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Interview with Rellat Founder, Kenneth Lee by Hyeongjin Um


This is an interview about me by Hyeongjin Um, who is a college student in the United States, as his school project. It was asking people who work in a real career world. He’s been watched me for a while and asked me this interview proposal. I wrote this with my pleasure.



Could you introduce a little quick about your field?

What I do is the entrepreneur. It's called start-up or venture. The field is software. If I can easily tell what I'm doing, I observe people to find out the needs and inconveniences and help them with the software. If I can do it with making money, that is a success.



I can start small things and grow them up. Sometimes the project not gets bigger well. So the entrepreneur always needs a mindset that accepts that unexpected things happen. And they need a heart that they want to create something that has not been in this world yet. We have to think about making imagination to a reality. That's creativity. Take a look at my another article “An Illusion That Many of the Things were Already Existed from the Beginning” for understanding this topic more.


What is your real tasks in your team?

We have to figure out what to do with the easy version above, "Observing people, finding needs and inconveniences, and helping them by using software". Then we have to create the software. We mainly make services connected with internet and smartphone. So when we think about the idea, those come out with these specific sentences.

  1. People have this need. Let's make a service that helps them by “00” on the internet.
  2. People have these inconveniences. Let's make a service that helps them by doing “XX” on smartphone.


After this rough idea is over, we actually create the program code that works in it. we decide what technology to use and implement it by using the computer language associated with that technology. This is what I do in my daily work.


Could you introduce about yourself?

I am in my mid thirties as of 2017. I am from South Korea, came to America later, and married with an American wife. I have three children. I work with my younger brother Chase Lee. Below is a picture of my youngest daughter’s 100th day celebrating.



How was your childhood from now?

When I was a childhood before 10 years old, I was a prankster who liked to play. I liked reading books from my childhood. My mother told me that she thought I would become a literary writer later on. Because of that influence, I like to write. And also I've been putting the essay collection into an online ebook 4 years ago.


What I am doing now is the software field, and I am doing research in the field of science too, but there are many habits of reading and writing helped me. Thanks to that, I am good at expressing my thoughts to the other people.

However, from 14 years old, I became unhappy after being a middle school student in Korea. Korean culture tends to be bullied rather than respecting autonomy and diversity opinion. Korea is developing gradually every day, but 20 years ago, that was much worse.

Unfortunately, at the school I became a victim of bullying and harassment. When I asked a peculiar question, a question that hits the spot, some people disliked it. I did not mean to blame others, but because it seemed to me in my eyes, I was just being honest, and it seemed like a challenge against to the group and a challenge to the authority for them.

So I've been doing bullying many times so I decided to drop out of school. I dropped out to middle school, high school, and college. After repeating such drops, I was in my twenties mostly alone. I studied science with my younger brother, Chase, and studied computer programming. And I started my career as a software development company. After a few years of work, I thought about leaving Korea and went to study in the US. Fortunately, the features of my way of thinking became advantages in America. Many people liked it.


How did you move to America and start working?

When I first went to America, I went as a student. The area was Houston, Texas. I lived there and met my wife and get married. When I went to school, I felt the study was very easy because I studied by myself for a long time already. So I came up with two options.

  1. It is easy to learn at the school. So let’s enjoy the school and get the master's degree and doctor's degree.
  2. There is nothing to learn from the school. So let 's leave the school and go out into the world to try my own projects.

You know, like this guy.

I thought about it and chose the second one. So I started my business in America. I created a company called Deduction Theory, LLC. “Deduction Theory” is that I named on my thinking paradime.


When I’ve done with my college in the United States, It is that I had totally four withdrawals in my life history, as middle school, high school, Korean college, American college. But I didn’t feel any shame or frustration. I rather feel that I acomplish a great thing. When people I know in the software venture field heard this story, they had fun and really liked it. "Oh, I should have done it like you did, you did such a great work with actually practicing it in your life.”, they said.


Could you explain the rellat project you are working on?

The Rellat project started by that the people asking me the questions as "How can I do good programming?" And I write a long answer. There were more than 10 questions, so I did not have enough time to answer each of them. So I gathered the questions and started writing the common answers. So I could help the other people with similar questions.

When I wrote that, I realized that people would listen to the word and understand it, but they really want to see how actually do it. So I started to plan activities to practice. Then the outline of the Rellat project was created. Rellat is open source and free. For more information, see this article “Introducing Rellat: Open Source and Open Study Project”


And as I was working on the idea, the idea was refined and snowballed. I would like to teach Rellat programming to low-income children after I officially launch the service in the future. So I want to help them to have better job opportunities. The reason why I came to think of this is because I had volunteered for disabled people, orphanages, nursing homes, etc by my mom’s opinion.


How or Why did you choose to this field?

After dropped out my college, I thought about what I would do for my economic life. I did not want to go into the company. Because I like what I do for myself more than what I do for someone else. So I chose to computer programming by observing what I could do alone. So I started to work with my younger brother Chase to create a subcontracting development(third party) company. So I started work since 2008, saved some money, and went to the US years later.



Was there any reason for choosing?

I usually read lots of books, study logic, and I majored in law at collge in Korea before I dropped out. I could understand well computer programming from a logical world perspective. So I'm good at expressing the program code in a logical diagram. I read a lot of books and have a lot of knowledge in humanities. It helped to explain the code and logic of programming to the other people as easy-to-understand examples.


People often think of humanities and technology as divided and they are located each other as a remote area. But if you study deeply, it is not. By studying all the subjects of the world in terms of information, logic, and patterns, we can find similarities and differences in each different fields. For examples, It helps to understand music by using mathematics, and it helps to understand science by using literature. Anyway, programming for me was a pleasant field. I enjoyed making programs and researching like playing games.


What are pros and cons about your job category?


Good point: I can practice what I imagined without being interfered by others.
Bad point: I do not think so.


We are taking a class called "Communication in the professional field", do you think communication is important to EVEN engineers? If yes, why is it?

Well, without communication skills, it's difficult to collaborate with other people. Not only that, but also “the ability to practice imagination and make it into reality" that I mentioned above is falling. Why? Becuase the ability to communicate is the ability to observe others and to communicate their ideas in a way that is understandable to them.

  1. Observe others.
  2. Describe the ideas I have so that they can understand at their personal view.
  3. So, we can share various activities or opinions.

And those who have poor communication skills do not ask questions to themselves either. So they do not have a chance to get better. A person who has poor communication skills tries to push his idea on the basis of his stereotypes. Then, as time goes by, there will be more possible failure.


And most of all, people who have poor communication skills are frustrated. They do not understand what others say and do not express what they think. Imagine that you have a computer with no monitor, no keyboard, no mouse, and no internet connection. Then surely you can not work with that computer. Because computer and people can not communicate each other in this case. If an engineer doesn’t have the ability to communicate with the other people, he will be the same with it.



What is the most important factor to succeed in developer / software engineer?

The ability to practice imagination and make it a reality is the most important. This is called creativity. This applies to all jobs. Engineers are characterized by the use of "technology" as a tool when practicing this creativity.


Is technology more important, or is creativity more important? Creativity is more important than technology. Technology is nothing more than a tool to use when practicing ideas. If an engineer does not think about creativity but thinks about technology only, he becomes less able to practice what he imagines. It's because he relys on his knowledge about technology when he imagines, and he does not even try things that are not allowed in the technology he knows. Then he will confine himself to narrow stereotypes. It will be difficult to succeed as an engineer.


So creativity should be more important than anything else. Creativity develops when you ask a simple question like this, "How can I practice what I imagine?". You can use the skills you know in this process as a tool. If you do not know anything, learn it and test it. Then the skills you learn will become useful. And also because you practice and experience, you will increase your skills soon.


Have you ever had a hardship experience when you communicate with team members? What was it?

I am working with my younger brother Chase Lee. We have been studying and working together for over 20 years now. We developed a good team work. When I was having difficulty with someone else, it was because of the above communication method to be in conflict.

  1. A person who does not respect diversity
  2. A person who does not understand the creativity which is the concept of making reality by imagination.



When I worked with those people, I had a lot of difficulties. It’s because of different ways of thinking. People live by practicing their way of thinking. Anyone who has stereotypes in their mindsets thinks and acts according to their stereotypes. If I find out someone has serious stereotypes, I will stay away from them.


On the other hand, it is a good person to observe themselves inside to eliminate stereotypes, to respect diversity, and to try to make a better way by comparing things with similarities and diferences. It is good to be close to such people. It is good to work together well, and also it is just good to know each other for teaching and awakening.


Do you feel big difference from other cultures?

I always feel it. But if you observe the difference, you can find out beneficial things. To do that, we have to do an thinking drill to accept the difference as it is. For example, think about that you see someone is on the street with wearing their traditional clothes and walking. You should not be angry and uncomfortable. "Oh, that's normal for them." And you should be able to accept it. Now think of this traditional costume as a different religion. Think of this as a political activity which you don’t support. Think of it as a sexual minority. This is respect for diversity. You have to train this while you are home by your imagination, and outside by experiencing.


Then you can observe this difference and understand the viewpoints of others. This training helps us to analyze what we do from the perspective of others when we work. Then we can find problems we have not seen before, and we can get hints to solve the problems that we couldn’t solve.


Did you have experiences with many people who has different background cultures in your work? And how was it?

The percentage of European Caucasian people in America is getting smaller now. The percentage of Indian and Asian people I see in the technology industry increases. I am also a Korean. In my view, the whole American has a different cultural background than Korea. Because I am an immigrant, not a born and living here. But the interesting thing is that America is a country made by immigration. I can not say who is the original. It 's easy to just accept something else as it is. We can live without conflict if we do not force ourselves into each other's culture.


Fortunately, people are enjoying and interested in Korean culture these days. My wife also met me with interesting in Korean culture, so I could love with her easier and get married. Different cultures are not the cause of conflict. The stereotypes in people's minds are the cause of conflict. This stereotype comes from the desire that people they expect everything in this world is matched as they know. The stereotypes that come from this desire are the cause of all cultural conflicts. The reason why people get angry about cultural difference is that when they see it does not fit with their stereotypes. So they get stressed.


Because people's culture is different, we have different perspectives on seeing and understanding things, so we can tell something each other about what we have not thought about yet, and give feedback. These exchanges help to solve the problems. If people try to get away from stereotypes and get better, the difference in culture can be a source of synergy for innovation.


Do you think what is the key to communicate well with other team members?

  1. Accept that my position is different from other's position.
  2. So understand that each person can have different ideas.
  3. Do not force others to think about what I have in my mind, respect other people.
  4. Likewise, do not blindly follow other people's opinions and ways of thinking in the atmosphere.


After accepting difference of indivisual idea, compare them with the similarities and differences. That is the information coupling and asymmetry reasoning of the Deduction Theory that I clamed. In this process, by assembling things we can find out that will help us work better. Then we can make a better idea. And also we can communicate better.


What is the key to success as an engineer in the field? Do you have an advice to ASU college students who wants to work in the IT field in the future?

Realize that technology is just a tool.
Realize that technology is not your master, but that you are the master of technology.
Realize that you use technology in the process of realizing your imagination.
Then you can become a wizard who creates things were not existed in this world.

Thank you.

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About Authors

Hello, I’m Kenneth Lee. I'm a business man who live in South Korea and America. I work in the software company "Deduction Theory, LLC" as CEO.
I'm looking for a translating volunteer for my open source computer programming education project "Rellat".
I think this project will help many children, students, adults who are living in all around world, especially low income people. This project is free for everyone. It's designed for helping people. I will also make schools and orphanages in low income countries to teach the kids computer programming for they can have a better job.
Please visit the web page below that introduces Rellat project and tell me if you think that is worthy to give your help.
Introducing Rellat: Open Source and Open Study Project
There are Korean and English contents in this projects for translating to the other languages. I wrote all of them originally. So you can choose English or Korean from the original contents to translate whether you want.
We are opened to every language in the world. Thank you.
Hello. I'm Chase Lee. who is working on Rellat Project with Kenneth Lee.
When I was a child, I used to make animation with adobe flash program. Then I wanted to make a game with it, so I start coding with action script. That was the first time I started programming.
The methodology of Rellat is the same as the way I do my usual work.
In fact, when I look at the code that goes over 500 lines, I have no sense and I can not remember all of them. Even these days, I still can not remember some of simple code syntax, so I often google it.
Instead, I keep track of what kind of thinking the code was made in, and what relativity information it uses. This is a coding methodology, a coding style or a computing perspective in Deduction Theory
By understanding how to think, you can compare how handling information better. This is the essence, and the most important thing.
The remaining space in the program can be filled by the power of Google and stack overflow.
I think you also can do a massive high-quality information processing by this way without confusing into new technologies and tens of thousands of lines of codes that are constantly being created.

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