Oracle first came into Japan more than 25 years ago, but the challenges they faced and overcame then are exactly the same ones firms are facing today in executing their Japan market entry.
Allen explains why Oracle needed a unique sales and marketing strategy for Japan, and how he managed to get buy-in from headquarters — even though Oracle already had a sales and marketing program that had proven fantastically successful in other markets.
We also talk about how Oracle managed to negotiate a amicable exit out from their exclusive distribution agreements not just once, but twice. That’s an amazing accomplishment considering that many foreign companies have destroyed their Japanese business the first time they attempt it.
But Allen, tells the story much better than I do. I think you’ll enjoy the interview. I know I did.
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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.
Japan is slowly opening up again. The official “unofficial” lockdown ended at the beginning of June. Restaurants, bars, and shops are reopening with a lot if plastic curtains and sheeting separating patrons and proprietors. It’s a long way from normal, but it’s better than being stuck in the house.
International travel is mostly shut down, but domestic travel is really picking up. It seems most of the hotels and resorts in Okinawa are already booked solid for the summer by Japanese who would normally be flying to Hawaii. And Okinawans, grateful for the business, but still nervous about the virus, have some pretty mixed feeling about that.
And of course, with international travel shut down, and all the trade shows canceled, most foreign startups have put their Japan market entry plans on hold. And that’s normally a lot of activity. If you are a B2B startup you need to be looking at Japan. It can be a hard market to crack, but it’’s a lucrative one.
So today, I want to re-share what is one of the most amazing Japan market-entry stories of all time. It has ambition, misdirection. drama, serious career-risk, and rock-concerts. It’s an old story, but a good one. The technologies have changed since then, but the challenges and the strategies haven’t.
To kick things off today, we’ll get a chance to sit down and talk with my good friend Allen Miner about the challenges Oracle faced, and overcame, when breaking into Japan.
I’ll warn you in advance that this episode is longer than most, and believe me, I cut things to the bone. But there is just too much great information about how to overcome both the personal and professional challenges that foreign companies face here. I felt like I would be cheating you if I edited out any more. In fact, Allen explains how Oracle successfully maneuvered out of an exclusive distribution agreement, not only once, but two separate times. This is something that has sunk more than one foreign company here. But Allen tells the story much better than I can, so let’s get right to the interview.
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Tim: So I’m sitting down here with Allen Miner and Allen, you’ve been involved with the market entry of a lot of companies into Japan. But today I want to focus on the one that you led personally, which was Oracle Japan. So let’s back up. What was attractive about the Japanese market? What made Oracle decide that they needed to be in this country?
Allen: Actually, that happened a few years before I joined Oracle. In, I believe it was 1982, Oracle was about a $5 million a year company worldwide, 5 years old as a company, and just released their first commercial version of the Oracle database software. There was quite a bit of press about, “How interesting is this relation to technology? It doesn’t require traditional programming to do data manipulation…
from Disrupting Japan: Startups and Innovation in Japan https://ift.tt/2Nn7NXG