OF THE HOUR
JUSTIN CHOY VOLUME I • ISSUE I
OF THE HOUR is an artistic endeavour to combine the dynamic fields of photography and design with the art of candid interviewing, canvassing and exploring the human condition through personal testimony provided by friends, family, strangers, and everything in between.
OF THE HOUR
JUSTIN CHOY VOLUME I • ISSUE I
here have you spent most of your life? Long Island, born and raised. So you go to NYU, tell us a little about your major My major is a create-your-own major, so I mashed up three different things: marketing, internet monetization, and computer science. Can you explain internet monetization for us? The easiest way to explain [internet monetization] is making money through micro-transactions, so basically the entirety of FarmVille’s business model, which is ironic because Zynga is going down the drain. Mine is more focused on a gaming model.
From what I understand you’re a bit of a music enthusiast as well, so tell me one of the artists you’re really into right now I’ll give you two. Currently, my K-pop fetish is G-Dragon and I’m kind of on a binge where I’m listening to a lot of his tracks. More recently, in American music, it’s been kind of a mix of Justin Timberlake and Kendrick Lamar. Going to any shows soon? [My friend] Aziz and I want to go to Jay-Z at Barclays because neither of us have been to a concert at Barclays yet and we figured why not go see the guy who helped to create Barclays. It’s either him or Kanye. Tell me about one of the best moments of your life It’s either the Justin Timberlake concert that I went to over the summer or Maker Faire. Tell me a little bit about the latter It was this complete nerd-gasm experience. A lot of people who were working or were exhibiting at Faire are my potential peers and people I’m potentially going to be working with, so it’s really cool to see how
big the community actually is as well as refer to themselves as an entrepreneur the potential for 3D printing and what the and I’m not quite sure for myself if I would future holds. It’s really exciting. consider myself one. I do have some ideas for potential apps, but I wouldn’t consider Can you describe the atmosphere for myself an entrepreneur. me? It was a good balance of recreational fun as Where do you see the future of well as being a very scientific conference. technology headed in the next five We had a good balance of touring all the years? exhibits, talking to all the creators and I feel like the next step in technology is inventors, as well as attending lectures. going to be in flexible technology. So One was hosted by Arduino, which is a great something like what I think LG and Samsung open-source chip/product. Things of that are working on right now, which is reducing nature were really great to see, and seeing the components of a phone down to a thin the nature of the commercial potential of piece of glass that you can bend and shift 3D printing. around. Personally, I think Galaxy Gear is an early version of the potential that it could To my knowledge 3D printing has been be, along with Google Glass. around for a while, so in what way did
it. A lot of the greatest minds of the tech world have failed numerous times before they succeeded. Use failure as a learning experience to refine your product and refine your vision. Switching gears a little, you’re a little into fashion, correct? If I were to ask you your top three items in your wardrobe right now, what would they be? DKNY Boots, Hugo Boss blazer, and my McQueen scarf. You have a McQueen scarf? How much was that? Too much. I think part of my soul may have gone toward that purchase.
“Don’t be afraid to collaborate because the great thing about the tech industry is that everyone works with each other and your weaknesses can be completely shored up by the strength of others.” the conference revisit the idea? This is the year that 3D printing really blew up commercially. It’s at the forefront of mainstream media and a lot of people are starting to take notice of the potential it could provide for different industries. I think the cool thing about 3D printing is that a lot of it is sort of self-containing. If you have an idea and you have a 3D printer you can print out your product, it’s not like you have to go to a manufacturer –
Do you agree with companies’ tendency to eliminate components from their product and shift toward a minimalistic consumer experience of the product? From an aesthetic standpoint, I’m all about minimalism. In terms of design, I always feel like less is more.
Are there any products that are coming out that you’re excited for? Galaxy Gear and Project Glass. I’m not sure if I’m going to do early adoption for Galaxy There’s no chain of command you have Gear; I might wait a generation or two. to work through Exactly. What advice do you have for anyone looking to break into the tech There’s a large entrepreneurial industry? component to it in that sense. Do I think one of the most important things you consider yourself an up-and- is don’t be afraid to collaborate because coming entrepreneur or have any the great thing about the tech industry is entrepreneurial interests? that everyone works with each other and In this day and age, I feel like “entrepreneur” your weaknesses can be completely shored is such an easily tossed around word. I’ve up by the strength of others. So don’t be heard of so many people who created an afraid to talk to others and to figure it out app that does moderately well and they together. Also, just don’t be afraid to do
Taking a more personal turn, what’s the greatest hardship you’ve faced in your life? When both of my grandparents died almost within three months of each other. And when was that? My sophomore year, so 2009/2010. It was emotionally stressful for me, but more because of how it affected my mom because it was both of her parents. My grandma was the first to go and then my grandpa essentially lost the will to live after losing her. That’s when it became emotionally stressful for my mom. It was tough because she went to Korea and she’s the youngest in the family so she has three or four other brothers and sisters older than her. My mom would be in Korea and our entire family would be here in the States. In our family – I’m never afraid to admit this – my mom is seriously the cog that runs our family. So it was a tough time, especially with my dad trying to man the household, my sister out of the house, and me in college.
What do you miss most about your grandparents? I think a lot of it was the small things. I remember when I used to go visit Korea when I was younger and a lot of it was – like I would wake up, breakfast would be ready on the table, she would always have things prepared, or if I was going out, she would slip me an extra man-won jjari [ 만원 짜리] or ee-man-won [이만원]* and just say to have fun. If I was having trouble at school my parents would be yelling at me, but my grandparents would always be taking my side. Those small things. *(man-won is equivalent to approximately 10 USD, while ee-man-won is equivalent to approximately 20 USD) How did you cope with the stress or just grieve? I distracted myself with other activities: school, dance, listening to music. I think this is why music plays such a big component in my life because I usually just put on headphones for like 20 minutes and fade away. I’m not a person that is very good at confronting grief or dealing with that level of sadness. Tell me a little bit about your mom She’s strong-willed, stubborn, smart, and extremely talented. She is usually 99.99% right in everything she says. What’s your favorite memory with her? There are a lot because she’s the one person in my life that will always have my back regardless of whether I’ve done wrong or right. She will always know what I meant to do and know what I’m capable of. Do you think she can read you in a way no one else can? She can read me like a book. Like Sparknotes, she knows. What about your dad, what’s he like? In a large sense, my dad and I are very similar, but at the same time we don’t really know each other because we’re both silent types when it comes to family and emotional stuff, so we don’t really talk about serious things, it’s usually funneled through my mom.
What’s the most intimate or deep moment you’ve shared with your dad? I actually don’t remember many experiences with my dad. It’s one of those things that’s understated and doesn’t need to be said. My dad and I both love each other, but we never need to say anything. And your sister? She’s like my mom 2.0. My sister and I have a six or seven year difference, which is huge. I look to her more as a close friend that I can always talk to about family problems.
amazing because some of the art or culture that Korea can produce – it’s amazing, beautiful. There are so many great artists in Korea that are so creative, whether it be through painting, dance, music, the entire country is always looking to innovate. I think that also attests to a lot of the technology that comes from Korea as well. Can you name a couple artists off the top of your head that would be worth checking out? I think people should check out G-Dragon, Urban Zakapa, and Zion T.
Best memory with your sister? Us going crazy over K-pop and when we What are some books that you’ve read were younger in Korea. H.O.T., Shinhwa – lately? I am a horrible person when it comes to all that good stuff. books because I talk a big game, but I don’t How would you describe Seoul? And follow up. I have all these books I want to read. what it means to you? I think Seoul is very much like an Easter egg: extremely colorful, filled with so many What’s at the top of your reading list? cultures and art, and it’s beautiful. But it’s 1Q84 by Murakami. very fragile and there are a lot of issues that they just don’t want to talk about over What’s a motto you live by? there in Korea. If you break that surface, it As cheesy as it sounds, do what you love to do. Life’s too short, especially with the things becomes a completely different place. that are happening with our generation. You Can you give me an example of those have no time to waste slaving away at a company just to make ends meet or just issues? Issues of homosexuality or even their drug to follow that notion of success. As long as what you do is something that you love, policy. Racism as well. that’s success in my book. And what do you think that says about Given that, what is your personal notion Korean culture in general? Korean culture is two-faced. I 100% believe of success? I want to be working at Google’s R&D that. department, which is all about creating new Want to explain that a little for the products and the next level of technology people who have never experienced that is going to follow. That’s the dream. Korean culture? You have one face for dealing with elders or Before you go, give us one song to listen to coworkers where you have to be super nice Bbiddakhagae [삐딱하게] (Crooked) by and polite, then you have a face for your G-Dragon. I think that’s definitely one of friends and the people you usually hang his best, if not the best, tracks I’ve ever out with, and then you have a face for your listened to. If you read the lyrics, it’s about family, a face for your significant other - a breakup, but I kind of interpret it in a it’s a culture of many different walls that different way where he’s talking about his relationship with his career and his life people put up. and the struggles you go through and how With that being said, what do you find even in downs there are possible ups – that most beautiful about the culture and crooked view you have in life. I think it’s a good message, but it’s also a good song. the country? When people do let go and really open up it’s
“ do what you love to do. Life’s too short, especially with the things that are happening with our generation. You have no time to waste slaving away at a company just to make ends meet or just to follow that notion of success. As long as what you do is something that you love, that’s success in my book.”