Nov 14


ensight-moduleBeen working hard on Mashups‘ first product the last 6 months. I named it “ensight“, for event insight. I’m really excited about this product. Ensight is an offline analytics solution. The solution package has 3 parts.

1. The first part is a Bluetooh Low Energy beacon that communicates with receiver beacons and mobile phones.
2. The second part is a native mobile app is used for networking, viewing business cards, and digital brochures.
3. The third part is a cloud based analytics platform. This is where all the data is crunched and stored.

The goal of the ensight is make it possible for sponsors to measure ROI at these large corporate events.

Find out more info by visiting the ensight website.

Sean Lee out!

Oct 14

No Benchmarking

I started my company because I wanted to do something new. It’s been 6 months since I left my Samsung job and started my startup Mashups. It’s been crazy. Days filled with excitement and new fresh ideas. And nights of pain, anxiety, and frustration. I understood that it was going to be hard. I knew it was going to be hell.

I get asked the case study and benchmarking questions a lot. How am I supposed to explain something that hasn’t been invested yet. Something that hasn’t been tested. There is no benchmark. No case study. No business template that we can copy. I wouldn’t have risked so much to setup a company to do something that others are already doing.

I can see 3-6 months into the future. It’s a beautiful place. A land of plentiful seed funding. An oasis of money greens and fancy blue drinks. A creative paradise filled with fun, excitement, and positive energy.

But, it’s possible to give it all up in the next few months because it’s so hard. The debt. The marital stress. Sleep deprivation. Loss off team members.

But, I say fuck it!
I go all the way!
I’m all in!

“You need a lot of passion for what you’re doing because its so hard. Without passion, any rational person would give up.
So if you’re not having fun doing it, if you don’t absolutely love it, you’re going to give up.
And that’s what happens to most people, actually.
If you look at the ones that ended up being successful in the eyes of society, often times its the ones who love what they do, so they could persevere when it got really tough.
And the ones that didn’t love it, quit. Because they’re sane, right?
Who would put up with this stuff if you don’t love it?
So its a lot of hard work and its a lot of worrying constantly.
If you don’t love it, you’re going to fail.” Steve Jobs

Sean Lee out.

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!

Aug 14

The future of mobile payments, Apple, Google, Amazon

iphone-fingerprintIt’s no secret that big corporations are planting the seed for the next generation of payment processing solutions. It’s a big industry to tackle. If you consider the fact that coins ruled for thousands of years. And paper currency for about a hundred years. Plastic credit cards have held firm for a few decades. The next generation will be even more secure and easy to use.

Right now there is a lot of talk about bitcoin. I personally like the concept of cryptocurrency, but the adoption rate is low and it will take a strong tech giant, or a partnership of these giant tech companies to execute the infrastructure and protocol. It’s too fragmented and only the tech savvy are playing around with this type of currency.

So, what will the future hold? Theres only really 3 players in this game. The three companies that can build and execute on the next generation mobile payments are Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Google already tried and failed with Google wallet. But Google is a trusted brand with deep multi device OS penetration. People trust Google. People already know how to use Google services. It’s just a matter of people getting onboard.

Amazon and Apple are two companies that hold the most credit card info of consumers. This gives these two companies a big head start. Both have a lot of money to execute.

If I was a betting man, I’d put all of my money on Apple. Here’s why.

1. Apple already does payment transaction on iTunes.

2. Apple is a trusted brand when it comes to security and consumer experience.

3. The integration of the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone was a big hit. It created a perception of security and it’s the best case example of user experience.

4. Recent iBeacon tech can possible payment processing and ease of use to the next level. Hardware to setup iBeacon payment stations are cheap and will be widely available in the near future.

Can you imagine visiting a coffee shop or a department store and just selecting your purchase and putting your finger on your phone to complete the transaction? How awesome is that? No need to carry a wallet. We already have our phones with us at all times. It’s secure and simple.

Note. I left out Paypal or Square out of this because in the big picture, they will merely be vendors or partners in this equation. Going into your phone and launching the Paypal app is already too much work for the future. I feel that the feature will need to happen at the root level. This gives a big advantage for Apple and Google.

Sean Lee out.

Aug 14

Internet of Everything IoE

tiny-chip-golfball-freescaleThree buzzwords for 2014 are iBeacons, Wearable Tech, and Internet of Things (IoT). Actually these terms have been around for at least a couple of years. But we are seeing a lot of traction within the industry. A lot of startups are testing out mashups of these products/services.

tiny-chip-thumbWhen I was a 7, computers were big, heavy, and expensive. At 14 my science teacher told me that one day computer chips will be so inexpensive and small that even a paper cup will house a microchip. Fast forward 22 years and we have the Internet of Everything (IoE).

My team and I are currently working on some applications for the Internet of Things. At MashUps, we hope to build something not for the sake of building tech into it, but for it to be really useful. We want simple solutions. We want automated data. It’s 2014 and we don’t expect people to have to do much to engage with our product/service.

vessyl-smart-cupOne of my favorite products that came out in the last few months is the Vessyl smart cup. Put a chip in a cup and it tells you what you’re drinking. I imagine tupperware or others to follow suit.

I’m going to just list some ridiculously simple everyday products that can possibly integrate a microchip. (Shoe, bag, shopping cart, glasses, chair, toilet, stove, toys, clock, sofa, bed)

The list goes on and on. There you go, you have the starting point for your startup.

Sean Lee out!

Aug 14

I don’t care about Tech or iBeacons

iBeacon-sean-leeI consider myself to be an early adopter. I tend to waste a lot of my disposable income on tech gadgets that become junk after a few months. But I do it cause it’s fun and I think it’s very cool, in a nerdy geekedout way. The products that really grab me are the ones that remove the tech.

What Do I mean by removing tech? Hide it the best you can. Cause honestly, on the consumer or even the B2B side, noone cares about tech. They just want it to work. So basically it’s all about the user experience. It has to work like magic.

How many of you understand how airplanes work? I don’t. You have this huge metal box that forces itself from the ground and slides in the air. Crazy. I don’t want to know the details. I just want it to get me to my destination without crashing.

The highest penetration of any high tech ever much be the mobile phone. Mainly the smart phone. I don’t have hard numbers to support my next statement. But, I think that most people only use about 10-20% of the devices capabilities. People buy the top of the line high performance stuff, but end up only using 10% of the thing.

So, people are stupid. People are lazy. Consumers just want to consume without effort.

Currently I’m working on an iBeacon solution at Mashups LLC. I don’t really educate or polish the Bluetooth Smart tech that is involved. I just want it to work for my user base. Without any type of hurdle or barrier.

Right now, the iBeacon space is basically a mobile app platform with hardware. You have to install an app on your phone. And you get spam notifications about discounts. I see that it can become something different altogether. MashUps LLC’s solution has no app installs. And No spam notification. This eliminates the major barriers for true organic engagement.

I don’t care about the tech. What I love about iBeacon tech is that it is cheap and a single coin cell battery can power it for years.

I’m 36 years old. I left a comfortable job at Samsung to do this startup. I wouldn’t risk my job and family wellbeing to build an app that spams people with 15% off coupons.

Sean Lee out!

Aug 14

K-pop Dreams documentary like Hoop Dreams.

kpop-dreams-snsdI currently live in Seoul, Korea. The K-pop explosion happened right before my eyes. I’m not a huge fan but I see the potential that this little country has as far as selling culture and becoming a world power as far as culture.

Unfortunately, K-pop is basically western pop. The Korean dramas are soap operas. The music scene is dominated by N-sync type boy and girl bands. And K-pop’s biggest star is Psy, a Korean rapper. (rap originated in the USA)

But, what if, it could go deeper. What if the audience becomes sophisticated faster. What if K-pop starts to innovate in the digital age.

hoop_dreams_documentaryAnyway, I read an interesting article a few days ago that I wanted to share. It’s a piece that follows the K-Pop Dreams of the members of the girl band Billion. As I was reading the story, I kept visualize scenes that were dark and seedy. One of my fav all time documentary films is Hoop Dreams. I become inspired to create. I was thinking about producing and or directing a K-pop documentary.

Sean Lee Out