70+ Quotes: Start-Up (2020)

Here’s a collection of quotes from the Korean series, Start-Up (2020):

On running a business

  • “No matter how thirsty you are, you should never drink seawater. You have to hold out until it rains. Pursuing profits in the early stage of a business is like drinking seawater.” – Episode 1
  • “Running a business is hard, right? If you succeed, you’re called a CEO. If you fail, you’re called a fraud. It’s a scary world.” – Episode 1
  • “You fall and get hurt all the time. I wish I could at least fall on sand instead of concrete. Then I wouldn’t get hurt.” – Episode 1
  • “With sand on the ground, she could swing as high as she wanted. I wish I could fall on soft sand, too. Then I’d feel less scared running a business. But when I fall, I fall on the cold, hard ground.” – Episode 1
  • “Sometimes is not enough. It always has to be accurate.” – Episode 3
  • “Working hard is not enough. You have to do a good job.” – Episode 5

“We make decisions based on the current data, not on predictions.”

  • “It’s important to give power to the CEO in the early stages of a start-up.” – Episode 6
  • “When there’s too much data, machine learning takes longer and is more difficult. But you can achieve better results by filtering out noise beforehand. So consider what they said as noise and just filter it out.” – Episode 6
  • “People are unpredictable, and so is life. There’s no telling what might happen. So is coding. From a power outage to hacking, all kinds of things can happen, and there’s nothing you can do. That’s why we should always back up.” – Episode 8
  • “A risk means a possibility of loss. It’s different from danger. You should be well aware of the difference by now.” – Episode 9
  • “Amateurs react to Voice of Costumers (VOC) emotionally, whereas pros respond to it based on data.” – Episode 9
  • “You need to separate the revenue model from the business model. And to draw in customers, you have to focus on marketing and PR. Think about which direction you’ll take for the service’s objectives. Then you can work on attracting customers.” – Episode 9
  • “Utilize the media as much as possible. Consistently advertise your service through interviews and newsworthy events to attract many customers.” – Episode 9

“If this hurts you, you shouldn’t have started a business.”

“Why did you launch a start-up? To run a business or to write programs? If what excites you is writing programs and seeing them run, work as developers at a company that pays you well. If you’re excited about establishing and leading a company, run your own company.” 

  • “The wrong order can cost you your life. If you sail off without a map, you’ll die.” – Episode 15

On human resources and credentials

  • “If the start is easy then it’ll be taken away easily as well and a CEO without shares is no better than chewed-up gun.” – Episode 3
  • “It’s all about potential. You need to prove at least an inkling of it.” – Episode 3
  • “What if I tell you to recruit a CEO for your company? That’s my tip. You’re not cut out to be a CEO. You’ll only make everyone’s life harder.” – Episode 4
  • “Recruit a CEO first. What your company needs is a proper CEO.” – Episode 4
  • “For our founding members, I believe a good personality is more important than fancy credentials. I want someone who is motivated. A natural-born problem solver who is focused and persistent. Someone who is resilient and springs back easily.” – Episode 5
  • “Don’t be intimidated. Their concept is totally different. Academic credentials come second. We’ll showcase our high integrity.” – Episode 5
  • “Don’t worry about what people say. We just need to be confident.” – Episode 5
  • “Don’t be such a loser. People will look down on you. A CEO must not kneel down so easily.” – Episode 5
  • “Where do you think a CEO’s power comes from? It comes from equity.” – Episode 6
  • “The biggest problem here is that the CEO can’t resolve the situation.” – Episode 6
  • “What makes a great CEO? There is no such thing. That is absurd as asking what makes a great politician. There are no right answers to politics or management.” – Episode 6

“Why look for answers that don’t exist? Instead of looking for answers, make choices. Whatever you choose, you’ll be criticized. You can’t make any decisions if you’re afraid of criticism. And if you can’t make decisions, you can’t be a CEO.”

  • “What do you want to be? A good person or a CEO? Do not be greedy. You can’t be both. Choose one. Just one.” – Episode 6
  • “If you want to be considered a real CEO, don’t stand there looking spaced out. You should run to your office now.” – Episode 7
  • “Our job is to give candid feedback even if it’s hurtful at times. Naturally some will resent us.” – Episode 11
  • “Personnel matters mean everything. If you can’t handle that, you shouldn’t be the CEO.” – Episode 14

On investments and shares

  • “You have nothing to entice investors. What is your business model? And how will you generate consistent profit? You don’t have a clear picture.” – Episode 3
  • “This isn’t the car they’re going to ride. That’s why they just compliment it. On the other hand, I want to know about the tires, the lining. All of it. Because I might actually ride it.” – Episode 4
  • “Keep the intro short but impactful. When you want to emphasize something, speak slowly.” – Episode 5
  • “Stop saying in the future. Enough of what’ll happen in the future. Maybe they should go to fortune tellers, not investors.” – Episode 6
  • “Isn’t it great that they intend to serve the public interest? But that is not enough.” – Episode 6
  • “When a company breaks up, the investors lose their money.” – Episode 6
  • “Once the funding round begins, investors will start buying up company shares. It won’t be long before an investor owns more than 35% of the shares. In the worst-case scenario, your colleagues may betray you and side with investors to try and take control of the company, or even sell it. To prevent that from happening, you need to give the key man the majority of shares in the beginning. That’s how you protect your company.” – Episode 6

“If they’re fighting over 100 million won now, they can never pursue a greater cause. Let alone grow a hundred, thousand times more in the future.” 

  • “The more users, the higher the cost. Who’d invest in this?” – Episode 8
  • “Investors are moved by one thing. Money.” – Episode 8

“Don’t be so mushy. Investors want to hear about facts and data.” 

  • “The more success they have, the harder the CEO will have to work, since they have to rely on investments.” – Episode 8
  • “The only way for you to make money is through help from big companies.” – Episode 8
  • “Once you obsess over the scale, you’ll feel pressured. Just look for investors who agree with your business philosophy. Put aside all the pressure. Step on stage with confidence. Just show them how excited and enthusiastic you are now, and it’ll be a success. Don’t be intimidated.” – Episode 10
  • “I was giving my opinion as an investor. If it sounded like nitpicking, that’s a shame. Telling the hard truth. That’s my job.” – Episode 12
  • “The contract has been made. There’s no point in blaming each other. Blame yourselves for not reviewing the contract thoroughly.” – Episode 12
  • “I only say good things to companies I’m not interested in. Why bother to check and criticize the condition of a car if I’m not going to ride it?” – Episode 14
  • “Instead of waiting for investors, why don’t you look for them yourselves? If you get turned down, ask why you got turned down. By doing that, you’ll be able to find the right investors.” – Episode 14

On achieving career dreams

  • “You’re drifting in a vast ocean. There are two things that can happen. You either die of thirst or you survive.” – Episode 1
  • “Why wander when you know where you are going? You have an umbrella. Why get soaked?” – Episode 3
  • “Your dream is so unrealistic that I’m actually intrigued.” – Episode 3
  • “Bluffing without a real plan makes you a fraud.” – Episode 3
  • “Life isn’t a dream.” – Episode 3
  • “I’m going to start a company like you did.” – Episode 3
  • “I need to succeed with no money or connections.” – Episode 4
  • “The idea is brilliant but it won’t work. If this were such a great idea, why has no one done it yet?” – Episode 8

“Do you want facts or a future filled with hopes and dreams? A future filled with hopes and dreams is never going to come.”

  • “Think again. It’s a path filled with hardships. While trying to do good, you’ll fail everyone. You coul get hurt.” – Episode 8
  • “As long as they know why they do it, the rest will follow.” – Episode 8
  • “Does my dream have to be success? Can’t it be a person?” – Episode 10
  • “Looking back only slows you down. Fix your eyes forwards, and you may still not make it.” – Episode 12
  • “I want facts. Not a future filled with hopes and dreams that won’t come. I want reality. I want your honest and objective opinion.” – Episode 12
  • “If you can’t beat them, join them.” – Episode 12
  • “We shouldn’t be unreasonable and hold on to an illusion. We should accept reality.” – Episode 12

“You’ll face many hardships while running a start-up. The only thing that keeps you going is the confidence that you’re doing what you love.” 

  • “It’s just a waste of time and resources to try something you know that you will fail.” – Episode 15
  • “It’s a lot of work for something you don’t expect to succeed at.” – Episode 15

Synopsis: Seo Dal Mi has dreams of becoming Korea’s own Steve Jobs, and with her genius first love, an investor, and a business insider by her side, her dream may be closer than she thinks.
Genre: Drama, Romance
No. of episodes: 16
Starring: Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk, Kim Seonho, Kang Han-na
Written by: Park Hye-run
Directed by: Oh Choong-hwan
Date: October 17 – December 6, 2020
Network: tvN, Netflix

Subtitle translation: Netflix


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