Sep 14

Fragmentation of Information in Korean Startup Space

fragmentation-infoI moved out here to Seoul Korea 4 years ago. I had trouble early on because Korea isn’t really a foreigner friendly place. Out of Asia’s major cities, I’d rank Seoul be last on the list. I speak Korean, but it was still hard. A lot of factors for why this is, but I want to blame the Korean internet.

Seoul has the world’s fastest internet speeds. It has the largest mobile smart phone market penetration. Yet, the Korean web is filled with old tech such as ActiveX. Trying to buy something online is a huge pain in the ass. You have to enter in all of these security codes and have certain software installed etc…

Google isn’t a major search engine here. Everything is pretty much Naver. This poses a serious problem for English speakers. This day and age, we are all dependent on getting info from Google. If Google can’t find some relevant info, what are we to do?

I recently launched a new startup in Seoul. Trying to find info about the startup scene here is taxing. Naver sucks and if I want to use it, I have to have get a native speaker on my team to help me. If I use google, I don’t get much. Cause there aren’t that many English based content about Seoul’s startup scene.

So it all boils down to content. Information. Fragmentation of information in the Korean Startup scene is one of the issues that my Startup is trying to fix.

1. The info that is available isn’t organized. It’s hard to find. It takes too much time to sort out and digest.

2. There isn’t enough content available for Google to crawl and index.

Starting with these two points, my team and I are in the process of building a platform that addresses these problems. I feel a need for it personally. And if it can help other Startup founders…Great.

Sean Lee out!

Sep 14

Mojang’s Notch Leaves The Company He Started

notch-mojang-minecraftLast week news became official that Microsoft acquired Mojang, the maker of the uber popular bricks game “Minecraft.” After the deal was made official, Notch came out with a blog post about him leaving.

Here are some of my own personal thoughts about Notch (Markus Persson, Founder of Mojang), Twitter opinions, and being corporate, and self censorship.

1. Congrats to Notch for the success of his game and selling it to one of the biggest tech companies in the world. 2.5 billion dollars ain’t too shabby at all.

2. I always thought Notch was rock and roll. Talking trash about big companies and not having to kiss ass. It’s even sweeter cause he sold to the company he used to talk trash about.

3. We are all individuals with so much to offer. But in the adult world, we get handed labels and titles. It sucks to just be a digital marketer. Or a game developer. Or a comedy writer. We can all do so much more. Other things that don’t fit into our current category. Notch leaving the company helps him focus on little projects he’s interested in. Bravo!

4. Im a big fan of 4chan and the whole anonymous culture. Some serious issues come out of hiding behind the internet, but overall, I feel that freedom of speech is the biggest freedom a human being has. Getting rich and famous kills this. You are not able to express anything. That’s why I hate corporate meet ups or meetings. Can’t be real in those settings.

5. Twitter is getting lame. It’s because it’s so big that it has to make money. It’s not Facebook, but it’s trying too hard to be Facebook. Even as an advertiser, Twitter is the worst. Most of the followers are spam. It’s all cluttered. The data is just noise. But Twitter breaks stories. It gives anyone a voice. It’s a revolutionary platform. Much more powerful than Facebook. It has a lot of potential, but here’s the thing. Celebrities, big brands, and regular users with a pretty large following have to self censor. Most of these accounts are run by advertising agencies or PR firms. If only it was possible that for the platform to be a true outlet for open communication…

6. The next Twitter will be a hybrid of snapchat/4chan/facebook. If a new startup can figure out how to balance out privacy, security, archiving of data, and user ID and authentication, It’ll be the next billion dollar company.

7. I first stated this blog to do some self branding. I wanted to make it more professional. More adult. I started to get corporate. I hated this blog. That’s why I never really updated it until recently. Now I’m on my own again. I don’t have to deal with the bullshit. And personal blogs are only interested when it gets personal. I don’t want your personal blog to be like your linkedin profile. Get dirty and controversial. Or else what’s the point. So, I’m gonna talk shit this blog. I’m going to pretend that I’m drunk or stoned and I’m sharing an awesome conversation with my college roommate.

8. 2.5 billion dollars. Man. I don’t know when it stated, but I read about this figure on a daily basis now. When did this happen. Was it after the Facebook movie, and that quote “A million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool? A billion dollars.” This means that making a million dollars is a lot easier now. A billion dollars used to seem like a made up number. Like gazillion. Brazillion. Godzillian. But it’s real. And I don’t think it’s impossible now. So crazy.

9. A hit game, app, platform, website, or song. It’s like pop music. All you need is one hit. 1 hit. Just one 3 min song and you can live a life that isn’t so ordinary and mediocre. As long as you keep a level head, and are stupid with money, you can provide a shackle free life for you and your family. Don’t be chained to a salary job. Free from a boss and desk.

10. Wow I made it to 10! Why is 10 such a good number for lists?

Sean Lee out!

Sep 14

Tech Founder Documentaries

twitter-evan-williams-biz-stone-jack-dorseySpent the last few nights watching some tech founder documentaries. I wanted to make a list here so I can look it up later. Hopefully you will also get inspired by these documentary films about famous Founder CEOs. Most are from the brilliant Bloomberg Game Changers series.

Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Jack Dorsey.

Steve Jobs.

Jeff Bezos.

Larry Ellison.

Elon Musk.

Bill Gates.

Mark Zuckerberg.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Mark Cuban.

Reid Hoffman.

Sean Lee out!

Sep 14

Start Your Company. Big Brands and Humble Beginnings

Apple_I_ComputerI recently launch a new tech startup called MashUps. It’s always been a dream of mine to create something that people can use. I look at how I am now. I like to create. For example, I’m not a big sports fan. When I say that, I’m talking about on the consumer level. I love basketball with a passion. And golf is love/hate, but I love it at times when my swing is fluid. But I stopped watching the NBA or college hoops years ago. And I never actually watched a golf on tv. Why? Because I’d rather be doing than watching. This is how I view my career. I don’t want to be on the sidelines. Or worse, I don’t want to be on the sofa with a beer in hand just watching other people play a game.

It’s safe to say that most people are consumers not creators. People like me are the outliers. We are the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels. Part of my drive is due to my extreme laziness. I don’t want to get up at 6am to go to an uninspired job. I don’t want to have small talk with people I’m not even remotely interested in. For me, that’s a horrible way to live. And I see more for myself and I’m greedy to provide more for my family. Not just money, I want freedom. Freedom to wake up at 11am. Or not wake up at all. Freedom to go to Paris on a whim with the family. Freedom to say no to projects that are boring. Life is short.

“It’s a simple investment. You only have to invest almost all of your money. On the upside, after a year you might earn 3 percent more. The downside? Any day you could lose it all, for reasons usually outside your control and that you will almost never see coming.
Would you make that investment? Of course not.
Yet millions of people do–every day they go to work for someone else.”
Excerpt from “The only way to get really really rich

Most startups face tremendous obstacles during the early stages. The founders have to be mentally strong to not give up on the business. We recently opened our Seoul office. It’s a big gamble and stress is high. That’s why I wanted to inspire myself and my team with this blog post about the humble beginnings of some of the most admirable global brands.

Apple. Photo at Top. Founded by Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Wozniak in 1976. Started out making Do-it-yourself home computer kits.

amazon-1995Amazon. Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994. Started out as an online book retailer.

yahoo-1994Yahoo. Founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in 1994 as a webpage with a bunch of links.

facebook-2004Facebook. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, and Chris Hughes as Harvard University’s web yearbook.

nike-1971Nike. Founded by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight in 1964. Made some basic tennis/running shoes.

hp-1939Hewlett-Packard. Founded by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in 1939. The mother of all garage startups.

Be inspired!

“Never give up, never surrender!” Galaxy Quest

Sean Lee out!