was to put in gold, by now it would be worth $4,200. “The magical metal was no match for the American mettle.

And it’s a dream to say the same: “For 54 years, Charlie and I have loved our jobs. Daily, we do what we find interesting, working with people we like and trust.

The full letter: http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2018ltr.pdf

10 powerful questions to scan someone to uncover their hidden cache of cashable assets.


If you want to be successful and reach your leadership potential, you need to embrace asking questions as a lifestyle. Make it a habit to ask questions, instead of giving answer. Be the dumbest person in the room, instead of the smartest person in the room.

Asking the right questions of the right person at the right time is a powerful combination.
“The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.” – Thomas J. Watson
Following are 10 powerful questions to ask anyone, especially people you care deeply about.

Uncover from the Mind:

  1. Knowledge: what do you know? (knowledge, schooling)
  2. Skills: what can you do? (skills, know-how, street-smarts)
  3. Confidence: where have you been successful? (money, relationship, organization)
  4. Failures and fears: what have you failed at/feared?
  5. What are your three biggest problems/challenges?

Uncover from the Heart:

  1. Passion: What are your passions? 
  2. Desire: What are your desires?
  3. Talents: What are you good at?
  4. Wisdom: What are your life’s top three lessons?
  5. Connections: Whom do you know?


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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.

If you are curious about the above method and how you can apply it to your life successfully, open your email and send me an inquiry at coach@hoanmdo.com

Life and Leadership Lessons learned from Bill Campbell – the ultimate coach of Billionaire CEOs including Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Sergey Brin

Bill was described as a legendary coach who coached Steve Jobs, Eric Schmitz, Larry Page, Sergey Brins.


I first read about Bill Campbell from “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal” by Nick Bilton. Bill was brought into Twitter to mentor the CEO Evan Williams.


Bill was described as a legendary coach who coached Steve Jobs, Eric Schmitz, Larry Page, Sergey Brins. From the first meeting, Bill fearlessly pointed out to Evan that the biggest mistake a CEO can make is to “Hire your fucking friends.” Bill often sat on Twitter’s board meeting.

Later I read about Bill Campbell in The Amazon Way.


Bill was brought into Amazon by the board to help deal with Amazon’s leadership crisis. Amazon employees were complaining about Jeff Bezos’ controlling and demanding styles. The board was considering whether to ask Jeff Bezos to step aside and let someone else be the CEO. “Campbell had a reputation for being an astute listener who could parachute into difficult corporate situations and get executives to confront their own shortcomings. Steve Jobs considered him a confidant and got him to join the Apple board when Jobs returned to the helm of that company in 1997.

After meeting Jeff Bezos, Bill concluded that “Why would you ever replace him [Jeff Bezos]?’ He’s out of his mind, so brilliant about what he does.

I read about Bill Campbell from Ben Horowitz’s book: The Hard Things about Hard Things.


Ben described Bill as “At the time, Bill was in his sixties, with gray hair and a gruff voice, yet he had the energy of a twenty-year-old….Bill is extremely smart, super-charismatic, and elite operationally, but the key to his success goes beyond those attributes. In any situation—whether it’s the board of Apple, where he’s served for over a decade; the Columbia University Board of Trustees, where he is chairman; or the girls’ football team that he coaches—Bill is inevitably everybody’s favorite person…..
No matter who you are, you need two kinds of friends in your life. The first kind is one you can call when something good happens, and you need someone who will be excited for you. Not a fake excitement veiling envy, but a real excitement. You need someone who will actually be more excited for you than he would be if it had happened to him. The second kind of friend is somebody you can call when things go horribly wrong—when your life is on the line and you only have one phone call. Who is it going to be? Bill Campbell is both of those friends.

Several valuable advices Bill Campbell gave Ben Horowitz:

  1. In preparing to fire an executive: “Ben, you cannot let him keep his job, but you absolutely can let him keep his respect.
  2. When announcing a layoff: “The message is for the people who are staying.

The most noticeable journey of Bill Campbell was his journey as GO corporation’s CEO. GO was the startup on pen computers in late 80s. GO raised more venture capital than most other startups and lost it all. However, “The amazing thing was that every one of those GO employees counted GO as one of the greatest work experiences of their lives. The best work experience ever despite the fact that their careers stood still, they made no money, and they were front-page failures. GO was a good place to work.

Jerry Kaplan, GO’s founder, described Bill Campbell in his book “The Startup” as “he was passionate about whatever he was doing, and he placed the welfare of his employees above all else, including his own.


Jerry learned from Bill that the key skill is not in convincing people of your point of view with rational arguments, but, when circumstances require, in building a feeling of consensus in the face of uncertainty or adversity.
Bill worked only face to face or on the phone.
Bill’s trademark was to give people who wandered by his office a big bear hug.
For a man pushing fifty, Bill was in remarkable mental and physical shape. He worked out for an hour every morning before coming to the office while he read the trades, newspapers, and analysts’ reports.
He took great delight in his ability to outlast whomever he was traveling with, staying out late with customers and getting up early for pre-breakfast briefings.
Wherever we went, Bill seemed to know everyone, and everyone considered him a personal friend.
He’d sit with individual executives and ask them about their families, and tell a story or two in his colloquial way, and gradually he’d learn how they felt about the issue at hand. He had a remarkable way of getting people to agree in advance before they came into the room.
For Bill, it was always about the team, the company. He was devoid of private motives or agendas. The mission was paramount. Bill was a master leader who developed great leaders.
Among many lessons, Bill taught us the importance of a team’s dignity, especially when a company fails.


In his latest book “Measure What Matters”, John Doerr dedicated one chapter to Bill Campbell and Larry Page wrote the rare foreword because of Bill Campbell.


John Doerr described Bill’s role as “Kleiner invests, Doerr sponsors, Doerr calls Campbell, Campbell coaches the team. We ran that game plan again and again.

He coached in his characteristic style, one part Zen and one part Bud Light. Bill gave little direction. He’d ask a very few questions, invariably the right ones. But mostly he listened. He knew that most times in business there were several right answers, and the leader’s job was to pick one. “Just make a decision,” he’d say. Or: “Are you moving forward? Are you breaking ties? Let’s keep rolling.

People are discouraged from bringing love into business settings, but love was Bill’s most distinguishing trait.
Sometimes it was love by faux insult. (If you came to work in an ugly sweater, he’d ask, “Did you roll some guy in the restroom to get that thing?”) But you always knew the Coach cared. You always knew he had your back. You always knew he was there for the team. You don’t find many leaders who can convey love and fearless feedback at the same time. Bill Campbell was a tough coach, but he was always a players’ coach.
And you’d never find the Coach distractedly checking his cell phone in the sixth inning. He was completely present. He sparkled in that setting.
Bill’s moto: Get better everyday.

From Forbes article: What are some of the key fundamentals you do when you go to work for a company?

Campbell: First of all, I don’t really take the company unless the founder is passionate and really wants to create something durable. Once you get the founder and CEO, you just want to find out what makes them tick. You’re trying to understand what they want to get out of their management team. Then you try to spend time with the team. And then put processes in place. I’m not going to tell Larry Page and Sergey Brin how to do their search algorithms. I just try to bring what they’re doing to life.

More articles about Bill Campbell:

  1. http://fortune.com/2016/07/13/leadership-lessons-from-ceo-coach-bill-campbell/
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/roberthof/2011/07/27/startups-secrets-of-bill-campbell-the-coach-of-silicon-valley/#5d73d0546931
  3. http://fortune.com/2008/07/01/bill-campbell/


  1. The Hard Things about Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
  2. Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal – Nick Bilton
  3. The Hard Things about Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
  4. The Startup – Jerry Kaplan
  5. Measure What Matters – John Doerr
  6. Playbook: The Coach – Lessons Learned from Bill Campbell – Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle

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About the author: Hoan Do is a certified leadership coach with John Maxwell Team. Hoan have led multiple teams at Symantec Inc. across the globe delivering world-class solutions to protect consumers and businesses. Hoan is an expert in building highly performing teams. He believes that the best leader is the leader that could grow his followers to be leaders. Hoan has been organizing mastermind groups at work to share with other leaders about transformational leadership and coaching. He has trained many leaders both inside and outside Symantec via mastermind groups, workshops, and one-on-one coaching.
Coaching inquiry can be sent to coach@hoanmdo.com