Start-Up: Are you Team Living Buddha or Team Good Boy?

Start-Up: Are you Team Living Buddha or Team Good Boy?


Jason Occidental

Jason Occidental

27 Nov 2020, 13:30 — 6 min read

As of writing this, I’m still at episode 3 of 'Start-Up'. But I really wanted to make a comparison between the two leading men, Han Ji Pyeong (Kim Seon Ho) and Nam Do San (Nam Joo Hyuk), in terms of personal and startup style. The graphic below just shows the summary, but I’ll explain it further in this article.

Image credit:


Their Backgrounds

Nam Do-San

Technology background: He has expertise in Artificial Intelligence (AI), specifically in image processing.


In a startup, you need someone with a technology background who is often the source of your 'magic' or your competitive advantage (some startups have innovations in business models/processes). Having a background in the same field, this is definitely a tech trend to look out for.


However, as I always mention in my lectures, technology alone can't take you far or even take-off. This is evident in the situation of their company Samsan Tech that only has the tech and no revenue model. I also didn't like the way he explained Machine Learning. Quite cringey. Please use the children and computers comparison for teaching the concept.


Han JiPyeong
Investment background: He has awareness of business trends, especially in the tech scene with a 100% success rate in his portfolio (The industry average is only around 5-10%).


In a startup, investment is needed to gain traction and scale up. An investor doesn't just mean having a lot of money but he also knows how to make the money grow.


However, not all investors have a tech background and he is one of them. I saw him struggle to connect the HDMI and USB ports of the computers in one episode. He knows the industry trends and is someone who keeps an eye on competition or new technologies.


My Take

One thing is for sure, both of them don't have the CEO DNA as Dal-mi. Do-san thrives as a CTO and Ji-Pyeong thrives as an investor. A CEO requires strong communication skills, which is not their strong point (I will expound on this part in another bullet point). Both of them are good in those positions; and in a startup, these roles are as important as the CEO.


Natural Talents/Childhood Achievements

Math genius - one of the youngest winners at a Math Olympiad. It is fitting for him to have a good background in AI since it needs a lot of number crunching.

Ji-Pyeong: Risk taker - won in an investment competition. People can argue that investors are also good with numbers, but what sets them apart is the risk-taking aspect.


My Take

Maximize and capitalize on your natural talents. Also, do not compare yourself with child prodigies. They may be ahead of you, but you can always learn and un-learn. It's a continuous process and it is what will make you competitive in your career.



Do-San: Loves knitting. Nothing much I could say since I might be spoiling if I do.

Ji-Pyeong: Loves plants. He is a certified plantito. Have you noticed the Fiddle leaf fig in his office? He also has a hydroponics system, yes I noticed that! Sorry, biased on this.

My Take

I really felt the show's intention for these subtle details is to break gender roles. Pursuing either of these hobbies does not mean you need to be a female.


Family and Friends

Do-San: Has two very dependable friends that are also his co-founders. Having people that share the same interests and vision as you is important in a startup. Moreover, his parents gave him seed money (initial investment) to start Samsan Tech.

Ji-Pyeong: No family and friends, but has Dal-mi's grandma. This might sound as negative, but it’s actually not. His risk-taking is rooted in this part of his life. He started out with nothing and has nothing to lose by taking risks in life. This is a motivation to rise up rather than consider this as a handicap. This shows that he is 100% self-made.


My Take

Regardless of whether you do or don't have friends and/or family to support you, you are in control of your success. There are some startup and MSME founders whom I have met that have friends and family that are not supportive of their ventures. If by any chance you have supportive people around you, treasure them.

To go back to my first point, these two men are not CEO material but can be two good members of your startup. Even if Do-san has friends and family, he still lacks communication skills, not to mention in talking to women. Ji-Pyeong is no exception. Go-getter and risk-taker, but cringing of the feelings for Dal-mi he has for the first few episodes.


The series definitely highlights the need to further break gender roles by highlighting the leadership acumen of Dal-mi. The tech industry or all companies in general still need to overcome the gender gap. Do you know that women executives are still paid less than men?

Thus, I'm actually more #TeamDalMi than of the two.

Also read: It's a match: How to find the right business partner

Overall, I really like how this is highlighted in the series. There are a lot more social issues portrayed in the series, but I'll save it for another article. Stay tuned!


Are you #TeamLivingBuddha or #TeamGoodBoy?

Image source: tvN 

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker

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