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Creative Mods

The Creative Mods site has attracted a steady following of visitors, garnered sponsors, and earned the founder a place as a businessman to watch. Not bad for a someone who hasn’t even graduated from high school yet.

Last year, Soo-Young Lee decided to launch a Web site, Creative Mods, dedicated to the construction of interesting computer cases, also called modding. Since then, the site has attracted a steady following of visitors, garnered sponsors, and earned Lee a place as a businessman to watch. Not bad for someone who hasn’t even graduated from high school yet. The Golden Valley-based senior talks about mods, Bawls, and adulthood.

What got you interested in doing modding?

I wanted to build a bare-bones computer from scratch, so I bought the components and the case and put it together. But it was summer, and my house doesn’t have air-conditioning, so I was worried about it getting overheated, especially during the really hot days. So, first I put a blowhole in the case to reduce the temperature, and from there I added a window. Then I started experimenting by adding more blowholes, and the whole thing just kind of took off from there.

What do you like best about modding?

Modding is a good way to keep your computer at a cool temperature, but it’s also a pretty interesting way to express yourself. I’ve branched out in terms of the kind of mods I do, and I like to try and be as creative as possible.

How did you decide to turn this into a Web site?

After that first case, the mods I was doing were low-budget, and I started to think of ways to do mods that were extremely cheap. It was pretty challenging, and I decided to make a Web site detailing my efforts, and providing guides for other people that might want to do the same thing. From there, I began to learn more about HTML and was able to make a better site.

What kind of marketing opportunities do you pursue?

The site has guides, articles, and reviews, so the places I was reviewing became more interested in becoming sponsors of the sites. I’ve been getting enough sponsors for the site to break even. I just got a sponsor for hosting, so that completely pays for the site.

I began talking to companies that I thought would be interested in the site, like Bawls [the highly caffeinated drink targeted at gamers], which sponsors a lot of LAN parties. They suggested that I could have a monthly giveaway at the site, so that’s what I decided to do. I profile a different member, and they win a case of Bawls.

What do you like best about the site?

I think that even though it takes a lot of time, it’s fun to work on moderating the forums and writing articles and maintaining the site. I put in a lot of time to make it as informative as I can for people, and give them products in the form of giveaways from sponsors.

As a senior, you might find that the ability to juggle the site and schoolwork will change when you go to college next year. What kind of plans do you have for the site in the near future?

I hope to keep the site up when I go to college, but I know that it will slow down in some ways. I’m really hoping to do related things when I get older. I want to take some classes and learn things that will help with the site, in terms of technology and marketing, but I’m realistic in that I know my interests could change over the next few years. Even so, I’m hoping I’ll stick with it.

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