*Warning: Spoilers ahead!*
1. Follow YOUR dream.
A recurring symbol in “Startup” is Do-san’s signed baseball with the phrase “follow your dream.” It is later revealed that when the ball was getting signed, the “your” was being emphasized. Do-san truly follows his own dream with Samsan Tech, and no matter the obstacle, always makes sure to put his best into the startup. Although he faces many challenges throughout his path, Do-san makes sure to remember what motivates him, which allows him to do what he loves.
2. Learn how to take constructive criticism.
One of the side plots of the K-drama “Startup” include conflict between Ji-pyeong and Yong-san due to the death of Yong-san’s brother. Yong-san’s brother committed suicide after hearing the harsh constructive criticism about his startup from Ji-pyeong. However, although both Yong-san’s brother’s company and Samsan Tech received harsh criticism from Ji-pyeong, the difference between the success of the two companies show how important it is to learn from constructive criticism. When Ji-Pyeong apologizes to Dal-mi about his harsh critique, Dal-mi responds by saying that she wants his honest opinions instead of empty hopes and promises. Samsan Tech eventually because largely successful after years of hard work and dedication from the team. The reality is that learning from constructive criticism is crucial for improvement.
3. Trust in the choices you make so you don’t regret them later.
Dal-mi could have had a very different life if she had chosen to go with her mother. However, although she may not have had the easiest life, she never regretted her decision to live with her father. Instead, growing up with her father gave her valuable experiences and she was always loved. We have the power to make the choices in our life that eventually shape who we become. Make the best decisions for yourself so you don’t have any regrets later.
4. If you fall, just get right back up.
One of the main themes from “Startup”, as well as the whole concept of Sandbox, is that resilience is key. Falling is inevitable, but having the strength to get back up and start again is vital to eventual success. We see this from the sand Dal-mi’s father places under the playground swing to Won In-jae creating a new start for herself after conflicts with her stepfather and stepbrother with her old company. Don’t be afraid to fail, because you can always just get back up and start again.
5. Have trust in yourself, and don’t be afraid to take risks in order to achieve your goals.
With Dal-mi, Do-san, Ji-pyeong, and even In-jae, we see that they all have one thing in common: they’re not afraid to take risks. Do-san takes risks with the beginnings of Samsan Tech, and he is never afraid to take the difficult path in order to grow the company. Dal-mi takes risks with her sudden dream of becoming a CEO after meeting Do-san. Dal-mi trusted herself and the company that it could become successful. Ever since he was young, Ji-pyeong learned to invest and dared to take risks investing in the grandmother’s money. In-jae takes a risk starting over with her new company. Clearly, there’s some correlation between risk-taking and success. It’s better to take on the challenge rather than spend the rest of your life wondering what could have happened. Be courageous, and trust in your decisions. It’ll all be worth it in the end.
Those were some pretty valuable life lessons. Now here are some other tips to take from this K-drama.
6. If a grandma is willing to let you sleep in her corn dog shop while you are homeless, DO NOT steal her cash and run away.
7. If you meddle in your granddaughter’s love life and create an imaginary friend for her, she might develop very high standards in men.
8. Big hands are superior to childhood friendships and years of devoted letter exchanges.
9. If a girl doesn’t respond well when you give her flowers, try giving her rocks instead.
10. It’s better to tell the truth than create an elaborate lie to a girl about your entire existence.