#Asia #Japan The Japanese Trap of the Glorious Failure

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Japanese businessmen famously fear failure.

But that understanding is horribly incomplete. In fact, there is one type of failure that is admired, almost sought after, in Japan. Today we take a look at the trap of the Japanese glorious failure, see how it’s hurting startups, and examine our options on fixing it.

Show Notes

Life lessons from Mark the Dog
When and why failure is feared in Japan
What is a Glorious Failure, and why it is admired
How the Glorious Failure is hurting Japanese startups
What is (probably) the only way to fix this

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

I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

I’m recording this episode for release on April 28, 2020. I usually try to make all Disrupting Japan content evergreen. Most of the insights you hear on Disrupting Japan about starting companies in Japan, or building a customer base, market testing, or doing business here will probably be just as valid in ten years as the day it was recorded.

And in some ways, this episode is no exception. The common wisdom is that Japanese. and Japanese founders in particular, are too risk-averse and have too great a fear of failure. Well today, we are going to turn that view on its head.

I’m going to explain that, in truth, Japanese founders don’t fear failure enough, and that’s hurting Japanese startups here.

You know, actually, maybe I am being too pessimistic. Maybe ten years from now, you and I will listen back on this episode and laugh at how things used to be and smile when we think of how much has improved.

Well, maybe.

But before we start talking about why Japanese founders need to fear failure more, I want to say something about the coronavirus situation, at least as it stands in late April 2020. The world might have changed a lot since then.

Tokyo is currently on official, but actually unofficial, lockdown. There are clusters of idiots in the parks, but most people seem to be taking things seriously. If you go outside, the police won’t arrest you, but they might ask you where you are going, and ask you to consider if you really need to be out. There is no real punishment or anything, but they make you feel kind of guilty, and that seems to be enough to keep most people indoors.

The operations of the Disrupting Japan Studios remain largely unaffected by the shutdown, but that mostly because, Disrupting Japan Studios broadcasts from inside of my wife’s walk-in closet. The acoustics are great in here, but it can get a bit cramped.

So for the past six weeks or so, I’ve been staying in the house with my wife Ami and my dog Mark. And you know, Mark the dog has taught me perhaps the most important lesson about how to deal with the corona crisis and the lockdown.

Mark the dog, he doesn’t really know what’s going on. All he knows is that my wife and I are home all the time, and he’s never alone. There is always someone to lean up against, or play with, or give him some attention.

Mark the dog, doesn’t worry about what might happen tomorrow, and I don’t think he really remembers what happened yesterday. But right now, at this particular moment, he knows he is with the people he loves and who care about him. And for right now, that’s pretty awesome. And believe me, Mark the dog is the happiest, most contented creature you could possibly imagine.

So day-by-day, right. At this particular moment, I hope you are OK and with people you love.

Anyway, let’s put Mark the dog out of the studio. We’re going to talk about why Japanese founders need to fear failure more.
The Failure that is Feared
You’ll often hear that Japanese founders, and Japanese society in general or overly afraid of failure. And in some ways that is true.

Attitudes have shifted for the better over the past few decades, but most kinds of failure here in Japan do cary a certain stigma.

from Disrupting Japan: Startups and Innovation in Japan https://ift.tt/3eSbaCC

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