TMBA 212: Building Distributed Software Teams in Asia

TMBA 212: Building Distributed Software Teams in Asia post image

Hollywood filmmaker (with an imdb profile!), software programmer, podcaster, and most importantly, The Dominator of all things, Jesse Lawler is on the show this week to discuss a few of my favorite things.

Jesse was working in L.A. as a filmmaker when the economy took a nose dive and no one would even think about funding an indie flick. He made the ever-so-difficult decision to pack his bags and head off to Vietnam and build a distributed software team.

It isn’t quite as simple as it sounds, which is what makes this episode so intriguing.

Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • The sunk cost terror of a career trajectory switch.
  • What it feels like to choose between a $150K job and the gruesome battle ground of entrepreneurship.
  • The major advantages to setting up shop in S.E. Asia.
  • A comparative analysis of American developers vs. Asian ones.
  • Smart drug tips from the Smart Drug Smarts guy.

People on this episode:

>What we’re excited about this week:

Listening options:

Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.



Dan & Ian

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Published on 10.03.13
  • Adam at The Green Microgym

    Paraphrasing: “Neutropics are a total waste of time if you don’t first get in good physical condition the old-fashioned way”

    Hear, hear.

    Reminds me of working on SEO before creating content for your first ever attempt at blogging.

  • What a cool cool story. There could be a movie about you Jesse.

  • Cristina C. Ansbjerg

    To me it sounds the other way around. Create content before you work on you SEO.

  • Matthew Newton

    Cristina that’s what Adam was saying. And you’re both absolutely right!

  • Cristina C. Ansbjerg

    I should definitely stop commenting early in the morning. I need to wake up first…Thanks Mat!

  • Adam at The Green Microgym

    At least we’re all on the same page!

  • Bettina

    Great episode as always! My lessons from it: a) I want a maid, too! b) It’s possible to start a service business if you’re willing to put in hard work and/or work for free for a while. You don’t need a great idea nor invent the ultimate product. Just do it. Cheers!

  • Jamal

    Any chance you could reveal the name of the industrial manufactured products business website you guys set up some time back?
    Looking to have a look as a benchmark for my project.
    Cheers mate.

  • Dan

    Defo. It could be called “The Rise of the Dominator.”

    Sets up nicely for a trilogy.

  • Dan

    Email me! Dan@Tropical MBA com

  • Dan

    Thanks Bettina!!!

  • Dan


  • Dan


  • Ben Cameron

    What was that you said about Paleo Breakfasts in Saigon? *drooling*

  • Jamal


  • In fighter pilot tests, modafinil helped them focus on 4 hours of sleep for 2-3 weeks during intense training.

    It’s great sleep avoidance if you schedule in a weekend vacation when the crash hits, and it comes down to whether or not you can buy enough extra time to make the sprint worthwhile.

    Agreed that nootropics are reaching some kind of tipping point. For some great nootropics info check out!

  • Awesome to hear Jesse talking about CILTEP.

    You can purchase the stack here :)

  • I want to hear the Dominator and the CEOYeah talk about the valet app.

  • The Dominator 2: Judgement Day.

  • Dan

    Should be within the next 1-2 months. Users coming in this week.

  • Dan


  • Dan

    :D pretty awesome.

  • Dan

    The Dominator 3 : The Rise of Self-Writing Software

  • Marco Schwartz

    Great podcast guys, it was very informative ! I am a digital nomad/entrepreneur as well and I am thinking about moving to SE Asia next year. One question for Dan or Jesse: how are you managing the whole Visa situation ? In the episode you speak about this intern from the UK staying for 9 months in Vietnam for example. Do you just leave the country every 2 months ? Thanks !

  • Dan

    Vietnam is relatively easy for visas, you don’t actually have to go on visa runs for 1 year if you use an in-country visa consultant (don’t quote me on that), you can go either the biz or tourist route, and leaving the country is cheap/easy as well. 100 bucks to bangkok! :)

  • I loved Dan’s sentiment about decreasing the amount of tasks we undertake… My favorite Bruce Lee quote on lifehacking “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

  • Dan

    that’s a great one!

  • On this subject, I myself have doubts about a maid service. Seems too personal – doing your laundry, making food… I would feel like having a nanny, although I see the hugely important benefits to it (doing the dishes and laundry takes a f* ton of time). Just suck it up and hire that maid I guess? Aside for having a spouse ;)

  • Dan

    yep, it’s pretty normal to feel a little weird about it…. for about one week :)

    bottom line: once you get serious about your business, doing stuff like laundry (unless you love it), is a waste of time.

  • Bettina

    Totally understand that feeling. But think about it: People with power usually have other people who know a lot about them (personal assistants etc.). They couldn’t build their empires without their staff, because it frees them up to focus on the important things. It’s all about who you want to be.

  • Bettina

    Which leads to another objection to outsourcing: Why should I be the one who does the creative work while others take care of simpler tasks? I am a human being like everyone else. The problem with this sort of thinking is that without the capitalist (entrepreneur/investor) workers wouldn’t know what to do, nothing would be accomplished. Marx was wrong ;-)

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