“For Koreans, han can be a drive to do great things, to bond together, to understand each other, to empathize. But it can also just be anger and K-rage which, channeled correctly, allows you to build an entire industry and succeed on the global level to create pop culture phenomenons that win Grammys, and movies that win Oscars, and light up the world to what’s happening in this little country that used to be poor, that was broken after colonization and a war.”— Steve Jang
Scroll down to the show notes section to see Steve’s must-see Korean movies and must-do things in Seoul.
Steve Jang (@stevejang) is the founder and managing partner at Kindred Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund based in San Francisco. He is also a longtime friend and one of the founder-now-investor generation of VCs that arose out of the last technology cycle. Steve is one of the top 100 venture capital investors in the world, according to Forbes Midas List of top venture capital investors, and was ranked #45 in 2023. He is also a Korean-American, a gyopo, who is deeply invested and involved in both the technological and cultural worlds in the US and Asia.
Previously, Steve was an early advisor to, and angel investor in, Uber, and then an early-stage investor in Coinbase, Postmates, Poshmark, Tonal, Blue Bottle Coffee, and Humane, the AI device platform. He helped Uber, Coinbase, and Blue Bottle Coffee, among others, to expand into Korea and Japan. As an entrepreneur, Steve co-founded companies in the consumer internet, mobile, and crypto space.
In the film and music world, he is an executive producer, and his most recent film is Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV, which tells the story of the greatest Korean artist, and father of digital video art, and which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2023. His next film is a documentary about Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum.
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Want to hear another episode featuring a gyopo? Listen to my conversation with streetwear artist Bobby Hundreds in which we discussed his double life as a parent-pleasing law student and clandestine artist, collaboration over competition, rolling with the tides of fickle fashion, necessary disconnections, subcultural security, hermit north stars, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…Continue reading “Live from South Korea — Steve Jang on Korea’s Exploding “Soft Power,” The Poverty-to-Power Playbook, K-Pop, “Han” Energy, Must-See Movies, Export Economies, and Much More (#707)”