Startup internship in Taiwan @ digital marketing company

Startup internship in Taiwan @ digital marketing company

Hi there, I’m Leo, the CEO of applemint.

Are you interested in the internship opportunity at a “real startup” who provides digital marketing service in Taiwan? Well, we are the answer.

What do I mean by “real” startup? A startup who was neglected by investors and got no funding. We actually represent most of the startups. I believe most startups get no funds unless they are capable of creating AI, block-chain, or tech related products. They may be invested because they have higher chances of going public or making money in the short-term.

But most of the startups are not like that. New restaurants and cafes are also startups! The cruel reality is that most of the non-funded startups go bankrupt within 5 years. What about applemint?

We are proud to announce that 2021 marks our 5th year and we even pulled through COVID era! In addition, we are absolutely sure that we will survive for another year because we are financially stable.

It’s literally a miracle that a non-funded startup has survived even in the amidst of COVID-19 era. Do you want to know the secret behind our growth? You may witness how we do business and I’m sure it is practical than doing an intern at a tech startup who is well funded because when you try to start your own business, you probably won’t be funded….

leo

In fact, if you can run your own business without any fund, it’s good because nobody will ever intervene to your business. Investors may be pain in your ass.haha

We have had a couple of interns in the past. If you would like to know more about how it’s like to intern at applemint, read the blogs below (English), written by a student at McGil University who interned at applemint for three months from November 2021.

More to read

Hello! I’m Mayuko and I started internship at applemint (Taiwan) in November 2021. I’m a sophomore at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, but I have never been to Canada yet because I took my first year online and am currently on a leave of absence: ( Now, if you are studying abroad or going on leave of absence, you’ve probably wondered how to make the most of your time. In this blog, I would like to share with you why I decided to intern at applemint instead of traveling, working part-time job, or doing extracurricular activities. I hope this helps […]

More to read

Hi! Im Mayuko, an intern at applemint. Some of you reading this blog right now might be thinking about how to spend your time during leave of absence, or whether to study abroad in Taiwan or not. On the first day of my internship at applemint, I wrote a blog titled “To fellow international students in Taiwan, do an internship” Now that three months have passed since I wrote that, I would like to reveal if internship at applemint was really worth it. I’ll include my schedule, internship details, what I’ve learned, and my reflections, so if you’re thinking about […]

If you can read Japanese or Chinese, you may refer to Daniel’s experience here. (I often use DeepL to read) Here is the list of colleges that we have accepted students in the past:

past interns
  • UCLA
  • McGill University
  • Biola University
  • National Taiwan University
  • National Cheng Chi University
  • National Chung Cheng University
  • Keio University
  • Nagasaki University
  • and so on

You may also check out Daniel’s reviews of our internship program below (written in Chinese):

Daniel’s review:After finishing the internship program at applemint (Chinese)

This post is from Akane Baba who is a Japanese college graduate that came to applemint as an intern between November 2019 and February 2020.

When you do apply for an internship, the worst thing that can happen is a mismatch.We do not wish that the applicants misunderstand how the internship at applemint works. Therefore, I am going to write both pros and cons of applemint’s internship in this blog.

We take our interns very seriously because they are part of our team, not part of free-labor. We do check intern’s eligibility.

We do not judge the person’s eligibility based on skills or past experience, but rather on personalities such as humbleness, ability to teamwork and a sense of integrity.

First thing first: what’s applemint?

applemint

applemint is a digital marketing agency established in Taiwan in 2017 by Leo and Eric.

Leo is a Japanese-American who grew up in Japan and in the U.S. Eric is a Taiwanese who was born and raised in Taiwan. Leo is the CEO of applemint and Eric is the COO of applemint.

In Taiwan and Japan, people usually classify companies into two types: foreign-fund company and local-fund company.

The former usually inherits work culture of where the company’s come from and the latter reflects the culture of Taiwan. applemint is foreign-funded company because I’m the representative but we have a Taiwanese co-founder.

So are we Taiwanese-oriented? or Japanese-American oriented? I think we are somewhere in the middle.

We provide freedom and respect bottom-up approach but at the same time, we also care about collectivism. In a sense, we are a very top-down company because if I make a decision, everybody needs to follow but I let everybody work on their own.

Why did I start applemint in Taiwan?

Prior to starting my own company, I thought there were 3 problems among advertisement digital marketing agencies in Taiwan:

3 things I did not like about most Japanese ads. agencies in Taiwan
  • lack of transparency
  • lack of quality
  • lack of flexibility

lack of transparency means that there are too many ad. agencies that do not disclose digital ads. platforms and charge unreasonably high amount to advertisers.

By disclosing the platform, ad agencies may jeopardize their business (monetization) as advertisers can copy the entire setting and run digital ads themselves.That’s why many ad agencies do not show their digital ads. platform.

I understand.

But some companies take advantage of this circumstance and charge more than they should because advertisers cannot really see how much they spent for their ads.

I never liked it (The situation improved a lot over the past 3-4years). Also, many ad. agencies lacked quality especially the Japanese one.

The expats of the Japanese ad. agencies in Taiwan are usually Sales managers who are not capable of training employees because they do not understand digital ads in depth.

Sales people usually understand the concept and surface of digital ads but do not know how to execute. They need to hire people that may execute digital ads but most Japanese sales expats in Taiwan speak little English and almost zero Chinese.

It’s conceivable that they have a hard time trying to find someone who speak Japanese and is capable of digital ads execution.

Lastly, most ad. agencies pursue for efficient and short-term revenue. In order for them to maximize profits, they usually want advertisers to spend lots of money on advertisement so that their commission increases.

As a result, advertisers with small amount of advertisement fees are neglected because the workload and profit become unreasonable for the agencies.

Seeing all these things, I decided to start my own business (details written in Japanese). Of course it was really tough in the beginning but now we are kind of settled.

In the future, we want to become the most digital savvy and communication expert. But for the time being, we will focus on enhancing our digital marketing service. For more information, you may click the link below:

about applemint

Why you should intern at applemint #1 Seeing the reality

The first benefit of internship at applemint is seeing the “reality” of a startup. applemint is a company of 6 people. We are likely to recruit 1-2 more staffs in 202s but the future is uncertain due to Corona Virus.

When you think of a startup company, you may think that most companies are well- funded but that is not the reality of applemint.

In a nutshell, we are one of the majority of startups that was not funded so by taking part in our internship program, you will see what 90% of the “real” startups are going through.

Why you should intern at applemint #2 Diverse setting

We are multinational. I (CEO) grew up in Los Angeles and Japan. We have Japanese and Taiwanese staffs working together.

We have had interns from the U.S., Japan and Canada. We use Mandarin, Japanese at our office to communicate with each other but we often use English for written communication.

We are not trying to be cool or different from others but because some of our members are not Mandarin-native, so we need to use English for efficient communication.

So if you wish to put yourself in a diverse setting and practice Mandarin at the same time, applemint may be the place!

Why you should intern at applemint #3 Learning digital marketing

If you ever type “Taiwan” or “Taipei” and “Internship” in Japanese, you will probably find us.

Is it because of luck? No, we aimed these keywords. This is called SEO.

We can teach you how to SEO for certain keywords at applemint. We can also teach you how we make digital ads and how we analyze websites using Google Analytics.

Since we care a lot about analyzing website for future optimization, we often design tracking points when we draw our wireframe.

We have internal training every once in a while, so if you happen to be at applemint, you may join the training.

leo

Unfortunately, I will speak in Mandarin.

Our internship sounds awesome so far but I want our applicants to know the dark side of our internship before they apply because we really place emphasis on transparency.

Disadvantage #1: No salary

That’s right. You will not get salary for doing an intern at applemint.

leo

We will provide lunch fee 100NT/day

Why?

Because you are not a part-timer. You are an intern. If you want to make money, applemint isn’t the place for you to join but if you want to learn, applemint is the place.

When I was a college student, I could never understand the meaning of internship. I always thought companies are lucky to get free labor. When I started having interns, I noticed I was wrong.

Because we do not pay for the interns, we always try to make up for what they are providing us. In other words, we give more than we take. It’s called norm of reciprocity.

Most of the interns we’ve had do not have any knowledge of digital marketing and therefore, we actually have to start their internship from teaching them.

The opportunity of loss is huge because while we teach the interns, we cannot do our own task. We may teach interns for 1 hour and make no money but if we use that one hour to create a banner, we can make some money.

We promise we will not exploit from you but you will not get any salary because the purpose of internship is to learn, not to make money.

Disadvantage #2: We make your goal

We used to have our interns set their own goals but now, we decide intern’s goal. The problems that we saw when our interns set their own goals are as follows:

  1. Intern’s forget their own goals
  2. The goals are unrealistic
  3. The interns will not accomplish any goals

Let me explain one by one. First of all, almost every intern we’ve had in the past has forgotten their goal. Why? It’s because they do not know how to set up their goal at a digital marketing agency.

For example, let’s say you’ve never danced before and you all of a sudden have to dance for an orientation 3 months later. your goal is to complete your dance choreography. If you do not know the difficulty of the dance, you might blindly agree to complete the dance choreography.

Bu if you do know the difficulty of the dance or the dance looks difficult, you can judge whether you can complete within 3 months or not.

People who wish to intern at applemint used to tell us that they want to be able to master Google Analytics, be able to plan digital marketing, be able to operate digital ads and so on in 2 months.

leo

Ah….digital marketing isn’t that easy….

As a result of unrealistic goal, they do not accomplish anything at the end of our internship program. This is not good because I want our interns to write in their resume saying they have accomplished something. If you do not write any concrete accomplishment, most companies will neglect your internship experience.

It’s also good for us to fix intern’s goal because that way, we can arrange intern’s training more effectively.

Intern’s task

Let me list the intern’s task at applemint.

・Write blog contents in English
・do some research for our blog contents
・Participate in our client’s monthly meeting and take notes
・Miscellaneous tasks
・Help our English Youtube channel

As an intern, your main job is to write blog contents for applemint. Don’t worry we will teach how to write a SEO-friendly blog.

You may think writing a blog is easy but it is not easy. Why are newspaper articles so easy to read? Because the writers are well-trained.

In addition, if you do not speak or read Chinese or Japanese, you will have to manage our Linkedin and help us build our English ver. Youtube (We haven’t started yet)

Our office by the way

Before I get to my last point, let me briefly show you our office.

We have a set of turntables because I DJ. If you are interested in learning DJ, let me know!

What do we expect from our interns?

learn

To be honest, if we simply need workforce, we do not need to look for interns. We would rather just look for a part-timer.

So why does applemint look for interns?

You’ve probably seen or heard of Nike’s famous slogan ” Just Do it”, right? The slogan was made by Wieden + Kennedy, an advertising agency based in Portland.

Although the slogan was coined by one of the founders, the inspiration came from Interns’ chitchat. We believe interns can bring about a new perspective to the company which will allow us to come up with a new idea.

Lastly, let me finish this blog with what we expect from our interns.

1. Independence

We need interns who can think themselves and act proactively. We’ve had interns in the past who would wait for our orders all day and not finish a single task. If we see such attitude again, we may tell the intern to stop the internship because we don’t benefit from each other.

The intern can freely use our resources but it’s totally up to them to make us of them.

2. Basic knowledge of some business tools

We’ve had an intern who never really touched Google document or spreadsheet in the past. We absolutely have no time to teach them how to use these basic business tools.

3. Communication ability

This is probably the most important criterion. What exactly is communication ability? We define communication ability as the ability to express and convey the targeted person’s need.

For example, when we ask, “Why do you want to intern at applemint?”, most people answer that they want to learn. That’s awesome but take a second and think how this answer would make us want to hire them as an intern. Nothing, because they did not express any benefit for the interviewer.

In other words, they did not put themselves in our shoes and answer. Make sure to answer how we can benefit for having you as an intern.

4. Others

Please do have a valid work permit. We do not accept any interns who do not have work permit in Taiwan.

Also, please do not be late to work. Being tardy affects our company’s discipline and I will not tolerate such act. If I see interns lacking discipline and responsibility, I will ask the intern to leave immediately.

Lastly, we do not accept any interns who cannot come and work with us at least 2days a week and work more than 5 hours each day. We’ve had an intern who would just come in the morning and work with us for 3 hours. She did not learn anything…

Last message

If you are a type of person thinking, “Oh, commuting to applemint is time-consuming.”, “Oh, I wanna go clubbing so I can’t go sometimes”, “Oh, I have a part-time job”, “Oh, I want to enjoy my life” and so on, just play hard!

I have a friend in Taiwan who used to party everyday in Taiwan and he eventually started a one-day club-hopping service in Taiwan. Since he became friends with some club managers, he managed to provide such service.

If you want to go have fun, go for it!. If you want to learn, come apply but don’t apply with half-hearted mind. If you made your resolution and decide to apply for us, we will provide fulfilling learning experience.

Click to contact applemint.

Contact

Leo Sato 佐藤峻

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