Susumu Iwata | CEO, LOCKON CO.,LTD.
Foundation : 2001 Employees : 53 Description of business: Design, development and merchandising of E-Commerce related software and internet advertising related software. All three products, online marketing measurement system “AD EBiS”, EC site builder package “EC-CUBE” and listing automatic bidding tool “Aut oBid” have top share in the domestic market.
LOCKON put their online advertising measurement system “ADEBiS (アドエビス)” on the market in 2004, the 4th year of their business until then they had been focusing on contract works such as EC sites and webpages and so on, but “Contract work only makes particular customers happy so we developed our own product to be used and appreciated by many people” says Iwata. At that time search ad was beginning to increase on the web but ordinary stats trackers could not evaluate its effectiveness enough. “AD EBiS” on the other hand can measure and analyze the number of clicks, inquiry, document request and purchase. The product soon grew into a pillar of their business with well-considered naming and building its character, assisted by playful mind. LOCKON’s reputation was bolstered by an open source software package for EC site construction “EC-CUBE(イーシーキューブ)” released in 2007. “We received negative feedback in the beginning, though”, says Iwata. In the company, releasing the product as open-source software was criticized as losing the opportunity to make a profit giving away know-how, and from outside the company, as “price destruction”. Because there was no idea about using open-source software for business purpose, they made a bad start, which was again criticized in a see-I-told-you-so tone. But then the number of users increased through word of mouth, and it took 3 years for the product to become profitable. They develop products to see always whether it is useful for end-users.
Iwata was disillusioned by university which he did not think “fulfill his intellectual curiosity”, so he walked about in the world with his backpack and devoted himself to part time jobs. At 20, he bought the tavern he used to work for as a part-timer. “Employees lost their spirit, customers are not happy and the owner is having a hard time. I thought I should do it.” But his efforts only ended in failure.
Whatever he does, Iwata always comes back to the thought that he should acquire reliable skills first to make things work. He founded a travel information company on the Internet by learning network system on his own, which was another failure but he has always maintained his attitude to be self-dependent for future.
In 2010, Iwata set up a research base in Silicon Valley as a bridgehead to sally forth into the world.
Experiencing all the discoveries on-site, he keenly realizes that Japanese are “inward-focused”. Last year, he established an offshore development center in Vietnam. Management principle is “Impact On The World”, which means his company will change the world. “Metaphorically speaking, I want to change the values of Japanese by creating Japanese companies that make impacts on the world just like Ichiro”. It is clear to see his strong determination and passion through his gentle personality and quiet speech, and there you can also see his fighting spirit to inspire Japan himself.