Regular FeaturesPeople/Yonseian
A Neverending Fountain of IdeasPark Seung-bok, an inventor of great vision
Kim Hee-jin  |  heejin212@yonsei.ac.kr
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승인 2008.10.31  20:36:55
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리
PEOPLE TODAY are provided with a great deal of convenience thanks to the advanced technology. Here in Yonsei Univ., there is someone who is at the forefront in the effort to make our lives better with creative gadgets and products. Park Seung-bok (Soph., Dept. of Computer Science) is already running a venture business of his own, called VAZO, holding several patents. VAZO was established in September, 2007, and is heading towards reaching annual revenue of 5 billion won.
 
VAZO
VAZO, our company’s name derives from the name of one of my inventions, BAZO. Besides developing new products, we engage in numerous industrial and governmental projects, which serve as our cash cow and provide business funds. We are involved in a wide range of projects from developing a container for mothers to keep their breast milk to designing the Universal Media Disc for the SK Telecom Exhibition Hall at Euljiro.
Last March, I went to Hanover, Germany to participate in the CeBit, the world’s largest trade fair showcasing digital IT and telecommunication solutions, with my two inventions. Although VAZO is not a greatly renowned company, it has been relatively successful among small and medium enterprises, and I also had the chance to visit the Blue House and meet President Lee Myung-bak last May. Since then, there have been requests from other universities or business centers to give special lectures on establishing a company.
 
My inventions, BAZO and iClooly
BAZO is a handsfree accessory for your cell phone, which is usually a figure of a doll. It moves or shakes when you get a phone call or a text message. BAZO can be useful in quiet places like classrooms and libraries, where a ringing or buzzing cell phone can disturb others. It also lets you know that you have a call or message when you are driving or walking with your phones in a bag.
I was particularly inspired to develop this item during the 2002 World Cup. People then had considerably big cell phones, so a lot of them carried them in a necklace form with small figures of Korean soccer players attached on them. I was suddenly struck with the thought, “It would be really cool if the figures showed their goal ceremonies when the phone rings!” This was the starting point of my invention, BAZO.
  The two basic factors that are essential for establishing a company are seed money (money needed to start a new business) and a cash cow (product or investment that continues to be profitable) . A product that I made in order to collect my seed money is the iClooly, which is being sold throughout the world. iClooly is a cradle for the iPod touch, which allows users to watch the iPod touch as a mini iMac, just as if they are watching a PC.  
   
 
  iClooly  
 
   
 
  BAZO  
 
 
How I started inventing
In 1999, when I entered Sudo Electric Technical High School, the government launched a project for cultivating 200,000 young inventors. Under the project, our high school became one of the three schools that received financial support from the government. When I entered high school, a special lab for invention was built and equipment was provided. I joined the invention class when I was in my second year. There was no special motivation for me to start inventing things, but I think it is rather a result of education, particularly the government project and support. I just liked making something and wanted to create something that I wanted. By joining the invention class, I could learn the fundamentals of invention and actually started inventing in a favorable environment. During my high school years, I received 13 ministerial awards.
 
Yonsei Idea Invention Club (YIIC)
Since I entered Yonsei Univ. through a special admission process for inventors, I have to participate in certain programs and YIIC activities in order to complete my courses and graduate. The school requires us to participate in certain contests or open exhibitions several times a year. Although there are students who join this club because it is mandatory, the club is also open to any Yonseian interested in invention. Prof. Baek Yoon-soo, who is the academic adviser to the club, is also a stockholder of our company, having invested during the early stages of its foundation.
 
Difficulties of running a business
The greatest difficulties arise from the fact that I am relatively younger than my business partners and that I am less experienced than they are. Moreover, I am still an undergraduate student. Even though I have engaged in businesses for the government and other private corporations, my name is not on the list of the member profile just because of the fact that I do not have a university diploma yet. If you have worked over nine years after graduating high school, your name can be on the list. However, this did not apply to me, so I chose to come back to school and study.
I used to think that I was a very experienced man, but I found out I was wrong as I started my own business. The previous experiences I have had were not applicable to the real world of business. As I crossed the frontline of business, I realized that every gesture and word of mine could affect our profits.
 
Contribution to Yonsei Univ. and my dream
   The greatest thing I have been doing as a businessman is giving back to Yonsei Univ. and society. Part of VAZO’s stock was already contributed to Yonsei Univ., and the Student Venture Center has a 5% stake. YIIC and its adviser, Prof. Baek, also share a stake. Although contributing to Yonsei Univ. is rewarding, my ultimate dream is to establish a scholarship fund for any student who is interested in invention or design.
 
Last message to Yonseians
   I hope Yonseians have a chance to develop diverse interests other than studying. Having transferred from a less celebrated university, I am well aware that Yonseians attach great importance to their studies. Although studying can be a great feat for some people, I think people will learn more from having diverse experiences. During middle school, I once distributed flyers on the streets. After graduating high school, I worked on a street stall, selling bags and snacks. I also worked for an electrical machinery company. I worked because I wanted to earn my own money and spend if for myself. In retrospect, I think I have learned a great deal on how businesses operate from those working experiences. Moreover, sometimes, those part-time job experiences became inspirations for inventions. These days, when I ask fellow students what their hobbies are, many people cannot immediately answer. Although they may come up with an answer eventually, actually only few people truly enjoy it as a hobby. I want Yonseians to find an activity that they can truly enjoy by having diverse experiences.
   
 
  Park Seung-bok (Soph., Dept. of Computer Science), inventor of BAZO and iClooly  
 
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