Everytime I enjoy a Capuccino it remind me of my good time in NHN, particularly the time I spent with my colleagues chilling in the cafeteria.
NHN for those who are unfamiliar is like the “Google+Yahoo” of South Korea. It is the biggest internet holding and they have something like 90% of the search and portal market (number to be verified) in this market.
They are super innovative, came up with the first IM and forum service and their culture is very much oritented around creativity and great design (see naver, see nciku, see LINE). And they have branch office in Japan, US and China, Beijing where I joined them.
When I was first looking for a job in Beijing back in 2008 I created my luck and interviewed with 2 major companies: Sony Ericsson and NHN.
I believe I’ve been declined to join Sony Ericson because my profile was too similar to the girl who made me pass the interview. I wouldn’t have added much value to the team.
I got invited to join NHN for a 1 month mission to study the French legislation regarding online gaming and betting and I made my way from there. I stayed at NHN 2.5 years, it was my first real job and I learn a lot: about internet, about process, about working in a big corporate, about working in a start-up like project, about working in a cross cultural team (Chinese, Korean, US, Italian, Cameroun, German..), about working for others.
But now almost 3 years after I left I know what has been the most valuable things working for NHN: the network. I worked with wicked smart people and am still in touch with most of them.
People from the local team are now in diverse tech companies like Renren, Sohu, Weibo, ku6. Some started their own startups, others changed industries and worked in Toyota and Boeing.
Among the consultants (team of Korean mid-level managers send from Headquarters to help out the young Chinese team) most of them stayed in NHN, stepped up and returned to headquarters. 2 that I know of left for Google, Yahoo or inmobi.
But the friendly connection remains. We regularly chat on facebook or if we get a chance to be in the same geographical place we’ll meet up for a coffee. If I need a favor or intro I ask them and they are always helpful.
I had a lot of complain about NHN when working there but you know what we say “we always stand naked in front of the mirror”. With distance I realize the company culture was and still is amazing and they attract very good quality people.
I am glad I’ve been part of NHN story. And NHN has been a very important part of mine.