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Chul, met (#25).

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I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen?”

Business travel is always fun, but I always dread two things: invitations to drink alcohol, and revealing my age.

Socializing is a huge part of business. Socializing is fun, but the most daunting moment for me is when I’m invited to social events that involve alcohol. Whereas it helps most people relax, it has a rather opposite effect on me.

I prefer socializing over food, and what better way to get to know someone over my favorite ethnic cuisine?

In my trip to Songdo, Korea, a business contact took me out to dinner. Previous correspondence was entirely web based over e-mails or Skype, and this was our first encounter in person.

We ended up talking for about three hours while eating quality food, the best Korean food that Songdo had to offer.

Chul is the Chief Information Officer of the institution I visited. He was born in Korea, but much of his schooling and professional career was in Michigan, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area. He has a dual US and South Korean citizenship and frequently travels between LA and Songdo.

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Raw beef, grilled garlic and radishes.

We talked about software and product, finance, and shared stories. Chul reminds me of both Captain Graham and Michael. He’s hustled and succeeded in various ventures, yet does not flaunt.

Folks have historically asked how old I am and have usually guessed “28” or “late 20s.” They’ve historically been astonished when I revealed my age, and oftentimes the conversation density dwindled. I hate this.

Upon finding out my age, Chul did not react differently, which I greatly appreciated. We continued sharing stories over damn good Korean food, spicy and non spicy, pickled and radished, red meat and white meat, and all the goods in between.

Chul has been met, but I wonder… how many people have I looked at all my life and never seen?

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