BlogCheck out the various news from Buzzvil.
The Buzzvillian Experience Map is a program that introduces Buzzvil’s unique and fun policies in detail. If you are curious about how the Buzzvillians grow through different experiences, please pay attention to the Buzzvillian Experience Map. Buzzvil will continue to explore through different experiments to not only boost employee engagement but also achieve employee growth.
Please introduce yourself briefly.
Hello, nice to meet you. My name is Jerry, and I am an iOS developer and product manager of the reward service team at Buzzvil. It’s been a little over a year and a half since I joined Buzzvil. I’m a bit obsessive about self-improvement and embarking on new hobbies. So last year, as soon as the BuzzChallenge system was established, I actively took advantage of it and now I am here doing this interview. It’s exciting.
Tell us about the [BuzzChallenge] system at Buzzvil?
The BuzzChallenge is a self-development program designed to encourage Buzzvillians to set up personal goals and reach them. It consists of the Focus Challenge, a one-month program with a reward of about 30 USD and Dream Challenge, a three-month program with a reward of about 100 USD. The prizes can be used for self-development, such as online courses and gym membership. Buzzvillians are allowed to set up a way to verify that they have executed their goals. But for Dream Challenge, one has to present their success or failure during Buzzvil’s biweekly all-hands meeting.
You’ve applied a lot for [BuzzChallenge] over the past year. What kind of challenges do you usually have?
My first Focus Challenge was learning Mandarin. It sounds like a typical New Year’s resolution, I know! But it was actually perfect for me to learn it on my phone in a crowded subway to work. My total commute takes about two hours. Everyone in our Seoul office speaks English fluently so I wanted to take up something that made me unique. So I studied Mandarin every day on the weekdays, and I verified that I had done so through by showing my notes. This went on for an impressive six months.
My next challenge was to “complete an alpha version app using technology I’ve never used before.” I went ahead with this as a Dream Challenge with a long-term goal. Although I failed to complete the task because my result did not meet the standards of being an “alpha version” Still, I learned a lot from this experience, and I had something to show. I told this story in front of the whole company. It was very fulfilling.
I also did a project where I sat down for thirty minutes to reflect on myself and wrote notes. But I couldn’t show my journal to anyone, so it wasn’t a success. I’m still happy because I did carry this out. But now, I took that time to read and write notes. I’ve been doing this for two months now.
Can you tell us about your most memorable success and failure?
The most memorable challenge was learning Mandarin, which is the first and last time I invested a lot of my time into something. It was the first time for me to learn a new language besides German and English while I was in High School.
It was fun learning from the free app “HelloChinese” because I could feel that my skills were improving quickly. When I traveled to Taiwan with my friends last May, I was able to speak Mandarin slowly, bit by bit. It was an exciting moment for me.
I set my goal too high in learning Chinese. In the beginning, I could finish two lectures in 30 minutes, but after a while, the difficulty level spiked, making it difficult for me to fully understand two lectures a day. But I had set my goal, and I wanted to pull through. I managed to get on with two lectures, whether I could hear it or not, whether I understood it or not. At that time, I didn’t really think my way would work. But now that I think about it, it certainly worked, as the saying goes, “Listening and repeating is the best way to learn a language.” Moreover, since I finished so many lectures, the tuition fee did not go wasted.
Learning Mandarin lasted for six months in 2019, but I haven’t since then. Since I studied for so long, I didn’t feel like I was growing as much as I did for the first time, I didn’t have fun studying by myself with the app, and because of my habit of not being able to stick to one thing, it was time for me to do something else.
I wanted to devote the time to read books as I entered Buzzvil’s in-house book club called “The Dictionary Of Useless Knowledge.” So, from the present point of view, I think the challenge of learning Chinese at that time failed in the end. It’s too bad that my studies at that time have been forgotten like this. I need to review it occasionally before I completely forget it!
Has the [BuzzChallenge] system helped you achieve your goals? How does it help?
Yes, of course. To be honest, the success reward of KRW 30,000 a month and KRW 100,000 in a quarter, if I succeed for three months in a row, was a big motivation for me. I’m taking tennis lessons at Buzzvil’s self-improvement fee, which costs KRW 100,000 each month, and this tennis lesson fee is KRW 150,000 per month. Without the BuzzChallenge Reward, 50 USD of my pocket money goes to tennis, but if I succeed by participating hard in the BuzzChallenge, I can achieve my goals and save my pocket money, so I can’t miss it.
Aside from the motivation of money, I think it was a kind of pressure and a semi-mandatory driving force for me who has a timid personality and very conscious of other people’s eyes because the goal that I set for myself is written in a space that other Buzzvilians can see. That can be said to be the result of a well-coordinated combination of a carrot of KRW 30,000 a month and a whip of another’s eye.
Last year’s [Dream Challenge] presentation was impressive. Can you introduce yourself to others?
As I mentioned earlier, I challenged the Dream Challenge in the third quarter of last year under the theme of “Completing an alpha version app using technology I’ve never used before.” The reason I chose this topic was that I was a developer, and I was an engineering student who enjoyed making things for myself as a student, but it has been 10 years since I have been working in this field. Now I don’t program after work. Moreover, I am a product manager now, and my time to develop during working hours has decreased even more. I was alarmed that I would end up as a mere developer who only uses old knowledge without any progress, so I started the Dream Challenge with the goal of trying to develop a new app.
In fact, there was one app I wanted to create for my personal needs from a few years ago. The name of the app is “Time Is Gold,” a time management and productivity improvement tool where your character mines more gold if I concentrate on something that day. I wanted to create apps with UI/UX uniqueness. Also, this time, I decided to study and apply technology that I have not used before and use 3D game development framework called Unity to make it look like a game.
At the beginning of the challenge, I planned the app and learned the framework of using it for the first time, and I had a lot of fun working on the evening after work and the weekend after a long time. So, after developing for about two months, I made some progress and my app worked to some extent, and got a rough sense of how to make a game with Unity, and then suddenly, I hit a snag. As I did it alone, I realized that game development really requires a lot of hard work and labor. At this moment, my enthusiasm withered at one moment, the pace of progress fell dramatically, and eventually, a quarter ended with results that were less than half of the specifications I had originally aimed for.
The Dream Challenge failed because I couldn’t reach my goal, but I feel like I learned a lot, so it was much more valuable than any other time.
In the sense of growth, how would you rate the system called [Buzz Challenge]?
I think the BuzzChallenge, which provides additional rewards based on the effort and will, along with basic self-improvement costs, is the best system that reveals the culture and core value of Buzzvil, given that it encourages and supports not only the growth of the career that follows while working, but also the personal growth in many ways according to one’s interests that are outside of work. Also, there are many Buzzvillians who are pursuing growth, so the participation rate and achievement rate of the BuzzChallenge seems to be high.
What is your goal that you really want to achieve this year?
To be honest, I don’t have a specific and grand goal to achieve this year. But if there is one thing, I want to be a person who can improve with the help of the BuzzChallenge. I often have a stomach ache because of my bowel problems, but I’m not trying to talk about it. However, I recently thought that I should digest information well and make it my knowledge, just as I digest food well to make my body nutritious. As I entered my mid 30's, I felt like my head was already hardening, the speed of learning something was slow, and when I read a book, nothing remained in my head, and the information seemed to just pass through my eyes and ears. So, as I decided to write a reading note for two books each month for the goal of this quarter’s BuzzChallenge this year, I will try various challenges with the theme of acquiring the habits and methods to make the acquired knowledge more completely mine.
I hope many people will challenge the BuzzChallenge and grow together this year!