Home People Gabriel Pérez Is Working to Expand your Japanese Vocab Past ‘Konnichiwa’

Gabriel Pérez Is Working to Expand your Japanese Vocab Past ‘Konnichiwa’

by Jasmine Jacobs

If you’ve ever found yourself wanting to learn Japanese, but without the time or the attention span (read: self discipline) for software, look no further. Koipun brings video conferencing and language learning together like never before. We caught up with founder & Georgia Tech grad, Gabriel Perez to learn more about the man behind the ビジネス (business).

So what does your day look like?
As CEO of an early stage startup I currently do a wide array of tasks, including but not limited to: design, front-end and back-end development, marketing, user research, customer discovery, management and more. I also spend a significant amount of time on my Japanese studies, so that I can get more ideas for the product.

What startup/tech projects have you worked on?
I have held several engineering positions with IBM and participated in Google Summer of Code before founding Koipun. I also previously dabbled with another business idea, Curioso, a platform to help men look great.

What tech/tools are essential to you?
Starting a startup has become drastically easier thanks to great advancements in tech and education. Koipun is hosted at Heroku, my email marketing is done with MailChimp and I use Buffer to manage social media.

These tools makes launching and managing products so much easier. A key part of Koipun is Google Hangouts, which provides a great video conference experience and facilitates the creation of apps for the platform. We have built two Hangouts apps to make Hangouts more suitable for language teaching.

As for my toolbelt, I’m an old school guy and I spent most of my time with Emacs and a Linux terminal. My toolbelt is made almost exclusively out of free and open source software.Another thing I rely on is on the many available startup education materials, things such as YCombinator‘s recent Startup Class have been ground breaking. The advancing knowhow of the community is being “open sourced”.

How do you stay informed & on top of emerging trends?
I hangout daily at Hacker News and visit blogs such as this one.

Why are you interested in startups?
For software/service based startups, startups are a revolutionary way to pursue one’s passions, dreams and aspirations. In an era with so much job uncertainty and work dissatisfaction it is refreshing to see young people seek out alternatives. It’s a great space to be in because it is one of the few industries where you can build product and services at scale, with very little or no capital investment. The means of production are free, as in the case of free and open source software, or extremely cheap as in server hosting, computer hardware and Internet access. It’s a very liberating thought that as a software developer one can build pretty much anything given enough time and experience.

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