BIOGRAPHY: bobby soun
All his life, Bobby Suon has been questioned why he doesn't act more Asian. Now, to be clear, this line of questioning is usually coming from his very aggressively Korean grandmother, but it is something that has been drilled deep into his head. And it's not even that Bobby doesn't think he's acting like an Asian, or is somehow suppressing an entire way of life from his heritage. It's just, if a grown man doesn't want to eat with chopsticks in front of other grown and extremely ignorant individuals in a public place, it's something he's going to do whether or not Halmoni has a problem with it. And perhaps it is that very meddling from his grandmother that thrusts him ever deeper into the Asian life experience. Bobby was born in Singapore to Korean parents in the fall of 1982. Of course the monicer of 'Bobby' wasn't something that would come for a few more years. His mother had instructed her husband that he was to be named Hoon-Soo, a name meaning Excellence in Teaching. After all he would grow to be a strong, smart young man, and follow in her father's footsteps to become a great educator. Perhaps the best one in South Korea. And yet, as luck would have it, there was a mixup in the foreign maternity ward that day. Little Hoon-Soo was named Moon-Sik, a name which Ae-Cha would say shaped her son's personality and future more than any other influence. He was a stubborn and smart little boy with his head far in the clouds instead of being the educator she had expected. He was ambitious, flighty and quick to learn, not quick to practice. Without any real internal sense of discipline she believed her son's body and mind were out of balance. He was destined to fail. By the time Bobby reached six years old, he had already lived in five major cities in different countries. Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo and Manila. Finally the family moved to the United States, marking the sixth nationality he'd experienced. They were first located in Chicago for a short time before finally settling down to their permanant and current residence in Sacramento, California. Bobby's father, Bae-Cho, moved the family to the states when a job opportunity opened up for him. It wasn't too long before he was the junior vice president, then finally VP of the Asian Market within the international commercial shipping company he works for. Needless to say, the Suon family put a heavy emphasis on their children to succeed and do so in a very reasonable and safe manner. They wanted their children to go to school for something that would be useful in any market, and something that would not simply be a fad. By the time Bobby - whose parents chose his American name based on their favorite American sitcom (The Brady Bunch) - was in middle school he was already acting up and beginning to get into trouble. Following rules and conforming to what the other children were doing never really set well with him. That and there was the fact that even the other Asian American kids in his Pocket-Greenhaven neighborhood, referred to him as a boater. School wasn't easy for Bobby. Well, the school part was actually extremely easy. He could pick up and learn something faster than any other student in the class. It was the social parts that he struggled with. He hated the other students who pretty much hated him back anyway, so there was no love lost there. He didn’t like being in school, he didn’t like being picked on or made fun of. He just didn’t really like much of anything at the time. His attitude carried over, only mildly, into high school. By then he'd made more friends and begun to open up and explore who he was as a person but he still struggled with fitting in. Being smarter or being different was difficult. It wouldn't be until later in life that he would realize those differences were important. They set him apart and that everyone was different, everyone had stuff going on at home, everyone was afraid to have friends come over because their crazy fucking grandmother would be standing in the kitchen in her underwear making weird fish cakes at two in the morning… Or, well that last one was just him. He didn't have a ton of friends but those that were his friends were extremely tight knit and close. He was friends with the nerdy kids, he loved new technology and fandom movies and comic books. His favorite director was Spielberg and his favorite author was Tolkein and his favorite video game was Wolfenstein. Bobby loved video games. He loved the entire idea behind them and the work that went into them. His mother thought he was wasting his time but for Bobby this was a world where he actually strived. It wasn't just playing them either. He enjoyed modding and changing his games, getting up under the hood and seeing where he could tinker with them. And by the time college rolled around, he knew he wanted to attend UC Berkeley for a degree in Computer Science and coding. There Bobby really began to feel at home and shine. He worked with other like minded people and excelled in his program. Of course the entire time his mother acted like he was preparing himself for a life as a homeless beggar, but she would soon be proved extremely wrong. Bobby finished his program early, earning his degrees with ease and landing a highly coveted internship with Microsoft. Immediately he packed up and headed for the Northwest. Life in Seattle wasn’t terrible, but he felt extremely confined within the company. Sure they encouraged him to stretch his wings at every turn and told him that this was a place where he could really flex himself creatively. But, that wasn't exactly the case. Working for a major OS was something he’d been warned about. Microsoft or Apple, it didn't really matter. He had been told horror stories about both. Bobby wanted to be doing something independent, something more fun. By then things were beginning to change in the tech area and it was becoming more and more apparent that he should be in California. Only after a couple of years with Microsoft, Bobby accepted a job for Google and headed for greener pastures. And then three months later he was fired. With his tale between his legs, Bobby moved back home with his parents and worked delivering pizzas. And it was by happenstance through his job, that he ran into an old buddy from college. Their friendship was instantaneous and the two quickly found themselves feeding off of one another with their ideas. There was a whole new market in downloadable apps with smart phones and while his partner seemed to be looking for something to tap into financially, Bobby saw it as an opportunity to do something new and interesting. Something fun. And one night, while talking about facebook, about friends, and about feeling like the social networking site forced people to look at each other's shitty vacation photos, an idea was born. It would be sleek and interesting. Something that people could use to edit their pictures and connect with others just by sharing a single photo. It would put the importance on taking the right picture instead of just taking a ton of pictures. Snapgram was born that night. The app was almost an overnight success. It tapped into something, some kind of desire people had. It immediate started to rise in the market. By the time they finally sold the app to Facebook they had over 100 million users and came away with a very large sum of money. However Bobby had grown distant from his colleague. The other was always wanting to sell, always wanting to cash out while Bobby wanted to improve the app or write new apps. He wanted to do something interesting. The money could come later, if at all. Their differing opinions led them to part ways when they sold. Bobby cashed out with quite a bit more than just a few million dollars, while his partner stayed with the app, eventually dissolving into an employee of Facebook. Now with a lot more stability and safety net, Bobby lives in New York, in Brooklyn. He has come down from the high of his success and lives modestly. His mother, of course, still thinks he is a failure and that this whole computer coding nonsense is a fad. He keeps his money to himself and doesn’t like to talk about it. However he does really enjoy the artistic scene and investing in new ideas that he finds interesting. His most recent being a young chef. The social outlook still remains weird and awkward. For a while he was surrounded by people and felt like none of them were really genuine. Now he's starting to feel more at ease. He knows less people, but just like in high school, he knows them better and feels more like himself than ever before.