The past week saw two major firsts for Prezi. For anyone who knows anything about South Korea, it should come as no surprise that they should both take place in the so-called Land of Morning Calm. A country full of self-styled early adopters, Prezi has long enjoyed an almost cult popularity with university students as the way to present thesis pitches and group project conclusions.
The passion for education in Korea is so strong that (after witnessing it at first-hand) it led President Obama to hold up the number of hours Korean students spend in school as a benchmark for US schoolchildren to aspire to. While this level of dedication to learning might have impressed the listening American public, it only served to remind the student population of Korea just how hard they have to work if they are to stand out from the crowd after they graduate. Korea has seen staggering economic growth since the 1950s, but now in the wake of a baby boom generation, the local job market is saturated with heavily-qualified young talent.
The inevitable result of this is that the young voters of Korea are now a key demographic for the upcoming presidential election scheduled for next week. It therefore seems only natural that one of the two major candidates – Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party – should turn to Prezi to get his message out to the masses.
Mr. Moon’s choice of medium is exciting to all of us here at Prezi, not because we are rooting for him in the upcoming extremely tight election race, but because to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a major political figure has used Prezi to explain a key electoral promise. For a company dedicated to the spread of ideas, the fact that a man who could be steering the thirteenth largest economy in the world has chosen to use our product to explain how he will relieve the tax burden without sacrificing the quality of national health insurance coverage, is something that brought a lot of smiles to proud faces. This positive effect was increased by an almost karmic sense of timing as Prezi released updated international versions of our online editor, including one for Korean users.
Moon Jae-in’s prezi on the Democratic United Party of Korea’s National Health Insurance Policy
There was none more excited than our newly appointed Korea Country Manager (our first in such a position), Myongkoo Kang. MK, as he insists we call him, has only just returned to his homeland after a week spent getting to better know Prezi at our San Francisco office.
As with a lot of prezis, the story behind it’s creation belies the smoothness of the finished product that we can all view on this page. Mr. Moon’s strategists knew that they wanted to use zooming technology, but they weren’t quite sure how to harness its full potential. Thankfully, having a full-time country manager allowed the process to reach a satisfying conclusion. MK worked tirelessly to make sure the prezi got made. He introduced the campaign team to a talented Prezi designer, Ahn Do-er from local company DCG (Dream Challenge Group), and kept a keen eye on the whole process.
MK is an experienced speaker himself, and has been “a huge fan of Prezi” since he first saw it in action at a TED conference. “The eyes and ears of the entire audience were drawn to the stage. The speaker using Prezi to share his ideas changed the atmosphere of the entire event. After I made my speech, I was satisfied, but after I saw the next speaker use Prezi, I felt upstaged. I went straight home and created an account. I was amazed by the impact it could have on an audience. The story has a happy ending, as I’m now working for Prezi.”
When candidate Moon’s prezi was announced to the world via a tweet on December 10, MK happily shared the news with the rest of his new Prezi family in a e-mail overflowing with glee. All in all it’s been a very impressive first week for our newest addition, but MK feels that the amazing results are symptomatic of the potential the Korean market has in store for Prezi.
“It’s difficult to compare Korean people with the rest of the world. We are an emotional people. This doesn’t mean that we aren’t rational, but we place a large value on the emotional bonds between individuals. This is true in politics, even in business. Prezi really helps the emotion of a presentation to come out, and this is one of the key reasons I wanted to join the company. We are going to see more amazing things from Prezi in Korea.”
The rest of us are looking forward to seeing what MK and his homeland have in store.
And in the interest of balance, we have included another prezi about the life of Moon’s major election rival: Park Geun-hye.