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Startups: Offering more than body photoshoot or diet


Deeper within startups' industrial roles lies passion of their founders who challenged their rivals, and their dreams of influencing people's lives. From the perspective of CEOs, running their companies could be adventurous, obnoxious, thrilling and triumphant.

Among the CEOs are young and talented individuals who ventured taking the challenge. And they might not realize their fledgling careers can inspire those wondering what the entrepreneurs are like outside workplaces, what they usually think off-duty, and how their businesses will shape their lives.

Because we understand such a personal realm can mean a meaningful impact for many, The Korea Times has come to begin "10 Questions for Startup CEOs," a relay interview series for those aspiring figures. The interviewees are selected by their antecedents. Think of this as the "ice bucket challenge" without ice buckets. ― ED.

At GymT, a personal trainer analyzes a client's skeletal balance. Courtesy of GymT
At GymT, a personal trainer analyzes a client's skeletal balance. Courtesy of GymT

1. MY COMPANY DOES

We are a fitness tech firm that provides one-on-one private training based on clients' physical data, not trainers' experiences or intuition.

2. WHAT I DO OUTSIDE THE OFFICE

Mainly football, drinking beer, exercise, watching Netflix and reading. Occasional get-together networking.

3. MEMORABLE MOVIES OR BOOKS

Book: "What I Think When I Work" by Je Hyun-joo
I read it together with my co-workers. I have worked for over 10 years, and the book refreshed my old, tedious interpretation of a perspective toward "work." After the book, I learned to synchronize "greatness at work" with "soundness in life."

4. WHAT GOT ME INTO STARTUP

After having exercised out of unchecked habit for 20 years, I started getting tired of it. Then I thought about a customized fitness training solution that takes into account one's age and physical abilities for health management ― unlike ones in which people casually choose for short-term goals like a diet or a body profile photoshoot.

5. PROSPECT FOR MY INDUSTRY

The fitness industry in Korea still feeds on memberships and various service usage fees. Overseas, however, a paradigm shift made the service available in the educational service industry, generating high added value.

6. UPSET AT WORK RECENTLY?

While arranging the location for our private training studio, our partner company violated our verbal business agreements with excuses I couldn't come to understand. That upset me very much, making me feel like I was naive.

Equipment at GymT can be customized for personal training. Courtesy of GymT
Equipment at GymT can be customized for personal training. Courtesy of GymT

7. I WARN MYSELF MOST FROM...

I draw a red line from making a decision while I am not in a full grasp of the situation in question.

8. ADVICE TO ME

Hard times always pass. It's sometimes good to be a bystander at competitions.

9. IF MY COMPANY WENT BANKRUPT

I would temporarily get back to my household job supporting my daughter. Then I would probably launch a startup again.

10. MY EPITAPH

A Korean who did what he loved to live passionately each day

11. Lee Bokkee asked…IF YOU WERE TO START YOUR COMPANY AGAIN FROM SCRATCH, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?

I would have brought more efficiency into the investment of time, money and manpower for Gym Truck, a mobile on-demand service that I introduced as a concept test before launching GymT.


Park Kyung-hoon designates Publy CEO Park So-ryoung



Deeper within startups' industrial roles lies passion of their founders who challenged their rivals, and their dreams of influencing people's lives. From the perspective of CEOs, running their companies could be adventurous, obnoxious, thrilling and triumphant.

Among the CEOs are young and talented individuals who ventured taking the challenge. And they might not realize their fledgling careers can inspire those wondering what the entrepreneurs are like outside workplaces, what they usually think off-duty, and how their businesses will shape their lives.

Because we understand such a personal realm can mean a meaningful impact for many, The Korea Times has come to begin "10 Questions for Startup CEOs," a relay interview series for those aspiring figures. The interviewees are selected by their antecedents. Think of this as the "ice bucket challenge" without ice buckets. ― ED.

At GymT, a personal trainer analyzes a client's skeletal balance. Courtesy of GymT
At GymT, a personal trainer analyzes a client's skeletal balance. Courtesy of GymT

1. MY COMPANY DOES

We are a fitness tech firm that provides one-on-one private training based on clients' physical data, not trainers' experiences or intuition.

2. WHAT I DO OUTSIDE THE OFFICE

Mainly football, drinking beer, exercise, watching Netflix and reading. Occasional get-together networking.

3. MEMORABLE MOVIES OR BOOKS

Book: "What I Think When I Work" by Je Hyun-joo
I read it together with my co-workers. I have worked for over 10 years, and the book refreshed my old, tedious interpretation of a perspective toward "work." After the book, I learned to synchronize "greatness at work" with "soundness in life."

4. WHAT GOT ME INTO STARTUP

After having exercised out of unchecked habit for 20 years, I started getting tired of it. Then I thought about a customized fitness training solution that takes into account one's age and physical abilities for health management ― unlike ones in which people casually choose for short-term goals like a diet or a body profile photoshoot.

5. PROSPECT FOR MY INDUSTRY

The fitness industry in Korea still feeds on memberships and various service usage fees. Overseas, however, a paradigm shift made the service available in the educational service industry, generating high added value.

6. UPSET AT WORK RECENTLY?

While arranging the location for our private training studio, our partner company violated our verbal business agreements with excuses I couldn't come to understand. That upset me very much, making me feel like I was naive.

Equipment at GymT can be customized for personal training. Courtesy of GymT
Equipment at GymT can be customized for personal training. Courtesy of GymT

7. I WARN MYSELF MOST FROM...

I draw a red line from making a decision while I am not in a full grasp of the situation in question.

8. ADVICE TO ME

Hard times always pass. It's sometimes good to be a bystander at competitions.

9. IF MY COMPANY WENT BANKRUPT

I would temporarily get back to my household job supporting my daughter. Then I would probably launch a startup again.

10. MY EPITAPH

A Korean who did what he loved to live passionately each day

11. Lee Bokkee asked…IF YOU WERE TO START YOUR COMPANY AGAIN FROM SCRATCH, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?

I would have brought more efficiency into the investment of time, money and manpower for Gym Truck, a mobile on-demand service that I introduced as a concept test before launching GymT.


Park Kyung-hoon designates Publy CEO Park So-ryoung


Ko Dong-hwan aoshima11@koreatimes.co.kr


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