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
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