"KaTok* to me~" It is a new bye. KakaoTalk became a routine for smartphone users. Some people buy smartphone to use KakaoTalk. KaKaoTalk is the most beloved application among
smartphone users. So The Sookmyung Times (SMT) met the developer of KaKao Talk and the
president of KaKao corp, Lee Je-beom (LEE).
SMT Communication service was quite unfamiliar until iPhone is sold in Korea. How did you take an interest in that field?
LEE KakaoTalk attracted 20 million members in a year and a half and developed rapidly. I think it was possible due to a dramatic alteration so called ‘Smartphone revolution’. I used to develop Web services and accumulated techniques and know-how. In late 2009, I concentrated on smartphone application development, especially on communication service to make provision for
iPhone release in Korea. Since, I believed that communication service will be the biggest market in mobile Internet compared to search engine created the biggest market in desktop Internet.
SMT These days, stable jobs such as public official, school teacher, and doctors are the most eager occupations. Many people are afraid to challenge. What is challenge for you?
LEE No one challenges, there will be no change and no improvement. Challenging spirit that dare to fail can create novel values and change the world. In the era of the mobile Internet, bold advance toward the global market is needed. The opportunity to enter the global market is more open in the era of the mobile Internet. If a company settles for the domestic market like previous Internet companies, it will be nothing but a babe in the woods. I hope that young people challenge
the global market and make success stories. Now, I long for the time that we, Korean can dream a success in the global market.
SMT What is the motto of Kakao Corp?
LEE Business philosophy of KaKao is “Making a better world together.” We will develop and provide services to make a better world and continue our efforts to foster healthy mobile ecosystem growing together. If we can make the world better and happier place through our endeavor, I think that is a success for KakaoTalk.
SMT It seems that application development is scientific and engineering field. What do you think about it? Many students who major in liberal arts will be curious.
LE E Developers with scientific and technical knowledge is essential because applications are made by programs. However, there are few apps or services that are made by a developer on his own. Developers, planners, and designers make them together as a team. It is human that utilize services. No services can last for long if there is no understanding about human and society. In that sense, knowledge and interest in humanities play crucial role to make good services. Considering of the services that people need, inconveniences, and potential needs and coming up with innovative ideas will be a foundation to make a worthy mobile service.
SMT How do you have an insight to read current trend?
LEE I think efforts to keep up with trend in rapid pace of change and learn new technologies and services. Reading blogs popular in native and foreign could be a good way to catch up current trend. It is also an effective way to receive news and opinion filtered by IT professionals via Twitter.
SMT In the united states, it is a fad for quitting school to start a business emulating people like Zuckerberg, and Gates. Starting own business became easier than ‘dot com bubble’. To reflect this trend many youngsters in Korea dream of being the next Lee Je-beom. Do you have any advices to app developers in the future?
LEE In my opinion, man can achieve as much as he dream. There is hardly anyone who succeeds at the first go-off. Most of the successful people experienced many failures and learnt lessons to finally succeed. Having a big dream and challenging spirit daring to fail are the most important.
SMT Is there any special reason to get interested in inspiring youngsters?
LEE If there is no one to challenge, the society would be fall behind. The future of Korea is up to college students and youngsters. If I can share my humble experiences with them and help them to lower some trials and errors, it will be the most valuable thing for me. Thus, I try to participate in interviews or lectures from college to talk with them closer.
SMT Originally, businesses aim to make profits. However, KakaoTalk is kind of kindhearted company to users in many facets. How do you think of social roles of companies and managers?
LEE Success of a company is possible owing to hard work of staff members, however, antecedently companies have to be sure to remember that it was possible thanks to the golden opportunities from society. Huge success is a problem of who catch the opportunity that society made first. Thus, companies should faithful to their social duties and roles. Kakao is in its infancy and has a long way to go, however, I think we have to start the efforts to contribute to society now. For past 10years, it was the dark ages for venture businesses. Major companies and portal site companies monopolized the market and venture companies could hardly survive. However, the era of the mobile Internet came, the opportunities for ventures opens up. Mobile ecosystem is the keyword for KaKao now. We continue our efforts to contribute to build mobile ecosystem that let ventures and mobile companies grow together. Creating a bigger market and building mobile ecosystem that enables challenging new ventures grow together are Kakao’s dream.
Graduated in Department of Industrial Engineering from Seoul National University. Developer of Kakao Talk. President of Kakao Corp.
* the abbreviation of KakaoTalk