When we think of successful CEOs, we recall smart people. It seems, however, that people who found large companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are different. In fact, they were just normal students like us and they started from humble beginnings. CAH met a fellow student who faces the same challenges. his name is Lee Yo-han. He majors in electrical and electronic engineering. He has aspired to make a startup company since high school, and he is on the way towards fulfilling his dreams. Despite of his young age, he has numerous valuable experiences and he is almost an expert in his field since he created a startup school project. CAH met him in a cafe. He looked so young, and as we started the interview, his eyes were full of sincerity.
CAH: Hello we are Chung-Ang Herald. Can you introduce yourself to Chung-Ang University students?
LEE: Hello, I am Lee Yo-han, a student in the department of electrical and electronic engineering from the year 2016. I am taking time off from my studies for my work. From August 19, this year, I've quit my job in Micro Impact and am starting a startup company.
CAH: We heard that you were in the production team of the company Micro Impact until August. Micro Impact is a company that produces content which has positive effects on society through lectures. Can you introduce your former company and what the differences are between it and other companies?
LEE: Micro Impact is not simply a lecture company. The vision Micro Impact has is the recovery of the essential substance and making a community for our youth. To accomplish those things, Micro Impact has been holding various big events such as Youth Arena, Youth Festival, and Youth Medici Grand Master Class, and also small events like Golden Mike, and Standup. During those events, we bring not only famous people for big stages but also people we can see nearby, who are young enough to be called youth. All the people on the stages left meaningful lessons through stories about their lives. I was really impressed by one of the stories in the Standup event. The story was about the Queer festival. Famous YouTube stars and ordinary people met and talked about the prejudice towards gays and lesbians. The talk was so profound that the audience members, including me, were so impressed.
CAH: What exactly is the objective of Micro Impact’s projects? Can you give me one example of them?
LEE: My colleagues in Micro Impact and I thought that the words "enthusiasm" and "youth" are used too often. They are consumed so carelessly. In the media, "enthusiasm" and "youth" are magic keywords that can make anything possible. Rather than thinking them as magic words, I think we have to discuss what we could do with them. As we are young, we could and should know the things that only we can do and which we like to do. However, the media is using the words only for commercial purposes. For change, Micro Impact is working hard by making new contents.
CAH: How did you first hear about the company Micro Impact, and how did you enter it?
LEE: I took my school days for a while. I had many absences from class while I did startup stuff. First, I made Demo-day and Startup school. After I talked with people who know well about startups, I thought I might superficially know about startup if I did it like this. I decided to go to a venture company that fitted me well. I have known about Micro Impact since I was a 3rd grade student in high school. I liked the values it pursued so I entered the company during the 9th open recruitment.
CAH: You are living a distinctive life – You are doing your work and your study at the same time. Maybe people might be surprised about it.
LEE: Frankly speaking, I am not studying and working at the same time because I've been taking a long break from my school life. I worked hard for what I really like and this brought me here.
CAH: You major in the electrical and electronic engineering. How did you choose your major?
LEE: I studied natural science and engineering when I was in high school. When I had to choose my major in university, I considered what I would enjoy studying. Among many engineering majors, I compared them, considering which one would be more fun. During that time, I fell into VR, virtual reality. To study more about VR, the department of electrical and electronic engineering was the right place to go. It is not directly related to what I am doing now, but I am thinking about founding a company with technologies I learned about in my major. While my studies are on hold, I am working widely for personal connections and experiences in the company, but in the end, I want to make an IT company. That’s my objective.
CAH: Are there any advantages you can get from your major that could help your work?
LEE: Enrolling in the department of electrical and electronic engineering allows me to meet many people. Our department provides opportunities for starting up and students from there could also study about startups as a major. That point is one of the reasons why I chose my major and I got in contact with seniors in startup companies.
CAH: Your thoughts and vision of startup seem to be profound. We guess you have considered this for a long time. Did you do anything similar in your middle school or high school periods?
LEE: I decided to found a company when I was in the 2nd grade of high school. I did an activity called Spanner, where my friends and I could put out ideas and make them into projects. I realized that my friends wanted to do many things in many fields. It was a valuable experience because I didn’t let my idea stay merely as a word, I made it happen in the real world. Also, I realized that it is a great asset to live my life doing what I really want to do. After I graduated, I contributed to a project one of my friends was doing and got into a foundation group.
CAH: On your social network service page, it is written, “Let’s do something that makes me awake.”. It seems to be your motto. Do think you are living according to your motto?
LEE: I am a little ashamed. Well, it is a word like a compass in my life. It is the standard that I considered most whenever I find what to do for the last 2 years. To be specific about the words, it could be expressed using these two questions. Can I enjoy this work? Can I be more excited than tired while doing this? When I start a project, I have to work more than 12 hours a day. So I think it is necessary to really like the job in order to do it properly. Micro Impact was the work I really wanted to do and made me enthusiastic. Moreover, the 2 years might be useless if the job wasn’t fun. So these words, on my Facebook page, are a compass in my life.
CAH: Since childhood, you have been living an enthusiastic life. CAH and many people in Chung-Ang university want to learn that point. What drives and motivates you to life this way?
LEE: I think the best result comes when we do a job that we really like. As we like the job, we can try our best. It also means that while we work, it's fun, and we feel excited rather than fatigue. People nearby me always ask me, “Aren't you tired?”. I always answer, “I'm having fun with this job and really like this, and that means I'm not tired.” Some people ask, “I get easily tired when I do my own work. I don’t even know why I am working, or what I like. I want to be more enthusiastic.” I think it is not the matter of enthusiasm. Study and work are not fun if we don’t like them. If we don’t like something, it is not fun, and it gets hard to do. It is a bad currency. I think that to do something steadily, we have to work at what we really like. That’s it.
CAH: Since you entered Chung-Ang university, you have done many activities such as EAST 4th president and STEPx orator. Did the activities in Chung-Ang University help you?
LEE: First, I think it is good for me to meet many people. This point could help me when I start a new project. I haven’t worked a lot in my school until now, but I am planning to do more activities in the future. In those activities, I really want to work with students in Chung-Ang University. More than a club, I want to make a startup company in my school and that would make me grow up once more. Also, the link business group in Chung-Ang University helped me a lot. I appreciate their support.
CAH: Did you ever worry about your job’s instability?
Lee: Oh, it is really unstable, I always concerned about it. The pay is not stable since I work as a freelancer. As a freelancer, I work outside projects, more specifically, making PowerPoint presentations, and emceeing festivals to make money. Startup projects do not guarantee constant pay. If the company didn’t have enough profits, I could not get my salary. As Micro Impact is a venture company, I have to show my performance to get enough pay. Also, if I want to found a new company, I have to worry about investments and assets in order to run the company. If there is not enough money, even if the idea is good, the project faces a high probability of failure. I saw many people struggling to get enough investment. Looking at them, I thought that I could also have difficulties. By the way, what else? It is the job we started because we wanted to do.
CAH: What do you think of activities in the school? Do you have any objectives you want to achieve while commuting to Chung-Ang university?
LEE: I do not simply think of the clubs in the school as students’ own projects. They might be valuable. I want to support them financially and in business. This means I want to work as a company builder that can help students with good ideas. Moreover, I want to make a company that could support culture field planning managers. It is hard to be more specific, but I want to do a job that can help people and can deal with human resources. I also want to meet people who really want to do something and help them by leading them to the right way. That’s the biggest objective I have.
CAH: Thank you for your sincere good words. This is the last question. What do you want to say to the Chung-Ang University students who have their own dreams?
LEE: The only thing I can say to the people walking their ways is, “Do what you really like.” Many of you might be worried about what you would do in the future, and what you like. To address these concerns, there might be students preparing for employment tests and others studying to be public officials. Our job is the biggest matter of our life. It takes the most time in life. For this reason, we have to find a job that we really want to do and that perfectly fits ourselves. Although it takes time, in order not to regret the decision, find what you like and do it!
Listening to his energetic stories and thoughts, CAH also became more energetic. It was good to see his enthusiastic attitude and specific vision of the future. During the interview, he always said to find the work you may like. He knew the power of being fond of the work. It is so strong that makes you stay all night working and not being tired. Rather, it would make you smile. Most people nowadays find a way to be safe and try not to live an adventurous life. However, some people, like Lee Yo-han, find a job they really like. They could work harder than other people only because they love what they do. CAH is awaiting his future projects, that may also inspire many Chung-Ang University students who want to start up a company.
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