Dear Young Korean Entrepreneurs

Dear Young Korean Entrepreneurs,

There is a moment in time for all of us between the ages of 17-27 where the world starts to open up.  For me, for example, was 18 when I went off to college in California.  Some Koreans living in Korea will do the same but others won’t leave their home until well after college.  With this new found freedom will also come a lot of expectations to succeed.  There will be a lot of demand that your family, friends, and even your culture will have on you.  Korean entrepreneurs all faced the same issue.

A decade ago those expectations for most Koreans was to become a doctor, lawyer, or join a big company like Samsung or Hyundai.  However, there is a great opportunity for many young people as their minds and freedom start to open up.  That opportunity is the opportunity to shape our own lives through our own decisions.  It is to truly become independent.  I am not talking about taking care of yourself financially.  I am talking about having an independent mind to truly discover who we really are.

Free your Minds

For years Koreans have been taught in schools what to think and even how to feel.  Now with this independence young Koreans have the freedom to discover the truth on their own whatever that may be.  These 10 or so years are crucial in the development of young minds.  Whatever they decide during this time is the path they will go on for the rest of their lives (mostly).  If they set their path to work for Samsung during this time, they will most likely end up being a company man for Samsung or another big corporation for the rest of their lives.  I bring up Samsung because for most Koreans back in the day the greatest achievement was to work for Samsung, it was looked upon as success and stability.  So many Koreans followed what “society” expected of them, in essence giving up their independence.

Use Your Minds

The ability to have the freedom and the independence to use your mind is one of the most precious things you will ever have.  Humans are built to use their minds, that is the greatest asset humans have over any other species.   Humans were able to use their minds and innovative.  Through innovation came revolutions.  Humans need to continue to innovate and that is not easy to do if your mind is not free.  Many Koreans study hours and hours on tests to get into schools or prepare for corporate jobs during these crucial years.  Sure you will get into a great school and find a nice job, but where is the chance for innovation?  That job at a corporate office will always be there.  Rather than focusing on a corporate job use these precious years to challenge yourself.  Go out and figure out what you LOVE to do and what you are passionate about.  Depart from what is considered “normal”, be an innovator, be a true entrepreneur.  This, in the end, will lead you to live the best life you can live for yourself.

John Yoon

John Yoon is the Editor in Chief at Startup Radar, Organizer for Startup Festival 2017, Head of Operations Korea at EOS Asia and the Global Marketing Director for Email = if you are interested in guest contributing and helping the Korean startup ecosystem. Wechat, Kakao, and Line user ID is jswy315

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