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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