Running Map of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

18 11 2012

Here is my Ho Chi Minh running map link. 

I decided to create this running map of Ho Chi Minh to help visiting runners. Ho Chi Minh can be a bit shocking for first time visitors, especially for runners, given the motorbikes, traffic, and questionable sidewalks. If you read the running forums, there are a number of negative comments about running in Ho Chi Minh, which is partially what inspired me to create this map.

If you can get past the culture shock, there are quite a number of places to run in Ho Chi Minh, but you do have to be very careful.

As a runner, no one will stop for you or give you the right away – this includes motorbikes, cars, and even other pedestrians.

The best time to go running is in the morning, between 5:30 – 6 am, to avoid traffic and the heat. Since normal temperatures are 70 – 100 degrees F twenty four hours a day, you need to be very careful about when you run and how hard, paying very careful attention to signs of overheating. Often I carry a water bottle and an energy bar just in case, as well as some cash and my hotel business card.

If you have any questions about my running map, let me know!

Link to the map.

On Supporting Photographers

26 08 2009

I get a lot of phone calls from photographers requesting to be sponsored by Think Tank Photo.  I recently received an unusual email from Canadian photographer Kelvin Young who was volunteering to go to Nairobi, Kenya with the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital.  (You can read about the flying hospital here).

Photographer Kelvin Young on the ORBIS DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital, with Think Tank gear.

Photographer Kelvin Young on the ORBIS DC-10 Flying Eye Hospital, with Think Tank gear.

I spent some time on Kelvin’s website and also on the ORBIS website and was impressed with ORBIS’ mission and that Kelvin was going to document the event as a photojournalist.

Philosophically, I have always maintained that our mission at Think Tank is more than just supplying bags to photographers. There are many companies that focus solely on the product, and forget about the larger ramifications of what impact their products have on the world.  I have always believed it is vitally important to support photographers, because the images that they create and use to tell stories are absolutely vital.  Our mission is about more.  It is about supporting photographers doing their job.

So the story about the Flying Eye Hospital, a DC-10 aircraft converted into a mobile ophthalmic surgical unit, is really an amazing one.

I am proud of the fact that we could support both ORBIS and Kelvin on their trip to Kenya. You can see some of Kelvin’s photos of the trip on youtube.

Direct communication with photographers.

31 08 2008


Women participate in a survey with Lily Fisher, senior designer and developer with Think Tank Photo, on Friday night, August 8th, during the Women In Photojournalism conference in New Orleans, La.

Women participate in a survey with Lily Fisher, senior designer and developer with Think Tank Photo, on Friday night, August 8th, during the Women In Photojournalism conference in New Orleans, La.

As a product designer, it is interesting to me that most companies do not allow their designers to talk directly to their customers. Designers are very creative, analytical, and intuitive, and there is no substitute for talking directly to the person using the product. Regardless, many companies put other people in the way of this relationship, such as product managers, sales and marketing people, and the like. 


I think the simple reason for this is “control.” Companies don’t like for the designers to be in control, or even to give input on what should be strategically developed. 

Sometimes I refer to this as the “Politics of Product,” meaning the internal company politics that occur about which products should be developed and why. For those of you involved in the design, marketing, or sales of any type product, you probably already intuitively understand what “The Politics of Product” actually means. Let me further try to clarify this.

When a product is designed by committee, all sorts of people give input into what they think the product should be, each person representing a special interest. For example, the designer wants some cool features, the sales people want a certain price point, the marketing person wants something else, etc, etc, ad infinitum. The Politics of Product occurs when the grand debate ensues about what the product should be, what features it should have, what it should cost, and more.

My design philosophy is actually the opposite. There are no business people between the designers and the photographers. Designers should  listen directly to what the photographers need and want and make it for them. No politics! 

Using this design strategy is an absolute pleasure – working with photographers directly, the ones out in the field using the equipment, to find out what their needs are, asking them what works and what doesn’t. As a designer, the most satisfying thing is hearing from a photographer that the product exceeded his expectations!

About Think Tank Photo

27 08 2008


Think Tank co-founder and photojournalist in Thailand.

Think Tank co-founder and photojournalist Kurt Rogers in Thailand.

We are a group of designers and professional photographers focused on studying how photographers work, and developing inventive new carrying solutions to meet their needs. By focusing on “speed” and “accessibility,” we prepare photographers to Be Ready “Before The Moment,” allowing them to capture those historic moments that reflect their personal visions and artistic talents. For some companies, it is only about the product. For us, it is more: It is about supporting photographers doing their job. If we can design products that help photographers travel easier, take pictures faster, and organize their gear more efficiently, then we will have accomplished something beyond the bags themselves.