Je Wan (David) Jun – Founder and CEO of AireLive

It’s important for people to be passionate. Ask yourself, “What gets me excited about waking up every morning?” Keep that passion alive and follow your heart. Other essential qualities are integrity, a positive attitude and perseverance.

David Jun is the founder and CEO/President of AireLive and is responsible for overseeing the overall vision and growth of the company. A recognized veteran in the global technology industry, Jun founded Aire Inc. as a U.S. company in 2014, building off the success of his Korean company Jianglive, which quickly became a leader in the video communication space. In 2015, Jun oversaw the launch of AireLive, which accumulated a significant user base in its first month and has enjoyed a steady stream of conversions since launch. Jun currently oversees all AireLive employees and company activity, working tirelessly to bolster the app’s global presence.

Prior to founding Jianglive and AireLive., Jun served as founder and CEO Freechal, an online community for users to freely share blog posts, music, avatars and more. Founded in 1999, the site became an instant hit with the Korean public, accumulating 12 million users and ranking number one in Internet community services in Korea.

Before founding Freechal, Jun spent 10 years working for Samsung in its Korean headquarters. He moved quickly up the ranks and eventually received Samsung’s Man of the Year Award.

Jun earned his B.A. in Business Management from Seoul National University.

Where did the idea for AireLive come from?

In 2005, I recovered from the fall of my first start-up, Freechal. It was around this time that smartphone technology began to emerge and along with it a big shift from the web to mobile, and the globalization of IT firms. I envisioned the advent of video-based communication powered by ubiquitous smartphones and the availability of high-speed networks. I instantly hit the ground running to build a video communication platform. My big idea was a world where smartphones served as a second set of eyes. I wanted users to experience things by sharing events unfolding before them with the people they want to share them with, on the devices of their choice.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

As the head of a startup, my day begins and ends with work. I spend my day posting and monitoring activities on AireLive, talking to my engineers and marketing team and checking out other services that have the potential for strategic partnerships. With offices in Los Angeles and Seoul, I work in two time zones but make sure I’m in constant contact with every part of my team.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I follow a four-step process:
1. I start with an abstract idea. Back in 2005, I envisioned building a video-based communication platform.
2. The second step is intensive research and study. I delved into social media services and the technology behind it. It was important that I also paid attention to emerging trends in video communication.
3. The third step is coming up with a plan. I ask myself, “How will I get there?” The plan must be meticulous and thought out in great detail. There are a lot of variables to consider along the way. I’ve realized how important it is to be flexible and expect the unexpected.
4. The final step is execution. This requires a delicate balance between business and finesse.

Since I first envisioned a comprehensive platform, it took four years of planning before founding Uajjang, the predecessor to AireLive.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m really excited about the advent of the video-based communication era. With LTE technology, ever-so-powerful smartphones and users who feel comfortable broadcasting themselves, the timing is ripe for video-based communication.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am a firm believer that success comes to those who are most prepared. I always push myself to be prepared. I know that if I am prepared I will be able to realize my dreams and be ready for the next move.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

With Freechal being an unprecedented success in Korea and then falling apart in 2002, that was difficult. The experience showed me the best and worst in people. At the top, I had the opportunity to work with the best of the best in Korea. When it was over and I hit rock bottom, I got to see who were my real friends were and who I needed to stay away from. Through the experience, I learned firsthand that people are what make and break a business. It was this experience that helped me to become much better at knowing the kind of people I wanted to work with.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I firmly believe in extensive preparation. I will always surround myself with good people and I will be meticulous in my planning. For us at AireLive we have focused so much on the technical side of things that we have not been able to fully launch a strong marketing campaign. Like most startups we do not have unlimited financial resources. Our current focus is marketing and user acquisition.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

It’s important for people to be passionate. Ask yourself, “What gets me excited about waking up every morning?” Keep that passion alive and follow your heart. Other essential qualities are integrity, a positive attitude and perseverance.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

I’ve always focused on the quality of service that I promise to deliver. Our utmost priority as a service provider is to bring a quality service to our users. It’s essential that we listen to and understand the needs of our users in order to meet these by delivering the highest quality service.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Freechal, from 2001-2002, was a huge hit and distinguished itself from its competitors that were stuck in a bulletin board-centric service. Freechal’s “Community Enabler” encouraged its users to create their own communities in modules such as blogs, albums, polls, payment systems, contact management and file sharing. It was very similar to the social media services of today. It largely failed because it lacked a monetization model that did not sit well with users who were accustomed to free services. Through it all I’ve always learned to pick myself up and keep moving forward.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would want to eventually have a way where search engines can act much more intuitively, almost like artificial intelligence. Right now people input information into Google to get the results they are looking for. I want a search engine to be much more connected to a person and be able to sense what a person might need assistance with or be looking for.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I’m always the first to suggest to the office that we go out for a drink after work to unwind. Sometimes this is a great setting for people to relax, exchange ideas and communicate. I also make it a point to tell my workers that my office is always open and I encourage informal communication with all my employees.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I mostly use Google and photo editing apps. Video production is a real passion of mine. I am always looking for and trying out different photo and video editing apps. I am always thinking about who AireLive could form a potential partnership with.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I’ve been reading Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith. It’s quite interesting to learn how human behaviors work and what shapes and motivates us. It all starts from within oneself.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Back in 2005 when Steve Jobs was developing a smartphone, I realized that this was going to be the new computer moving forward. I put a lot of thought into what people would be able to do with access to a ‘walking computer.’ I always admired his ability to innovate and create and it was that which led me on the path to creating Jjang Live which eventually became AireLive.


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