tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:/posts Blog by Jae W. Lee 2020-05-28T14:19:12Z tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1550937 2020-05-28T14:04:34Z 2020-05-28T14:19:12Z The Philosophy of Success
Christian Ziege is a retired German football legend and is currently the Head Coach for FC Pinzgau Saalfelden. He started his playing career at Bayern Munich, where he won two Bundesliga titles and a UEFA Cup before moving to A.C. Milan, winning an Italian Scudetto.

His career as a professional footballer went through Bayern Munich (1990-1997), A.C. Milan (1997-1999), Middlesbrough (1999-2000), Liverpool F.C. (2000-2001), Tottenham Hotspur (2001-2004) and returned to Germany with Borussia Mönchengladbach in June 2004 before announcing his retirement in October 2005. I had the privilege to watch Christian Ziege play during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea. Aside from his play on the field, his mohawk was one of the most memorable World Cup haircuts of all time.

The audio recording is from a recent call with coach Christian Ziege. He spoke about his philosophy of success, which I believe applies to sports and beyond. In a similar case, I think many startups fail due to lack of teamwork and lack of transparency more so than due to lack of financial capital—something to remind ourselves as entrepreneurs.

"I'm talking about the greenkeeper, the owners, about the board, about the coach, the assistant coach, the players, the guy who's washing the clothes. If you want to reach something, if you want to have success in this club, and this is all we want to have. We all have to stick together and go in the same direction."

Stay in the deep end.

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1548564 2020-05-23T07:54:06Z 2020-05-23T08:08:05Z Taekwondo and me

I started learning Taekwondo (a Korean martial art) at an early age. Taekwondo had taught me numerous amount of lessons as a competitive athlete but also those applicable to my life in general. And now that I look back - as I celebrated my 40th last week - it wasn't the gold medals that helped mold and shape me into the person I am today.

In 1992, I received an invitation to the USA Taekwondo Junior State Championship held in Ohio. Even before arriving at the arena, I felt confident that my competitions were no match for me. My games were in Sparring and Poomsae (also referred to as "forms") during the event. Without a doubt, Sparring was my thing even though I was a light kid back then. So I competed in the FIN weight class, which is for those not exceeding 54kg. As one can imagine, height and reach are crucial in Sparring matches. Unfortunately, I was not only light but also very small in stature. That didn't bother me because I knew I had speed. 

Then came the gold medal match. My final opponent was a tall skinny white kid. From the beginning of the gold medal match, my opponent was utilizing his long legs to block and cut away most of my attacks. I was frustrated and felt the opponent was playing dirty. I eventually lost the match due to the mercy rule. I cried my way home and cried even more after returning. I ended up taking two silver medals that year, but I was neither satisfied nor happy with my results. What made it even sadder was the fact that I didn't realize who my real opponent was.

The following year, I was fortunate enough to receive yet another invitation to the same event. Long story short - I took home two gold medals during the 1993 USA Taekwondo Junior State Championship. What was the difference? Ego. I destroyed my ego before getting killed by my opponent on the other side of the floor. I was more self-aware. I knew what I was able to do, but more importantly, I didn't guess what I did not know.

Most of my repeated mistakes or failures probably occurred due to my ego and lack of self-awareness, which applies to my entrepreneurial journey. In 2013, when I moved to Austin Texas to start my next startup company, a mentor and now a good friend had asked me an important question which I will carry with me for the rest of my life on this planet.

"Why are you here?"

I ask myself this question even today. Do I know why I am doing the thing that I am about to do? Am I going to regret my decision today when I look back after another 40 years?

Keeping myself self-aware has brought me more joy, happiness, and satisfaction than any success on the surface. And I believe as long as I can continue to ask myself that simple question, I should be good to go.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, a competitive sport, and a method of maintaining all-around fitness, including mental well-being. And this sport has not only disciplined me physically but also brought me down to earth to keep my ego at bay.

Be the humble beast.

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1534534 2020-04-23T13:40:50Z 2020-04-23T13:41:19Z Data visualization of the Austrian Regionalliga

The Austrian Regionalliga (which means Regional League) is the third-highest division in Austrian football, after the Austrian Bundesliga and the Second League. It is divided into three groups: East (Ost), covering the states of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland; Central (Mitte), covering the states of Styria, Carinthia, Upper Austria and the exclave of East Tyrol; and Eliteliga West, covering the states of Salzburg, Tyrol (with the exception of East Tyrol) and Vorarlberg.

--from Wikipedia

Here's a data visualization demo of Regionalliga division leaders from 2019/2020 season.

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1511580 2020-02-20T13:28:00Z 2020-02-20T13:28:21Z 초라한 일상
In 2004, 2XJC the indie rap group from South Korea was invited to perform during the Autumn Hi Seoul Festival. After 16 years, the song 초라한 일상 which was showcased in front of a live audience has been released via several popular music streaming services. This version of 초라한 일상 was the first take from a home studio recording using a single Shure SM58 microphone.

Here are the lyrics to 초라한 일상.


늘 그렇듯 하루를 마칠 이런 시간되면 마치 만신창이
꼴로 꿀을 찾아 헤매다 보면

어느 새 저기 날아가는 쪽 새 어느 세월 따라잡지라는 생각 
날 조여와 족쇄 채워진 난 벙어리가 돼

이렇게 한참을 쫓다 지붕만 쳐다 봐 닭 쫓던 강아지의 심정
이젠 정말 내 심정 쉴새없이 날아드는 총알 견제구를 피해 

2루 넘 봐 쉽지 않아 가끔 난 run down 걸리기도 해
그래도 결코 포기할 순 없는 나만의 것 위해 기도해

나만의 삶이란 단지 생존 게임 너머 어떤 의미 찾아 달려
오르막에선 힘이 딸려 허나 쉬고 다시 뛰려면 다리가 풀려!

내 머릿 속 난 이미 저만치갔어 home steal 노리네
허나 몸에선 노린내 털어내려 애써 땀내
사람들의 오감의 정의 나는 한낱 주정뱅이 노숙자!

물에 빠진 생쥐 마냥 그게 모냐 대체 모냐
너희 부모님이 너 그러고 다니는 거 아시냐 모르시냐

표정과 시선으로 내게 말해- 사람들 가득찬 도시의 거린 미어터져
무작정 달리고 싶은 나는 속이 터져 목이 터져라 외쳐
내가 만든 rhyme 과 flow는 내 삶의 탈출구

그러므로 너희는 쉬지말고 랩하라 rhyme이 끊기는 순간
초라한 일상으로의 다시 회귀 허나 너무 슬퍼 하지마 누구도 예외일 순 없지

일상이란 신이 아닌 우리 인간 존재가 짊어진 업보 어쩌면 선물
앞과 뒤가 다른 우리 삶의 음과 양 이 모든 진리 함축한
동전 한 닢 위에 웃고 계신 충무공의 백원짜리 힘껏 집어 던져

아프리카에선 열 개 사네 축구공 내 주머닛 속 충무공
모두 모아 떨이 지하철에 아주머니 겸손하게 내민 주머니

작은 동전 한 닢에 웃고 우는 세상이란 희극일지 비극일까 아님 복걸복일까
생각하며 걸어가다 뛰어가 날 순 없을까

지난밤 꿈 처럼 세상에 모든 코흘리개들의 꿈처럼
그 철없던 시절 꿈이 나를 만들어

이렇게 마음대로 freestyle rap을 하면서 
머릿 속에 한껏 활개치는 망상의 날개를 그대로 읊어 대면서

초라한 일상에 한편에 단편의 단상을 마치네

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1497673 2020-01-10T16:35:55Z 2020-05-20T13:47:39Z Hyun-Jin Ryu's contract is one of the biggest ever inked by the Toronto Blue Jays

For those who follow Major League Baseball, some of you might have heard the news that the Toronto Blue Jays have signed left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu to a four-year, $80 million contract. This contract is one of the biggest ever inked by the organization.

Back in March 2019, there was an article on bleacherreport.com ranking the top starting pitchers. However, Hyun-Jin Ryu was not mentioned in this article amongst the top 25 pitchers heading into the 2019 season.

  • Patrick Corbin 
  • Zack Greinke 
  • Chris Sale 
  • Kyle Hendricks 
  • Trevor Bauer 
  • Carlos Carrasco 
  • Mike Clevinger 
  • Corey Kluber 
  • Kyle Freeland 
  • German Marquez 
  • Gerrit Cole 
  • Justin Verlander 
  • Walker Buehler 
  • Clayton Kershaw 
  • Jose Berrios 
  • Jacob deGrom 
  • Noah Syndergaard 
  • Zack Wheeler 
  • Luis Severino 
  • Aaron Nola 
  • Jameson Taillon 
  • Madison Bumgarner 
  • Miles Mikolas 
  • Blake Snell 
  • Max Scherzer

So... I wanted to visualize the outcome of 2019 season and see if the data could possibly tell us a different story. This blog post is by-no-means an attempt to prove a point or to defend the quality of Hyun-Jin Ryu's contract.

Hyun-Jin Ryu's 2019 season data was added to a graphical chart along with the other top 25 pitchers mentioned from the bleacherreport.com article.

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1494374 2019-12-31T09:29:55Z 2019-12-31T09:29:55Z My reading list for 2020

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea by Marc Randolph

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson

The Manual: A Philosopher's Guide to Life by Epictetus

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know by Malcolm Gladwell

What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture by Ben Horowitz

Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis

Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense by Rory Sutherland

The Future of Management by Gary Hamel

Do Better Work: Finding Clarity, Camaraderie, and Progress in Work and Life by Max Yoder

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1361568 2019-01-06T17:00:00Z 2019-01-09T06:55:35Z Any Given Sunday

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1359760 2019-01-03T13:28:07Z 2019-01-03T13:30:33Z Persistence beats motivation every time.

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1359520 2019-01-02T15:29:08Z 2019-01-03T13:31:03Z Make every day count

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1359363 2019-01-02T01:14:30Z 2019-11-19T00:27:34Z My reading list for 2019

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller

Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead, Kevin Maney

Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

Performing Under Pressure: The Science of Doing Your Best When It Matters Most by Hendrie Weisinger

Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey B. West

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team A Leadership by Patrick M. Lencioni

The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People by Vanessa Van Edwards

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

The Airbnb Story: How Three Ordinary Guys Disrupted an Industry, Made Billions . . . and Created Plenty of Controversy by Leigh Gallagher

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1359357 2019-01-02T00:52:57Z 2019-01-02T00:53:43Z Day 1

Day 1 of 2019  

Kicked off the new year hiking and spending quality time at the beach with my girls.

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1294952 2018-06-17T12:28:50Z 2019-01-02T00:51:14Z Mobike-ing along the Singapore River in 360° Video

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1292997 2018-06-11T15:22:43Z 2019-01-02T00:51:40Z Small Big Dreamers

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1287535 2018-05-25T22:31:21Z 2019-01-02T00:51:57Z If you see me, please come say hi.

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1287094 2018-05-24T18:20:40Z 2019-01-02T00:52:12Z A day in the #StartupLife

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1285904 2018-05-21T12:07:11Z 2019-01-02T00:52:38Z Chinatown Food Street in Singapore

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1283798 2018-05-19T18:11:08Z 2019-01-02T00:54:25Z Hawker API

"A hawker centre or cooked food centre is an open-air complex in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and the Riau Islands housing many stalls that sell a variety of inexpensive food. They are typically found in city centres, near public housing estates or transport hubs (such as bus interchanges or train stations)." 

Photo Credit: David Berkowitz (cc)

Since moving to Singapore last July, hawker centers (or hawker centres; depending on where you are from) have been one unique part of my daily life. Due to working in the central business district area aka CBD of Singapore it wasn't difficult to become a fan of few nearby hawker centers. Maxwell Food Centre and Amoy Street Food Centre are my personal favorites.

And I decided to create a simple API that would store (hopefully) the entire list of hawker centers in Singapore. I was able to find public data through local government websites such as data.gov.sg and www.nea.gov.sg which allowed the data set to be created fairly at ease. The Hawker API data set includes names of the hawkers, number of stalls at each location and their addresses along with GPS coordinates.

So here's the Hawker API endpoint:

Also, authentication is not required for this API. Which means that the API is completely public and can be anonymously accessed. The Hawker API has two parameters to filter the results returned - "name", "postalcode".

The "name" parameter supports partial filtering by adding an asterisk symbol(*) on both ends of the string being searched. Here's a sample name search result https://api.jael.ee/datasets/hawker?name=*amoy*

The "postalcode" parameter can be filtered by range, supported for double types. Search results for a particular region can be performed by adding two periods in between the range values. Here's a sample postalcode search result https://api.jael.ee/datasets/hawker?postalcode=069000..069999

Lastly, this is a personal project for the purpose of demonstrating a sample use case, not intended for commercial use. For more details on the Hawker API please refer to the readme file available at https://github.com/leejaew/api.jael.ee/blob/master/hawker.md

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1283773 2018-05-15T15:30:26Z 2019-08-09T03:33:47Z About me — A story about Jae Lee

The Early Years

Born in Busan, South Korea, I had been on planet Earth for just three days when the Gwangju Uprising took place. Although the final figures are still debated to this day, the known death toll was 26 (22 troops and four police). Additionally, the injured included 144 police, 127 civilians, and 109 troops. 

In 1987, my parents, a welding engineering lecturer and resident physician, decided to move to the United States; this was just two years before the overseas travel ban started to lift in Korea. Just one day after celebrating my birthday, we boarded an American Airlines flight and travelled from Gimpo to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. 

At the time, my parents were graduate students at the Ohio State University when the campus didn’t have many Asian students (let alone Korean). With two young boys in tow and around $70 in their pocket, it was the start of our story. 

While at a gas station, I had my first interaction with an American. As my dad filled up our beaten Dodge Aspen, a man dropped a quarter and it rolled towards me. As I reached down to pick it up for him, I felt the man place his foot on my hand while telling me to move away. Later that day, I remember my dad explaining the journey we would face from that moment. He knew that this wasn’t going to be a given paradise and thrived on the idea of fighting for the so-called ‘American Dream’ and earning respect in our new country. 

Life in America 

From the first day, we went to public elementary schools. We were guarded from MTV, but school and street violence were present on an almost daily basis. Fortunately, lunch money was never an issue for my brother and me. At times, I would even invest my lunch money and then buy/trade baseball cards. 

Even while we were young, we realized the opportunity that we had in the United States. For those that have been through the experience, even my family, I think it’s tough to explain. Essentially, we had reached a land where ANYONE could be ANYTHING. At times, being an honor roll student wasn’t enough. Winning a gold medal in state didn’t bring me or my family good luck. Receiving an award from the president was a particular highlight, but it didn’t offer a path to follow for my adult life. 

This being said, learning new things and working on my craft did help me to progress. In 1987, after landing in America, I saw a personal computer up close for the first time. One year later, I was learning BASIC programming language (while I wasn’t playing Robotron, of course!). Around this time, I knew I wanted to create a business that sold code and it started with handwritten, college-ruled paper on the streets of Buckeye Village. 

As soon as school was over, I would stand out in the street and try to sell code. After a number of weeks, standing in the street every single day, I had sold absolutely nothing. 

Returning to Korea

In 1993, our family reached a giant fork in the road. While my dad received an offer that he couldn’t refuse in Korea, my mom received what I believe to this day to be an even better offer from a large hospital in the US; the hospital itself was located in one of the most dangerous areas of the country. Eventually, we moved back to Korea and my mom decided to volunteer and work pro bono. Strangely, it was difficult adjusting to the new culture. 

Even after a few years, the Korean language wasn’t my forte. However, I was freelancing by creating ANSI pages for bulletin board system (BBS) communities living on virtual terminal (VT) mode terminals. Every so often, I was lucky enough to develop homepages where I was able to earn nearly $300 per HTML page. 

Entering the World of Work

Soon enough, I launched a computer club with some friends from the same school. As well as having some fun, we also developed and released the first ever high school website in Korea. Sadly, one the school’s donors (a private company) took the credit for our hard work. It wasn’t for nothing, however, and the same group launched a web agency in 1999; this became my first full-time job and first startup I founded. 

Ever since this first launch, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of the most talented and down to earth entrepreneurs in the world. Through these meetings, I learned from their skill and experience. Of course, it wasn’t an easy path and I made many mistakes from which I had to learn too. Sometimes, I think back to that first plane ride the day after my birthday and I find myself doing it right now as I enjoy my 38th birthday in Singapore. 

About Me 

I realize that you might be reading this wondering why my ‘About Me’ page is a short tale of my past. In truth, I am only who I am today because of my upbringing and the values I learned as a child both in Korea and America. I’m incredibly proud of my achievements in recent years, but these achievements (and the shenanigans I had to endure) don’t really define who I am today. 

Since I don’t know when my time on this beautiful planet will come to an end, I can only hope to live the rest of my time with integrity, grace, and courage. 

'None but the brave deserve the fair’

Jae Lee
tag:blog.jael.ee,2013:Post/1283746 2018-05-15T13:50:11Z 2018-05-20T11:58:38Z I just turned 38 today.

I'm starting my personal blog, again.

Perhaps I'll keep this one.

Jae Lee