Toshiyuki Yamamoto | SEO, ChatWork
Foundation : 2004 Employees : 30 Discription of business: Founded EC studio (present-day ChatWork) in 2000 to support adoption of IT for small and medium-sized companies. Holding up an employee-first policy since incorporation in 2004, won the award for a Japanese company with the highest employee satisfaction for 2 years in a row. Moved to Silicon Valley and accelerates overseas operations.
At ChatWork led by Toshiyuki Yamamoto, they strive to be highly adaptive and try to “act immediately”. They did the same when they began to see the potential of business chat tool “ChatWork” developed in 2010, discussing the concentration of management resource on the product in the board meeting. As a result, they decided to focus exclusively on ChatWork and to eliminate or consolidate other existing businesses.
Interestingly, Yamamoto makes all aspects of his challenges towards and in Silicon Valley open. He keeps posting his everyday activities on Facebook such as the process of immigration, local incorporation, business operation and so on.
He says reporting the process of his challenges in detail would be of some help for small and medium-sized companies that aim to expand overseas business operations. He seems rather amused by his own situation without overeagerness.
Having no interests in what others can do from the days of his childhood, Yamamoto becomes extremely motivated by anything unsolved by others instead. Because he does not like to convince anyone with logic or armchair theory, he just acts immediately and shows the results, which has always been his way.
His passion to act in the lead for Japan was cultivated during his study in America. Yamamoto says American products sold worldwide can actually be made with Japanese technology. He was upset because he felt despite its quality Japanese technology was being exploited by America. He started his own business in 2000 with the sole purpose of not losing to America.
However, things changed because of a remark of one business manager.
“You know, there is a saying ‘Kekki ni Rosho arite, Shiki ni Rosho nashi.（血気に老少ありて、志気に老少無し）’ That is a perfect phrase to describe you now.”
This is the words of a Confucian Sato Issai of late Edo period, meaning “Excessive urge will decline with age, motivation with vision will be maintained all your life”, by which Yamamoto felt as though he had been struck by a hammer and realized that he had never wanted to stand against America, but to do something for Japan for the better.
The trouble for Yamamoto living in Silicon Valley is that he cannot adjust himself to the way Americans think. “It is a funny story, but I still do not understand why they eat pizza so often”. He thought it is the best way to work in American company to know the way Americans work, so he applied for an internship program of a local IT company and worked there.
After he moved to America, once again he realized that Japanese are excellent. However, being in Japan, we cannot be competitive in the international market due to great lack of information. Therefore, to clarify the role and the value of the Japanese, he thought of three regions of work such as Silicon Valley, the center of people, goods, capital and information, Japan with precise and accurate manufacturing skills, and Southeast Asia with growing market. He will keep on challenging to compete in the world. While watching his struggles by Facebook from Japan, let’s explore the path of our own challenges.