Monthly Archives: May 2011

“Korea Must Build Ferrari of Hand-Held Devices”

Korea Must Build Ferrari of Hand-Held Devices

Asia Pacific Business and Technology Report

Emanuel Pastreich

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It may seem odd to suggest that Italy be the model for Korea in its future development in technology.

Although Italy does not hold the dominant position in high volume manufacturing that Korea possesses, Italy offers exactly what Korea needs to jump into the next stage of economic development: an emphasis on fashion and ergonomics.

Italy has established itself as the undisputed leader in design, with such names as Gucci, Prada and Ferragamo in fashion and in the automotive sector with leaders such as Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini. The aesthetic sensibility and artistic quality found in Italian products are what Korean products lack.

Let us start with the basic facts

Korea does not need more technology at this point and it does not need more manufacturing capacity. It needs to build cutting-edge devices that will capture the imagination of users and define new fields, along the lines of the iPhone.

Let us consider the case of handheld devices. Korea must dominate the high-end of handheld devices and use that position to make its brand value unassailable along the lines of Gucci or Ferrari.

Let us imagine that Korea builds a “Ferrari of Hand-held devices,” a top of the line device that is so innovative and so luxurious that it leaves behind all competitors. That specific product will affect how all Korean products are perceived globally, placing Korea in an unprecedented dominant position.

At present, there are top of the line handheld devices available, but the market for a truly exclusive range of handhelds (10 million won to 60 million won range) has yet to be explored seriously. The opportunity for Korea is tremendous in this blue ocean.

Part of the problem is the “imagination gap” that so troubles Korea. We find that the design used in Korean devices is often unimaginative and even trite: an attempt to catch up with an imagined modern world in the United States rather than a daring leap forward into uncharted territory. The images used for the icons in Korean handhelds are bland stock photos. The structure of menus lacks innovation. The technology is a breakthrough but the design is not.

But the point is not that Korea should team up with Gucci. Rather Korea should learn from Italy how to combine its own cultural and manufacturing sectors effectively. All you have to do is open up a recent issue of Art in America magazine to see that Korea has the most creative and adventurous visual artists in the world. Those Korean mavericks of painting and sculpture (music and drama) are second to none. But they are not being consulted at Samsung about the layout of the Galaxy. Korea has both the artistic creativity and the engineering know-how.

All we need is to bring them together

Let us take a moment to imagine what the Ferrari of handheld devices might look like. The exterior will be handcrafted of wood, stone and silver with the loving care you might put into a diamond necklace. Although the software within the device will be changed constantly, the perfectly crafted exterior will last for a lifetime.

The visual representation of information will be deceivingly easy to use, so well thought out that it is additive, no matter what the price. CEO s will gladly pay 50 million won, or more, for one of these devices.

The images used within the device will be stunning. They will be remarkable illustrations in a perfectly designed “interior architecture” for the representation of information.

The layout within the programs will be original and highly functional. The handheld features an inner landscape so perfectly structured as to create a “memory palace” for the user that he can constantly customize to his needs. The user can walk through a 3D “house” within the device that organizes all information on shelves and drawers, or boxes, or whatever form is most appealing to the individual. Just clip on a pair of electronic “eyeglasses” and the user can wander through the device like her apartment to find and organize information in the most convenient manner.

As the user builds the “interior” of his handheld’s virtual reality, this activity of personalizing the representation of information becomes a personal, even creative, activity for the user. He will never want to give up the device he has invested so much time in creating an internal world in.

The major problem of our day is that handhelds, rather than helping the CEO , have made him into a secretary. He must schedule everything by himself and call, message or e-mail all day long. The amount of time consumed is enormous. The solution is to put the secretary in the device. A live secretary (or team) works remotely with the handheld device to arrange all information in an optimal manner 24 hours a day, and conduct research. A supercomputer link helps with more complex tasks. The potential of this market for high-end handhelds has not even begun to be explored.

If the user has a pile of business cards after a party, he can just take a picture of them with the device and press send. The information will be input in the optimal manner by the device support team. And after research, has been done by the team on the business cards, recommendations are made as to how those individuals could be useful for specific ongoing projects.

Another service is instant access to experts

If the CEO needs to talk with an expert on nuclear power, or on biotechnology, or a real estate agent in Argentina, the support team will use a paid group of consultants to set up the telephone call immediately. Simultaneous translation will be offered as well if necessary. For a bit higher cost, the CEO can be put in touch at the press of a button with Nobel Prize winners or important figures in the arts and media. This built in consulting service will make all the difference to the CEO in his business activities. Price will be a secondary concern.

Korea can learn something valuable from the Italian tradition of high-end craftsmanship. Korea has some of the most creative artistic minds in the world. Bring those artists into the workshop at Samsung and SK and there will be no limit to how far Korea can go.

“An Eco Currency” (in Chinese)

“Shengtai Huobi” (An Eco Currency) (in Chinese)

Green Grants

March 26, 2010


贝一明(Emanuel Pastreich)








“Korea Should Make the Ferrari of Smart Phones” (in Korean)

“Korea Should Make the Ferrari of Smart Phones” (in Korean)

Donga Science

September 15, 2010

2010 09 15

휴대용 기기의페라리 개발해야


한국 기술의 미래를 위해 이탈리아를 한국의 역할 모델로 삼자고 제안하는 것이 이상하게 들릴지 모른다. 이탈리아가 제조업 등에서는 한국보다 강점이 있는 것은 아니다. 그렇지만 한국 경제가 다음 단계로 도약하기 위해서는 무엇이 필요한지 정확하게 제시한다. 바로 패션과 인체공학이다.

이탈리아는 디자인 분야의 리더라고 누구나 인정한다. 패션분야에서 구찌, 프라다, 페라가모와 같은 유명 브랜드가 있다. 자동차 분야에서도 페라리, 매저라티, 람보르기니와 같은 브랜드 리더가 있다. 한국 제품이 갖추지 못한 부분은 바로 이탈리아 제품이 보여주는 미적 감각과 고급공예의 전통이다.

한국은 기술을 개발하고 제조업의 규모를 키우는데 만 집중할 필요가 없어졌다. 소비자들에게 매혹적으로 다가갈 수 있는 최첨단 기기를 만들어야 한다. 애플의 아이폰처럼 새로운 분야를 열어가야 한다는 말이다.

휴대 기기를 살펴보자. 한국은 휴대용 디바이스에 있어서 최정상을 유지하고 있다. 그러나 패션에서 구찌, 페라리와 같은 난공불락의 브랜드 가치를 만들기 위해서는 한국이 고가(高價) 휴대 기기 시장을 먼저 완벽히 점령해야 한다.

예를 들어 한국이 매우 혁신적이고 최고급이며 타의 추종을 불허하는 페라리 같은 휴대기기를 만들었다고 생각해보자. 이 같은 특별한 제품을 통해 한국은 세계 시장에서 지배적인 위치를 점할 수 있게 될 것 이다. 또 이는 한국 제품에 대해 세계인들의 인식에도 영향을 미칠 것이다.

지금도 최고급 휴대 기기는 있다. 그러나 이보다 훨씬 비싼 1000만원 이상되는 초고가 휴대기기 시장은 아직 본격적으로 열리지 않았다. 만일 이 같은 시장을 개척한다면 한국에게 기회는 앞으로 무궁무진하다고 할 수 있다.

현재, 한국의 전자제품에 사용되고 있는 디자인은 종종 상상력이 부족하고 심지어는 진부하기까지 한 것을 볼 수 있다. 휴대 기기에서 사용되고 있는 아이콘의 이미지는 단조로운 사진들로 되어 있다. 한국의 디자이너들은 자신 없이 서양의 “선진국” 이 제공 하는 현대적인 이미지를 무작정 따라가려고 하는 것보다, 위험하지만 미지의 영역으로 과감하게 진입을 시도하는 것이 필요하다. 또한, 메뉴의 구성에 있어서도 혁신이 필요하다. 기술은 획기적이지만 디자인은 그렇지 못하다.

한국이 반드시 구찌와 함께 협력해야 한다는 것을 말하는 것이 아니다. 대신에 한국은 어떻게 이탈리아가 예술을 제조업 분야에 효과적으로 결합시켰는지를 배우면 좋을 것이다. 세계적으로 유명 한 “Art in America” 잡지의 최근호를 보면 한국은 가장 창조적이고 모험적인 시각 예술가들이 많다는 것을 알 수 있다.

그림과 조각품 (음악과 드라마)을 만들어 내는 개성이 강한 한국인들은 어느 누구에게도 뒤쳐지지 않고 있다. 하지만 삼성전자의 갤럭시 등 대표적인 한국 휴대폰의 디자인 구성을 보면, 이러한 개성과 상상력이 크게 반영되었다고 보기는 힘들다.

한국은 예술적인 창조와 기술적인 노하우를 가지고 있으나 같이 만나는 경우는 많지 않다. 정책을 집행하는 사람, 예술 활동 하는 사람, 기술 개발 하는 사람 사이에 교류와 협력이 적다. 여러 분야에서 다양한 사람들이 같이 만나 기술과 예술이 융합이 되고, 상상력이 발휘되고, 지금까지는 없던 새로운 제품이 나온다면, 멀지 않아 한국의 휴대폰이나 IT제품은 진정으로 세계를 리드해갈 날이 올 것으로 믿는다.



“City of Seoul will help you become an entrepreneur”

The City of Seoul has launched several major initiatives to encourage citizens to become The City of Seoul has launched several impressive programs to make its citizens entrepreneurs. The hope is that with a bit of direction from the city, youth can rise to the occasion and become truly creative. As an American, I tend to be skeptical of such efforts, but Korea has a certain knack for surprising me. 

Korea’s vision of a multicultural World

Although there remains a strong sense of ethnic pride in Korea, you need only look at TV today to see an organized effort to introduce people from around the world in the most friendly and non-confrontational manner. It is clear that there is an imperative now to ride the wave of multiculturalism, creating a new Korea and avoiding the terrible fate of a super-annuated society.

So Easy! On-line Law Suits

You have to hand it to Koreans for their efforts at innovation. this advertisement states” So easy, it’s great! So convenient, it’s great!” The advertisement is for a new online system for filing law suits. What a concept: cyber litigation. I have not had a chance to look into the details about this Korean e-government innovation, but I must confess I am intrigued.

Trying to improve Seoul’s architecture: From Cookie Cutter to Avant Garde

Seoul is has not been known for its creative architecture. In terms of innovative design in architecture, Shanghai and Beijing have been ahead of Seoul in many respects. But we can see creeping up everywhere signs of a more innovative approach to architecture. In this case, we see a rather nondescript office building with the silhouettes of heads as a pattern on the first floor.

Today, May 21, 2011, Seoul had an enormous party to launch the floating islands in the Han River, a massive project to create a truly innovative space.  The islands were officially opened last year.

Opening soon is the Dongdaemun Design Park which will certainly be unlike anything seen in Korea before. We see everywhere signs that Seoul is making a serious bid to be a competitor with Singapore for the value-added culture and education center of Asia. Although English language is a challenge, we are guessing that people will start taking Seoul quite seriously in the near future.

Convergence and Art

Convergence is not just about technology. It is an overarching term that increasingly concerns artistic expression. We see an increasing number of artists, museums and other institutions advocating a coming together of disciplines. Here a page of note from an art magazine.

Daum Interactive Map in Seoul Metro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Daum, the online search engine that once was the dominant force fell behind Naver in recent years. But its new Daum Map offers quite detailed walk-through tours of much of Korea that are quite impressive. Now in subway stations we find these large interactive maps that allow passengers to scan the neighborhood around the station and pinpoint restaurants, hotels and other important facilities.

Unique Cultural Space in Itaewon

“Unique Cultural Space Thrives in Itaewon”

Interview with Director Paik Haeyoung of the Paik Haeyoung Gallery


By Emanuel Pastreich

The hills above Itaewon are speckled with handsome homes—many of which are surrounded by high walls hiding elegant gardens. There is one home, however, that is always open to visitors, serving as an artistic commune, where the owner can be found sitting at the table in front discussing art, society and culture with whomever joins her. Her name is Paik Hae Young and her eponymous Paik Young Gallery is a unique experience, a breath of fresh air in an age of commercialism and consumption. Her house is a communal space for artists, those interested in art, children and a variety of like-minded souls.

The Paik Hae Young Gallery is dedicated to promoting Korean artists abroad and introducing international artists to Korea. The emerging artists and established artists who visit here bring with them a tremendous variety of skills. The gallery displays works of art, but also invites  artists to stay in the delightfully airy guest rooms upstairs, creating art, talking about their art and interacting with artists and lovers of arts from all walks of like. We find critics, artists, journalist and professors drawn to this oasis in Seoul.

Opening in 1977, the Paik Hae Young Gallery is a major dealer that introduced important Korean artists to the world. It has since broadened its role from the dealership to agency for cultural affairs including art consulting for corporations, academy program for collectors and architectural consulting.

Remarks Director Paik, “I started as a pianist and was led to start collecting art when I was living in New York in the 1980s. I collected primarily American art and had close relations with, and collected the work of, Korean artists active in New York City.  When I returned to Korea in 1988, I started the