We meet Oh Sun Mi, the CEO of Share Korealast September 11th at J-Space in the Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation. I have also met her in the Jeju Daum program last July. I heard that she was in Jeju with an opportunity to be here again. I wanted to hear in details about how it is on her second month at Jeju and how she is doing with her work. Today and also on last July, Share Korea, films the different places of Jeju to promote it to the Chinese. We decided to listen to the story on how the company started.



# Sharing Korea

 

 Share Korea filming a video content Chuncheon / 2016

 

 

Sun-Mi Oh  After graduating college, I spent my 4 years in China. Then I came back to Korea and worked for an online shopping related work and unknowingly, I became a 10 year experienced professional at this field. Ive seen a lot of people who have been struggling with the domestic market downturn in the past 10 years by meeting with small and medium-sized merchants. But the struggle was not due to lack of their talents. Ive naturally faced the reality of the downturn which was caused by either they lost the market to the big corporations or lack of funds. As Ive been thinking on how to help them, I came across with the Chinese tourists. Then I decided to create my own company to provide an opportunity to show the real side of Korea to them and find a link between a Korean small merchants and the growing individual travelers and improve the quality of Korean tourist products.


 With the meaning of Sharing Korea, the Share Korea was created to inform the real side of Korea to the Chinese tourists. Im promoting various places (business) and products of Korea on Korean/Chinese online sites and posting videos related to travelling on 3 Chinese online sites and blogs.


1.    Chinese video content production and online marketing.

A.    Produce video in Chinese with the concept Koreans tour guide in Korea

B.     Secure/utilize Chinese online video sites (v.qq, youku, tudou, leTV, etc.)

C.    Post at the Chinese online travel blogs (Ctrip, Baidu, etc.), China marketing

2.    Travel package development for Chinese individual travelers.

A.    Plan and proceed Piano Master class for Chinese students

3.    Jeju product sales platform plans in preparation

A.    Planning on the online platform to introduce and sell products that could only be found in Jeju

     (souvenir, specialties, craftwork, etc.) 

Present projects of Share Korea; briefly summarized by the CEO, Oh Sun Mi

 

 Before she came to Jeju where there are many Chinese tourists, she has been working for the Chinese. Also, when I personally asked questions about the language, she was so proficient in explaining without any hindrance.

 

 

# Long relationship with China

 


Sun-Mi Oh Where should I start? Ever since I was young, I had a business mindset so I went to a commercial high school without even thinking about going to college. After I graduated high school, I entered into a company that was not so bad after all but I faced the reality of the society at that time which was about the difference between those who graduated college and those who did not. So I worked for about a year in that company and went back to study and entered the college.


 With the personality I have, a lot of experience and challenge was the goal for my twenties. After graduating college, I was working hard for about a year and a half in a mid-sized company but as I have been working for the same tasks repetitively with no new works, I got a little bored with the job. I wasnt good in English so I want to take this opportunity to learn English and wanted to go to the Philippines. But my friend said Do you think you can learn English which you couldnt do it for the past 10 years by going to the Philippines? and suggested me to go to China to learn Chinese. So I went straight to China and studied for a year and planned to return to Seoul right away. But once again, with my friends suggestion, I got a job in China.

 

 The style of CEO Oh Sun Mi was clearly showed in the way she makes a decision or on her way making a direction with just one offer by her friend. She was practicing her goals, which is to experience and challenge, without any hesitation.

 

Sun-Mi Oh Shortly thereafter, I received an offer from my friend once again. She was working for Dell computer and asked me to have an interview saying that the neighborhood of the office is clean and the environment was good for working. So I did a phone interview with the manager of the team that Ill be working for. He suddenly asked me to sell something through the phone. At first I confidently said I dont have anything to sell. But he told me to sell anything so I explained the DVD player which was in front of me. I got the job with the recommendation of my friend and the manager, who seemed to have liked my answer.

 

When I first started work, the manager asked me It is a 100m speed marathon here, can you do that? and I remember answering so confidently, It would be fun! I like it. Luckily, I was able to settle in quickly and worked for a year and a half. I met Myung Ok at this work too. However, after 3 years and 7 months in China, I returned to Korea to recover as my bronchial was not feeling good so good.

 

 

CEO Oh Sun Mi interviewing at J-SPACE Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation / 2017

 

 

 Now I decided to do something that I want to do. So I jumped into an online startup business where I could start without any capital. Things worked out well than I have expected. I went to give a lecture as a successful startup entrepreneur and received a feedback that I was good at lecturing. So for a while, Ive been doing lectures on online startup business. As I was only having lectures, I got to stop at one point due to my health issues. I couldnt live without any work so I entered into a graduate school (online shopping MBA program). I think thats how I constantly worked on an online related work for years. When I was ready at some point, my sister who was working in a Chinese related industry said there is no proper expert on Chinese marketing and gave me the opinion that I would do well. So thats how I started doing the work I am doing today. The storys quite long, right?

 

 Certainly she has a deep relationship with China. Thanks to the background experience at China, she knew better than anyone else on what the Chinese tourists who come to Jeju needs and on what direction should we interact with them. Thats why Share Korea, as it is named, was possible. What was the reason for her to participate in the Jeju Daum program when she was already working with her staffs in Seoul?

 

 

# A proper trip, real Korea

 
Sun-Mi Oh I had many worries as Chinese marketing was something that I was not taught by somebody else. I was thinking wont it work by applying the online marketing I have been doing in Korea to China? and thought of on how to approach this. Then I decided to post on blogs with videos the contents about Korean trips. And when I did this for a year, I had a meeting with the staffs and said lets do a real business this time as the past works were about understanding the Chinese market. We were thinking based on our experience throughout the years on what the Chinese people need and thought of an efficient item that would help the travel pattern of the Chinese tourist, which was shopping.

 

 This was a business item that could help the tourists who spend all their time in buying gifts to have their trip more like a tour. I researched if there was any business that has the same system and Xiamen, an island in China (island that has similar features with Jeju) started this kind of system already with good results. China definitely has this need. So it would be great to have this in Jeju! That was the first time I thought of Jeju Island. We would like to research more and refine the ideas while staying in Jeju as well as making contents while filming around the place. So thats how I get to apply for Jeju Daum. 

 

 

With the Jeju Daum participants on July Gimnyeong beach / 2017

 

 

 Her stay in Jeju for a month in July has not only helped her business but must have developed it as well. She returned to this place with Bae Myung Ok again.

 

 

Sun-Mi Oh I saw the potential while staying at Jeju Daum in July. I was convinced that my business suits this place. In August, I was in Seoul organizing the documents and wanted to build an infrastructure in Jeju. So I applied again. I also participated in the Pitching Day in August at this place (Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation). I pitched my business item and thankfully I was selected as the excellent idea and became an incubator company of the Creative Economy and Innovation Center starting from September 1st. I think I have confirmed the possibility on this business enough.

 

 

CEO Oh Sun Mi pitching about her business item at the August Pitching Day

- Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation / 2017

 

 

# Lying at the café in Jeju

 

 

 Share Korea has three employees and one of them visited Jeju at the mid of July. And I also saw that you occasionally contact each other and work continuously. Some of them were working apart from the rest, basically remote working. I wonder if there were any difficulties while you were in Jeju.

 

Sun-Mi Oh In my case, we need materials and contents about Jeju. To stay in Seoul and travel to Jeju for work causes issue on expenses as there is no accommodation or an office. But thanks to Jeju Daum, where they provide office and an accommodation, it is more efficient as I only have to pay for the plane ticket. That was the greatest advantage for me to participate in Jeju Daum.


 In the case of remote working, we may be able to do this because it is a small organization. But our roles have become clearer while working over the past years. Even without my involvement, we get to do our own work within a fixed period of time. We can work without being in the same space because the work is done in a regular order. For example, if Myung Ok shoots in Jeju and shares the file, Young Seong (head of video contents) in Seoul receives and edits it. In the meantime, Myung Ok plans the next story and works on additional subtitles as well as posting. It proceeded efficiently without any problems or restrictions while I was in Jeju. In fact, when I first founded the Share Korea, Myung Ok and I worked in cafes at Gangnam. We had this regular café we went to and we were the first customer every day. After that, I got an office, but I used to work while travelling a lot, so it seems that my work in Jeju is working well.

 

 She was already working in her own way at Seoul. I asked if there was any merit that only Jeju has or something that it is possible because it was Jeju

 

Sun-Mi Oh First of all, I rented a car on weekends and went to Aewol to eat, drink tea and worked at cafes. I was able to concentrate very well.  




With the employees of Share Korea ;

from left CEO Oh Sun Mi, manager Bae Myung Ok, employee Jung Young Seong Jeju Eco Land / 2017

 

 

 She meant that she worked and travelled at the same time. Obviously, it is something that is difficult to find in Seoul and also it was a figure of a digital nomad that we often talk about. Bae Myung Ok, who was sitting right next to me from the middle of the interview, also said a word.

 

Myung-Ok Bae The prerequisite is to sleep there. We lay down and slept at the café. It was really good.

 

Sun-Mi Oh The work was better after resting. The efficiency went up. Myung Ok also said that it was possible because it was Jeju and that it was really good. I stayed alone at the pension in Aewol during August and I got to talk to the owner of that pension about my job while having a conversation. Then he said that he is also working with China and wanted to talk with me. So we talked while having a tea and naturally I got a cooperative company. I think Jeju has many cases such as this. When you tell them I do this kind of work and then the counterpart would say Oh, I do this kind of work too. We could this part together! This process and connection works really well. I go to play and travel and then also make a business partner. It was really good to be introduced by another introduction.


 It may be difficult to start a meeting in Jeju but when that connection is made, I felt that it was very much different from the temporary meetings in Seoul. The more I listen to her story, the business mind or the item she brought and the working method of Share Korea get along well with Jeju.

 

Sun-Mi Oh Since the company is small and is used to taking care of its own work, we only have one meeting in a month. When we have the main schedule on what we will do for this month, we take care of our own tasks. You manage on what you need to do and organize your own schedule without anyone interfering.

 

 I had a strong affirmation to this story because I think this is the figure of a digital nomad. Building your own working pattern by yourself.

 

Sun-Mi Oh I think remote working and digital nomad is possible once you are able to do that.

 

 

With the Jeju Daum participants of September Ganderak Guesthouse / 2017

 

 

# Special time in Jeju Island

 

 As of the interview date, there is only two weeks left on her stay. It could be a long period of time if you say so and short if short. For the last question I asked if she has anything to achieve personally or from the standpoint of the company.

 

Sun-Mi Oh Uhm, nothing personal for the moment. Companys goal is my personal goal. The goal is to build many networks related to the business we are working on. Of course, the thing I want to do the most is to eat Jjamppong at Mirado! The jjampong I ate in Mirado with Myung Ok was so good that I decided to go back in September. Also I realized in my visit on last July, there were so many places in Jeju that I did not know when I came here as a tourist. I want to share and introduce those places to people. If you come to Jeju, I would recommend you to try out Jjamppong and sweet and sour pork at Mirado first. It would only take two hours to go there! Oh, and you must go to the Songak(san) mountain Dulle-gil Trail.

 

 She was mentioning about going back to Mirado with such a happy face. So I told her to join me next time. I was going to ask for more questions but ended the interview here. Isnt the ending just like Jeju? What always need to be presented in the process of work, mindset or product is recharging. Having enough time to rest and charging oneself to accomplish the goal is the charm and gift of remote working in Jeju Island.



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 On August 28, there was a lecture titled “Digital Nomad Meetup” at J-Space in the Jeju Creative Economy Innovation Center. Three lecturers shared the expertise they gained so far or their current direction of work under the theme of “Smart Work, Working Smart”. Presentations were given in the order of Section Chief Ji Yoon Hwang from Microsoft Korea, President Ji Hwan Kim from Alleys Wonderlab, and Team Leader Hyeon Ah Moon from Jeju Smart Welfare Center. The interviewee I had scheduled in advance was with President Ji Hwan Kim.



President Ji Hwan Kim giving a lecture at the “Digital Nomad Meetup” - Jeju Creative Economy Innovation Center / 2017



 Other than the fact that he participated in the “Jeju Daum” program in April, I listened to President Kim’s lecture without knowing any other information. I actually laughed out loud as I listened to his stories. It wasn’t because the stories were particularly enjoyable or funny, but because his attitude in handling any situation was so interesting and shocking. I think most people probably thought the same. President Ji Hwan Kim explained the past image of difficult companies and their future direction sharp-witted and refreshing manner. His stories may have been more interesting because I could never be in his shoes. I met him right after his lecture and decided to listen to what kind person he is.



# My life is an experiment regarding work


Ji Hwan Kim I studied design in engineering school, but I always struggled with my identity. “What kind of work am I doing now, and what must I do?” was a lifelong project for me. That’s how I cam to create my very own life and work style. My way of life is the result of my experience with delivering newspapers, working as a 3D animation intern, Naver UXDP, entering graduate school, working at a conglomerate, and a startup. To the people around me, I was always someone who was doing something new, a person who is always experimenting. When I decided to create a startup, my family and friends weren’t even surprised, probably because they saw through all these years that this was my way of life and attitude.

 

“You have to try it to know. Let’s try it!”


 I didn’t know that I would end up becoming the president of a startup. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do, and that’s how I ended up here today. I entered graduate school and graduated with a degree in UX and interaction design, then I worked as a researcher at LG Electronics for about 3 years. I wasn’t very creative, but I loved new ideas and trying new things, and I started doing work that involved discovering UX ideas using future technology. For 3 years, we applied for patents for over 400 ideas. LG Electronics complemented me, gave me an award for being the king of inventions, my patents went in the hall of fame, and even got sold to Microsoft. Seeing all of this, I began to realize that people actually need my ideas. I started wanting to launch my services, products, and ideas to people and the world, and that’s how I created a startup.

 


# A completely different way of life, Start “up”

  

 With company employees, President Ji Hwan Kim, Co-founder Samuel Lee, Co-founder Rae Yeong Chang, Co-founder Wung Jun



Ji Hwan Kim Creating a new business was not easy. Everything from gathering team members, creating an organization for that company that we would be operating together, collecting the required funds were all unfamiliar and difficult tasks. I first started to gather team members as I was discovering new ideas in the Future Play Incubator, and I started looking for investors and was able to establish a corporation after 1 year. 4 outstanding co-founders had my back as they worked with me, and a total of 6 people are working together to create this business today. Even after 2 years, everything is still new and we’re still doing things that we’ve never done before. We experienced things that we only read about in books. Executing a business idea and turning it into a reality was much more difficult than I expected.


 We are turning street view videos posted by users spatial terrain information, and using this data to create video maps that can be used to explore regions. Since we’re a startup, instead of saying that we’re doing something specific, I think it’s more appropriate to say that we’re working hard to do what we love in our very own style. We’re creating our own culture and finding the business in a free environment where nothing is set in stone. Carrying out our very own business in our very own style. That’s my way of life. It’s also the reason why I created a startup.



# Then, there’s nothing I can’t do.


 There are lots of people who created startups, and I’m well aware of their characteristics. They try to find a more efficient and fun method that is different from traditional methods, they create their own colors that stand out from others, and focus on giving shape to ideas and items that they make together instead of working for money. But I was shocked while listening to President Ji Hwan Kim’s lecture because he actually turned ALL his ideas into actions. What he said at the beginning of his lecture still rings in my mind. If you increase efficiency, there’s nothing you can’t do.


Ji Hwan Kim My first thought when I created the startup was, “I’m the president, I can make the system however I want! What should I do first?”  First, I established a basic system then I unfolded my ideas just as they are. So what I tried was the free clock-in system. When I was working at a conglomerate, it was so hard because it was so far away. That’s why I decided to get rid of designated work hours! That’s how I started the company. I created a freestyle culture where we can turned on gaming broadcasts or Netflix on secondary monitors of company computers and even created a space where we can play games together. We played games after eating meals together, and even had company barbecues that I only ever dreamed about. And isn’t working from home essential for a startup? I tried allowing people to join tasks through video chat. About 3 months later, I started to regret that decision.


 None of the employees were coming to the office very much. It wasn’t work the smart life that I had intended, but it was because of laziness. The purpose of the main monitor and secondary monitory became switched, and things were crazy when it was baseball playoff season. The games we played after meals were not just break times because they started lasting for 3 hours, and once company dinners ended, everyone just scattered. I allowed employees to work from home as much as they like, but they often just wanted to rest instead of working hard. I decided that this could not continue and started reflecting on what I’ve been misunderstanding.


 Since I kept referencing the culture of Silicon Valley, I felt like I should be something doing. All the co-founders are from conglomerates and I felt bad that I was giving them the salary of a fresh employee, so I kept giving them things because I felt like I should be compensating them. I thought that doing that would motivate them. But as I kept up the “motivation” experiment, I realized that motivation does not come from any benefit but from the feedback we received from users of our program. When a developer achieved something, everyone applauded, we uploaded the results. When users gave feedback requesting that we fix a problem they encountered by using the program, we naturally started to work harder.



From the left Development Team Leader Rae Yeong Change, CTO Wung Jun, CXO Samuel Lee, President Ji Hwan Kim,

Web Developer Jae Kwon Han, Android Developer Seok Weon Chung



 In the end, I thought about efficiency. I started revising methods I tried in order to improve efficiency. I kept the free clock-in system, but I made 11:00 meetings mandatory. During these meetings, we started communicating on things that happened the day before and the present. We continuously communicated on why we have to do certain things for all tasks, and we kept updating our individual objectives. When we had company dinners, we didn’t do it without a purpose anymore. We designated an “Everything Day” where we looked through and reviewed something we developed and released, then went to eat pork belly or something as a sense of a reward. I allowed working from home for reasons related to efficiency. Even if they worked from home, they had to join meetings through video, their screen in the office would have to be on the video chat screen, and they should always be in their seat. I kept experimenting with efficiency in this way and I don’t plan on stopping.



# Working remotely, Digital Nomad and Jeju Daum


 I initially wanted to talk about “Digital Nomad” and “Smart Working”, but President Kim’s lecture came as a surprise. During his lecture, he said, “There were no digital nomads there.” I wanted to know more about this, so I asked him about the “Jeju Daum” program that he took part in.


Ji Hwan Kim While I was experimenting with efficient work, I started taking an interest in people who “work remotely”. So while I was researching digital nomads, I found out about “Jeju Daum” and participated in April. I said this to the team leader before he went. “I’m going to try the digital nomad experiment for one month. I’ll give the same amount of work, but do whatever you want to do while doing 100% of the work that is given. If results are at 80% for one month, it’s a failure. If it’s at 120%, then we’ve expanded.” The team leader took part in the Jeju Daum program and worked very hard. His conclusion was that our experiment was a failure. When I said there were no digital nomads there, I was referring to developers, of course. It wasn’t the right work environment for developers. That’s why we’re still analyzing results in order to try the next digital nomad experiment.


 Apart from the interview, I talked to President Ji Hwan Kim about the definition of “digital nomad” for a long time. As the term started getting popularized, didn’t it start to have a static image? I wholeheartedly shared his concern that this lifestyle had an image of “extravagance” as if you can only be called a digital nomad if you’re working at a cafe, a place where you can see the ocean, or ALWAYS moving around.

 

Ji Hwan Kim I think if you call yourself a digital nomad, then you’re a digital nomad.


  President Kim said you can still be a digital nomad even if you work in an office and I agree with him. What we have to focus on is not the “image of a digital nomad”, but finding and establishing the work environment that is right for each person,



# Digital Nomad in Nepal


 President Kim said he went to Nepal in order to experiment with digital nomad again. He thought that since efficiency suffered when one person tried it last time, he wanted to try it with everyone. I laughed again at his efforts in turning ideas into reality.


Ji Hwan Kim We planned on going to Nepal as a global project because we wondered what it would be like to get a video map of the Himalayas, thinking it may be commercially viable. In Nepal, there are guides and porters. We thought it would be fun to take videos with them and create video maps. That’s how we started this project and got funding. At the end of the year, we’ll all be going to Nepal to implement our project in line with the environment and really work together. I’m going to see what it’s like to go overseas with all my employees and experiment with them. If the Nepal project is successful, I’d like to apply the project to landmarks across the world such as Angkor Wat and the pyramids in Egypt. But first, I’d like to have employees do testing through this first experiment.



 Introducing and explaining AlleysMap to a Google local guide - Kathmandu, Nepal / August 2017



# Failure is an advantage


 After getting completely immersed in his story, I had forgotten why I was there about halfway through. I had to get an interview I could contain in writing, but I kept asking things I was curious about instead. I wanted to hear more about his time in Jeju. I asked him what advantages he gained from spending one month in Jeju through “Jeju Daum”.


Ji Hwan Kim I think the fact that we failed in our experiment is a benefit in itself. I don’t think of failure as a bad thing. If you end in failure, that’s certainly a problem. That’s because failure doesn’t mean I’m going to quit, but rather that I’ll keep going. To be honest, experimenting with something is not always easy. How much money could a company with 6 people have? I wanted to spend time in Jeju, but the cost of accommodations was considerably high. The fact that I was able to experiment through this program was reason enough for me to take part in the program. If this program can be marketed, they should say, “Come as you are. Experiment and experience failure!” I didn’t think that we absolutely have to succeed after coming here. Startups have the greatest advantage of being a place of experiment.


I was just so happy that I even had the opportunity to try. I think it would be great to experiment with various other things in the future. For example, if I can try something at Jeju Daum, I will create a digital nomad persona or character. I would create different types of digital nomad characters based on statistics, such as a person who works at a seaside cafe or a person who works quietly in a corner, and ask what type of character I would be if I supported Jeju Daum? It would also be fun to participate for one month, then find out what kind of character I am. I love these different methods. I hope the Jeju Daum program is fun and successful. I think it would also be nice to rent out a cafe instead of having it here in the future!



 

Group photo from the first day of Jeju Daum - Gandrock Guest House / April 2017



 President Kim said his attendance at this lecture is related to the Jeju Daum Program. As he was recollecting his memories from the program, I asked him what I also asked many other people in July. What is Jeju Daum to you? He smiled bashfully as he asked, “Am I supposed to answer these questions without any preparation?” but he answered without much hesitation.

 

Ji Hwan Kim: I think Jeju Daum is like a laboratory and I’d like it to stay that way.



# Jeju once again


 Near the end of the interview, I asked him another question. If you could stay in Jeju for another month, what would you want to do? How would you spend your time? His answer was short but clear.


Ji Hwan Kim I just want to come and rest. I just want to experience Jeju’s peaceful natural scenery, fresh air, and tranquil starlight without having to think about anything. Before I began my startup, I was busy exploring these vacation spots. Now, when I travel, it’s often for work. I’ve been to all the famous vacation spots at least once, and I’m familiar with Jeju now, so I would just like to experience rest in Jeju. I’m just not sure when that day will come (laughter).

 

 I nodded and laughed in agreement at his last words. That’s Jeju, simply put.

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Jae-Hun Ko Hello! My name is Jae Hun Kim. It’s been about 4 years since I came to Jeju and I’m a front-end web developer. After coming to Jeju, I worked as a developer at an IT company in Jeju for over 2 years. After I resigned, I worked remotely for a startup for about 8 months, then I started working as a freelancer about 3 months ago.





J-Space Why did you move to Jeju?


Jae-Hun Ko My original plan was to go to Japan with my wife once we got married. My wife had worked in Japan for 3 years, and I had just gotten a 3-year work visa. But 2 weeks after she returned to Korea for wedding preparations, we decided not to go to Japan because of issues such as the tsunamis and radioactivity exposure. We ended up going on a trip to Jeju with our motorcycle. We went for 9 nights and 10 days and we just loved everything about it. My wife loved how the people there were so friendly, the family atmosphere, and everything we experienced there. She wanted to live in Jeju. So after we returned to Seoul, I looked for a job in a company in Jeju, but it didn’t go very well. It just so happened that someone I knew was development team leader at an IT company in Jeju. He recommended me and I got the job. I later found out that the salary I was receiving in Seoul was too high, so my resume had been excluded from the review. In the end, I had to accept a salary that was about half of what I was receiving in Seoul in order to come to Jeju. My wife currently runs a small workshop in Hado-ri. I help my wife and also receive projects from the mainland.





J-Space How is it working as a freelancer in Jeju?


Jae-Hun Ko When we first got to Jeju, things were a bit difficult. There weren’t too many projects that I could work on remotely from Jeju, and I couldn’t just go back to Seoul if the companies required a meeting since I was so far. In the beginning, I worked on things from friends and acquaintances, but now that those projects are almost over, I’m looking for new work. Even though I have a pretty good career, it’s not easy to find a job in Jeju. Aside from development, I’m interested in blogging or social media management, and since I have experience and know a lot about this field, I consult people around me who need help regarding social media management. Since my wife does calligraphy, we sometimes get requests from signs, and I help create something by using equipment. But of course, since we’re only in the beginning stages, it’s not too profitable.


J-Space From what I’ve seen from you so far, you don’t seem to mind the location when you work Do you have a preferred work style?


Jae-Hun Ko My work style... I typically work at home or at my wife’s workshop. I also work at cafes or J-Space, but I’m not very particular about the location. That’s why I use laptops that are light and portable, even if they’re not that great in terms of performance. I even worked while we were camping at Geumneung for 1 week in the summer.

Even while I was living in Seoul, I was always doing outsourced work outside of the company. That’s why I’ve grown accustomed to working remotely regardless of the location. I think that’s why I don’t really mind working in different places.


J-Space I’m curious about what kind of work you did in the past! Can you tell us a little more in detail?


Jae-Hun Ko I used to dance ever since I was in middle school. Up until I went to the military, I worked as a dance instructor in studios to train new singers or choreograph dances. But because it seemed difficult to make a good living off dancing, I starting learning about computers and learned web/editing/3D design. 





After I was discharged from the military, I entered the multimedia department and studied there for 2 years. Once I graduated, I worked part-time for 1 month at a company that my senior introduced me to. I ended up working for 3 more months at the company’s proposal. They later recognized my skills and I worked under a 1-year contract, but because the project was a success, I became a regular employee and was even promoted in just 1 year. 


 My first big projects was the “Hana Bank” project, which involved renewing and operating the entire Hana Bank website. It was an extremely successful project, to the point where we received a design award. In 2010, I worked on the US website for Samsung.com and my nights and days were switched in the beginning. Perhaps they were frustrated with the delayed communication, but they wanted me to come to the United States for this project, so I was suddenly rushed to America. Fortunately, I was treated very well and I got there. For example, I lived in an apartment with a security guard and if I had to go on a business trip to New Jersey from Manhattan, they called me a premium Korean taxi. I thought all American companies were like this, but later I realized they had treated me very well. I once solved a task that a freelancer at the US company was struggling with, and the way they treated me changed after that. I began to think that I can be successful if I work in other places instead of just at my current company.


 I recently made the mobile site for Galaxy S8 Visual Studio, and you’ll understand what kind of work I do once you see it. Make sure you see it through a smartphone!





J-Space When you create a website, do you plan out everything yourself?


Jae-Hun Ko No, I don’t plan everything. We discuss and work together to figure out how to give shape to what the planner planned and what the designer designed. Front-end development is the creation of all screens, actions, and animations that the user sees. Often times, it’s difficult to apply what the designer or planner requests. I try to make things as close to how the planner and designer intended as possible, but if there are things that are overloading or problematic, I give them my opinions and make revisions.


J-Space Since when did you start using J-Space?


Jae-Hun Ko I knew that there was a co-working space called J-Space, but I wasn’t using it. I didn’t come downtown very often because it’s quite far from Hado-ri. The decisive moment when I started using J-Space was when I visited while participating in the “Digital Nomad Meetup” last year. At the time, I wasn’t very happy because the entire event was in English and there was no translation. The theme of the event was supposed to be “Communicating with Developers Around the World”, but because there was no translation, which is the most important part of communication, I was very angry in the beginning. However, the center leader and the employees there apologized and they later gave me the translated version through Youtube. I saw their efforts and my perception of this place improved. Afterwards, I didn’t have much reason to come here all the way from Hado-ri, but some people from the company I was working with at the time ended up coming here for a 1-month program that was being held at the Jeju center. That’s how I started coming here every day.





J-Space Did you have any expectations when you came to J-Space?


Jae-Hun Ko  I met someone different from last time and I had a lot of fun talking to them. When you’re working as a freelancer in Jeju, it’s difficult to interact with other people and form a community.

I think it would be great if there was an opportunity that would allow me to consult others about the work I’ve done, my experience, how I designed, created, and operated major sites, and things like that. I don’t think the people living Jeju understand that they can offer a website to their customers or the importance of the site front-end yet. They care about server development, but they don’t understand why design is important or why it’s important to provide users with the same experience on the mobile site and all other environments.


 There are particularly many issues with Android phones. Even if it’s the same device, the mobile platform has many issues where the site appears differently in each browser or certain actions don’t work, and people don’t seem to understand how that makes users feel and how that affects the credibility of their service... They just think its something that requires money. It would be great if we can change that. It wouldn’t have a major impact right away, but it’s definitely something important.


J-Space Do you have a personal project that you’re working on?


Jae-Hun Ko It’s a bit unfortunate, but I can’t seem to work on personal projects. Since I did not major in development, I’m not the type to explore something development-related in depth or create something new. My work is more along the lines of implementing what the designer or planner wants as much as possible and making the user screen more seamless and beautiful. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I see those results. That’s why I’m not used to projects based on what I personally want. Rather than me creating a service, I like working based on my experience.


J-Space Then do you have any hobbies?


Jae-Hun Ko I like riding my motorcycle and filming with a GoPro. I used to ride a racing bicycle, then I rode a scooter when I got married, and now I ride a small, fuel efficient motorcycle called a Super Cobra in Jeju. 





 I like filming and editing videos, so I’ve been using since the GoPro ever since the GoPro2 came out. I don’t really upload the videos I edited because I’m too lazy, but I like creating time lapses. Since there aren’t too many high-rise buildings in Jeju, there are so many days with beautiful skies. I film time lapses on those days and post them on Instagram or Youtube. It’s a hobby that involves a lot of equipment, but since I’m not very good at filming or editing videos, I would like to learn professionally. It’s just a hobby at the moment.


https://youtu.be/JIwdTQU3ADE [일본여행 신주쿠 고프로 타임랩스]

https://youtu.be/hwtoNlwy9FQ [태풍 오기 전 제주 하늘]

https://youtu.be/JN-J16kdjL8  [제주도 금능해변 캠핑 첫날 밤]


 If you film a time lapse for 1 hour, you’ll end up with a 15 second video. I’ve been filming the scenery in front of my house or places we went to on vacation, but in the future I think it would be fun to go up Seongsan Ilchulbong or some mountain, set up my camera, and work while filming or climb up with equipment that will allow me to stream what I film with the GoPro in real-time. But it’s hard to actually carry out since life gets so busy.


J-Space I see. I saw you teaching a coding class recently. Are you also working as an instructor?


Jae-Hun Ko I recently completed the “Coding Instructor Curriculum” at the Creative Economy Innovation Center. Where I live in Hado-ri, east of Jeju, there are no places where kids can learn even if they want to. Since there are no computer academies, the far distance to downtown is not an easy endeavor. I thought that it would be great if I can teach kids in the east where there are very little opportunities for education, so I applied to the program and passed over. After the training, as I was speaking to parents and students that I had met coincidentally, I gave a lecture on what coding education was for parents, how it differs from computer education, and how parents should think. Parents were more interested than I expected, and they asked if I can teach a class for students. I’m currently creating a curriculum, and I’ll be teaching a class for elementary students soon.





J-Space Do you have any plans to post online lectures?


Jae-Hun Ko I once met with and spoke to President Hyeong Ju Lee of Inflearn when he was there. He asked me if I could teach a class, but I just couldn’t do it. I was working at a company at the time so I was very busy with little spare time. A lecture depends on how well you can explain something to help people understand the content easily including everything from making the curriculum to editing, and it was not easy to do. It’s very time consuming. I still haven’t had the opportunity to do it since it’s not something you can just pick up and do. I did create a curriculum and sent it over through e-mail, but it was difficult to actually carry out.


J-Space It seems like you enjoy filming. Is it because of the burden of editing techniques?


Jae-Hun Ko I think it’s the content itself that’s burdensome. I wasn’t confident that this material would really help people. I was always unsure about how much information I should be teaching people. Since I didn’t have a teacher, I didn’t learn any of this from someone. I acquired this information through researching and experiencing everything on my own. There’s a web publisher community on Naver called “Hacosa”, and I read through every Q&A post on the forum from the first page to the last page in 2004-2005. I read through everything and recorded things I needed on a blog. That’s how I learned. That’s why it’s difficult for me to assess what other people would and wouldn’t need. I think that’s also why I hesitated. Now, I’m thinking of creating a curriculum based on things you use and need while working, or things I needed while I worked.


J-Space What do you think about running an online consulting platform?


Jae-Hun Ko It would be great. For example, if there’s someone who wants to create a shopping site, I could consult them based on their capacity after assessing their budget and what they’re trying to achieve. Since I have a lot of experience in many different fields, I think it would be great if I can guide them based on my experience.


J-Space  I see! I wish you luck in everything you do in the future! Thank you so much for sparing time to speak with me!




Contact of Jae-Hun Ko


E-mail      works.hoon@gmail.com

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/2gooro/

Youtube    https://www.youtube.com/user/NEMOhoon

LinkedIn    https://www.linkedin.com/in/nemohoon/

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 J-Space met with Lee Soo Jin, a freelance developer who has an attractive short hair style and toned skin that seem to have taken in the hot sunlight of July. She majored in composition and started her career as a planner and now building her first year as a developer. She seems ambitious and free at her first impression but rather she was prudent and thorough about herself.


 

J-Space Was there a reason why you wanted to try out Remote Work in Jeju?

 

Soo-Jin Lee  Ive never been to Jeju before and have not travel long enough. So I was interested in the place Jeju; that was my first reason. And secondly, I have never tried out Remote Work. I tried Remote Work outside the office while participating a project while living in Seoul, but since I met the project members too often, it was same as working together. It was just outside of the office. So this time, I wanted to try to completely get away from the geographical boundary.

 

 Ive used to work for two and a half year before. I worked all the time in the same office from 10 am to 7 pm with colleges and would always gather in the morning and share how works are proceeding every day. I was in a development team and the developers dream was being a digital nomad. But there was this question Would that work? and for me, I thought it wouldnt. Because since you are outside, you need to use messenger when there is a conflict or disagreement with the team. It is better to discuss face-to-face. This idea was important to me so I wanted to try out and experiment myself in Jeju.

 

<Lee Soo Jin with Hareubang of Jeju>

 


J-Space I thought you are born to be a remote worker because you insist to have a written interview (laughs) so I thought you do not like to meet face-to-face.

 

Soo-Jin Lee I have just finished my office life so the way how the remote work works is unfamiliar to me. Leaving my job itself was a challenge and leaving a workspace called office honestly was uneasy. Working in a co-working space seems free and pictures like a rose pink ambience but on the other hand I was afraid on not having an office, teammates, and not belong to anywhere. If this lifestyle suits me, Ill maintain this style. It may not suit me well then; Ill either go back to the office or find what suits me well.

 

J-Space There are some difficulties when working as a remote worker for a freelance developer: to get a work, to secure trust, and to finish work on time. These may work for a mid-senior developer but not much in a case for young people.

 

Soo-Jin Lee Yes, the project I am working on now was introduced by somebody else. Im making a web site needed for a startup company. I need to constantly communicate and check the login records. They need to know what kind of certain work I am doing from the time I started till I end. So it might be difficult to plan things out for those who are new or does not have a work experience. Since there is no outside force, you need to have the ability to manage your own lifestyle. If managing is difficult, you would have a hard time. And there are difficulties in working in a space where no one can see because it is based on a trust. I need to continue sharing what Im doing, how far Ive worked, how long it will take for me to work on this, and when the final deadline is, so that other people can work as well.

 

J-Space How long have you been working as a freelancer?

 

Soo-Jin Lee I entered the company as a planner and later changed my career to a developer while working in the company. So my working year is just one year. When I graduated from college and joined the company, there are not many positions that a planner can do. As the business plan changed, there was no connection at work due to a frequent movement of departments. And so I worked on operations rather than planning and fell into a habitual behavior. The platform I was responsible for was not a service that the company wanted to operate enthusiastically.


 And then, I really envied the developers who feel the fun in implementing functions and developing every day. I started out on the same line with them but after a year or two, my developer colleges have reached to an area where I could not reach out. Their skills are growing so fast because they do like the job they are doing and are working hard. Their performance and results were good but I was just at the same place. I got so much stress so I decided to change my career by studying and going to a lot of study groups with the interest in development.

 

J-Space Was that the start of Django Girls?

 

Soo-Jin Lee Yes, I first started programming with Python. The work at that time was about making an online software education platform. Anyway, I needed to have knowledge in development so I studied Python and then started Django Girls community at the same time. Luckily at that time, I had a lot of time (laughs), I studied and translated all tutorials, and had a capacity to prepare a Django workshop. I really received so much help from the Django Girls community. I also met with good people and got a lot of technical help form them. There was no workshop in our country that provides an experience for women who are interested in technology to come and create a website through programming.

 


<Lee Soo Jin when she was hosting a Django Girls project>



J-Space Could you introduce us more about the Django Girls project?

 

Soo-Jin Lee Django Girls is a nonprofit and a community established in 2014 to provide and support opportunities for women to practice programming. It started from Ola Sitarska and Ola Sendecka from Poland who met at Python and a sensed a problem Why is it so hard to find female developers like us at conferences? Previously a workshop for women who were new to coding was held by the Rails Girls community. So they also produced Python and Django tutorials in a similar form and released them as an open source. It has now been translated into 15 languages and 380 workshops have been held in 77 countries around the world over the last three years and more than 30,000 women have started programming.

 

 I was studying Python with my American friend, Rachel in the summer of 2015 and learned about the framework and Django Girls tutorial through a developer who was my mentor. Rachel recommended me to hold a Django Girls workshop. I started first with Django Girls workshop with Django Girls Seoul community in Korea by translating Django Girls tutorials with the volunteer coaches. Django Girls workshop is something like a party package.

 

 Anyone even without any experience on workshop can host it as there is a workshop and a coaching manual prepared. Also, you do not need to prepare all items needed banner, poster, name tag, sponsorship emails for the workshop as it is all open to the public. There is even a manner instruction on how to deal with women developers (Laughs). For example, in the tutorial, women have an imposter syndrome wherein they tend to underestimate themselves even though they are actually doing well so there is an advice for us to compliment them. Therefore, all processes to hold a workshop is in a manual so anyone can apply.  One interesting thing is that when you apply for the Party Package, workshop supplies such as balloons, badges, and stickers are shipped internationally. This is because there is really a place where it is hard to host a workshop. Thats why you can even receive the party package in areas where you cannot purchase those supplies. Rachel, who started Django Girls Seoul with me, is now working as a Django developer in the United States and a member of the Django Foundation, being recognized by her contributions to the Django community.

 

J-Space What kind of work do you want to do in the future?

 

Soo-Jin Lee I am currently developing with the JavaScript. I am going to try a project that converge music and technology, which I like. Next year I would like to host a JavaScript workshop for women similar to Django Girls. I want to work on things that make my life meaningful and valuable and something that can develop my work every day.

 

J-Space But I think you are fairly trying hard to do so.

 

Soo-Jin Lee Ive been patient. (Laughs) Dostoevskii said the most terrible punishment for all humans is to make people do worthless things for a lifetime. I had a hard time feeling that I am doing something useless for myself while working in a company. It was the worst torture that somebody was making me not to develop. One day I fainted in ten minutes as I got into the bus going to work. This was due to lethargy. When I look at myself in front of my desk, I saw a person who cannot do anything. There is no worse punishment than not being able to grow. I changed my mind right after that day thinking that I have been under so much stressed.

 

J-Space Did you release your stress in running?

 

Soo-Jin Lee Yes. You could start a workout when you have an inner peace. I couldnt exercise when I was having inner struggles. I started running while preparing to resign and began running since last December and consistently 3~4 times a week now. You can run anywhere with just one sneakers.

 

 

<Lee Soo Jin running along the coastal road of Jeju>

 


J-Space You are just like the Run Hany(Korean Animation about young runner)'.

 

Soo-Jin Lee It is frustrating to sit down looking at a monitor everyday but when you are running with the enthusiastic people, all of your stresses are gone. After receiving positive energies and being supporting to each other, I gained confidence that I can also do it. You would feel lonely when working alone but I could gain comfort through community activities. When it your first time in running, start running around your neighborhood that is near to your house as much as possible. Youll find some hidden places you didnt know and find some newly opened stores and feels like you are travelling.

 


  Soo-Jin Lee, an enthusiastic female developer who likes running gave us a positive energy from one place to another in the J-Space. If you are interested in opening a Django Girls workshop in Jeju, why dont you join with Soo-Jin? 





 

Contact of Soo-Jin Lee


Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/sujinlee.me

Email               sujinlee.me@gmail.com

 



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Writer Lee Him Chan lecturing at ‘Shall We Walk Festival’ / 2014



#  Writer, freelancer, and 


 Right after graduating from Soongsil University major in Literary Creation, I started my job as a ‘story designer’ in a marketing company. I learned and practiced marketing and later on continued working as the team leader. Then in the summer of 2013, I went through an emotional breakdown and mentally collapsed for a while. I started posting emotional writings and drawings in a form of diary in social media to comfort myself.

 

 In the beginning of the year 2014, I received a publication offer due to the unexpected positive feedbacks from the people. I resigned to concentrate in publishing a book rather than using the energy at some other things. I gave up on money and concentrated on publishing a book, which was my ‘dream’. On August 2014, I debut as a writer and published a drawing essay ‘Square of Emotion’. It was my first work so I was very exhausted but thanks to the 100,000 fans secured in the social media channel, I was able to receive the next book offer and so I started writing right after a short break. On March 2013, I opened a personal café near Boramae station, which I have longed for at the same time as the drawing essay ‘Square of Emotion’ was published. I started arranging my writings about travel that I have wanted to do from the beginning while managing the café and published a photo essay ‘Unfamiliar, today’ on April 2016.

 

 Since then, I went through various works such as running a workshop, etc. but today I have settled everything and is working as a freelancer in the field of photography/column, series publication/image(toon) production, etc. and continue writing while communicating everyday revolving the 200,000 subscribers in Kakao Story channel ‘Emotional writer, Lee Him Chan’.




 Kakao Story channel ‘Emotional writer, Lee Him Chan’ who is continuously working on series

 


# That’s how I came to Jeju

 

 It’s been three months since I came to Jeju. I did not come with a plan – I’ll be staying in Jeju for a long time- so there are quite a number hectic days that just went by. I have liked the place, Jeju, since before but at first it was just a travel destination, and a little bit later just a shelter for resting. It didn’t come to me as a space that could create something new. During my stay in Jeju, I spent on totally new challenging things that I had not and did not try before.

 

 It started out with ‘Jeju-daum’. It is a program hosted by Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation that provides accommodation, work space and other special opportunities for ten people with different fields/jobs/gender/age to live and interact in Jeju for a month. I was concerned about leaving the usual living space and staying in a new environment for a month is not a short period of time. However, rather than worrying, I applied with having expectations on new environment as the works I did does not really matter with venues.

 

 I needed a purpose to stay in Jeju when applying for the program. My purpose was to publish a series of works containing contents about Jeju. I thought many people come to Jeju to travel but not many enjoy Jeju in their own way. There are many attractions that Jeju has and an energy that only Jeju can give but because people do not know, or because it is complicated, or does not have enough time to look into, people just follow the path that somebody else have been to. I wanted to inform that you can do this in Jeju, and that Jeju has this kind of energy through writings and drawing photos not just telling this place is beautiful, and this restaurant is delicious. This is the biggest reason why I decided to stay in Jeju.

 

 

The first locker I received when I participated the Jeju-daum program - Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation accommodation zone / June



# Met people with energies

 

 The best thing I liked about Jeju while staying a little bit longer is that I established a relationship with more people than I have met in years. Of course there are many people that just passed by in the past but it was not easy to face each other for a long time in one sitting and to listen to each other’s thoughts and to give advice and comfort. Meeting with various people itself can be a valuable study. I get to learn and accept in the most natural way, not by force, on things that I do not know, that I have overlooked, or that I have not yet thought of. This method is called communication.

 

 For example, I write, draw and take photos and I am only into literacy and arts that do not know anything about ‘business’. I was not able to raise sales as I was thinking only about being nice to the cafe customers. It did not last long and had to close down the cafe due to the external pressure. One time, I had to pay 1,100,000 won as a penalty for a font that I used in a series I did. I naturally miss on many portions as I only focus on specific fields of work. But while hanging out with people in Jeju, I received a lot of feed backs by just putting out what I have encountered or have thought of. I was able to get answers and comfort I needed regardless of the field whether it was about relationship, emotional or job-related issue. These are the power a community has and even if it was not necessarily about business, the sharing of thoughts were a valuable interaction.

 

 On June, the first time I participated in Jeju-daum, there were a lot of happy energy people. Since I am used to working along all the time, I thought I would not be able to hang out with people as I’ll be travelling alone naturally and was not confident in hanging out with people. However due to the people opening up and asking and caring first, I was able to open up and socialize in the community and adjust in Jeju. As Kim, Do Yeon, a participant of Jeju-daum on June said, ‘If you have lived together for a month, aren’t we a family?’, we continued to catch up with each other on the following month of July and those who were in need of each other began to work together to create new items. The process was so natural and perhaps it was possible because it was in Jeju. It was thanks to the space that Jeju had which helped to attract each other closer.



 Co-worked contents with the participant Cho Hae In – Calligraphy: Cho Hae In / Drawing: Lee Him Chan

 


# Connection link, tear down the walls

  

 While I was talking and hanging out with the people, working on the series I was doing individually and writing about my stay in Jeju in social media as well as travelling around Jeju, a month had passed by so fast than I have thought of. It was a good time to adjust but lacks on making something new. Thus, I applied to for an extension of the program and stayed one more for the month of July and interacted and met with new people. I was able to meet with people who are preparing for startups on June and people on similar field of work as I have on the month of July. There were many opportunities to discuss about cultural arts with the writer Lee Min Jung, calligrapher Cho, Hae In, illustrator Jung Hee Jung, Chimseonjang Park Mi Young, who I met through the Jeju-daum program. In that discussion, an unexpected exchange occurred, which was about practical exchanges on how we can utilize our talents and contents to the society not just working as a writer only.

 

 The most immediate result through this interaction is that we have tried working in collaboration. Most artist including myself, when writing a series in personal channel, I rarely discuss or reflect other people’s opinion in my work as it extremely has a personal concept and view. I tried to put my thoughts on the works of other artists first or tried to work by putting my drawings with other artist’s drawings, etc. I wanted to practice the methods I learned with the people I met in Jeju. The communications with people found the connection link that I couldn’t see and that I tried not to look at and has tear down the walls in between each other’s world.

 

 

Left – Collaborated content with the participant Cho, Hae In / Right - Collaborated content with the participant Jung Hee Jeong

 


# It was good because it was Jeju.

 

 On July, I exceptionally took many pictures and videos because people have their own personality in wanting to leave a picture and my desire to record this special time with special people. At the end of the program on July, I produced an eight minute video with the photos and videos I took. In order to input it at the end of my video, I asked the July Jeju-daum participants and few center officials the question ‘What is Jeju-daum to you?’.


Jeju-daum mentioned in this is question refers to the program itself as well as what kind of Jeju-ness each one of them has in themselves. Each precious thought were placed at the end of the video and made the ordinary video into a special one. Below are some of the answers to the question.

 

Start of a new journey

Illustrator Jung Hee Jeong

 Those who meet must part, the part must come back

Law officer Choi, Chul Min

 Charging

  Writer Lee Min Jung

 A string of interaction between people connected by living together

 Jeju-daum senior officer

Lim Kyung Hee

 Being myself! 

I was able to face myself when I was alone and when with somebody else

Calligraphy writer Cho Hae In

 A creative gravitational force that wiggles and pulls me so that I can find myself free from a settled self

 Head of J-CCEI
 Jeon Jung Hwan


 No matter what we do, we need to meet with people. No matter what I do, I can never achieve it alone. It is always necessary to have interactions in all processes in future. And there must be always a break to have an initiative and a driving force to work. We need to face this directly and so need to try out new things and fill out the missing parts. And then take rest as much as you have worked. It was good that the place I learned and started these, which we all needed right now was Jeju. Because Jeju has all of these elements.


Partial screenshots of July Jeju-daum participants closing video

 


# Rest, Challenge, Meet and Grow, Jeju

 

 I first learned the term ‘digital nomad’ through this program and the fact that I belong to it. Many people who are staying in Jeju including myself are creating new contents of Jeju maintaining the work they had. This means that Jeju is equipped with suitable environment for those who have no restriction on places. In case of artist, if the sceneries of Jeju and meetings with people give inspirations into an artwork, for those who are in business, it is a place where you can come up with new or complemented idea for producing any kind of products and could try it out right away.

 

 The beauty of Jeju is in composure. For those who are living in an environment where they see high-angled buildings, pushing transportations, and where taking a rest is difficult, the blue sky and wide border of the sea and the beautifully laid out landscapes offers a time to relax. As I face an open road instead of the blocked wall, a new idea and new way is opened. So Jeju is a symbol of rest, a symbol of challenge and a symbol of relationship and growth.

 

 

With the family of Uhm, Goon Ja, a Hadori haenyeo, Ddurum brothers, Travel Korea director and producter, illustrator Jung Hee Jeong

 


 I would like to meet more people in Jeju and want to see more scenery of Jeju. I would want to show people the real beauty that only Jeju has with more writings, drawings and photos. Moreover, I would like to suggest that you take a break from everyday life and draw your life again that is truly yourself, if possible, here in Jeju.





 


The next article will be followed by ‘J-Space Emotional Interview recorded and interviewed by Lee Him Chan writer who he met at J-Space of Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation.

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 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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J-Space Today, we had a talk with Mr. Daehyeon Kim of Aewol Jordan who’s well-known as The Bike-riding Developer. Daehyeon, could you please briefly introduce yourself?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim Hello, I am a freelance-developer living in Jeju. I usually focus on web development and work in Jeju remotely by receiving assignments from the capital area. Bike-riding is my hobby, so I commute to work by bike. Recently I’ve started coming to J-Space to work.

 

 

 

 

 

J-Space Could you tell us more details about what you do?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim It’s not easy to put it into words, but I’ll try. First of all, I am a back-end developer. If there’s a project carried out in Seoul, I create components used by the developers for the project. For example, I make an email server if developers need to exchange emails in a certain project, or a server to exchange messages if they need to use a messenger for work. There’s a tool UI designers commonly use, and I am creating the cloud version of it. Basically it’s all about building servers.

 

 I work as a freelancer and sign outsource service contracts, which are usually six-month to one-year-long. I’ve been working with Company A for 2 years and about 3 months with Company B. I work on a project basis but it’s not like get randomly picked by clients. I usually sign short-term contracts through people I’ve known before.

 

J-SpaceDo you have any particular reason for working in Jeju?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim Not really. The headquarters of my company (Daum Communication) before working as a freelancer was located in Jeju. It would support its employees to move easily to Jeju. For example, an employee could relocate to Jeju without switching teams whenever she or he wanted and received short-term housing support to settle down in Jeju. The company was great, and many people I knew at the time moved here together so I could feel comfortable moving to Jeju as well. I was mulling over some options then as the lease agreement with the apartment I was living in Seoul was ending, but then my company suggested me to relocate to Jeju. I initially intended to stay here just for a year, but as it turns out, it was much better than I thought! I got to keep staying here even after leaving the company.




 

J-Space Did you move here with your family?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim I moved here with my wife. We didn’t have a child back then. It’s been over 5 years approaching 6, I think. Now I have a 4-year-old daughter so I don’t work at home. I usually move around to find a place I want to work. I think I come to J-Space often these days. I go to a café once in the morning and once in the afternoon, every day. The most important criteria for me about picking a coffee place is, of course the coffee should taste good, but first of all I shouldn’t feel awkward. I tend to stay 3-4 hours in one sitting, so it’s not good if it’s well crowded. I personally think Starbucks near Seogwipo World Cup Stadium is the best. There are a lot of cafes in Aewol area near my home as well, so I sometimes go there if I don’t want to stay too long. I often go to Yongdam Starbucks as well, it’s usually pretty slow and quite there.



 


J-Space You did so many things in J-Space this month. Since when did you frequent J-Space like this?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim I’ve known J-Space since the time it got first created. At the beginning I came here quite often, but to me it felt closer to an event place rather than a co-working space because it was in the start-up stage. For example, I came here to work only to go back because it was holding an event without a notice, and many people came here for other purposes and not co-working, so I thought it was not an appropriate, comfortable place to work. That’s why I stopped coming here. After a long time, I came to J-Space a few times and felt it’s become a great co-working space. It announces events of the month on a calendar or on the bulletin board and has got many more people working here. Sometimes I run into other developers who are basically loners like me, so it’s great to see them from time to time. I like J-Space much more these days because people working like me have become target customers. For example, customers like me feel uncomfortable in a café. But this space seems to run for people like me and has many people in the same field (developers) coming in these days.

 

 Recently, I’ve developed a kind of daily routine for myself. I have a few places like a café in mind to work. The place I actually end up going differs day to day, but if there’s no set places and I have to pick from infinite possibilities, it’s much more burdensome. I have to choose what to do, where to go… and it’s a regular headache, really. So it feels much more comfortable to decide on the place to go beforehand. Sometimes it’s good to go far away to work, but that’s not for every day. 

 

 At first I liked how I could freely choose the time to work when starting my job as a freelancer. I can do whatever I want, so I enjoyed dividing the time between work and life as a special privilege but after a few months it wore off. At first I thought it’d be efficient to work a lot during the time I can focus and take a break when I lose concentration, but I was very shortsighted. I realized I liked regularity. So I pick my own office hours, so to speak.



 


J-Space What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of working alone remotely in Jeju?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim One advantage is that I am freer and more relaxed because I spend much less time to commute to work than in Seoul. Also, Jeju’s got beautiful scenery so that’s another plus. A disadvantage is that it is really difficult to communicate with team members when working on a project as I work alone remotely. I have to fly all the way to Seoul if there’s an important meeting. Since I am a freelancer, I feel closer to an outsourced contract worker rather than a team member of the same project team in a company. Makes you feel lonely at times.

 

J-Space Then how do you network with project team members in Seoul from Jeju?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim The project has a business tool so I mainly use it or I use the messenger. I use some in-house made tools to work and have meetings. It is for internal use but is aiming to be an external service.

Both online and remote work have pros and cons and ways to make up for their shortcomings. It’s true that they are behind offline communication. I can’t really say which was is better, but I personally think right in the middle is the best, like we gather for 3 days to work together and work separately for 3 days. So it goes parallel, working as a team together physically and as an island by yourself. Some companies are actually like that—people work in wherever they want at any time (home or café), or some people are outside the office and some have meetings on Hangout inside the office. Then they get together in once space once a week to coordinate.

 

J-Space Do you plan to continue working in this way? Or do you have a new workstyle you’re thinking of?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim Right now I’m working on a project for which I got hired pretty incidentally. Ideally it’d be great to reduce the proportion of outsourced project and generate profit with a project of my own… Not sure when this will happen, though. I want it to be a project I am good at and that I can have fun at the same time.

 

J-Space Is there any project on your mind right now?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim I want to create a service for developers. I’m interested in developer-only services. For example, when developers build programs, what they mainly do is manage source codes. General public hardly ever get to see those source codes, you know. But the developers use a tool to manage source codes. Hangul Coding falls into the similar category as well. I want to create a service for developers to work more comfortably in a better environment.  

 

J-Space Now let’s talk about ‘AewolJordan’! We can find your YouTube channel right away when we type ‘Aewol’ on Google search! Could you tell us more about your hobbies and the website you run?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim When moving to Jeju, I brought a motorcycle I used to ride in Seoul with me. I loaded my motorcycle with my stuff on the ferry and commuted to Kakao right off the dock. During the commute it felt really, really great to ride the motorcycle from Jeju Harbor to my workplace. It felt so amazing that I even thought maybe I came to Jeju to ride the motorcycle. I always rode it in Seoul, but it was more pleasant to ride in Jeju. I always had to drive amongst cars in Seoul but Jeju does have a much more pleasant environment than that. It has such wonderful, fantastic landscape so I started taking pictures and uploading them online to share with others, which ended up on YouTube channel. At first it was just landscape photos but I gradually moved on to posting things on how to ride a motorcycle more safely, which unexpectedly became quite popular and I enjoy it now.

 

 On Medium channel, I usually post articles related to development. At first I put them on because I was bored. There was no one to share development stuff as a freelancer after quitting my day job. So I started Medium to share development-related posts in writing or video, which became fun, made my name for the inner circle, and I got something to learn as well. What’s funny is that there are these huge number of views but I don’t get that many comments. The motorcycle posts, I write without much thought but they get a lot of views and comments, but development-related posts lack replies. I should probably blame myself for not writing a more interesting article.



 


J-Space It seems that you run them for communication, but did it not achieve much in that aspect?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim Not really. It has a zero effect in attracting new developers, but I sometimes get feedback from people I’ve known before. If someone tells me “I read the post you put!”, then it encourages us to have a chat in J-Space. I think it succeeded as a communication channel to talk with me. I think it’s good because if I put on many different posts, then I can talk with others about one of those topics. I usually hate writing but I think I’ve become much better these days. I hate it less than I used to and I have fun uploading my writings. Even minor feedbacks help me practically, so I think that’s why it kind of grew on me.

 

J-Space You carried out ‘Business Idea Pitching Day’ and ‘People’s Library’ Meet-up of the center in July! About Hangul Coding! How was it? You usually just came to the space to work quietly and left, but I was quite surprised because you were very active and engaged.

 

Dae-Hyun Kim It was fun! First of all, I was sort of reluctant to participate in the programs run by the center before, because I’m not really that interested in commercialization. I’m more into developer platforms than running a business. Hangul Coding is one of those topics I might show interest when it shows a real potential. Until then, you just struggle with it all by yourself. So I was just hanging around, not thinking about anything particular, then these people I ran into at the J-space kind of sparked my interest. So at the beginning, you could say I was quite hesitant. But as it turns out, it was so much fun! I had enough material to put together a presentation since I’ve always been musing about it, and everyone was listening to my every word, even the non-developer audience. Then I got this call about publishing an article in an online magazine from some organization. It was all so much fun! (Laughs) Both the process and the result were satisfactory. It didn’t get picked as the best idea, though. I was kind of expecting this, so it shouldn’t be a big deal, but I still feel rejected so it’s a bit disheartening. Anyway, I can tell you that for the effort I put in, or for what I anticipated, I’ve got good result. Pitching days are not about investment. What’s more, it’s not like you’re having a resident screening! So the audience has low expectation value, and I think that contributed to my feeling comfortable during the presentation.

 

 At first I really didn’t want to do the ‘People’s Library’ meet-up that the Manager insisted upon. The topic of Hangul Coding itself is not mature enough yet. Even if it were, it’s a hard-to-explain topic. There are very few people interested in Hangul Coding. I especially did not want to have a meet-up in Jeju because I felt no one would come. But then when I actually held one, it was really fun. I liked how non-developers joined us, I loved the way Hojoon organized the feedbacks to pass on to me. Actually, people are not reluctant to the idea of doing coding in Hangul itself and it is an experiment in a way. It felt as if a vague claim got more specified. To be honest, I am the one who’s supposed to do all these experiments. But I liked how people did it on their own and taught me. I was the one who learned from them.



 



J-Space Do you have any suggestions to make to J-Space or anything to look forward to in this space?

 

Dae-Hyun Kim I can’t really think of anything because it is already good right now….

I think there are more developers here. Maybe because the space concept is more business-focused, but I think it’ll be good to have many more freelancers or people in other job fields coming here. It doesn’t have to be development; it won’t be like writing, creating a design, or talking with me, but I think it’ll be good to have some diversity. Sometimes I get an unexpected, interesting result while talking with people in other areas.

 

J-Space Thank you very much. You came to center today on an awesome bike; we hope you have a safe riding back home and we will be look forward to your active participation in the J-Space programs.


 


 

Contact of Dae-Hyun Kim


YouTube    https://www.youtube.com/c/애월조단

Medium     https://medium.com/@hatemogi

 

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 Seung-pil Choi developed service for travel because he likes trip and developing chatbot because he wants to research on big data. He was actually widely well-known person. “Is the developer of <Tripgrida> coming to Jeju?” Do you know why did he come?

 

 

J-Space You have participated to <Lunch (Learn-chi)-hap-si-da(the mentoring program of J-CCEI)>, which is a mentoring program of Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation, you are really popular that people surrounded you.

 

Seung-pil Choi Maybe I am popular in Jeju. I think Jeju has a good power. From the mentor I met in <Lunch (Learn-chi)-hap-si-da(the mentoring program of J-CCEI)>, it is not a plan for operation but I was asked to send what kind of service I am working on, but I couldn’t send it yet because I had to make the presentation material for the last networking for stay application program. (laugh)

 

J-Space It goes to show that the artificial intelligence and chatbot are the key word among people these days. What was your motivation to be interested in the field?

 

Seung-pil Choi I was already doing it even before the fight between Sae-dol Lee and AlphaGo. It only became popular after Sae-dol Lee and AlphaGo have played go. However, research on the artificial intelligence was continually done even prior to that. People didn’t know about artificial intelligence before but because of the popular go game, it became an issue. I was preparing for a data based trip service called <Tripgrida>. I was developing a service that suggests customized trip spot for individual and applying it to a conversational interface called chatbot. When we were developing it, no one understood this field. Every time I introduce it, I mentioned about applying the conversational interface function and usually, people asked me I don’t know what you want to do, are you making service for a trip, or what? However, when Google came up with the artificial intelligence technology and along with the fourth industrial revolution, it became a trend these days. Platforms like Facebook and Line began to offer chatbot function and it is becoming popularized. It is a good timing for us. We originally planned to do it and create a new one but now we just have made use of the existing platforms like the Facebook messenger. That’s why it is a good timing for us because we don’t have to make it anymore but make use of the existing ones. People show their interest on it first this time saying is this what you guys are doing.

 

 A Chatbot is a trend of this era. For instance, WeChat of China has everything without having to download an additional mobile application, like payment transactions and all. The reason why we thought of the conversational interface was that we were thinking of ways to expand our service. These days, application download rates are decreasing and even being downloaded there are more numbers for it gets deleted and only using the necessary ones like Kakaotalk and Facebook messenger. So we thought that if we apply the mobile application we developed to the conversational interface, it would be better because people don’t have to download an additional application and the users don’t have to try to adjust to the new interface. In fact, we had an app and we did a field test in Vietnam last year with it but the result showed that people won’t use it because it is too difficult to use. We made it but even we found it complicated to use. So could think of attaching it to the conversational interface while segregating it by its functions and lessening it.

 

 While developing chatbot by its function, repeated operations appeared. To try to make them simpler, we developed a function that makes the repeated operation simpler. We call it builder. With the builder, even the people without the knowledge of coding can create chatbot, without having to deal with coding. Nowadays, a specific company for an outside order is making chatbot. However, with the builder, a company or an individual can make chatbot so we would like to make it possible later. In fact, right now, to use chatbot in a business has limitations with regards to its scope. Nonetheless, there are still enough possibilities. Therefore, I would like to test it in Jeju, about its possibilities. Not following the trend but I think it’s being processed naturally.

 

 

<Seung-pil Choi, introducing online trip matching service ‘Tripgrida’ and chatbot builder ‘Botgrida’ at the “Lunch (Learn-chi)-hap-si-da”, the mentoring program of Jeju Center for Creative Economy and Innovation>

 

 

J-Space You were invited to be a judge for international competition being held by Institute of APEC Collaborative Education.

 

Seung-pil Choi I know a person from Indonesia whom I met while I was on a trip. I got to know him by helping him out when he was in a trouble. He introduced someone he knows from Korea and that person was from the Institute. I think he saw how I handled the process. So he recommended me after seeing what the things I was doing. It is an international competition targeting students from Asia Pacific region and I was offered to be a judge. At that time I refused because I had to judge in English. Then they offered again for the second time and this time they offered it with a translator but I refused again.

 

 I want to talk about this stuff because actually at that time my heart was closed. I’ve been working alone and I wasn’t sure whether what I was doing is a right thing to do. I wasn’t in a position to judge someone as well. Though it was a great offer, I thought to myself ‘can I do it?’ because I was closed. However, in Jeju, many people were interested in what I am doing and I began to think that perhaps what I was doing could be helpful for others and even though I was not good at it, but there could still be people in need of my service. Then slowly I opened my mind. Recently, they offered for the third time and this time, the offer was even better and I said I would do it. So, I will be participating the competition as a judge for technology in Busan in August this year.

 

J-Space You opened your heart in Jeju. Your service and people you meet, they are all realated to travel. I think you like travelling.

 

Seung-pil Choi After I resigned from a company…

 

J-Space You used to work at a company? (suspiciously asking)

 

Seung-pil Choi I used to. I was an employee. When I resigned, I got my backpack with me and went around with the money I saved while working. That was my dream. The memory of backpacking trip when I went after finishing my military duty helped me go through my 20s, and it was a gift for my to face my 30s. I planned it to be a year but I came back after 6 months. It wasn’t just a trip but rather it was more like a field test that I checked many things while on a trip. It was more like a market research. I thought to myself that ‘I am not here to just enjoy’. I only use wifi and even in Seoul, I use wifi, because <Tripgrida> has its purpose to be a global service and we can use the internet anywhere in Korea but in abroad, there are many places without access to the internet. I tried to connect wifi in Jaisalmer desert in India and while climbing Annapurna. I tested it, made memos and went around while conceptualizing how I should develop it when I go back to Korea. When I was on my way down from Annapurna, I heard the news that my father had collapsed so I immediately went back to Korea and took care of him for a year at a hospital. The services I wanted to make were not available before but while taking care of my father, many of them were made available by others. It goes to know individual trip became more popular and many people felt of need of it. The made available services couldn’t stop me and I thought to myself that there’s nothing I can do about it and I have plenty of time so I began to make the things I planned thinking that I will learn from it.

 

 I only talked about service. I like going on a trip. The top 5 things in my bucket list were in fact about trips. I have done the list from 1 to 5 after I resigned from my previous work, and they were going on a backpacking trip alone, staying in a foreign country for a month, climbing up Annapurna, and watching starts at a desertbut there’s one thing I failed and that is to get married before turning to 32 years old2 years have passed already.

 

J-Space Since you’re saying you like going on a trip and you’ve been doing it for a long time, I would like to know more about your travel stories.

 

Seung-pil Choi I went on a trip for 6 months after resigning from company. I was in Thailand before I went to Annapurna and I happened to meet someone on the way. I like going on a trip but also I am very interested in the environment and issues of the local area where I am visiting. About the elephant tracking in Thailand, I heard that the elephants are being raised their whole life with torture so I didn’t want to try it anymore. So I decided to visit elephant environmental park where there are injured abandoned elephants and the elephants are being cured in that park. I should pay the same amount of money for both elephant tracking and visit the Elephant environmental park and if it’s the same price then I wanted to go to the place where I can help the elephants be healed. At the park, you are buying the medicine for them with the entrance fee and giving it to them. I was talking about it with boys younger than me whom I met on a tour, and at that time someone at our back suddenly offered to buy us beer. He bought 2 bottles for us.

 

 That place was called Pai and it is a small village. I wanted to treat him back if I meet him again and I met him the next day coincidentally. So we arranged an appointment and met again at night. I learned that what we were talking about the other day was called a fair trip. We talked a lot about trips and he said he was going on a trip a lot and it was really good to hear from young people genuinely talking about the fair trip and that was the reason why he offered to buy us beer. He asked me where I wanted to be on my last trip and I answered my dream was to climb up Annapurna. I thought only professionals could climb Annapurna. However he said, “I want the end of your trip to be for dream” I was like a line from a drama, but what’s more amazing was that a team was formed on the spot. He called to China and Korea and made a team, just because of me. Actually, he used to do tracking at Himalaya. We promised to meet after 2 months and said bye to each other. We climb up the mountain for 10 days. I cried when I saw the stars from the base camp of Annapurna. I still think it's a dream. I thought I gained everything from that moment but it was not. I fulfilled my dream to go to Annapurna. I was on my way back joyfully and that’s when I saw I got 70 missed calls. I felt something was wrong. I called back to Korea and heard that my father collapsed. I was hopeless. There is no domestic flight from Nepal so I to go to Katmandu through Taxi paying $100. I went over the snowy mountain by Taxi. Then, I came back to Korea through China. I made my way back home with the devastating heart because I had the thought that it could be the last time with my father. Then I took care of my father for a year in a hospital after came back to Korea and <Tripgrida> was made while taking care of my father.

  

 

<Main of online trip matching service ‘Tripgrida’>

 

J-Space Trip service <Tripgrida> fits you. You worked alone for 4 years.

 

Seung-pil Choi I worked on a nursing bed for a year in the hospital. After he came back home, he is still having a hard with walking so I couldn’t be out of the house, either. I thought I have to take care of home at home so for a while I developed it at home alone. There was an offer to me and even I did an interview. However, the working place was in abroad so I couldn’t take it. The place where I interviewed needed a developer for them to launch a business platform in Thailand. Since I stayed in Thailand for 3 months and handling trip service individually I was recommended and that’s how I could get to the interview, but I couldn’t go because I had to take care of my father.

 

 After that, I became close to the person who interviewed me and I met him again after 1 year while developing it at home. At that time, he asked me ‘Isn’t it hard to concentrate at home?’. Actually other developers would be the same that we wake up during late hours, work quietly and go to sleep at around 6 am or 7 am and wake up at 11 am. There was not enough me time. Then my father has pity on me because from TV he hears news about young people’s unemployment issue and here comes his son doing computer overnight. He looked at me then, TV and had a sad look. I couldn’t tell him that I am actually preparing something because there was no achievement yet. Understanding my situation, the interviewer suggested me to work at a café and gave me a gift card for me to use at the cafe to work for 3 months. Later on, when my cellphone was broken, he even bought me a new phone saying that a developer should have a working cellphone. His intention was, you try it for 3 months and then if it’s not working, go back to the company. Maybe he wanted to work with me but I think he has given up now. I didn’t go to Starbucks usually and instead went to cafes that offered coffee in a lower price but, since he gave me the gift card from Starbucks, I became a luxurious guy. (laughing)

 

 Nonetheless, I think it was even better to work in a café. I stayed at a hospital for a year and stayed at home for a year so I felt like I have a depression and socio phobia but I couldn’t reveal it, worrying that it might be an obstacle when taking care of my father. However, I could overcome it in café. At first, when people were sitting in a café, I couldn’t sit in between but as time went back I took the courage to sit and now I feel at home at café. After that, I worked in a café for 2 years and I didn’t look for an office, that’s because I have no income and just using the saved money. I go to café at 11 am and go back home at 11 pm. The manager likes me a lot because I use the table clean. I also help to close the café together. People could have teased me wondering, who is he come to café and help to close together?

 

 I began by myself but now I am doing it with a like-minded friend. We are both doing a remote working in each other’s region. We hate to be intervened.

 

J-Space Is it possible to be there the whole day?

 

Seung-pil Choi Actually it’s a public harm and money spent for coffee is burdensome. To prolong this without any income, I unintentionally become not good. So I asked the employee there but the employee said it’s okay and I don’t have to worry about it. Then I became friends with them and one of them was a student from Engineering so from time to time that student sits beside me talking about concerns of future, asks me about homework and study together. I don’t really know about coffee so I order Americano every day and one day, they were recommending me to try other types of coffee and explained them to me. I think I wasn’t too bad or maybe it’s just my illusion

 

 Starbucks in Mangdon is special. There are many people living alone and many of them are developers, designers, and photographers. Also, there are start-ups in Hongdae and Hapjeong areas. There are a lot of 1 person director, 1 person developer and 1 person producer. Unlike other Starbucks branches, in here there are a lot of them like me. I sometimes feel solidarity with them but I couldn’t talk to them because I am shy. There are some whom I saw every day for years and they were in the field of creative works. I was hesitant to go to the café at first was but after knowing the fact that there are many like me, I say I am going to work to Starbucks. When I am late than usual the employees say ‘oh you are late today’. Café managers are like coworking space manager that they take care of the customers really well. When I said I am going to Jeju, I was given a gift and a letter. It made my heart beat, but from a person of the same industry, I heard that it was just part of customer management. AhIt made my heart beat

 

<Seung-pil Choi’s work place at J-Space in ’Yi-do-dong’ in Jeju, not in ‘Mangwon-dong’>

 

 

J-Space I heard that you failed in digital nomad in Jeju

 

Seung-pil Choi I’d rather say I didn’t have accomplishment as a developer than it as a failure. I came up with only 10 lines of developing code for 4 weeks but instead, I did many other things. Hang out and have meetings as part of work. However in terms of developing, compare to Mangwon, the result is minimal. If you ask me why then this program(J-CCEI Stay Support Program in Jeju) will be abolished (laugh)

 

 I loved the people here. I hang out, felt the nature. The environment is really good and since there are people I can be with. I developed all alone but in a group like this, there were things I had to do with them. So I didn’t have time to do developing, but instead, I hang out a lot with good people. I think if I just work even in Jeju, it is my lost. I had a really good time here hanging out and resting. Can you still abolish this program(J-CCEI Stay Support Program in Jeju)? (laugh)

 

 I only brought my clothes for a week. Other people said if I am wearing my uniform because I was wearing the same thing the whole time. I’m not alone but also other friends were like that that we thought we would go back to Seoul after a week. However from the first day, with the other participants, we introduced ourselves and had a drink together and became close and that made me stay until the end. We became cohorts for each other. We were saying that since we met in this program, let’s finish it together. We were very close and had common understandings.

 

 As a result, as a developer, I have not much achievement. Instead, I met a lot of local companies as part of work and got positive feedbacks from them. While away from Seoul, I received news for investment and cooperation. These are still in the process but I feel like good things are happening because I am in Jeju. Also when I was in Seoul I refused the public speech and presentation of service opportunities but in Jeju, I accepted them all. In Seoul, the environment will be changed so it couldn’t be the same but still, my heart will be more opened compare to when I came here. I only saw slow people at the hospital and so it was really different for me to see people at café because they were cheerful. Then suddenly I met even more active and cheerful people in Jeju and stayed with them for a month and that gave me an optimistic energy. This is what I mean by I opened by heart. I am actually a bright person.  

 

J-Space I would like to visit Mangwondong.

 

Seung-pil Choi You should come.

 

J-Space Well actually, you drag the recorder near your mouth but actually that is not a mic that is a speaker.

 

Seung-pil Choi As a human being, I must have blind spots as well

 

J-Space You are very humane yet you are dealing with artificial intelligence.

 

Seung-pil Choi I am dealing with natural lanuage but actually, I don't know about grmmar. So I am learning it again. There is no perfect person. 

 

 

 Seung-pil Choi’s trip service and chatbot in the process of development are very interesting but at the same time, all the people who met him in Jeju said they fell for him for his warm heart and humble humor. We will be expecting the next steps of trip matching service <Tripgrida> and chatbot builder <Botgrida>, which look like him!

 

 

 

 

*The above script has been slightly modified from the original interview for readability and the order of interview has been reorganized while we try to maintain Interviewee's original words and intention as much as possible.

 

 


 

Contact of <Tripgrida>  Seung-pil Choi

 

Email            pil@tripgrida.com

Facebook       https://www.facebook.com/fortune2k

Brunch          https://brunch.co.kr/@pilsogood

Tripgrida       https://www.tripgrida.com

Botgrida        https://www.botgrida.com

 

 

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 Bong-jun Jin and Jae-sung Lee came to Jeju with a clear mission, which is to find business opportunities and to test remote work. They are very detailed with their plan and a smart pair that they changed their partner every month to test the different results of remote work depending on the difference of the inclination and work type of the partners. Since they appear to enjoy (?) their time in Jeju so much that they are in danger of getting fired ()

 

 

J-Space I have heard that Play Auto itself is testing remote work that some adjustments have been made as a result, such as organization reformation and improvement in the environment, so how is it going so far and how did you handle your tasks in Jeju?

 

Bong-jun Jin Our Company has been in the industry for 12 years and has about 70 employees. We are mostly handling B2B (Business to Business) projects. When the company was first started, it didn’t have a strict work environment but the hierarchical structure was present. However, a horizontal structure was promoted when our CEO was replaced. The very first thing the new CEO did was to use English names in the company. I was top 4 in the company ranking but now that kind of hierarchy was abolished. So changes were brought into the organization that positions were abolished yet tasks were more specified. Also, there was a change in the office space that usually a person in a higher position uses a separate room located in the inner space for himself, but efforts to abolish downsides of the vertical structure were made by abolishing designated seats and running co-working space. Meeting room table was changed to a round table and designated individual tables were changed to a hexagonal table that it was designed to make each team sit together. Desktop computers were removed and replaced with laptops. In some cases, designated seats are allowed but aside from that the environment was created to allow us to work in cafes and got rid of with the concept of ‘individual desk’, because with the presence of ‘individual desk’, the environment would easily become under the vertical structure again.

 

 We are preparing to enter overseas markets and with that, there could be situations that our developers may need to work abroad. Our work here is to experiment for those potential situations, experimenting it in abroad is unrealistic so we are doing it here in Jeju. For remote work, supplementing device for the physically separated situation should be considered, so we are using Skype or Hangout for the conference calls. We could reach conveniently since we are using communication tool like Jandi, but there are shortcomings. It’s a communication through text so in times of emergency, it’s hard to communicate in comparison with meeting in person. Furthermore, we don’t exactly know the actual situation of headquarter and vice versa so there might be misunderstandings from it. Nonetheless, it is not a problem of a tool but a problem of a person and internal process so we consider it as a side effect of a transition period.

 

 We should continue to think about it. It’s too early to decide on whether it is good or bad but one good thing I thought of while working in a remote place is that there is stress coming from the conflict of interests with each department when working in the office, but there is no such thing here so it makes me emotionally stable by working with peaceful mind.

 

 

<Bong-jun Jin is mutually communicating with Turum Soon-dong Park, the performer, at the dinner networking event for supporting stay held in April. Play Auto’s No.4 has an extraordinary vibe from his sleepers with three stripes!>

 

 

J-Space Play Auto must have a lot of developers, and they might need the optimized working space for them to work. Some developers we met through interviews shared that it took some time for them to adjust. So it was questionable if networking was necessary for them and besides, a lot of them seem to be an introvert.

 

Bong-jun Jin You’re right, Jae-sung Lee is actually a special case for a developer that he is very extrovert. Our own developers hate to transfer from their seating arrangements and prefer to work in a fully-equipped environment. So the developer who came with me last April, Sang-kwon Seo, had a hard time at the beginning. Developers need desktop monitors as many as three so coding with a small laptop screen itself was hard. As time goes by, he got used to it but perhaps, that’s because where he worked was here in Jeju that he could feel comfortable with it yet the actual environment was still a struggle. However, this buddy (Jae-sung Lee) is totally opposite.

 

Jae-sung Lee It is true but also for Sang-kwon, his field of specialty requires development with a fixed address, so to enter the server with security he needs to register IP. He can’t register IP everywhere he works so he needed to work in a designated place. On the other hand, for developing new things, a place doesn’t matter but rather a creative place for development is much needed. If the development is for maintenance, it requires concentration so working in one place could be more efficient. In fact, the advantage of digital nomad has the purpose of resulting in a creative performance and with that, it greatly helps my mind to be refreshed by transferring places. Therefore, this is suitable for me.

 

J-Space You have a lot to do in Jeju, right? You’ve met various people from the agricultural sector in Jeju, could you tell me about it? 

 

Jae-sung Lee I’ve received so many business cards. It was President Myeong-sil Kang, whom we met continuously and in-depth from the field of agriculture. We were introduced to President Myeong-sil Kang through the owner of the guesthouse for stay applicant, President Myeong-sil Kang used to be a vice present of a school and became a farmer and grows blueberries. Probably Present Myeong-sil Kang didn’t have a good connection with local residents in Jeju, so instead formed a union with people who became farmers and was offering education in order to expound on online channels. Education composed of blog posting, register for store farm, establish shopping mall called ‘modoo’ etc. We were able to get much information and to learn about the kind of value chain for the management. People in the agricultural sector are usually of old age and it was hard to approach them because, even though it's an era of IT, they were having a hard time with even blog posting. Nevertheless, people like President Myeong-sil Kang projected their strong need for online so we could focus on developing the specific service for them.

 

 Second of all, we went to Mureungoegatjip. We met Chang-wook Hong, the office head and learned about the business item called Koo-reo-mi aside from direct dealing from farming. Service for farmers was limited to direct dealing but after meeting them, we got the hope that we can develop other types of business models for farmers.

 

 Then, we met Ae-ja Kim of Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Tourism Association, who is in charge of marketing for experiencing agricultural village. This marketing was structured in a way that they offer experiencing agricultural village for free and with that many people come to experience it and buy one for two boxes of fruits from the farm in return. A lot of people are here for experience for a month and it was really good to meet different types of farmers in Jeju.

 

 

<Jae-sung Lee is presenting the result from one week of stay at the social gathering for stay applicants in May. He felt missing because there were ‘only’ 10 people of the applicants, he is a grabby and talented developer!>

 

 

Bong-jun Jin To add on to it, we have a project with the University of Jeju. In Jeju, there are tourism contents related to museums, exhibits and leisure and these mainly get tourists through online. Our project is to provide a solution to make it easier for the content sellers in online. The reason why I came here in April was actually to do a market research here since I have no connections here. At first, I was introduced to people by the center but they were not directly related to the field. We were in the process of developing ways to find people with original contents and farmers can be one of them because aside from selling their products, they also manage services like experiencing agricultural sector so we approached them.

 

 Early in May, we met farm owners again and most of them were distributing their projects through direct dealing and that direct dealing was possible through their friends. Since the dealings were done from the pool of people of their own, there is no need for an online solution for them. In the beginning, we didn’t know about these things so we had a hard time in approaching them. We told them “you should make use of online” but it wasn’t working. So slowly and deeply we try to meet them and asked their difficulties and that’s how we found their need. We surely found their need but they don’t feel the need for expanding the online platform. Nonetheless, there is a demand on how to manage online platform but they are accustomed to the hardships already so they do not even recognize the fact that they are having a hard time with it. So, we didn’t hear any positive feedbacks from the farm owners. They said, “I think I don’t need this, until when can you do it for me? I can do the dealings by using what I have now!” However as we continue to contact with farmers, we finally got to meet the people mentioned above.

 

 One thing we newly acquired is that there are people who don’t feel the need for online platforms but also there are people who feel the need for devising online channels. An example would be the president Myeong-sil Kang and with like-minded people. We ask them to introduce other like-minded people and that’s how we continued until now. Right now, we will proceed with the project we want to do. This is not a pivoting but as we meet this kind of farm owners, we think that making programs for them could be a good idea so when I return to the headquarter I will organize the thought. They make active proposals to us and when we propose in return, they try to help us in a positive manner. In addition, the original targets are also being connected. In April, when we were starting, I tried to meet people I wanted to meet directly and it didn’t work out, but after experiencing it for a month, I, myself became more flexible. What made it work was actually when I try to listen to their hardships, instead of trying to listen to what I wanted to hear from them.

 

J-Space You mentioned about developing the solution with the University of Jeju through industrial-educational cooperation and thinking of doing it with students from Computer Engineering and even furthering it to hire them.

 

Bong-jun Jin There was a kick-off meeting with the University of Jeju in March this year, and in the process, we applied for stay application. In April, we went there to have a regular meeting, because they have a laboratory for Computer Engineering. We met the students from there, talk with them and talk while having barbecues together. We also have to do team building and so it was important to know who will fit for our company. Knowing what kind of concerns they have will help us to become flexible when the students are hired so I try talking with them as much as possible. We created separate group Kakaotalk chat room and hang out from time to time and talked to each other. We feel comfortable with each other now. At first, their personality was not exclusive but rather introvert so I was careful in dealing with them but now it became so much better.

 

J-Space I think you are good at this kind of activities, such as going to meet personally and trying things again.

 

Jae-sung Lee I hope even the developers also have a good understanding of the product, have business knowledge and try to experience all these. Later on, the position doesn’t matter but everyone will take their part in developing and planning a project as well.

 

J-Space You have a mind of a leader.

 

Bong-jun Jin That dude aspires to be president.

 

 

 

 

 Bong-jun Jin, who went to Jeju with a strong mind for business, said when all the accidental encounters gathered, it results in a strong synergy, and Jae-sung Lee, who is really excited about meeting people, left us the suggestions for a lot of recreational games that can be played with more people. The fantastic pair, who may and may not look like each other, hope to see you again in Jeju!

 

 

*The above script has been slightly modified from the original interview for readability and the order of interview has been reorganized while we try to maintain Interviewee's original words and intention as much as possible.

 


 

Contact of <Play Auto> Bong-jun Jin

 

Facebook    www.facebook.com/bongjun.jin

 

Contact of <Play Auto> Jae-sung Lee

 

Facebook    www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003141275368

 

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"This is not a stable life, but it's too early to make a judgment. Now I can do what I want, so I don't regret choosing this life. I am too busy to regret."

 

Hello. I am Kyeongho Park of 'Jejusaram', connecting people in Jeju. Since about 2 years ago, when Jeju Creative Economy & Innovation Center first opened, I have used J-Space. My job requires me to meet a lot of people, and here, I could work as well as have a meeting and it had a comfortable atmosphere. So, I used to be always in this space like a fixture. Now, many people want me outside, so I use J-Space only sometimes for personal work.

 

 

 

 

'Jejusaram', Business Started by Himself After Quitting His Job

 

 'Jejusaram' is a platform that connects people who are based in Jeju and have a certain contents. This business aims to resolve issues in Jeju by connecting people and improve Jeju. Other than this business, I am currently the board president of Jeju Coop. I'm also doing other activities, and they have the drive force for my business.

 

For my business, I need to know people in Jeju very well. For example, there is some event to be arranged for vitalizing Jeju's performing arts. Then, they request me to find people they need. Then I look for the performance teams, performance planners and others who are related to the event and would make a great synergy effect working with one another. In order to be able to do that, I need to know about each individual - what they do with what kind of contents, what they are interested in, etc.

 

 

 

 

Where I Meet People Is My Workroom

 

 Jeju has oendangculture. I am from Jeju, so I could know everyone if I ask someone I know. But, now there are many people from outside Jeju and I can get to know them only if I meet and talk with them in details. That is why I always go about meeting people. So, I don't really need an office. If I have any documents I need to work on urgently, then I just come to J-Space like this or go to 24-hour cafe, open my laptop and work. I have a very tight schedule during the day, so I usually end up doing document works in the late evenings or late at night. J-Space is not open at those hours, so I mainly go to a 24-hour cafe near Halla University called 'About'.

 

Only in Jeju, A Jeju Nomad Worker

 

 I'm not a digital nomad who works in many different places but a Jeju nomad worker who travels around in this Jeju island. Jeju is a little island, but so many people live here. I travel to here and there in Jeju to meet people, so I spend a lot of time on the road. My schedule is packed from the morning till the dinner time, so it is hard to find a time solely for myself. I need to do document works late at night, so I can barely sleep. Ah, and it is not only in the Jeju-si but also Seogwipo-si, the east and the west of the island where people are. While I have many people to meet, I feel short on energy and it is overwhelming because I work by myself. So, I made my own rule. I get up in the morning and start my day playing soccer at a morning soccer club. After I finish all my day late at night, I do simple exercises. Though brief, I am both opening and wrapping up my day working out or reading.

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to meet creators in Jeju

 

 I would like to meet many people who have contents based on Jeju. J-Space has a variety of gatherings and programs, people come to do their personal work and there are startup entrepreneurs. So, it is great that I can meet many people at J-Space. Sometimes, I get close to people I see here often and help eath other. It would have been really hard if I had been alone. If you want to meet someone, please contact 'Jejusaram', Kyeongho Park!

 

 

Contact of <Jejusaram> Kyeongho Park

 

facebook    https://www.facebook.com/hihoya0

 


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