#85: Vinh Tran

“Giving up my career at Meta, selling my house in the US to start Murror - a project for depressed people”

Vinh Tran, Founder & CEO at Murror; ex-Google; ex-Meta

The best time I had was when my parents were still together, loving each other, and playing with me. When I was in 3rd grade, my parents separated, and since then I witnessed a lot of unhappiness. I no longer cared about anything at school, not interested in the topics we were learning, grades, assignments,…

One day, my mom wrote a letter to my dad and left it in my notebook, still clipped inside. When the teacher asked me to turn in my homework, she accidentally read it, and asked, “Is there any problems with your family, Vinh?” In that moment, I didn’t answer but burst into tears in front of the class. There was something inside me that had been suppressed for a long time, just waiting to explode. Back at my seat, the teacher comforted me, but I couldn’t stop crying. I felt ashamed for crying in front of the class and heartbroken, and just kept crying. From that moment, I was no longer a “normal” child: no interaction, no sharing with anyone. That 8-year-old child was deeply hurt because their inner world had collapsed. I felt heartbroken but couldn’t express it in words, just tried to bury myself in work to avoid facing it. When I sat still and did nothing, I felt anxious and afraid. There were even times when the mailman came to the house, and I didn’t know what to say. I was afraid of strangers. But when it came to work, I felt very comfortable, confident. Gradually, it became my coping mechanism for dealing with my own pressure.

At that time, I didn’t know I had been depressed since I was 8 years old until five years ago. When Covid-19 hit, my depression worsened, and I was shocked by medication. From there, a major transition began. I gave up my career at Meta with many good benefits to start my own project, Murror, using AI to support people with depression. I even sold a house in the US to start this project. It’s true that I was receiving a high salary, good benefits, and transitioning to the startup state, using money to support a project would be a big burden (I sold my house, haha). So, from the beginning, I just needed one positive signal, and I would grasp it. As long as there are investors willing to collaborate, I am ready to go far, even fly back to Vietnam to meet them.

For over a year and a half, I have been working non-stop, 24/7, with Murror always on my mind. Currently, the team has more than 30 people, and I have interviewed each one of them. This project is challenging because if you work just to make money without feeling that you have to create value for society, you won’t last long. Each colleague at Murror understands the mission of Murror and has personal values that align with the value the project will bring to the community, especially those who suffer from depression. In the company, I am both a leader, a product designer, and a recruiter for the team. I work on strategies with team leaders to create a roadmap for the entire team and the project.

Because I had previously failed in entrepreneurship in Vietnam when I was young, and with the valuable experience working at big companies like Google, Meta,… I am much “smarter” now haha. I have learned many things from work processes, professional collaboration with partners, team scaling, and building company culture. For example, at Google, everything moves slowly. It takes 1-2 years for a feature to be released due to the company’s size. The process is heavy, with many approval stages. But when starting a business, I won’t do it that way. I prioritize innovation, moving faster, adapting quickly, and keeping costs low. I remember one time, a design at Google cost $250 million because it involved transactions. Just changing one visual on the page would immediately increase the cost due to its impact on conversion. When I understood that, I knew that when starting a business, I wouldn’t get caught up in a massive machine that moves too slowly.

As for mental health topics, the lingering pain of over 20 years compelled me to take action. I understand that young people struggle a lot, having to survive while dealing with long-standing mental health issues from childhood. So I designed Murror as an AI assistant for users’ mental health with a high level of emotional intelligence (EQ), and we are currently working on the beta version for the community to experience. I don’t know how far this entrepreneurial project will go, but I believe that Murror will contribute something useful to the community, especially for those who fight depression every day.

Techie Story is a digital magazine about inspiring tech people who have contributed continuously to Science, Technology, and Innovation. Please contact us at team@techiestory.net if you want to contribute your inspiring story.
Techie Story

More Stories

45-dat-do's post thumbnail
41-dzung-nguyen's post thumbnail
63-duy-dao's post thumbnail
75-tuan-vu's post thumbnail
46-chau-vu's post thumbnail
55-raven-hoang-p2's post thumbnail