7 posts about 'openmaru'

  1. 2008/January/10 Happy New Year! (4)
  2. 2007/November/07 Springnote and Openmaru at Web 2.0 Expo Tokyo!
  3. 2007/August/09 Developers' Heaven (4)
  4. 2007/August/06 Why open strategy? (4)
  5. 2007/July/31 The concentrated Web in Korea
  6. 2007/July/17 What is openmaru?
  7. 2007/July/17 Welcome to openmaru! (1)

Happy New Year!

January 10th, 2008 05:42

Hi, everyone! Long time no see. Can you believe it's already 10 days into 2008? Time flies, doesn't it?

Sorry that we haven't been too diligent keeping up with this blog. But hey, 2008 is here and we, here at openmaru, are all ready to take off. :)

2008 will be a very important and exciting year for openmaru. Not only Springnote and myID are already out, but also we're gonna have to have you ready for more!

You'll also see this blog being updated more often. But let's take one step at a time for now.

(Belated) Happy new year!

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There is going to be the arguably biggest Web 2.0 Conference in Asia next week, organized by none other than O'Reilly Media and CMP: Web 2.0 Tokyo. And you can finally meet us at the Expo!

More than anything, Springnote is being featured in Launchpad. Yes, we've been around for a while, but this is the first time we'll be making a public entrace to the rest of the world. We'll also be hosting a booth at the Expo, so feel free to come by and talk to us--about anything!

openmaru members are travelling as tech experts to participate in many of the sessions. ChangShin Lee will be giving a talk "Trinity for Evolution from Closed Service to Open Platform". (I don't need to remind you of our mission for "open platforms", any more, right? :) We'll also be participating in many of the sessions, including the ones on Ruby on Rails, on which many of our products are built, and a session on OpenID.

What's unique about us going to Japan for the conference is that this isn't just about us doing marketing for our products as we will be reporting from Japan to the rest of the world how far Web 2.0 has come. We'll be travelling with some of the most renowned bloggers in Korea as blogging journalists. One of them is Danny Kim. Danny is actually responsible for writing many of the posts for this blog; he's our blog marketing agent. He is also well known for his TechnoKimchi blog, which covers the digital tech and culture in Korea. You'll be able to hear much about what's going on during the conference through this blog as well as his TechnoKimchi blog.

Excitement is our motto for this year and the Expo will only make it more visible. We're excited not only to meet you all there, but also to learn about the Web 2.0 landscape is like in Asia, esp. Japan.

So, see you all soon!

p.s. You can find an excellent coverage of Springnote on Read/WriteWeb. It talks about what's cool about Springnote and what more we need to work on. It's always very nice to hear what others think about our product. We've been very closely listening to what everyone has to say about us--including myID and Springnote. And how rewarding it has been! More details on this to follow in the next article :)

Developers' Heaven

August 9th, 2007 23:00


Be a heaven for those who work here.

That's one of our main goals at openmaru. We've seen time after time that creating a work environment where developers can come in and try out different things with passion and creatvity can only benefit the company, at least in the long term.

So from the beginning, we put a lot of focus on finding the right developers that can come to work with us with an attitude like "I'm going to change the world" or "I'll do my best to bring most creativity out of myself". During the recruiting processes, we looked more at what kind spirit and passion they had than knowledge about certain technology. Ruby, PHP, Python? All good. CSS, DOM, or Javascript? All good. In fact, we have some of the top developers and tech gurus in each of those fields. But without noticing passion, we wouldn't have decided to have them work with us.

In order for us to achieve that, we performed on-the-spot "show me your money" tests. We gave out little projects which they had to complete right before the interviews. Developers had to code while designers and services planners had to come up with a blueprint dealing with how to solve certain issues or to create new services.

More than anything, we wanted to work with those who believe in the value of "open". Because if openmaru is all about open platforms, developers always need to understand the needs for open technologies and protocols.

Throughout our rigorous talent search process, we were able to meet some really brilliant and passionate developers from all over Korea, or even from overseas. Because of our persistent efforts to find developers who are still dreaming and willing to work in order to achieve the dreams, we were often called by many as the "developers' heaven."

Now, "they" in this article are all "we" now. We're all working towards the same goal and same direction. Maximize your talent, passion, and goals. That's what we exactly want for each one of us.

Maybe not so much "heaven". Yet, at least we know for sure an environment like this is a very good first step.

Why open strategy?

August 6th, 2007 04:40

In the last post, we explained the concentrated and somewhat not-as-open nature of the Korean Web. However, from the beginning, we've been saying the main strategy and goal of openmaru is to create an open platform. If you think about it, it's rather quite a bizarre direction to pursue for a company located in Korea. Again, in the Koean Web market, a scale-and-scope approach with high level concentration and portalization is often considered the best strategy for success.

We've been observing the Web for a long time. We've seen the soaring Firefox, an open source browser. We've seen the rise of amateur publishers, i.e. bloggers, often way over traditional media guys. We've witnessed the successes of Google, Amazon, and Ebay, and how their open strategy helped them a great deal. As a game company ourselves, Second Life's open source initiative left us with many great lessons. Our developers just purely Eclipse, an open source development platform for Java. Lately, we've been paying attention to the Facebook platform taking off big time. There most definitely must be something about being open, even from a business point of view. But again, this is all U.S., right?

And, thanks to the popularity of the term "Web 2.0", we started seeing the value of open in some of the Web services, even in Korea. Tattertools is the foremost example. It's the most famous blogging tool in Korea, like Wordpress. (In fact, this openmaru blog itself runs on Tattertools). Since Tatterools went open source last year, they've been reaping great fruits. Obviously, almost 100% of the contributors to Tattertools are Korean. When given really good things with a passionate community behind, it works in Korea, too.

We've implemented a similar open strategy with the way we've running our services at openmaru as well. Guess what. What we've been getting out of our openness is so tremendous that even some people in Korea won't believe openness works to that degree. For example, Springnote, the Webnotes/wiki service we briefly introduced here, recorded over 2,200 comments, 766 idea suggestions, 56 user generated tips, and 28 mashups on ifs forum, only after 50 days of launching. You know, that's something. myID.net service, our OpenID provision service, is taking off big time, again proving openness can work in Korean as well. Being ready to have conversations always matters!

But in the long term, not only for our business purposes, but also for the entire Web, we believe openness brings great values to everyone involved. Again, the Web was meant and born to be open. Why not follow the basic DNA of the Web?

We're openmaru and we're here to bring you the open platform. We're ready to show you that openness works everywhere as long as we're all connected. So please don't' hesitate to watch us. We got some special things in our pocket.

The concentrated Web in Korea

July 31st, 2007 19:53
The World Wide Web carries the spirit of openness and decentralization. It’s based on one of the fundamental characteristics of life, called “connectivity”. We’re all connected to each other and other things and that’s what makes life so complicated and exciting at the same time.

One of the main themes of Web 2.0 is the “loosely connected-ness”. We make things independent, but always make sure to provide ways to connect them all—through adhering to various technical standards, OpenAPIs, RSS, and widgets.

Not so much with the Web in Korea. The Web in Korea can be notoriously characterized by everything being so concentrated and centralized. This nature widely spans across many aspects surrounding the Web: social, governmental, technological, demographic, and even geographic aspects. After all, Korea, especially the South, is a very tiny country with 50 million people living in it!

Here are some stats on where Korea is in terms of its Web development:
  • South Korea has a population of 49 million. 14.3 million out of the country's 15.9 million households nationwide are linked to broadband Internet connections as of May 2007. In particular, Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province posted 106.8 percent and 100.7 percent in the broadband penetration rate, respectively.
  • The average person visited the internet 13.8 days a month, and spent 20.2 hours viewing 2,172 pages--below the global averages of 17.1 days, 25.2 hours, and 2,519 pages. However, South Koreans topped the world averages--with scores of 17.4 days, 31.2 hours and 4,546 pages.
  • According to the new research report by ROA Group the number of mobile users in South Korea will reach 41.95 million by 2010, which is 85% of the total population.
  • In South Korea, a single service (Cyworld) already has 18 million accounts—enough for 30 % of the entire country's population. The survey was done in 30 days. Within that 30 days, more than half of all Internet users in South Korea have accessed a social networking site.
What are some of the surprising results and phenomenon in Korea from its concentrated nature? The good ones are exceptional broadband and mobile infrastructures, crazy Internet gaming culture, the ever-increasing dominance of portals and the growth of online/citizen journalism around portals. The bad ones are the prevalence of online bullies, the practical death of copyright, and the ever-increasing dominance of portals and the growth of online/citizen journalism around portals.

Notice how I wrote “the ever-increasing dominance of portals and the growth of online/citizen journalism around portals” twice for both good and bad. The thing is that that’s the way Korea is right now. The entire Web revolves around portals—content creation, search, reuse, and consumption are all done within portals. In the Web 2.0 age of de-portalization, isn’t that so weird that portals are only getting stronger?

Naver, Daum, and Cyworld are the 3 biggest portals in Korea. Each has its own merits, however, it’s not too far-fetched to say these 3 are basically where most of online activities occur in Korea. And from there, many interesting things can be watched. Seriously, Naver is doing so well that even Google is having a very hard time setting foot in the Korean search market.

Openmaru is dedicated to bring in more “openness” into the Korean Web. Why we are doing it and how we are going to do it is what the next post is up for!

For more information on the Web in Korea, here are some useful resources:
  • Social Media in Korea: a nice summary page of the snapshot of the digital Korea.
  • TechnoKimchi: a blog which is exclusively dedicated to covering the digital generation in Korea.
  • Web 2.0 Asia: another amazing blog which covers the Web 2.0 environment in Korea. Lately, much has been written about the Web in Japan as well.
  • Seoul Digital City: subtitled “a blog on Korea’s digital futures”, the blog well depicts what the Korean digital world is like.

What is openmaru?

July 17th, 2007 23:36
Openmaru is one of the indepedently developed studios of NCSoft, the company behind the legendary Internet game Lineage. While it's a part of a game company, what we are developing here ain't games. We're developing new kinds of Web services.

I'm sure some of you guys already might be asking questions like "why the name 'openmaru'?", "what? a game company?", "you said you're from Korea?", or even "are you jumping in here because everyone else is jumping into the Web 2.0 frenzy?"


Let's begin with the name. The name "openmaru" has two parts: open and maru. Open is quite obvious. We highly value "openness" for both idealogical and practical reasons--we believe that by correctly opening up, we get to offer everyone good stuff and develop great business values for ourselves along. Now, maru is the hard part for the non-Korean. It's a Korean word meaning a "floor" or "platform" in the Internet/Biz context. Basically, openmaru means an open platform, which describes what we're trying to create. Very 2.0-ish, isn't it? ;)


We've already launched two services over the last couple months. Unfortunately, they're currently offered in Korean only; however, the good news is that they're both going global within next few weeks. You'll hear more about them in this blog next few weeks.


Other questions, such as being a huge game company tapping into the Web industry or what the Internet industry is like in Korea, deserve separate posts. And we want to faithfully stick to the short modular blog post principle. In the end, isn't Web 2.0 all about mashups? Oops, I just gave you a hint at what we're trying to do here. :)


You can learn more about openmaru here in a more official version of who we are. But for now, the lesson for the day: maru means a platform in Korean and here at openmaru we're trying to develop an open platform.


Till next time, anyong! (or goodbye! in Korean)

Welcome to openmaru!

July 17th, 2007 23:31
This is the first openmaru blog post. Here, you'll get to explore what we are here for, what we are doing, what it means to be a "web company" from Korea, what services we're offering, and what it's like to work for us, along with some other fun stories.

The main function of this blog is naturally to have conversations with you guys. Yes, not everyone here has read Cluetrain Manifesto, but many of us, from our own experiences, intuitively understand the value of conversations.

Welcome again! So darn glad to see you.