On Monday July 3rd, <Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’> was held in Seogwipo. In fact, we met various people to listen to their stories and there were a lot of things to consider to weave them all together until we held this small meet-up.
For Digital Nomad Meet-up to go to Seogwipo
<Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’> is the first event held in Seogwipo by the Jeju Creative Economic Innovation Center (hereinafter Jeju Center). We had a desire to advance into Seogwipo last year, but the center had to give it up due to the ‘lack of demand’ and we got hesitant afterwards.
But Jeju Center started looking for a co-working space in the island as it executed ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project this year, and what stood out was ‘Play and Rest Café, the resting space of Asia CGI Animation Center. At first it was not created as a co-working space but had infinite potential as people were trying to turn it into a co-working space. Thankfully, ‘Jeju Techno Park’ that is in charge of this place had a need for ‘Revitalizing Asia CGI Animation Center’, so Jeju Center recommended a manager to permanently stay in the co-working space.
<Inside the co-working space of Asia CGI Animation Center.
Administrator Sansol Park of ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’, who is working alone>
<First manager Jihyeon Kim of the co-working space of Asia CGI Animation is typing on her laptop…>
Seogwipo has this ‘space’ and ‘people’ who are willing to use it. But we got questioned a lot, peppered with skepticism like; ‘Does Seogwipo truly need a co-working space?’, ‘Will there be people coming once it’s created?’ J-Space in Jeju Creative Economic Innovation Center is now full of various people, but it took 2 years to draw such positive response. Thus the first meet-up to start in Seogwipo invited and gathered the digital contents-related remote workers and networkers in Seogwipo to be ‘small’ but ‘meaningful’.
<Yay I shared it 20 times!>
<Governor Heeryong Won shared it! This might be onto something big, right?>
<Add to that, the speakers pulled strings for PR>
The meet-up was carried out as part of ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project, but it was important to spread the legitimacy of this ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project and create its atmosphere. The Information Convergence Division and Jeju Urban Regeneration Support Center of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province who heard about the meet-up on SNS participated in the event voluntarily and met and communicated with Seogwipo remote workers and networkers, adding more significance to the meet-up.
Shouting Seogwipo in the Center of Community
The topics we addressed in the meet-up <Digital Nomad Meet-up, ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’> were ‘Why Seogwipo?’ and ‘Why It Must be Seogwipo’, which showed that such movement was not limited to ‘Seogwipo’ at all.
<Administrator Sansol Park of ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’ who is delivering a presentation
on ‘Shouting Seogwipo in the Center of Community’>
The first presentation was led by Sansol Park who runs ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’. He is a networker who runs ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’ as well as Facebook pages ‘Seogwipo Wave’ and ‘Digital Nomads Jeju’, and is well-known to many people. The ‘Jeju IT Freelancer Group’, which he started just to make it more fun for IT developers hidden in Jeju to gather together for coding and working, now has 1,200 members already.
Sansol Park was the first person to be involved in the co-working space of Asia CGI Animation Center and take lead in SNS promotion. I asked a question ‘What should we do to activate this space?’ to him who should have know-hows in running a community.
Sansol Park said ‘I always keep in mind ‘who are the people I most care about?’ and I try to spend more time with them. Those whom I care about the most, are my family.’ His laptop is full of family pictures; the workplace he goes to is his ‘home’ and the company he likes is ‘family’ as well. He said he’ll visit this co-working space if there are important people like the colleagues he works with. He gave a wise answer by saying that even if only one person visits the space, he will treat him/her as a precious person and that this co-working space will be filled if people become important to each other.
Seogwipo Young Guns’ Concerns over Life and Work
<CEO Jooneui So of creative contents lab Kailua who is delivering a presentation on ‘Kailua: Missing Seogwipo, Jeju’ >
Is there any more interesting company like this? Creative contents lab Kailua is a company finding solutions to help people’s lives by connecting IT and humanities in Wolpyeong, a small village where No.7 and No.8 Olle-gil of Seogwipo meet. It is currently analyzing ‘travel tendency’ as the content of beautiful Jeju, and is highly looking forward to various programs of Asia CGI Animation Center with a huge interest.
Jooneui So has been usually concerned over ‘Jeju as a base’ and ‘life and work’. The Kailua Team he leads has been setting its own direction to create and protect their own value. Modules divided by the nature of each work such as development, contents, design, etc. enabled them to move in the best environment each thinks fit. The team also shares the overall flow through regular meetings and suggests opinions to support in each field, practicing remote work. The most important things for them are ‘Work-Life Balance’ and respect for individuality! They are the young guns of Seogwipo today.
Remote Working Platform Development Project to connect Jeju and the Mainland
<Introducing the ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project of Jeju Creative Economic Innovation Center>
The center shared the background, objective, and the future plans of ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project it is carrying out this year with various people who attended the meet-up. This project got its idea from the review of participants in the 2016 Overseas Community Exchange Program. There were opinions such as ‘Everything about J-Space is good but it is unfortunate that it lacks natural environment that can be enjoyed only in Jeju in the surroundings’ and ‘I want to meet a local startup or community’. However, these opinions were not enough to legitimize the project, and many different aspects of Jeju were considered.
Due to the geographical nature of an island, Jeju has poor accessibility (it is getting better though), but most of its talent pool flows into Seoul and it is vulnerable to external situations due to primary and tertiary industrial structures. However, Jeju has a pleasant, clean natural environment and many different leisure environments, so it is a very attractive place for remote workers, who put emphasis on the balance of life and work, to work wherever they want. The project ‘Remote Working Platform Development’ hopes to create a virtual ‘tunnel’ that connects Jeju to the outside world through it.
‘Remote Working Platform Development’ project induces the flow of remote workers into the island like ‘Jeju-ish’, the residence support program of Jeju Center. Instead of making remote workers to form a concentrated community in the center or J-Space, it seeks to spread them throughout the entire area of Jeju and where remote-work is available. Thus the project aims to gradually build an environment where remote-work is easy all around ‘Jeju’, not the center’, and ultimately aims to build various relationship networks of startup ecology through partnerships with co-working space to promote their interaction.
As part of this project, Ahn will run a blog called ‘Remote Work in Jeju’ to provide the co-working information of Jeju remote workers and continuously update information on available spaces in Jeju for co-working and remote-work as well as the life zone. In addition, she will regularly hold events like <Digital Nomad Meet-up, ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’> or transformer that match well with the region.
From Seoul to Seogwipo, Designing a Small Change
<Segwang Oh of Open Univ, delivering a presentation on ‘Open Univ: From Seoul to Seogwipo, Designing a Small Change’ >
Open College has been conducting various experiments to solve Jeju’s problems for several years now. Why is Open College openly located in Seogwipo, where it is hard to find a single young person to work part-time? Who are the young people building life in Seogwipo following Open College and what are they doing these days? Segwang Oh, who introduced himself as a ‘Mobility Designer’, told his story with confidence.
Oh is a designer who works his part time job by day and builds codes by night. He is a gap-year youth in college as well; unemployment rate, youth unemployment rate, and the actual unemployment rate were not being improved without any changes and farm labor was lacking in contrast, he realized. Based on this, young people started farming twice a week and coding three times a week as a way to be economically independent and resolve the lacking farm labor, but soon felt that it was very difficult to achieve. Removing all the hard-grown agricultural crops was better than harvesting them which would generate labor cost and loss as a result. Oh also felt the pyramid hierarchical structure of part-time-contract job-technical job-office work while working part-time in Migok Rice Processing Complex. He suggested a new way to work or arrange members for work efficiency, but felt helpless after he was told that ‘You’re just a temp, it’s not your place to talk like that.’ ‘Why do you do forklifting as a receipt assistance?’ and ‘Just do as I say’.
Then, Oh met ‘Open Univ’, a school to ‘design my life on my own’, and could design and practice key subjects such as ‘Entrepreneurship’, ‘Design Thinking’, and ‘Software Development’ as well as other necessary subjects on his own. He could ‘design small changes’ by putting an idea into practice fast with Open Univ members.
There were some things Oh needed to design such small changes’: He needed a space, people, and culture. He especially talked about the importance of horizontal culture. Even if you are 19 years old, you can talk and discuss with a person in his/her 30s holding a master’s degree on equal terms, thanks to the horizontal culture. Oh also said that cooperation and trust cultures were essential elements to form a community.
Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’, like Coral Reef that is 2% of the Sea
Segwang Oh of Open Univ said <Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!> was like a coral reef in the sea. Coral reefs take up a mere 2 percent of the whole ocean, but they are known to be all connected to each other. We hope July meet-up was like the coral reef of Seogwipo. Please stay tuned to see when and where Jeju Center will make other coral reefs!
▼ Digital Nomad Meet-up ‘Hello, Seogwipo!’ Sketch Film ▼
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