How “Start-Up” taught us to Dream…

TvN’s Start-Up, which was shown on Netflix, has recently concluded its narrative about the four main characters’ intermingling aspiration to realize their dreams. It was a story that most of us can really relate to because we too dream. The thematic elements of the narrative as to how one can materialize those dreams and the price that we all pay to achieve them resonated to the viewers that is why it is not surprising that the show is currently the #1 series in the Philippines on Netflix.


We at HanaDulSes loved the story as well so we created a summation of the take-aways from the series concerning the thematic focal on the realization of dreams.


Start-Up Official Poster (from


We pay for hardships when we are young…

Seo Dal-mi’s father first exemplified this idea. In his aspiration to build his own company, he resigned from his job which caused him his marriage and the division of his family. When we dream, there are certain things that we have to sacrifice or at least forced to pay for. In our path towards the completion of our goals, hardships are inevitable. But what is beautiful about hardships is its ability to make success taste sweeter. Dal-mi’s father may not have seen the end of his dream but the symbolic realization of his daughters’ dreams created a sense of fulfillment on his behalf. His dream of success and the unification of his family as the result thereof was continued and achieved by his daughters although unbeknownst to them at the beginning.


Do-san paid for hardships too. He dreamt of becoming a successful CEO but time and time again, it seems that the dream is too far from happening and he constantly disappoints his parents especially his father. At Sand Box he realized that he simply is not cut-out to be a CEO so he relinquished the position to Dal-mi in order for his company to take flight. Along the way, his dream has taken a different form. Dal-mi soon became part of it. She became the anchor in which his vision is based upon. Although the wrong company decision they made forced them to separate and temporarily put a halt to that dream.


Similarly, Injae also had her fair share of troubles. She denounced her family name for a better life but it didn’t turn out well. Her decision to steer away from that name and from the clutches of her step-dad forced a competition between her and her sister Dal-mi. Their dreams collided, tensions brewed but all these would make sense when finally, their dreams are unified and they chase it not as competitors but as business partners and as sisters.



“You pass failure on your way to success.”
– Nam Do-san, episode 15

This is a very cliché statement but holds a perpetual power over our journey towards the fruition of our dreams. Nam Do-san has faced failure many times in his desire to build his own company. His company Samsan Tech struggled to secure credible investors. He failed many times. But his failures only drove him to continue. His passion was even doubled because his heart is involved. In addition, Dal-mi’s character also experienced failure many times. She got laid-off from work and finally resigned. But her desire to succeed is resilient. Her motivation to be better than her sister is strong. It became her force to continue. In reality, this is true. There are moments when competition and our desire to prove people wrong can sometimes be the most powerful driving force to move us forward and to accomplish the goals we have set ourselves.



We should take a risk for things we know we won’t succeed so that it will be easier next time.
Nam Do-san, episode 15

To dream is to take risks. Only those who are courageous can truly claim their dreams. Regardless that our gamble would mean failure for that failure will be the stone in which we build our dreams anew. By failing, our next endeavors will become easier for we know what it feels like and we now know what to do next. This line from Do-san which was taken from the elevator scene when the machine suddenly stopped trapping him, Dal-mi and Ji-peong inside. It was a profound scene with just them exchanging dialogues with each of the two men trying to convince Dal-mi to listen to their individual arguments. When Ji-peong interrupted him by pointing out the dangers of sailing without a map he goes on to say, “Sailing without a map could cause you your life but you could also survive. People like that become trailblazers.” This line makes a very good point of how failure cuts both ways. It can make you more careful or it can make you stronger and the ones that survive, become success itself.


Whilst in reality this may be very difficult to follow because more often than not, we are consumed by fear and that taking risks might seem drastic and impulsive. But the scene above reminds us that it takes a leap of faith to truly realize the things we aspire for ourselves. So risk it and you’d be surprised that the odds may be on your favor.



“Pray first and then make it happen.”
Seo Dal-mi, episode 16

For our dreams to materialize, work is necessary. A ship in the middle of a dessert, no matter how grand that ship is, can never set sail. This line from Dal-mi reminds us to do whatever it takes to fulfill what we aspire to fulfill. We have to make it happen. We can cast into the universe what we hope to accomplish… infinitely, however, it is in working towards what we have casted is where the fight really matters. Dal-mi, Do-san and their whole team wished for the triumph of their bidding but it did not stop there. They worked hard to accomplish it. Dreams must always be coupled with action for fortune only favors the bold. Whatever dream you wish to reach, shout it out in the universe, pray for it and then take action.


Finally, as the words written on Nam Do-san’s baseball ball, Follow your Dreams, though there will be times that your dreams will be deferred, don’t lose track. Go back! Take hold of your aspirations. Let your passion take you far…


That’s it K-dramanatics! We hope we did Start-Up justice and may the universe always conspire with you!


#StartUp #FollowYourDreams


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HanaDulSes is a blog created by cousins Von and Mara who share the same enthusiasm to the Korean Popular Culture. This blog centers in three things: Korean Skincare, Korean Popular Music and Korean Drama. Thus, the name: hana, dul, ses! With the Korean wave being at the peak of cultural blending, we aim to provide a rookie guide to people who love similar Korean contents as we do.

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