South Korean companies are building software for smartphones that’s chaotic, multifunctional and exciting — everything that American apps aren’t.
Like most young people in the Bay Area, Mike Kim grew up believing that the future of technology was being forged in Silicon Valley. Raised in Piedmont, an affluent suburb of Oakland, Kim was in college during the rise of Facebook, and he watched in amazement as tech start-ups transformed the world around him. After graduating in 2006, he found work in the industry, at Zynga, Monster.com and LinkedIn.
Then, five months ago, he accepted an offer to work for Woowa Brothers, a South Korean company that runs a food-delivery start-up called Baedal Minjok. The job was great — but living in Seoul was nothing less than a revelation.