#Asia #Japan How a Rumor Can Destroy Your Business in Japan


Japanese thoughts on risk are changing, but they are changing slowly.

Many people still consider failure to be a permanent condition, and that makes it hard to take risks, or in some cases even to be associated with risks.

Today we talk with Hajime Hirose, one of Japan’s new breed of serial entrepreneurs. Hajime has started companies in three different countries and several different industries.  We talk about the challenges and importance of going global and how a Japanese founder ended up running a Chinese company that IPOed in New York.

And of course, we also talk about how difficult it is for startups to combat rumors in Japan, even when everyone knows those rumors to be false.

It’s a great conversation, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Show Notes

The road to China runs through Seattle
Today’s management crisis in Chinese and Indian companies
Why leave Japan to start a startup
Why not all publicity is good publicity in Japan
Why the truth cannot fix lies
How to survive when your competition is giving away their product for free
What startups are best started outside Japan

Links from the Founder

Connect with Hajime on LinkedIn
Hajime’s latest project, Datadeck
PTMind’s PT Engine

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Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs.

I’m Tim Romero, and thanks for joining me.

You know, there aren’t many serial entrepreneurs in Japan. The reason for that is, well, the same reason why we don’t have a lot of angel investors in Japan. Until very recently, the idea of both startup success and startup failure was permanent.

If your startup succeeded, you were expected to be running it until either you or the company expired, and if you failed, well, if you failed, you were done. Until very recently, failure was considered a permanent condition. No one was inclined to give you a second chance, but things are changing, and today, I would like to introduce you to Hajime Hirose, a Japanese serial entrepreneur who has built and sold startups and also bankrupted them.

We talk about how Japanese attitudes towards startups are changing, but how in Japan, a bad rumor, even a completely unfounded rumor can kill and otherwise promising startup. We also talk about the importance and the difficulty of going global, and the unlikely tale of a Japanese man running a Chinese startup that ended up IPOing in New York, and we also talk about Hajime’s old startup story that wheezed its way through London, Shanghai, Redmond, Jakarta, and yes, of course, Tokyo.

But you know, Hajime tells that story much better than I can, so let us get right to the interview.


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Tim: Cheers!

Hajime: Cheers!

Tim: All right, so I am sitting here with Hajime Hirose, the what the future founder of BuzzElement, and a few other startups as well, so thanks for sitting down with me.

Hajime: Well, thank you. I’m really excited because I’m a big fan of your show and I’m really thrilled to be on this side of the show.

Tim: Well, listen, I’m excited to have you here because there are relatively few serial entrepreneurs in Japan. So, I’m looking forward to this conversation. Your first real international business was in China, but before we get to that, let us back up and talk about how you wound up there.

Hajime: So, I was born in Tokyo, grew up in Yokohama, and I went to CIO for university, and I’ve been living outside of Japan for the last 26 years.

Tim: And, you ended up working for Microsoft, right?

Hajime: That’s right.

Tim: Back when MSN was still a thing.

Hajime: That’s right, yeah. So, that was back when Microsoft just bought Hotmail back in 1998.

Tim: Oh, the good old days.

Hajime: Yeah, that was good, that was really fun. So, I was lucky to be the only two Japanese guys on the project.

from Disrupting Japan: Startups and Innovation in Japan https://ift.tt/2PZddIa

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