‘People should have equal learning opportunities’

December 19, 2013
Max Han, CEO of Wisdome

Max Han, CEO of Wisdome

By Park Ji-won

Max Han, the 29-year-old CEO of Wisdome, a lecturer agency, says people should have equal opportunities to learn from experts and other qualified people.

“It is not fair you cannot learn from someone mainly because of your personal background. I wanted to address that inequality by making a platform that connects learners to lecturers,” Han said.

Wisdome, launched in April 2012, makes money by introducing learners to lecturers. When people want to lecture about their expertise, they sign up on the website and provide the necessary information such as what they want to teach, where and at what price. The firm then receives commission from the lectures.

As of November, Han’s business has put on 1,988 lectures for 14,461 people. It has some 750 lecturers throughout the nation, a figure that increases every day.

What inspired Han to launch this business is the tough environment in which he grew up.

“I grew up in a poor family that moved a lot. I developed a keen sense of observation of the changing world around me. During that time, I wondered why there was a big learning opportunity gap between poor and rich people.”

Despite his tough childhood, he was able to complete his education at Yonsei University, one of the most prestigious universities in Korea. Then, he got a job at Daewoo International.

“I had a vague sense of the inequality in acquiring intellectual capital, but didn’t realize how severe this problem was until I got into a big company. While working there, I realized the company was a rigid and big top-down system, much like a society that cannot nurture human beings horizontally. So, I decided to leave the firm after working one year and four months in order to address the problem.”

“A learning system should provide equal access to everyone. That’s why I established a business that starts online but eventually continues offline. Interesting, isn’t it?”

“We normally think lecturers are only famous people. But this is not the case. We are affected by regular people, not United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. We spend a significant amount of time communicating with each other. Anyone can be a lecturer.”

The firm plans to create a database of its lecturers and actively expand the business next year.

“In the future, I believe the platform that Wisdome has created will allow us to share others’ wisdom with anyone through a human library.”