The manufacturing industry, which has been driving the Korean economy so far, shows signs of losing momentum. A few conglomerates, which depend on a “Follower” paradigm focusing on such strengths as large-scale investments and improved production processes, are reeling from growth limitations.
Steve Jobs acquired an engineering mindset while helping his father at an auto repair shop in his boyhood. Jobs learned electronics engineering as an apprentice from his high school technical teacher, John MCcrum, and he was engrossed in the music of Bob Dylan and the Beetles. He was also enthralled with Oriental thoughts and arts through Zen ideas and calligraphy while attending Reed College. In April 1976, at an age of 21, he founded Apple with Steve Wozniak and dominated the personal computing era by releasing Apple II, a user-friendly machine with design differentiating itself from rivals.
In 1984, he put on the market the Macintosh, which was ahead of its time, but it ended up a failure, which led to his dismissal. Jobs, who went back to Apple 11 years later, came up with the catchphrase “Think different.” He had talents in technology and arts. Jobs brought high technology together with such arts as music and design. By doing so he dominated the digital music world by releasing the iPhone in 2009 and the iPad in 2010. Jobs, who thought differently from others, was a great innovator.
Apple, 40 years after its founding, employs 115,000 people.
Elon Musk loved science fiction, painted and was good at mathematics and computer programming. As a young man, he chose to launch a startup and later entered the clean energy and space fields, which will have a great impact on the future of human beings. By “thinking big.” unlike other people, Musk painted a big picture in a perspective of the future. He established Space X in 2002 and developed the Dragon spacecraft and the Palcon launch vehicle to realize his dream of moving human beings to the Mars.
Musk also co-founded Tesla in 2003 to lead the EV world.
Musk, chairman of the board of directors at the energy service company SolarCity, founded in 2006, has merged Tesla and SolarCity to ensure the integrated operation of Tesla batteries and photovoltaic power plants. Currently Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity employ 14,000 people, 5,000 people and 15,000 people, respectively. It remains to be seen if Musk’s aggressive moves will lead to further business successes, but he is still a representative of those who think big.
Korea in many ways is glued to a 30 year-odd old-fashioned, musty format of “thinking similar, small and safe.” a policy platform in which the advent of new world-class companies creating tens of thousands of jobs is no longer is expected. To name a few, there are multiple-choice answers, rote-oriented study, unformed technical education, research tasks with no innovative outcomes, skill-oriented ones rather than arts and imaginations, research cost management for scrutiny into behaviors filled with distrust, a financial support system designed to earn fees based on collateral and safer loans, administrative scrutiny and financial watchdog regimes that never forgive failures, and government budgetary spending based on the lowest bid price system, adopting cheaper technologies.
The urgent national industry policy task challenge of the times is to embark on an overall management paradigm shift to an advanced one in such areas as technology education, R&D, manpower, venture, financing and budgetary spending, in which different, big, adventurous, and creative ideas can unfold under a dynamic market mechanism, rather than turning to a public remedy method of a showy demonstration by a few businesses according to global trends.