May 16


Just finished watching Anomalisa. Film by Charlie Kaufman. One of my favorite writers. My brother has been telling me to watch this movie for a long time now. He said It was something I would really like. But I had to find myself in the mood to watch it. I didn’t want to just be munching on snacks and not pay attention. And this type of movie will be heavy so I needed to be in the mood.

One thing that put me off about the film was the stop motion animation. I’m not really a fan of it. But wow, did it work with this film. It reminds me of Waking Life. I don’t like animation either, but I love Waking Life.

I was in a funky mood. Got in an argument with the wife. Had a very long and weekend with the kids. I feel tired and I feel unhealthy. I have work stress and just stress in general. Tired and stressed and fat. Getting older.

I downloaded Anomalisa cause I was looking for something that will help me think. Something that would help me feel less lonely. Funny thing about watching a sort of depressing movie, it makes you less depressed. Probably cause it lets you know that you are not alone in this world. Someone else feels similar things.

Anyway I highly recommend this movie.

Apr 16

RIP Prince

I woke up yesterday morning with the news that the artist formerly known as price has died. I felt really weird. The last time I saw him on TV he looked perfectly healthy. 57 years old and dead. He was a musical genius for sure. He was too young. So many hits. So creative and bold.

I remember watching this tiny half black half white dude just rock it on stage. He’s wear the funkiest outfits and just own it. I secretly wished I had that type of boldness. Not just the style, but the whole attitude.

Social media is changing the way we receive and digest news. I woke up and my whole social media feed was about Prince. And it was cool to get realtime updates about how people are mourning his death. The tributes and all the respect and love. It was great to see. I noticed nothing being mentioned in Korea. Most of my Korean friends don’t even know who prince is. I had an early meeting yesterday morning and I mentioned Prince. And nothing. Crickets…

I told my Korean associates that Prince was more influential than David Bowie. Nothing. Who’s David Bowie?
I told them that even Michael Jackson was jealous of Prince.
Unfortunately Prince was putoff by the internet after his napster experimentation. So It was difficult for me to find his music online to sample. But I played all his hits and no reaction. Let’s go crazy. Kiss. Party like it’s 1999. Little red corvette. Purple rain. When doves cry. Man so many awesome songs.

RIP Prince

Apr 16

48 hour fast

sean-fastI haven’t eaten anything for 24 hours. I lie. I ate 5 lemon drops and drank 3 cups of miso soup. And I drank a grip of tea. Calorie wise, I think i had around 160 calories today. I think I usually consume 3000 calories per day. Not too shabby.

My wife started her fast last week. She kept telling me how awesome it is. I usually don’t do diets. But I decided to listen to her. I feel myself getting older and I really am concerned about my health.

Health is everything. For me it is. Now that I’m a father. I think about things I never thought about. I don’t want to work hard to provide a good life for my kids, and suffer a stroke or something. I want to work hard now so that I can enjoy some sort of early retirement. When I say retirement, I don’t mean I will just play golf or some shit like that. I want I get to a point where I never have to worry about money.

Anyway, I’m doing ok with this fast. Wife recommended I do a 3 day fast, but I can only do 2.

Come money I have to drink with a client/partner. I started a company in Korea, can’t avoid drinking engagements.

Mar 16

Seoul Olympic Opening Ceremony

It’s early Sat morning and I find myself with my 4 year old son. Weekends are not for resting when you’re a dad. I want more sleep, but I know that I only have a few more years of this with my son. I play a little hide and seek. We do some coloring. I feed him some lucky charms. We do a bit of cosplay power rangers style (i’m green ranger and my son, yellow). Only 1 hour has passed.

I let my wife sleep in with our daughter.

Son wants some jellybeans. I say no.

And I turn to youtube. But I feel guilty so I watch youtube with him. I turn on the Seoul Olympic Opening Ceremony for him. I told him I’ll show him some cool Taekwondo.

I was like 8 years old during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. To be honest, I didn’t care about it much back then. But I do remember the opening ceremony. Looking back now, as an adult, as a dad, as a startup founder in Seoul, It’s amazing. It’s amazing to see how much this country has grown. It’s amazing that I’m back here. It seems like so long ago. I started to cry a bit. Watching this low def youtube video.

I don’t know why.

Oct 15

Crowdfunding in Korea

CrowdFundingA few months ago, South Korea passed a law that made it legal to operate crowdfunding platforms. I’ve always been interested in crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo so I did some digging and started researching some of these sites.

kseedThe problem I see is that South Korea’s market size is too small. This is an issue with Korean’s startup ecosystem. We only have about 50 million people here. I don’t see this space being sustainable for more than 1 player. And even if we get one dominate platform…wouldn’t it be better to post a project to either kickstarter or indiegogo? The problem is language and I’ve been seeing agencies offering this specific type of service. Companies like KSeed help Korean startups prepare crowdfunding campaigns for Global platforms.

Here is a list of crowdfunding sites in Korea.

tumblbugTumblbug. Probably the most famous crowdfunding platforms in Korea. Just received around $1.6 million.

Fundu. One of the first sites in this space. Deals mostly with books and comics etc…


Terafunding. Real estate crowd funding hence the tera? But shouldn’t it be terra as in terra firma?

Kickki. Very little activity.

OpenTrade. Also one of the main competitors in Korea.

Ohmycompany. Has a large user base.

Wadiz. Not much going on here.

FundingTree. Like a micro loan website?


Villy. Means “borrow” in Korean.

Funding club.





And also found some Korean government run organizations/associations.

Korea Crowd Funding Association.

Korea Crowdfunding Platforms.

This is a side note, but I want to be less lazy with this blog. Just in life general. Less lazy. I love blogging and everything. And I’ve been a blogger since like 2007, but it’s so time consuming. I wanted to write up a quick list of crowdfunding sites in Korea, and I ended up burning like an hour and a half. Can someone solve this problem? Build a platform that people can easily update that people can own.

Sean Lee out.

Sep 15

Relaunching Seoulspace and Startuptree

Seoul-SpaceKorea still has a lot of changing to do until it can be recognized as a major tech hub. Starting to read some news on Korean unicorns and etc…but i’m still not seeing an environment where new startups can grow. I wanna change it somehow. Sounds crazy but yeah…why not me? I’ll do it.

A few years ago, I came across Seoulspace. It seemed exciting at the time to read about a startup accelerator here in Seoul. I think in the last year or two, a whole bunch of startup accelerators are popping up. I made my rounds when I first launched Mashups. It was terrible. It was for students. And they were only looking for companies that fast followed. Companies that copied an existing app. Anyway, I have the opportunity to relaunch Seoulspace and Startuptree.

I’m working with devs and my designer to create a unique and honest community for startups here in Seoul, South Korea.

To be continued…

May 15

Startups in Seoul

startups-seoul-south-koreaI’ve been doing the startup thing for about a year now. 365 days. Seems not too long. But I have to say that i experienced so much. Looking back, I feel stupid for thinking that I could do this. But i’m a year wiser and I understand the flow of the startup scene here in Seoul, Korea.

It’s pretty safe to say that most cities have their own take on what the startup scene should look like. Seoul is different from the states. Seoul is small. But it’s super dense. So most people pretty much know each other. And the startup culture in Seoul isn’t as developed. So a lot of the venture capitalists/angel investors can take advantage of startup founders.

If I had to clone myself and send my clone back in time, this would be my advice.

1. Don’t quit your job till you and your co-founders have a product. It doesn’t even have to be a beta version. But have to have something to show. Can’t just shop around a deck and expect people to give you money.

2. Test your work environment and team chemistry with your co founders. I started Mashups with two other co founders. Unfortunately, I had to kick one of my co founders out a few months ago. I’m a big believer in the “team is better than product” saying.

3. Eat ramen and don’t buy anything. Don’t buy equipment, computers, furniture. Just bring stuff from home. Money burns fast as a startup and you need to make each Dollar or Won count.

4. Get an office. I know i said that money burns fast, but the work space is essential. Hard to focus at a coffeeshop. And when you pay rent, the whole team’s mentality gets serious. Everyone has to give 110%. Everyone on the team has to go all in. And paying rent give you a great work space for the team, and gets everyone to go all in.

5. Sell your family. You have to get your family to really believe in your startup. This is really important. There were times when i cried by myself. I was so stressed and scared. If My wife and my family didn’t support my crazy ass decision, I think i would have quit. And that’s the key to increase your odds. Survival. Just survival for that next pitch. Survive for the next meeting, lead, etc…

Mar 15

Alliance Business Model

voltron-allianceFor the last few weeks, I’ve been busy drafting a new plan for my company at Mashups. Startup life has its ups and downs, but I don’t regret a moment of it. I’ve learned so much in the past year and I feel confident that the direction I’m heading now is the right one. Even if it doesn’t turn out like I planned, I know that I will learn and grow. And honest, it’s all about the journey anyway.

“Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations.” Tim O’Reilly

I’m pleased to announce that Mashups has been acquired by 500v. 500v is a Korean portfolio company specializing in the new online to offline market. 500v developed a new and improved Alliance Business Model. I feel that Mashups can help 500v achieve many of the goals it set out to achieve.

Sean Lee out.

Mar 15

O2O online to offline

I’m not sure if O2O is a thing in the global startup landscape, but in South Korea, it’s one of the hot keywords. O2O means online to offline. This idea started with the start of social commerce like Groupon. But it’s being applied to just general ecommerce sites. “I purchase something online and I pick it up at the store.” Sounds pretty lame right. Very 1999. I think best buy let you do this 2 decades ago.

For me this idea of Online to Offline seems silly. Even without a term for it, we naturally interact with things online and offline. This has been happening way before the iPhone or social media. Of course the things we consume online effects our offline habits.

I’m big on data. So what I’m interested in is figuring out a way to create a platform with all of this new big data stuff.

I’ve been working with big data and beacon technology. I’m a big believer in data. And I can see that it will change the way we do everything. In 5 to 10 years, everything will have a sensor. Our cups, our clothes, and all of these things will send data to the cloud.

My company is working on a new project. We are creating an advertising platform that bridges online to offline. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to share more via my blog. Stayed tuned.

Feb 15

The thing about Burnout

BurnoutThe thing about burnout is that it doesn’t happen when your stress level is at its peak. Burnout doesn’t happen when you’re swiping your credit cards for cash advances to pay rent and pay your employees. It doesn’t happen when you’re calling out to Jesus to come down from heaven and rescue you from startup hell.


It happens after you get some money. It happens after a great pitch. It happens when you have to something to lose. And you have to do boring stuff…like work. It happens when you have time. Time to think about what a bad idea starting your startup was. I mean really!?!? What what you thinking? Now what?

Burnout comes when you have time to think about last month. Thinking bout how God awful that experience was. How you never ever want to go thru that again.

And Burnout happens often. You look at your cofounders and have the same conversation. Should we pivot? Should we do some agency work to make ends meet? Are we a good team? Do we really know how to do this?

Sean Out