Disrupting Japan Episode 9: Masanori Hashimoto from NuLab (PODCAST)
Japanese Startup News from the Heart of the Movement
Earlier this year we introduced what we consider Tokyo's preeminent J-startup podcast: Tim Romero's young but very nicely developing Disrupting Japan. The show is already gaining social traction and receiving well-deserved attention (and prompting some to wonder why Tim hasn't been working in broadcasting all along!).
If you're interested in Japanese startup/VC culture or just business in general, Disrupting Japan offers ground-level access to a movement many consider the cornerstone, if not the foundation of Japan's future economy.
Episode 9: Masanori Hashimoto from Fukuoka-based NuLab
DR's show description:
Masanori Hashimoto is the hardest woking slacker in Fukuoka. He’s bootstrapped a collaborative diagramming company that is growing internationally and founded Myojyowaraku, the largest technology, music and arts festival this side of South By Southwest.
Masa and I talk a lot about the importance of work-life balance, and Masa puts almost as much effort into supporting the startup, technology and arts scene in Fukuoka as he does building his own company. Globally, the Japanese have a reputation as being a rather uncreative people, but if you get a chance to attend an event like Myojyowaraku, you’ll see how unfounded that reputation is.
We talk a lot about the unique startup ecosystem in Fukuoka and the possibility that future Japanese companies will be led by teams rather than kings.
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[FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN MORE BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT, OUR ORIGINAL DISRUPTING JAPAN INTRO]
‘Japan can’t do startups.’
So goes the refrain, but evidence points to a rapidly growing community that’s increasingly innovative and dynamic. Disrupting Japan, a new English-language podcast, is here to tell that story.
To be fair to the naysayers, there’s a lot to be critical of, and in our year of cursory coverage here at AkihabaraNews, we’ve served up no shortage of admonishment for the Old Guard’s neglect and dismissal of Japan’s modern startup and VC movement. Overly one-sided criticism, however, can itself neglect the diverse community of entrepreneurs, innovators, and tireless incubatory platforms working to become Japan’s new economic braintrust.
Now, it has become a bit of a cliched catchphrase, but some believe Japan is indeed on the cusp of, or is already embracing ‘disruptive innovation.’ Will this lead to the desperately needed creation of a new economic paradigm? Uhhhh...maybe! It’s certainly debatable whether or not a startup-fueled economic renaissance is imminent, but as goes one of our favorite aphorisms: Speculation from a distance is at best speculative.
So the thing is this: despite our often irreverent take, Japan’s tech-heavy economy is our lifeblood, and, like most around the world, Japan’s startup and VC movement is dominated by high-tech services and products. We need to pay attention, and rather than speculate from the cheap seats, we’d prefer to get as close as possible to the actual players, insiders, movers, and shakers - which brings us to:
Enter Disrupting Japan
In our time watching the Tokyo startup scene, we’ve met few individuals more embedded and experienced than Disrupting Japan founder Tim Romero (we’re also fans of his visual branding, seen below). His new podcast aims to demystify and provide historical and contemporary context for the Japanese startup and VC movement. Tim’s insider perspective and access to founders and investors has already produced a handful of great episodes.
For those interested in Japanese tech beyond whatever mundane product into which Thanko’s managed to shoehorn an HD spy camera (which is admittedly pretty awesome), or for those interested in startup culture in general, we encourage you to encourage this new podcast by listening, learning, and sharing.
About the Host of Disrupting Japan:
Tim Romero is a Tokyo-based innovator, author, and entrepreneur who has started several companies since coming to Japan in 1994. He is deeply involved in Japan's startup community as a writer, investor and mentor. Tim is currently Japan Representative Director of Engine Yard. [Jump through to his much more effective summary of Disruping Japan here]