As a yet minuscule startup, each member holds a significant power over the overall atmosphere of the team. And in our ultimate quest to make big waves in the data world, we need to make sure that the people at the helm are at least kind of cool. We think we’ve done a pretty good job so far in assembling a society of unique but equally driven members.
So we bring you this seven-part series, one of each devoted to interviewing each of our members in detail, to give you an in-depth glimpse into the people responsible for bringing you the future of machine learning with Daria. Plus, we peppered the interviews with questions from Dr. Aron’s “The 36 Questions that Lead to Love”*, cherry picked to make work appropriate and concise, but interesting.
(*actually falling in love with our members highly discouraged)
The CEO and co-founder of XBrain, Jinyoung was motivated to start the company while working at a security firm, with a vision to make machine learning “intuitive and accessible to all”. Apropos of his role as headliner of our mission to introduce machine learning to every corner of the world, Jinyoung has varied interests in literature and music, and hopes to be a patron of the arts someday. Learn more about him here!
What is your role at XBrain?
JY: I am currently the CEO of XBrain, and head of business development. This includes everything from managing sales to developing and carrying out business plans. I spend most of my time meeting new customers and partners, outside of the office. Other than that, I’m trying to develop a new business model other than the one we’re operating on currently.
What does a typical work day at XBrain look like for you?
JY: I have frequent appointments outside the office, so my days aren’t as regular. But I usually try to schedule any outside meetings in the morning, because we all try to be present at the office from 1–5 PM, which is our coworking time. After dinner I try to work on more mundane stuff, like paperwork.
What are the aspects of your job that you most enjoy?
JY: First and foremost is meeting new people. Helping people is something that I really enjoy, and I feel it the most when our customers are actually satisfied with the work that Daria is doing. I just like that I get to talk to many different people during the day.
What about the parts that you least enjoy?
JY: I least enjoy doing housekeeping duties, like keeping track of receipts, but just because it’s a pain in the neck. Something I find most challenging is always interpersonal tasks, which I enjoy at the same time.
Can you tell us about the items on your desk that say something about you?
JY: I have these Hulk and Iron Man Lego figures, which I put together myself. I like the process of making toys like that, and I always try to keep myself from being too serious. My desk itself is always representative of my state of mind — sometimes it’s clean, sometimes it’s messy.
So what made you want to go into startups, or more specifically, XBrain?
JY: It was actually quite intuitive. There was no established plan, or rules that I set for myself. I’d always led a life where I was constantly trying new things, new challenges, which led me to XBrain. And I was fortunate enough to have mentors around me who could offer business advice, and investors who supported the venture financially.
As our CEO, do you have a specific vision for XBrain?
JY: I think about this a lot — I really want Daria, and any of our future products, to be an integrated part in people’s everyday lives. I want our products to be in the background as useful tools, not just because it’s buzzable technology. Team-wise, I really want to provide a community in which each of our members could live out their dreams.
Do you have a go-to-playlist when you’re working?
JY: I don’t really listen to music when I work…
What can you tell us about the JY ten years from now?
JY: I will have a family. I will hopefully be a little wiser, and just as receptive to new ideas and knowledge as I am now, if not more.
What, in your opinion as its co-founder, has changed the most about XBrain?
JY: We’re definitely more established as a community and team. The fact that we’re conducting interviews like this one, and working on a blog, is proof of that. Of course we’ve grown more sophisticated in terms of business and product development.
Share with us a memorable moment at XBrain
JY: Probably when we had our team dinner in late June…we’d almost finished branding, and it was just a chance to take a breather for us.
If you had to have dinner with one XBrain member, who would it be?
JY: EK! Not just because she’s leaving soon, but because I think we’d have a lot to talk about, and she’s pretty different from the rest of the team, characteristically speaking.
Would you like to be famous? In what way?
JY: I would like to be influential — if fame is a prerequisite for that, then yes. I think that in order to bring about the change I want to see in the world, I need to reach a certain position.
What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
JY: Probably a day when any issue has been resolved, with good results?
If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
JY: My answer right now is the mind of a 30-year-old. I would still like to be hungry for something, even when I’m old. But then again, this is me talking as my healthy, under-30 self — who knows how my answer will change in a couple of decades?
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
JY: For the fact that I have been lucky enough to be born into an environment where I have been free to try new things, and for the people I’ve met.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
JY: I would like to be healthier, both in mind and body, and to have a stronger drive to keep cultivating the two.
If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
JY: I like the anticipation of finding out…that’s why I never even watch movie trailers.
Is there something you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
JY: I’ve always wanted to do community service regularly — I volunteer from time to time, but I do want to do it more consistently. I think I’ve subconsciously pushed it back to a time when I’ll have more time for things like that, but if I really stop to think about it, I’ve always had the time, just never made it.
What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
JY: Probably founding XBrain, and teaming up with AC(co-founder), because casting aside all other matters of competence, we just have the same ideas and aspirations for the organization, and work well together.
If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
JY: I’d spare more time to do new things. For example, when I was in Helsinki for the annual Slush conference, I had the chance to ride in a reindeer sleigh and see the northern lights, but couldn’t because of scheduling conflicts. I’d probably go do that first.
If you were going to become close friends with someone, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
JY: I think the people I’m closest to are aware of their own self-worth, and that’s really the first step to recognizing the same value in others as well.