#Asia #Japan DJ Selects: Why startups lose control of their sales channels, and how to fix it – Allen Miner – Oracle

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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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Transcript
Welcome to disrupting Japan. Straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs.

I’m Tim Romero, and thanks for joining me.
Update
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.
Intro
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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Interview
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…

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#Asia #Japan Why people pay for new online events

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You would expect that event-focused startups would be some of the hardest hit by the global pandemic and lockdown, and for the most part, you would be right.

But Peatix is one event startup that adapted fast and is now actually thriving during the lockdown.  We’ve talked with Taku Harada before, and if you have not done so already, you should check it out. It’s a great conversation and there is no overlap with today.

Today we talk about how startups can pivot and survive during the pandemic, why having too much money can be a curse for startups, and we dive into what’s gone wrong with Japanese B2B SaaS startups.

It’s a great discussion, and I think you will really enjoy it.

Show Notes

How an evets company pivots during Covid-19
What makes a good online event
Will people play for online events
What will be the long-term behavioral changes from the lockdown
The surprising secret to scaling a social network
Tips for Japanese who want to run an international startup
The trap of startups having too much funding

What’s wrong with Japan’s SaaS companies

Why Japanese enterprise has too much influence on startups

The importance of an ecosystem is not what you think 

Links from the Founder

Everything you ever wanted to know about Peatix
Friend Taku on Facebook
Follow him on twitter at @takumeister
Petix on YouTube

Leave a comment
Transcript
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

Today we get a chance to sit down with (at a very safe social distance) with Taku Harada the founder of Peatix, and we’ll talk about how this particular event planning and booking company is not only surviving but thriving during this covid crisis.

And hey, this is the very first DJ episode I’ve released, where I’ve interviewed someone over video conference.  Oh, I’ve recorded a few interviews that way them before, but I’ve always found something lacking. Something impersonal and not fully connected when you talking to an image on a screen rather than a person in the same room.

But this time was different. Maybe because Taku and I are old friends, or maybe just because we all, myself included, are getting more used to living our lives online. So we’ll be doing more interviews this way, at least until things return to the way they were in the before times.

This is actually the second time we’ve had Taku on the show, but this is all new information, and I strongly encourage you to go listen to the other interview. It’s a great discussion about the things no one ever tells you when you first start your startup. I’ll have a link to that episode up on the site

But today we are going to talk about how to build, and expand, your customer base during lockdown, some things you should know about fundraising right now, and what the hell is wrong with Japanese B2B SaaS companies.

But you know Taku tells that story much better than I can, so let’s get right to the interview.
Interview

Tim: So, I’m sitting here with Taku Harada of Peatix, the event ticketing and promotion service. Thanks for sitting down with me.
Taku: It’s great to be back, I guess. We talked several years ago. It’s nice to see you again.
Tim: Likewise, and we’re being very appropriately socially distanced here, you being in New York.
Taku: Very much.
Tim: Yeah. Yeah, actually, you were one of my very first guests on the show and that was, man, almost six years ago now.
Taku: Was it six years ago?
Tim: Yeah, 5 ½, six years. Times change.
Taku: When was it, 2013 or so? I’m curious to find out what I had said back then, if it matches up with the way I’m thinking right now.
Tim: Yeah. We finished off a bottle of wine at the old engine yard office in Tokyo.
Taku: Yeah, an Ebisu, right?
Tim: Yeah. Now, it was a really great interview and we’re not going to cover the same ground again today although I mean,

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#Asia #Japan Why public humiliation is the secret to success

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I’ve never managed to find a direct road to success.

My bio reads like a random walk down many different career paths, so I always feel unqualified to answer when people ask me for career advice. Today, however, I’d like to share one insight about doing business in Japan that I learned the hard way.

If you’ve been through something like this, I hope you’ll be able to identify with it. If you haven’t, I hope you can learn something from it, and avoid it.

Please share your experiences in the comments.

Show Notes

More life lessons from Mark the Dog
Japanese fluency is an odd target
What’s worse than any horror movie plot?
Success via humiliating failure
How good does your Japanese need to be to do business in Japan?

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

I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

Today I want to tell you the story about one of the most embarrassing and publicly humiliating events of my life, and something very important it taught me about doing business in Japan.

Before we get to that, however, I received a lot of great feedback from the last episode on the Japanese trap of the Glorious Failure, including a number of Japanese listeners who said they really liked Taniguchi-bucho’s explanation of corporate Japan’s negative point system.
(More) Advice from Mark the Dog
But by far the most popular request was for pictures and more life lessons from Mark the dog. Well, OK. I’m going to do that, but please understand that this is not a very deep well. There is only so much Mark the dog can teach us about how we should live our lives, because after all, Mark the dog, is … well, he’s a dog.

So I’ll put a couple of pictures of Mark the dog on the website, (Yes, he is very cute), and I’ll let you know that there is, in fact, one more thing that Mark the dog has taught me during the ongoing lockdown.

Mark being a good boy.

This was my wife’s idea.

Meet my PA, Mark.

 

You know how dogs get really excited every time they hear a little noise outside or see something move past the window? Or how they become nearly hysterical whenever someone rings the doorbell or comes to the door?

Well, I get that now. I totally understand where dogs are coming from on this. The other week two pigeons landed on my window sill, and I got way more excited about that than I probably should have.
So hey to all the world’s dogs; we’re cool on the doorbell thing. No judgment here.

OK, back our main story about my path to success via public humiliation.

 
Japanese fluency is an odd target
One of the things people always say when they find out I’ve been living in Japan for almost 30 years is “Wow. How good is your Japanese? You must be fluent!”

I never really know how to answer that. I’m definitely not fluent. I mean, I’m not trying to be overly humble here, my Japanese is good. I manage staff in Japanese. I do sales in Japanese. I do presentations in Japanese. So it’s good.

But fluent? No.

Often when I try to explain a complex or abstract thought, I manage to get lost before I find my way to the verb. I can’t get into a heated argument in Japanese. And I usually don’t understand most of the jokes. My wife loves rakugo, which is a popular Japanese form of comedy storytelling. They are these long shaggy-dog stories that people find hysterical, and I can understand 100% of the story, but I can’t for the life of me see how any of it is funny.

And then of course, there is keigo. The mind-boggling complex protocol of honorific and humble forms whose use depends on a complex three-dimensional matrix of formality, in-group out-group status, and the role you are playing in that particular interaction.

Frankly, once I get past basic greetings and a few set phrases, I tend to screw it up pretty badly. But, as I mentioned, keigo is hard,

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#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.

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#Asia #Japan DJ Selects: Why Your Startup Accelerator is Going to Die – Hiro Maeda

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Almost all startup accelerators are going bankrupt and going away.

Hiro Maeda, the founder of two of Japan’s most successful, and most different startup incubators explains both the brief past and precarious future of startup incubators and accelerators. We talk not only about the mechanics and challenges of what it takes to make an incubator successful, but Hiro has some practical advice on when founders should consider joining an accelerator and how they can avoid the 99% of them that provide no real value.

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#Asia #Japan One important lesson startups will forget after the panic

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Innovation drives society forward, but everyday competence keeps it on the road.

Over the past five years, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the importance of disruptive innovation, but today I’d like to talk about the framework that allows disruptive innovation to be a net positive to society.

The coronavirus pandemic has some people looking for innovation and others for stability. However, examining how Japan and the rest of the world are getting though it shows us something very important about innovation. Something that is almost always overlooked.

Show Notes

Life in Tokyo during the pandemic
Why you don’t want to cough in Singapore
Why we probably can’t innovate our way out of this pandemic
The very real dark side of disruptive innovation
Why innovation depends on everyday competence

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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.

Things are not normal in Japan right now.

Japan is one of the countries that is being been hit the hardest by the coronavirus. And the rest of the world is watching Japan because it has a modern health-care system, an active response to the virus, and a government that can be trusted to release .. reasonably accurate information about infection and mortality rates.

How things play out for Japan over the next few months is quite likely how they will play out for the rest of the world over the next year.

So yeah, everybody is watching Japan; as they should be.

People are nervous in Japan, but things are calm and orderly. Of course, Japan tends to do calm and orderly really well. Public gatherings like graduations, business conferences, and sporting events have been canceled. As I record this, no decision has been made about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but it seems likely they’ll be postponed.

Two weeks ago Sunday, I was walking back home through nearly deserted streets around Ark Hills and saw a young couple doing their wedding photography in the atrium there. Masks nervously being taken off and put back on between shots. It’s got to be a frustrating time to have had a wedding scheduled.

On the business side, most large companies including Dentsu, Panasonic, Mitsubishi and of course Google as well, are either requiring or encouraging their employees to work from home. Which is good. Almost all business travel is canceled, and that’s for the best.

In fact, three weeks ago when I was returning to Japan from Singapore, I coughed while walking through the airport on the way to my gate. Not like a big, sick, hacking cough, but just like a, I mean I’m a human being, and sometimes we just cough, right?

A few seconds later, someone from security wearing a mask walked up to me with a heat sensor to take my temperature. He was very polite about the whole thing, and I was fine of course. It’s good to know that Singapore is taking things seriously, but FYI, don’t cough in the Singapore airport.

In terms of Disrupting Japan, well, I have not been scheduling interviews for the obvious reasons, and honestly, right now most founders are focused on coronavirus countermeasures. If the situation continues, I may try video-conference interviews again, or I may do more commentary episodes. The feedback I received on my last few was overwhelmingly positive, so maybe.

Today, however, I want to talk about the nature of innovation itself. You see, the coronavirus has the potential to teach us a valuable lesson about innovation. No, no. It’s not the one you think it is. It’s not the standard fare about innovation and ingenuity will get us through even humanity’s worst problems.

No, it’s something a bit less on-message. But it’s an insight that is for more important, and in a way, far more reassuring than the standard trope about innovating our way out of a bad situation.

Unfortunately, it’s also a lesson that I think all us innovators …

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#Asia #Japan Why boring startups are actually the most interesting

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Some of the most important startups are ones you never hear about.

Some industries are so complex and arcane that its hard for people on the outside to understand the problems that startups are solving or the long-term gain of solving them.

Freight forwarding is one of those industries.

Today we talk with Taka Sato of Shippio, a startup trying to change the way freight forwarding works in Japan.  We talk about the challenges involved in trying to disrupt a low-tech, low-margin industry and also the potential rewards if Shippio succeeds.

We also cover some of the bight spots in Japanese entrepreneurship and talk about how one large company, in particular, has had to change their hiring practices to respond to the fact that so many of their best young employees are leaving to found startups.

It’s a great discussion, and I think you will really enjoy it.

Show Notes

What is freight forwarding and why is it important?
The biggest advantage of moving from corporate life to startups
Why so many startups are coming out of Mitsui
The challenges of building a platform in a low-margin industry
How to decide between a service-based or SaaS-based business model
Why there is finally enough pain in Japan to drive change
How the logistics industry reacts to new technology
Why the global logistics industry is a myth
The paradox of Japanese logistics quality

Links from the Founder

Everything you ever wanted to know about Shippio
Connect with Taka on LinkedIn

Leave a comment
Transcript
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs. I’m Tim Romero and thanks for joining me.

You know, there is nothing more interesting than startups in boring industries. They are the ones that are taking on entrenched interests and business convention, and because so few outside of their industry really understand what they do and the problems that they solve, they tend to get a lot less funding and a lot less media attention than consumer-facing startups.

No, the startups in boring industrial B2B spaces are old school startups. They may not have the party atmosphere or the easy customer adoption, but the truth is that on average, they have the best chance of success.

Today, we sit down with Taka Sato, the co-founder of Shippio, a Japanese startup trying to change the nature of the freight forwarding business in Japan, and if you’re not exactly sure what freight forwarding is, don’t worry, Taka explains it simply and really well at the start of our conversation.

We also talk about the challenges of pivoting in a B2B space in Japan and how to balance the very real trade-offs between the scalability of offering B2B SaaS products with the stability of offering a service direct to the customer.

And if you’re interested in the freight forwarding industry, and by the end of this interview, I think you will be, we also talk about how the global market is likely to play out. Freight forwarding might seem like a winner take all marketplace, but Taka explains that this is probably not going to happen.

Oh, the industry is going to be disrupted — that’s already happening, but it’s not going to play out quite the way that Silicon Valley thinks it will.

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

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Interview
Tim: So, I’m sitting here with Taka Sato of Shippio. Thanks for sitting down with me.

Taka: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me today.

Tim: No, it’s been great. We’ve been trying to make this happen for a long time now.

Taka: Yeah, I know, I know.

Tim: I’m glad you’re finally here. So, Shippio is a digital freight forwarder, but for the audience, let’s explain what freight forwarding is, so let’s say for example, I’ve got some construction equipment sitting in a factory in China,

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#Asia #Japan DJ Selects: How this Musical Shoe is Helping Hospitals

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Most great startup ideas don’t grab your attention right away. It takes a while before the founder’s vision becomes obvious to the rest of us. On the other hand, the startups that immediately grab all the press attention often go out of business shortly after shipping their first product. Reality never seems to live up to the promise.

And then there are products like Orphe. This LED-emblazoned, WiFi-connected, social-network enabled dancing shoe seems made for fluffy, flashy Facebook sharing, but only when you really dig into it, do you understand what it really is and the potential it has in the marketplace.

Today we sit down with Yuya Kikukawa, founder of No New Folk Studio and the creator of the Orphe, and we talk about music, hardware financing, and why this amazing little shoe is finding early adopters in places from game designers to hospitals.

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

Show Notes

The inspiration for musical shoes
Why Yuya’s first musical instrument attempt was a failure

The biggest challenge in moving from prototype to production
Orphe’s technical specs
How Orphe is being used in hospitals and other healthcare applications
How small Japanese startups can achieve global distribution
Where the next big startup opportunities in Japan will be
Why most hardware startups fail

Links from the Founder

No New Folk Studio Hompage
See Orphe in action
Check out Yuya’s blog
Follow Yuya on Facebook
Check out PocoPoco on YouTube

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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.

As expected, my new Google duties are taking a lot of my time and taking me out of Japan quite a bit. Things will be returning to normal soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to bring you a special selects show with a really interesting update.

Yuya Kikukawa first sat down together a few years ago to talk about shoes, but if you listened to the last episode of Disrupting Japan you know that when you are talking about shoes you are never really talking about shoes.

In this case, the shoes in question are the Orphe, and they are a combination musical instrument and social network, and yeah that will make a lot more sense when you listen to the interview. And we also talk about what defines a musical instrument, the unique challenges of Japanese hardware startups, and the nature of innovation.

Oh, and I also have some news. In our conversation, Yuya and I debated a strategic decision that all hardware startups face, and just last month we finally got our answer.  I’ll tell you about it in the update after the show.

Intro
You know, most good startups are obvious. I don’t mean that I could have had the idea before the founders did. By obvious, I mean that right away you can understand the problem the company is solving for their customers and how they’re doing it. Naturally, that makes it easier for the customers to buy.

Most non-obvious startups are in reality still struggling to find the product market fit and are probably not long for this world. And then there are products like Orphe, an LED-emblazoned WiFi-connected social sharing enabled dancing shoe. Yeah, it sounds like something you would find on Indiegogo and that one time not too long ago, it was. But when I sat down with Yuya Kikukawa, founder of No New Folk Studio and the creator of the Orphe, it became clear that this was not some quirky side project or some overfunded crazy hardware startup.

This was something really different.

We talked about the original inspiration for the shoe and what does and does not qualify as a musical instrument and how Orphe is being used by the artistic community in Japan. But we also dive into the technology inside it, and that, well, that’s something special.

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#Asia #Japan Why Japan’s #KuToo is Not Really About Shoes

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Today I am going to correct two big mistakes; one of my own and one of society’s.

I lot of listeners emailed me about the comments I made regarding how Japanese companies treat their employees and customers while they are pregnant. I got it wrong, so I would like to set the record straight.

I also explain what I see as the obvious answer to the current #KuToo controversy. I realize that this puts me at serious risk of having to publish another retraction, but I think it’s an important way of looking at this problem.

Please enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Leave a comment
Transcript
Welcome to Disrupting Japan, straight talk from Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs.
I’m Tim Romero, and thanks for joining me.
As expected, my crazy Google travel schedule has caused me reschedule some of my interviews, but I promise that I’ll get back to talking with some of Japan’s most amazing startup founders really soon.
Today, however, I want to talk about the feedback I received from my recent discussion with Miku Hirano about how pregnant women are treated at work in Japan, and specifically, about my comments in the outro of that episode.
Hey, when I screw up, I have no problem admitting that I screwed up, and boy did I step in it this time.   
So today, I want to set the record straight on what it’s like for women working at startups and at large enterprises here in Japan. Oh yes, and we are also going to tak about shoes.
And yeah, I totally understand how strange it is for a white guy to stand behind a microphone and talk about the situation women face in Japan. I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let me explain what I got wrong, and let me set the record straight.
In our conversation, Miku told the story of how supportive her clients and prospective clients had been while she was pregnant. Doing things like adjusting their schedules and coming to her office for meetings, where Japanese business protocol would require that she visit them.
Both Miku and I were surprised and delighted that so many Japanese salarymen, who have a reputation for being rather sexist, voluntarily went out of their way to accommodate her and to make things just a little bit easier for her while she was expecting.
In the outtro, I speculated that this outpouring of support might be because she was a startup CEO, and many of the traditional rules of Japanese business etiquette don’t seem to apply to startups, and I mused that her experience might have been very different if she had worked at a more traditional Japanese company.
Well, I was wrong. I was really wrong. And in fact, I have to say that I’m pretty happy that I was wrong about this. Let me explain what happened….
After that episode aired, I received a lot of email from female listeners working at large Japanese companies who explained that both their clients and their companies made exactly the same kinds of accommodations for them when they were pregnant.
And I also heard from a few senior managers and HR professionals telling me that I got it wrong. They gave me examples of how they had made a point of traveling to visit a vendor who was pregnant or broke up long meetings into multiple short ones to make things more manageable for pregnant employees or visitors.
So I got it wrong. And that’s awesome!
But I can’t just leave it there.  I probably should, but I mean something still doesn’t fit. There is a great deal of gender discrimination in Japan. Both international organizations and Japanese NGOs consistantly rank Japan very poorly in this regard. In fact, the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report ranked Japan 110th out of 149 countries.
And then there are things like Tokyo Medical University marking down girl’s scores on the entrance exams to ensure “enough” boys would get in.
So how do we reconcile this seeming contradiction?  The independent research showing that discrimination exists is consistent and respected,

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#Asia #Japan Big News for Disrupting Japan! – Japan Startup News

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There is big news for Tim and for Disrupting Japan this week.

It’s a very short episode, and I have no special links or show notes this time around. Please give the show a listen for the big reveal, and please accept my sincere thanks for all your support over the years.

Disrupting Japan is just getting started. The best is yet to come.

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Transcript
— vintage news sounds —
This is a Disrupting Japan news flash.
We are broadcasting live from Tokyo, Japan to bring you today’s breaking news.
In just a few minutes from now, we will be witness to ….
Hold on. Let me turn this thing off.
OK. That’s better.
So, this is the first episode of Disrupting Japan ever that has not been released early on a Tuesday morning Japan time, so as you might expect, something big is going on.
In fact, this evening we’re announcing it at a press conference. Tomorrow you may be reading about it in news articles or blogs, but I wanted you to hear it from me first.
Because you, the Disrupting Japan listeners, are a big part of what has led to this, and as you’ll see, I think that you are going to be a big part of what’s to come.
Some of you are new fans, and that’s great. The podcast keeps growing steadily every month.
And some of you have been with me since the very beginning and you were with me as my ContractBeast startup went under. You were part of my Crowd-Sourcing-My-Career project. You were part of my journey to becoming Japan’s first professional podcaster, and with me when I decided to take the show non-commercial in order to work with energy startups at TEPCO.
So it’s only fair that I let you know what’s coming next.
I’m joining Google as the new Head of Google for Startups Japan.
So what exactly does Google for Startups do?  Officially, it’s “Google’s initiative to help startups thrive across every corner of the world. Bringing together the best of Google’s products, connections, and best practices to enable startups to build something better.”
And that’s, admittedly, pretty cool.
In practice, however, what Google for Startups Japan will become is largely up to us. Google for Startups has different programs in different countries, and this is an amazing chance to create something unique for Japan and to make a real impact for Japanese startups.
I have a lot of ideas, but I want to hear from you are well. If you are out there growing your startup in Japan, let me know what are some of the biggest challenges that you could use some help with. Or if you’ve already overcome those challenges, let me know what kind of resources and advice you wish you had access to back then.
I’ll need your help to really make this work.
So, what does all this mean for Disrupting Japan? Well, good things mostly. Google is being very supportive of the show, and with the audience as large and engaged as it is now, I don’t think I could stop even if I wanted to.
However, my travel schedule for the next few months is absolutely crazy — even by my standards, so interviews will be hard to arrange. But we’ll make it work.
I might be able to squeeze in interviews on the few days I’m in town and edit them on airplanes. Or maybe I’ll get a chance to interview Japanese founders in the countries I’ll be visiting. Or maybe I’ll bring my microphones with me, make a little pillow-fort studio in my hotel room and record some shorter solo shows on the road.
I don’t know, but I’ll make it work. I haven’t missed an episode in the five and a half years since I started Disrupting Japan and I’m not going to miss one now.  Format-wise,  content-wise, things will return to normal in a few months.
So I’m incredibly excited about this new opportunity. I mean its a chance for me to work full time with Japan’s startup founders to further develop Japan’s startup community. And that’s pretty much a dream job for me.
But there is something else here, and it’s something that I don’t think anyone looking at Japan’s startups fr…

from Disrupting Japan: Startups and Innovation in Japan https://ift.tt/2RGvc8e