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books

    • May 25, 2021

    Manifesto of Eco-friendliness

    The simpler the better? Did you know that many brands changed their logos lately? Such as BMW, VW, and Nissan in the automotive industry, for example. It is the mainstream to make it simpler. Speaking of simplification, the most famous example would be Starbucks. When the brand was launched, the scales of the mermaid were depicted one by one. Now, the scales were abstracted into wavy lines, and even the brand name was removed. One of the reasons for the simplification trend is said to be a reaction against the old days when companies tried to dress them up with ornate and decorative logos. Now, the simpler the better? A focused intention or not Another reason for the simplification trend, which is considered as the biggest one, is good visibility in digital devices. This sounds also reasonable because most people access information mainly from their digital devices, but simplification doesn’t […]

    • April 2, 2021

    Japanese Ambiguity as a Courtesy

    No absolute justice S/he once sharply criticized the government. After winning the election, s/he comes to repeat ambiguous remarks and looks like losing her/his former self. I’m sure you’ve seen this kind of change of mind. You may feel betrayed and think “I could always achieve social justice.” I didn’t mean to defend all the politicians, but believe most of them are not faithless. First of all, there’s no such thing as absolute justice or evil. Indeed, it is right to pursue the greatest happiness for the greatest number in utilitarianism, but the tyranny of the majority sometimes hurts the minority so deep that people can’t coexist after confrontation. In a sense, decent politicians are meant to be ambiguous. Ambiguity as an ancient wisdom In terms of ambiguity, I believe Japanese people are second to none in the world. Majority vote is rarely adopted in a company meeting. Even company […]

    • February 18, 2021

    How to Spend Money Right

    Money sense It is common for me to lose (rare to make) thousands of dollars a day in the stock market. On the other hand, I sometimes give up buying cereal only because it doesn’t sell at a bargain price, though eating it almost every morning. I once bought a suit at more than 2,000 USD but hardly ever wore it. This may be a natural result for a man like me who always wear UNIQLO (synonym for cheap clothes in Japan) from head to toe at home. Spending money seems as difficult as making it. Today’s subject is “How to spend money right.” Let me share an interesting paper by Harvard psychologists. Buy experiences instead of things “Money can’t buy happiness. This sentiment is lovely, popular, and almost certainly wrong.” One of the coauthors, Daniel Gilbert started the paper with such a sensational introduction, proposing the eight money principles […]

    • February 8, 2021

    How to Be a President: A Man of Logical Thinking

    A great successor The Matrix Reloaded, Blues Brothers 2000, Speed 2, etc. These movies prove it’s very difficult to surpass the great originals. On the contrary, there’re some exceptions such as Terminator 2 and The Hustler 2. The second president of CondeHouse can be said to be one of such exceptions. I’m not flattering just because he is still at the desk near me as the chairman of the company. It is more like retrospective or hindsight. The company is still thriving (and I’m here) because he was a great successor. If I explain in short, from my personal perspective, he is a personification of logical thinking. An audacious project In 1984, the company transferred him (still in his 30’s) to the US to establish a branch office. The first thing he worked on was CI development. He brought together experts and prepared everything such as a brand name, a […]

    • February 5, 2021

    How to Be a President: A Man of Frantic Passion

    Autocracy was the need of the times An autocracy may be necessary to make a business take off in the harsh market battles. Especially new comers in the market are always exposed to kill-or-be-killed situations. They don’t have time to make decisions after democratic consultation. The founder of CondeHouse was with an autocratic leadership style, and that made the company survive and thrive, I’m sure. I don’t think the leadership style was what he intended. He was a master craftsman and furniture designer of frantic passion. It is the passion that drove forward everything including himself autocratically. In the furniture industry in Japan, he is a legend. There are many anecdotes about him, but today, let me narrow down and share two of them. The dawn of the Japanese furniture industry I believe his biggest achievement is a revolution in the furniture distribution. Before the revolution, furniture wholesalers had substantial […]

    • January 21, 2021

    Do You Think Marketing Framework Really Works?

    The sorrows of marketers Do you know how many advertisements are on your commuting route or on the webpages you browsed yesterday? The world is full of advertisements, but people sometimes don’t even notice they exist. Marketers always consider how to attract attention. Every time seeing advertisements, I ask myself “What in them have got my attention?” One day, I found a great one as shown in the above image. It’s a cosmetic company advertisement. The advertising copy starts “As most of you won’t read advertising boards anyway, I’m just writing about my favorite thing.” The following sentences just express how and why s/he likes an ermine (the animal in the image). Consequently, the board has become the focus of great public attention. S/he must be a genius. Attention getting, the heart of the matter An advertisement giving up on advertising. It’s unique and unprecedented, isn’t it? Another great point, […]

    • January 7, 2021

    Is the Power of a Name Important?

    No-name is real rock! I started playing the guitar when I was 15 years old. It was around when NIRVANA started dominating the music scene and destroying the existing values. People made a fuss, saying “Alternative Rock is not tainted by commercialism.” I gave cold look to such fanatical people. NIRVANA didn’t look new to me at all because they had a name, the same as the existing bands. I know it sounds strange. Names are practically necessary for anyone, but the young me purely wanted rock musicians to be anti-establishment. Today, let me introduce real rock in that sense. It’s Souseki Natsume. He is the most famous novelist in Japan (1867 – 1916). His masterpiece is “I Am a Cat.” The story starts with these sentences “I am a cat. As yet I have no name.” How rock it is! Let’s dig deeper the power of a name. Sapir-Whorf […]

    • January 4, 2021

    Tidy up to Spark Joy

    Life after laundry I was so surprised when learning that it is prohibited to hang the laundry outside in some places overseas. We, Japanese people really like to hang the laundry under the sun light. Japanese climate of high humidity is said to be the main reason of it. Recently, more washing machines come to have a drying function. Even so, most Japanese people would still prefer hanging the laundry outside, saying they like to smell the scent of the sun. I completely agree. The scent of towels and bed linen hung outside reminds me of younger days in bright summer. However, there’s one thing I can’t abide about washing. It’s folding the laundry. What is the point of it all? We have to unfold clothes to put them on. It seems irrational, meaningless, and a waste of time. Folding clothes My above statement may sound extreme. It’s like stopping […]

    • December 29, 2020

    End of Year Greetings with Gratitude from Japan 2020

    Competing for people’s time online What’s the difference between Black Friday and Cyber Monday? As I checked them on Wikipedia, the former came into use in 70’s; the latter was just born in 2005. I feel both are fast spreading also in Japan in these few years. Now that the main sales battlefield is online, they are synonym to me. Actually, in the U.S., Black Friday 2020 online sales gained more than 20% on 2019, while store traffic was down by more than 50%. Coupled with the COVID pandemic, a battle for online sales becomes more severe. In other words, companies are now competing for people’s time online. This is not somebody else’s issue. I very well know I’m a part of the competition. Today, let me explain the logic and strategy behind this blog. Logic and strategy behind this blog In most cases, the articles of the blog start […]

    • December 22, 2020

    Empathy Is the Key to Survival

    Wolves everywhere In the movie “Wolf of Wall Street,” Jordan Belfort sounded off “I’ve been telling you guys not to take no for an answer, to keep pushing, to not hang up the phone ‘til you get what you want.” In the movie “The Founder,” Dick McDonald regretted making a business partnership with Ray Kroc, saying “There’s a wolf in the hen house.” The business world is a battle field where wolves are ruthlessly killing each other. Many people would think like that. At least, I did. When I worked at the Ministry of Finance, what unfolded right before my eyes was exactly that. One mistake can lead to the end of a career. The mistakes of others taste like honey. IT giants are not wolves As naturally imagining the same dramas would happen in Silicon Valley, I was surprised by a book written by Stanford University online high school […]