How Inspiring A Company Can Be
And How Inspiration Can Change Over Time
5 min read
When it comes to inspiring stories in tech development, I always think of a specific company first. The reason is simple.
At a time when people needed it most, a company quickly developed a messenger app so that people could reach out to each other, get noticed, get help, and form a community. It brought together not only people in their own home country, but anyone who came for help.
Let me tell you about the company I'm talking about here, because I'm pretty sure not all people know about it.
In March 2011, a strong earthquake occurred in the Tōhoku region. This was shortly followed by a tsunami, which caused the large nuclear bomb explosion in Fukushima.
As a result of these events, land was destroyed and millions of people died and went missing. Millions of people were unable to reach each other because power and phone lines were cut and SMS networks were overloaded.
Wi-Fi and 3G were still largely usable. Naver and NHN co-founder and chairman Lee Hae-Jin came up with the idea of launching a messaging and chat app. His team of engineers from NHN Japan tested a beta version of an app within two months that was available on smartphones, tablets, and PCs, worked on the data network, and offered continuous and free instant messaging and calling service, as well as free voice calls.
This app is called Line.
Why this inspires me so much
I studied Japanese Studies. During this study I had to learn a lot about Japanese history and the history with the surrounding countries. So I know that Japan and South Korea did not always have a good relationship. And despite that, there was no hesitation and help was given in every possible way.
Line is now, of course, a messenger app like any other but with many great other features like stickers, payment options, health care and more.
But the origin story of the app is the one I remember. I wanted to point out how helpful a community can be, how nice it is to help each other, and that despite the fact that this happened more than ten years ago, I will never forget it.
And of course there are these cute characters called Line Friends. I'm sure anyone who has ever been to a Line Friends store knows what I'm talking about.
Which company really inspires me
So which company actually inspires me? Well, none in particular.
Let me put it this way. There is not that one great company that inspires me so much that I absolutely want to work for them.
But there are many great companies that develop products, and in doing so, improve the lives of many people in one way or another.
I'm inspired by any company that develops applications that are open source so that we can all learn from them and no one feels excluded.
I am inspired by every company out there that develops websites, applications, documentation and other technologies that are accessible to EVERYONE!
And I'm inspired by every company out there that develops software tools for those people who depend on them to even perceive information from the Internet.
So many companies have great products or an inspiring purpose, small or large. Let me tell you a few that I use often myself!
Thanks to Figma for creating a free design tool that even I can use today to create beautiful designs that I've always wanted to create but didn't have access to or money for.
I owe my branding to Canva, which provides so many free images, videos and ideas that let even uncreative people get creative.
Hashnode provides audio for articles so that people who are blind or unable to otherwise perceive the content due to other circumstances. Great.
Big thanks to companies like Windows that make Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, as well as Adobe that make PDFs accessible to many people who depend on them.
NVDA, VoiceOver, are such great tools that make the lives of so many people with visual impairments easier and even allow them to use content the way people without disabilities do.
And there's a lot more.
I am inspired by everyone who cares! - Julia Undeutsch
Last year, I participated in a worldwide Japanese speech contest, where I finished in the top 10 out of several hundred participants.
My speech was about what Japan is to me and how I connect with the country. Part of my talk was about Line and its origin story, which inspired me and showed me that programming is so much more than just writing code. Programming can help improve everyday life. And for some people, it makes things possible in the first place.
I think that's why my personal interest is in accessibility. Applications should make life easier, and that' s my mission.
Excerpt of my speechOriginal (video is coming soon)
[...]2019年には、日本に2回旅行しました。春には桜を見に、そして晩秋にも日本を訪れました。そのときに卒業後は日本で仕事を見つけて暮らしたいと思いました。そこで、2020年6月の卒業と同時に、プログラマーとして就職できるように、独学でプログラミングを学び始め ました. この業界に入りたいという気持ちを後押ししてくれたのが、LINEのような会社です。LINEが掲げるコ ンセプト、「困難な状況にある人々の助けになる」が気に入りました。テクノロジーは人と人とをいろいろな形で結びつけるので、私はそれがとても面白いと思います。日本での就職の可能性を高めるために、昨年12月のJLPTに向けて勉強していましたが、残念ながらコロナのせいですべての計画が台無しになってしまいました。[...]English
[...]In 2019, I traveled to Japan twice. I visited Japan in spring to see the cherry blossoms and again in late autumn. At that time I decided that I wanted to find a job and live in Japan after graduation. Therefore, I started to learn programming on my own so that I could find a job as a programmer when I graduate in June 2020. It was companies like LINE that encouraged me to want to enter the industry, and their concept of "helping people in difficult situations" ゙ was a great inspiration for me. I liked it. Technology brings people together in many ways, which I find very interesting. I was studying for the JLPT last December to improve my chances of finding a job in Japan, but unfortunately Corona has ruined all my plans.[...]
Thanks for your reading and time. I really appreciate it!
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