About Lanny

Hi There! I am Lan Anh Nguyen ("Lanny"), 21, born and raised in lovely Berlin. As my name reveals, I am of Vietnamese origin. After finishing my A-levels in 2010, I went "back to my roots" and spent 5 months in Vietnam where I did an internship at the Sales&Marketing Department of VinaCapital Ltd., one of Vietnam's current leading investment funds. In addition, I worked at the German Center as a volunteer to introduce the German language and culture to Vietnamese people, and furthermore, I participated in a social program where I gave free English classes to children in need. This time period was very special to me, as I had the opportunity to get in touch with many different people from all walks of life- learned from experiences of big bosses to regular workers to orphans from the street. By getting to know their different goals, desires and perceptions of the world, I was able to hugely broaden my horizon and strengthen my own character. Besides my passion for music and cooking, I love traveling and have special interest in foreign languages and economics. Now I am a second semester student of the International Business Management program at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. As the international and intercultural content of this business study program perfectly matches my interests and talents, I am enjoying it a lot. Moreover, I am profoundly convinced that this program will enable me excellent opportunities for an international business career I am striving for in the future.

Reflection

 

Looking back at the beginning of this semester, I amazingly realize the huge progresses and achievements I have made throughout this course. These progresses and achievements positively affect many different areas of my life.

Aha-Effects

 

Importance of Teamwork

 

After this course, I got a completely different understanding and perception of what it means to work in a team. I have learned that team work is much more than just working in a team. Team work is trust, relying on each other, mutual support, learning from each other. As for my soul food blog team, I also learned a lot from my team members.

Just like in the wordpress team, initially I did not have much to do with my soulfood team members. But again, team work worked pretty well in this group,too, eventhough we have 3 completely different characters.

 

I saw it rather as an advantage than a disadvantage as it is unbelievable how much you can learn from each other: Irina has shown me how to organize oneself, setting priorities and being hard-working. Her blog entries about the use of high-tech in the restaurant business have been of great interest to me as I also have the intention to start an own restaurant business in the future. From Timur, in turn, I learned how NOT to behave, for example to start early on and work consistently instead of procrastinating. Just like in real life, there are always good and bad people, or rather people with good and bad features. Along with my blogging team, I experienced to work and cooperate with people with such opposing traits. As a result, I could learn from both, their achievements and mistakes.

 

Significance of Blogging

 

To be honest, at the beginning I was not really enthusiastic about the idea of blogging. For me, it was purely a waste of time. However, what I would have never espected is that blogging indeed turns out to be incredibly enriching. Through blogs you can make gigantic approaches with just a small step.

 

Far and Near

 

What I especially appreciate is the fact that we were able to increase our horizones so much through blogging by learning from far (professionals) and near (collegues).

Thanks to this blogging project I had the opportunity to read about many different topics and therewith found out what really interested me. For example, I found out that psycholgical issues, such as my collegue’s article about intro and extroverts, has been of great interest to me.

 

From A to B

 

Where am I now (point A)? Where do I want to be (point B)?

A further georgous Aha-effect I gained is the certainty that I want to specify either in Marketing or Human Resources Management. Moreover, while writing my blog posts about the actual restaurant business, sushi, bubble tea, etc. I became aware of my deep desire to start an own small restaurant business sometime.

 

Importance of Feedbacks

I highly appreciate sincere feedbacks as they always help me to improve. The comments I got for my blog post for example have always been very useful to me. Through criticism I knew what I should do better the next time, questions show me what readers are actually interested in, and compliments and praises finally give me the confirmation that my hard work was worthwhile.

 

How to make life easier

 

I learned that proper note taking is very important and safes a lot of time in the future.

 

I love Evernote!

 

Getting to know Evernote is one of the greatest outcome of this course. Whereas at the beginning of this semester I have never heard of it before, now at the end of the semester, I can’t imagine to live without this amazing application. I use Evernote to store uni material as well as my private stuff. It makes my life so much easier.

 

Ask Google!

The last but not least mentionable Aha-effect is to know that Google knows the answer to everything!

 

 

Put it in a nutshell

 

To resume, I have learned so much in such a short period of time and I have managed to do things I woud have never thought I could ever do. Especially, I am very proud of my reaction posts and blog entries which are denoted as excellent by fellow bloggers. The great care and real time investment in our blogging project seems to be really worth it as I now master the post editor, linking, and design attributes. I am profoundly convinced that I really managed to fulfill almost all the criteria of the first column of Dr. Spear’s evaluation rubric in terms of site design, collective work, self presentation, post design, search, world, engage professional debate, critical evaluation and comments. I thank my collegues and above all Mr Spear for these achievements. 

Can Sushi make me become a Toyota?

Looking at the title of this blog entry, some of you would certainly think of Lukas’ excellent blog series referring to Toyota’s A3 model. If you presume that I am just copying his idea, just read this article until the end and you will find out that I am not. As I have already mentioned in my last bog entry, this article is going to be about the world-wides most popular Japanese dish: SUSHI.

Why have I chosen this title?

I got inspiration for this topic when sitting in the bus apps class listening to Toyota’s A3 report. Being profoundly impressed by Toyota’s A3 model and the way it managed to get to the top, I was wondering what else we could learn from these smart Japanese. Definitely, there must be much more behind this success. Besides their mentality and education, could maybe nutrition play a decisive factor for their intelligence? Talking about Japanese nutrition, Sushi immediately comes into my mind. Is this national dish the secret of the Japanese success? We’ll see…

Having worked for several Sushi Bars in Berlin, Sushi is something I know too well and I am sure, most of you are familiar with Sushi as well. However, just like Bubble Tea or other “odd stuff” coming from Asia, it took quite some time until being successfully introduced into the Western world and warmly welcomed and accepted by the Western palate.

Raw fish?! No thanks!

Whereas nowadays it is considered “normal” to eat raw fish, about 15 years ago, it would be natural to find it unbelievingly disgusting- what today many amongst us indeed still do.

Short Introduction

Sushi is a type of vinegar rice topped with fish and wrapped with seaweed.

Besides of pure fish, other toppings and fillings such as seafood, vegetables, tofu and eggs are used.
Sushi always comes along with ginger, wasabi and soya sauce as a side dish.
In general, there are 3 different kinds:
  • Nigiri- a rice ball with a slice of fish on top,
  • Maki- sushi rolls wrapped in seaweed
  • Temaki- sushi wrapped in a large cylindric form.


Origin

What I did not know prior to my researches is the fact that Sushi actually does not originate from Japan, but from ..guess what: China. (that’s what nobody would have expected as Chinese are normally famous for copying things 😉 Nevertheless, Sushi was introduced to Japan in the 17th century and in the course of time it had become the most well-known national dish. Above all, its highly valued nutritional nature has made this dish becoming so popular.

Nutritional Benefits

In general, the main ingredients of sushi -rice and fish- are naturally low in fat. More nutritional benefits are presented below:

  • Fats: Rich in Omega 3 or unsaturated fat. No fat was introduced in making the sushi as it is served raw.
  • Proteins: High levels of protein in tofu, seafood, omelet and above all in fish.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Ginger, seaweed and many other vegetables are rich in nutrients.
  • Carbohydrates: Found in vegetables and mainly in rice.

Evernote Food Icon- a piece of evidence for Sushi's popularity

What do we learn?

From the Marketing point of view:

As for launching a new product, respectively entering in a new market, we can see that it is essential to exermine the market very carefully, knowing the target group, its demand and preferences. By knowing exactly the great Western ambition of turning from an unhealthy nutrition to a well-balanced diet, a trend I have presented in my last post, the clever Japanese saw the gold opportunity to perfectly promote their traditional dish.

And from the consumer’s perspective?

If you assume that I will invite you to only eat sushi from now on as it contains so many nutritional benefits, you are completely… wrong! Through further researches, I have also found a rather shocking fact about this so highly valued dish.  Dailymail.co.uk revealed that fish, such as tuna and bluefin, have great levels of mercury which can be hazardous to one’s health when eaten it in large quantities. Eating uncooked fish furthermore can expose you to bacteria and viruses, raw seafood may also result to risks of anisakiasis, causing diarrhea, parasitic infection and poisoning, especially if not prepared properly. Blogger Bianca additionally reveals in her blog that surimi- the popular imitation crab meat- is over-processed and loaded with sodium. According to welt.de, Omega-3 fat which until now claims to be extremely healthy, is not much healthier than lard.


Confused? -You are not alone!

Huh.. all that information has made me really uncertain now. However, there is one thing I am completely certain about:

Sushi alone definitely does not make you become a Toyota! 

By all means, I do further researches in order to clarify this confusion. Furthermore, I am really keen to know what kind of food really influences our intelligence. Is it actually possible? If you are curious about the answer, just stay tuned to my coming blog entry!

In the meantime, check out the following links to learn more about sushi, from its history to recipes:

Food Business Trends to watch for 2012

Before starting with my first blog entry of this year, I hope you all had a healthy start into the new year!
The reason for me to chose the following topic is due to the German Saying:
“Neues Jahr -Neues Glück” – As for 2012, first of all I wish you a lot of luck and success and may all your wishes and ambitions become true. If some of you intend to start a business in the food industry this year, don’t miss the following article!

 

No matter how tough the economy is, people still need to eat, right?

Recently, my colleague Martin published an excellent blogpost listing numerous crises that affect our world. Despite the fact that there are indeed lots of crises happening at the moment, my first blog entry this year however will be dedicated to Food Business Trends for 2012, a topic I have already mentioned in my introductory blog post.
It is completely justified to say that “the recession has sparked a renaissance of restaurant industry creativity”. As a matter of fact, foodservice entrepreneurs have shown a lot of creativity in the last few years.
Now, beyond food trucks, bubble tea, burgers and beer, what are some of the hot food trends for 2012?

Here are 4 of 10 most promising trends that were published on  ‘s food trends site, SmallBizTrendCast.

1. So cool it’s hot:

Ice cream shows no signs of slowing down. Next up, restaurant consulting firm Andrew Freeman & Co. predicts “snow ice”–a dessert with the flavor and creaminess of ice cream but that has a light, airy texture—will hit big in the U.S. for 2012.

For me this trend has a huge potential as people nowadays strive a health-conscious nutrition without waiving. Snow Ice is an outstanding alternative as it contains much less calories because cream was substituted by ice. Snow ice still is a very fresh and fruity dessert you can perfectly combine with chocolate sauce or enjoy with fresh fruits. Personally, I have already tried that kind of alternative to ice cream and I was totally impressed!

 

2. Let’s get Juicy

Even though juice bars are nothing new as you can find them in almost every shopping malls, it still has high potential. Starbucks entrepreneur Howard Schultz, for example, recently bought Evolution Fresh, a super-premium juice maker with a brand presence in grocery stores on the West Coast. His plan is to sell the juice to more retail outlets, put it on the menu at Starbucks and launch juice bars in 2012. If Schultz thinks this market has more room for growth, maybe you should, too—especially if you’re in an area where juice bars (or Starbucks) don’t have a strong presence. A vitamin injection never hurts 😉 

3. Appetite for appetizers:

Call them tapas, small plates or appetizers, smaller-sized portions are definitely going to keep growing strong for several reasons. They’re less expensive for cost-conscious diners, offer smaller portions for health-conscious diners, and are made for sharing, which appeals to people’s desire to make eating out a social experience. Chefs like them, too, because appetizers allow them to experiment with new recipes and ingredients without committing to a full-scale meal.

4. Familiar Favorites with a Twist: 

One overwhelming trend that will continue into 2012 is a yen for familiarity. Nowadays, consumers battered by the economy want comfort food. However, that doesn’t mean plain old mac-and-cheese. People are eager to try new tastes, as long as it’s couched in something they know. As a result, smart chefs are putting new twists on old formats, like pizzas, wraps and sandwiches, or using exotic ingredients in familiar foods, such as wasabi ice cream.

Interesting, isn’t it? – To give you some idea I would like to share my personal experience with that kind of trend which can be found at the sushi bar I am working.

“Pimp My Sushi”

My boss used to be a very inventive guy. To make his Sushi extravagant and different from others’, he tried out many new things- with success! For example, besides pure soya sauce which usually comes to sushi, he started offering sweet unagi sauce, mayonnaise and sesame as a side-dish which has become a great hit. Moreover, he implemented “Pimp my Sushi” where you can have Japanese Sushi with a Western flair by adding cream cheese or ruccola to it. Good idea, good strategy, my boss is absolutely in trend! 😉

Conclusion

In general, almost all food business trends for 2012 I have presented are following one common rule:

BACK TO BASICS!

Whether Snow Ice, Fresh Juice or Appetizers- they all aim to represent simple food or beverages which should be healthy and contain as less preservatives and chemicals as possible. “Pimped up ordinary food”, however, is an exception here. How can baked sushi for example be healthier than original sushi? Shouldn’t pure rice with raw fish contain more vitamins and nutritional substances then sushi which was fried in fat at extremely high temperatures? To be honest, I cannot give you the proper answer yet…

These questions have made me very curious and lead me to the decision of writing my next blog entry about, guess what- Sushi! Is sushi as healthy as it claims to be? How has Sushi managed to become so popular in the recent years? Which Marketing strategies were used to launch this new kind of dish? How does the Sushi you get today differ from original sushi?  As it comes from Japan, what can we learn from the Japanese concerning their Business mentality in this respect? You will find all the answers to these questions in my coming blog posts, so please stay tuned!

Links

http://www.acanadianfoodie.com/2011/12/31/food-trends-2012

http://nutritionunplugged.com/2012/01/2012-food-trends-whats-hot-whats-not/

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/top-food-trends-2012-6626424

Thank God we have FOOD, thank God we have EVERNOTE!

 

Thank God we have Evernote

I am pretty sure that many of you will definitely agree on the fact that Evernote is the most gorgeous program to capture, organize, and find information across multiple platforms.

The first time I got to know this great application was at the very beginning of this semester, when my colleagues hold a nice presentation about “Increasing Productivity” in our Business Applications class. Following their recommendation, I gave Evernote a chance and immediately fell in love with it as Evernote makes my life so much easier. Today, I can only hardly imagine to live without having Evernote as a reliable companion that helps me to keep track of everything.

 

Evernote launched new Apps: "Food" and "Hello"

Hello Evernote Food

As I have already mentioned in my last week’s outline post, in the following I am going to introduce you to Evernote’s latest applications: “Food” and “Hello”, particularly focusing on Evernote’s Food app.

These new apps for iPhone and iPod touch devices were announced exactly 1 week ago at LeWeb conference in Paris, and are designed to help you remember what you ate, as well as the names of the people you are eating with.

 

Evernote + Food = Evernote Food

“Meals are a vehicle for conversations, romance, ideas, family, exploration, and so much more. Let’s give our meals the Evernote treatment they deserve.”

That’s how Evernote promotes it’s new application. As a matter of fact, “some of our most memorable moments happen around food”, and nutrition is not the only reason for us to take food everyday.

Therefore, Evernote has created a Food app which enables people to capture all aspects of a meal through pictures, location, text and photos. All information about the meal is automatically synchronized with Evernote which makes it easy to track down later. Visiting Robin Wauters‘s Blog, I got to know the applications of this Food app. :

Application of Evernote Food

In general, it provides us the opportunity to

  • save dishes and drinks we have recently had
  • build a catalog of custom recipes
  • review restaurants in the neighborhood or abroad
  • share food experiences
  • manage our diets

Although “Food” and “Hello” seem to be a great invention of Evernote, there are also other bloggers who are not that enthusiastic about these applications.

Amongst others,  remarks that “neither of these new apps are incredibly original”.

Furthermore, he argues that there are other services available which already have these functionalities, such as Facebook. According to Rowinski, both Evernote and Facebook strive to become the main place where users record their private life and share it with their friends. Finally, he resumes:

“if you are a heavy Evernote user, you will probably end up using Hello and Food. If not, there is probably no reason to do so.”

My Conclusion

In my opinion, “Food” and “Hello” are great applications suggesting Evernote to become a destination for all kind of notes- not only notes of your business or studies but also those of other spheres of life. As I am not such a huge fan of Facebook, but love Evernote, these applications really appeal to me. In addition to my existing Evernote account where almost all my uni stuff is stored, “Food” and “Hello” would be a perfect supplement. Moreover, I prefer to have one single place to collect all my notes, and Evernote with its new applications could be an excellent solution for me.

Now, what about you? Do you like the idea of “Food” and “Hello” or on the contrary think that these applications are just unnecessary? I am keen to know about your opinion, so please comment!

Personally- even though I cannot tell anything about the practice yet- the idea of these applications has already convinced me. Therefore, I will definitely try out these apps and I would recommend you to do likewise. Keep in mind that you can download them for free so you have nothing to lose.

 

 

Outline: How I prepared for my upcoming blog entry

When starting to work on the blog entry due to the week of 20th december, I already had some ideas in mind: Initially, I thought of either keep on researching on marketing of bubble tea or, in accordance with the actual christmas season, searching for some nice baking recipes, or presenting some ethic issues to “feed our soul” (as our blog -not without good reason- is called “soul food”).

However, as I wanted to be up-to-date and get some more inspiration and alternatives for my next article, I followed my professor’s advice to type in our general topic “food” into google, searching for “blogs” of the “last 24 hours”.

Here’s a “quick and dirty” outline briefly explaining my process of preparing for the next blog entry, based on the method “ON THE TRANSPARENCY OF SEARCH, SOURCE AND ARGUMENT”:

  • First, I typed “food” on google, set “blogs” of “last 24 hours”
  • headline: Remember The Food and Meals You Love With Evernote immediately caught my eye, opened the link on my browser
  • opened a new link and another link on new taps to get more information
  • copied relevant links into evernote and took notes
  • Then, I saw another headline which also rose my interest: Food Industry Trends: Food Business Trends
  • I opened the link http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/12/10-food-trends-2012.html in a new browser, read through the coming food trends presented
  • especially liked the idea of the potato-, juice-, healthy eatings- and appetizer-business
  • opened a new browser for each of the business ideas, searched for more relevant information
  • widened/ narrowed my research accordingly, took notes, saved everything on Evernote
  • As I still can’t stop letting off the initial intention of referring to the current christmas season, I opened a new browser, searched for “christmas mentality” of last 7 days’ blogs on google.
  • when typing christmas into search bar, suggestion “christmas mental health” was given by google which I eventually took over
  • saw headlines: CHRISTMAS ISN’T ALWAYS COMFORTABLEHave A Healthy Merry Christmas and The Dark Side Of Christmasopened pages on new taps
  • copied links into Evernote, took notes of main statements

Voilà, there I got a bunch of different ideas and great research results and now, I am perfectly equipped for the next articles. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog posts! 😉

My dream in Bubbles …

How I got Inspiration
Yesterday evening, when I was trying out a new Bubble Tea shop in Prenzlauer Berg with a few friends, enjoying a super delicious Bubble soya milk Tea with passion fruit flavour and yoghurt bubbles and tapioka pearls, I got the great inspiration for this blog entry.
In the following, I am going to introduce you to an extraordinary drink which has become a popular beverage in the recent years: Bubble Tea!


Bubble Tea?! 

Some might find it strange, ones love it, others detest it, a few even become addicted to it. Browsing through different blogs, I could see how fashionable this drink from Asia has become, especially among the younger generations. Above all, I have noticed that Bubble Tea was completely adopted into the American Society.

Daniella Mohazab, a student from Piedmont High School in California, for example, has recently revealed her big love for Bubble Tea and notes that even her school is offering this drink:

Bubble Tea comes from Taiwan and has become a cult drink world wide

“Sitting in class, listening to the morning announcements, I hear that they will be serving bubble tea at lunch (…) I love that tea with its tapioca pearls more than anything sold at Piedmont High School’s Piper Café.“

Bubble Tea (also known as Boba or Pearl Tea), originally from Taiwan, is a warm or cold drink of tea infused with fruit flavouring, shaken to produce bubbles, and served over tapioca pearls in a clear cup. It is usually drunk through a very wide straw.



Bubble Tea & me
During a trip to Vietnam in year 2001, I got to know Bubble Tea for the first time and right away, I could see the potential of this drink. Believe it or not- being a girl at the age of 11, I already tinkered with the idea to bring this extraordinary drink to Germany one day.

 

Splashing Dream
A dream disploding like a Bubble
About two years ago, I regretfully infered that the first bubble tea shop was going to open in Berlin. Then, I realized how my dream of being the first all of a sudden was disploding, just like the bubbles of the Bubble Tea…

Bubble Tea becomes a new Cult Drink

Even though I have disbanded the intention of starting a Bubble Tea business, I still considered it as MY initial business idea and therefore kept following its development. Just within 1-2 years, I could observe how more and more Bubble Tea shops suddenly popped up in this city. Bubble Tea has finally become a real cult drink and you can meanwhile afford it almost everywhere.

Bubble Tea creates new Business Opportunities

Whereas in year 2010 there was only 1 single Bubble Tea Shop in Berlin, today, 2 years later, approximately 30 Bubble Tea shops have come into existence.In Berlin, the first and most popular Bubble Tea shop is BoboQ in Charlottenburg. Meanwhile, BoboQ has estalished a well-known brand among the Bubble Tea fans and has started to expand its brand by franchising.Today, besides many franchised BoboQ branches, which by the way are mostly run by Vietnamese people, you can find many Bubble Tea shops with all kinds of different names, among others Babbel Tea, Pearl Tea, Mister Bubble, Dr. Bubble, Buddha Bubble, etc.

 

Bubble Tea- Toxic?
However, when I went to Vietnam last year and was longing to get some Bubble Tea, to my surprise my aunt was strictly against it. As far as I am concerned, there has been some scandalous occasions with this drink as supposedly toxic ingredients were found in Bubble Tea.Despite the awareness of the possible dangers, I still was not reluctant to it and kept drinking this delicious drink, of course with more caution and not as much as I would have drunk before. Finally, since I notice how profitable this business seems to be as so many friends of my parents suddenly want to open a Bubble Tea shop, I am getting more and more sceptical about this Asian cult drink.Now, this Blog entry has risen many open questions and opened up several topics I would like to explore further.

 

  • For the first time, I was trying a fresh bubble-banana-yoghurt -lassi with lychee juice and strawberry pearls, made out of fair trade products... absolutely yummy!What are the ingredients of Bubble Tea?
  • What exactly is Fair Trade and how is it possible to link Fair Trade with Bubble Tea if it indeed contains toxic ingredients?
  • How was the price for Bubble Tea set in Berlin? Is it sold at a fair price?
  • Since Bubble Tea could be dangerous for our health, what about the morality of this business?
  • How are the risks of launching a completely new product into the market?
  • Which Marketing Strategies were used to make the product becoming so popular during that short period of time?
  • In which sense did or does Social Media contribute to this success?

 

In my coming blog entries, I am going to approach these questions more profoundly, taking into consideration other actual blogs which are discussing these topics. If you are as curious as I am and want to know the answers to the questions above, just subscribe and stay tuned!

 

Soul food?!

Image

Subsequent to Timur’s introductory blog entry, I would also like to do some kind of Introduction into this Blog before starting with my actual analytical blog entries. In the following, I am going to explain to you why we have decided to give our blog the name soul food.

Why food?

When Irina, Timur, and I were thinking about a proper theme for our blog, we realized that there was one outstanding thing all three of us had in common: We all have a deep passion for food!

Why soul food?

As food in general is a very wide spread topic, we had to look for a blog name which on the one hand sounds interesting and mysterious to catch your attention, and on the other hand fits to the core content of this Blog.

What is meant by soul food?

Even though everyone at least has a certain association with the term „soul food“, not many of us know what soulfood exactly means. If you type „soulfood“ into google, you will mainly learn about soul food as a selection of the traditional Black American cuisine („soul“ was originally used to describe the African-American culture).

Image

In this case, however, we are going to use the term soul food in a different context:

Soul food is basically food for our soul. As a matter of fact, we do not only fill our stomach with food to satisfy our hunger, but to survive, it is also essential to feed our soul with information, insights, perceptions, love, emotions, thoughts and values…