[VIEWPOINT] The Venture Mind: You Learn by FallingOne winter, a group of Japanese and Korean businessmen who met at a seminar had a chance to go skiing, as part of the program. Most of the people in the group had never skied before. A person who seemed to be the leader among the Japanese businessmen suggested to his group that they ski on their own, separately from the Korean group, as it would be unsafe to ski with Koreans. Needless to say, a Korean businessman who could understand Japanese was offended to hear such a remark.
The Japanese businessmen registered for ski school and spent the day with an instructor to learn how to get up on skis, move up the slope sideways, etc. The Korean group, after a short discussion, rented skis and bravely headed toward the beginner slope. Of course, on the first run, everyone kept falling and came down the slope rolling. The Korean businessmen said to one another, "You learn to ski by falling down! It only takes a few rough runs and it's a piece of cake after that!"
As the day of skiing came to an end about 4 p.m., most of the Koreans were skiing with confidence on the beginner slope and some on the intermediate course. Watching this, the Japanese businessmen just shook their heads, some with envy -- they were still with the ski instructor. This is a true story.
With only one example such as the above, one could say many things about Koreans. The discussion could turn into an argument or a discussion about the pros and cons. But it is obvious that there is an aggressive venture spirit within Koreans. It is typical for Koreans to work rapidly and aggressively without being afraid.
If you ask foreign businessmen what they find most attractive about doing business in Korea, most of them do not hesitate to answer that it is the Koreans' capability. Many qualities such as high education level, diligence and loyalty to the company may lead to the answer, but the Koreans' venture spirit, drive and aggressiveness cannot be left out.
The economic growth that is called "the miracle of Han River," and the ability to overcome the economic crisis much more quickly than other Asian countries, speak for the Koreans' capability. Korean venture spirit is well portrayed in the information technology industry. Korea is among the leading countries in IT, with the fastest growth in the world. I believe it is the Koreans' venture spirit, desire for speed and result-oriented aggressiveness that contributed to the growth of the Korean IT industry. Although these days the start-up companies are having difficulties, from a long-term perspective, this could be just a passing phase.
In the global-economy age, there are many great opportunities. Koreans take these opportunities as a driving force for growth rather than being afraid or hesitating to take the chance. Koreans are developing the IT industry with its technology as a business to lead Korea in the 21st century.
"The miracle of Han River" is not just a saying in the past, but what Korea will achieve in the future. And, I believe the power will come from the Koreans' venture mind.
by Wayne Chumley