#Asia #Japan 100: Why I Turned Down $500k, Shut Down My Startup, And Joined the Enterprise


Welcome to our 100th show.

If you are new, welcome to Disrupting Japan. If you are a long-time follower, thank you for being part of the community and helping to make Disrupting Japan what it is today.

This is a special, and rather short, episode.

Today I’m going to tell you a very personal story of startup failure, and let you in on what’s coming next. Both for me, and for the show.

Thank you for listening, and I think you’ll enjoy this one.


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Disrupting Japan episode 100.
Welcome to Disrupting Japan. Straight talk from Japan’s most sucessful entreprenuers. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me. 
Wow. One hundred episodes! That’s right
Orson Wells only made 64 movies.  The Rolling Stones have only recorded 53 albums. Lord Byron only published 83 poems.
But Disrupting Japan has now released 100 episodes. And I’m pretty happy about that. When I started this show, almost exactly three years ago, I never imagined it would grow into the big international community it has become, and I want to thank you for being part of it. Wether you were one of our 14 original listeners or one of the thousands who have signed up more recently, thanks for joining the conversation about some of the truly amazing things going on in Japanese startups and innovation today.
I knew I had to do something special for our 100th show, and gave a lot of thought to exactly what that should be.
I thought about doing a clip show with many of Japan’s startup founders saying a word about startup in Japan and wishing us a happy 100, but that seems kind of, I don’t know vain and self-congratulatory.
I thought about getting a big name on the show. There are a couple of world-famous Japanese founders who I could have probably brought on for the big anniversary, but that didn’t feel quite right either. I mean, we’ll definitely get those guys on later,  but what you’ve been telling me  — pretty consistently — over the past three years, is that it’s the human stories of success .. and failure  and challenge that really meet to matter.
And that makes sense.
It’s not the dot.com billionaires that are diving innovation in Japan.  It’s the thousands of individual innovators and the millions of Japanese people newly willing to take chance and try out these new ideas that are really driving the change.  In a way, the billionaires are just as much a result of these historic changes as they are a cause of them.
The real change, the real engine for innovation in Japan is the creative people who are willing to take some very real social and economic risks to follow their dreams and try to create something new. I mean, they are not selfless. Very few of them are doing it for the betterment of Japan.  No they have their own reasons some financial, some personal, but they are willing to put themselves out there, both economically by starting a company, and socially by, among other things, coming onto this show and talking very frankly about what they feel, and what they fear … and what they really want.
This kind of public openness about true hopes and fears. This kind of sharing. It’s never really been a part of Japanese culture, but that’s changing. At least among startup founders. And that’s a great thing.
So, in that spirt of openness about failure and success and hopes and dreams, for this special 100th episode, I’ve decided to share a personal story of my own. I’m going to tell you about one of my startup failures, and then I’ll tell you about my new job. I can talk about it now, and if you haven’t heard yet, you are in for a surprise.  Ah, but before I tell you about dreams of future success, I owe you a story of past failure.
This is adapted from an article I wrote a little more than a year ago about why I decided to shut down my latest startup a few weeks before launch. The article was originally titled “Why I Turned Down $500k, Pissed off my investors, and shut down my startup.

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