About Haegwan Kim

Haegwan Kim

Haegwan Kim is a writer who was born in Osaka, Japan in 1989 and grew up near Tokyo where went to a Korean school for 12 years.


Latest Posts by Haegwan Kim

Explore the Horizon and Always Be Your Best

May 17, 2011 by  

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There’s no limitation on human beings – although it’s difficult to define what’s human. I felt in this way after I’ve read this post (from Matt Mullenweg’s Tweet) – Our growth speed is not imaginable since it’s too fast to catch up. Well said Ray Kurzweil, “our future is much closer to SciFi rather than mere analyses”

At the same time there’s limitation on human beings. Although I believe spacial restriction is any longer our limit in the 21st Century, the age people belong to the cloud and not to the nations, yet we still have a limit in terms of time; every one of us gets old and die in a century.

The limited life is inevitable and because it’s limited our life is beautiful.

My conclusion is simple; always be your best. We cannot control our destiny but confront it, we cannot see what’s gonna happen tomorrow yet we can prepare for it. I will explore the horizon I can’t see now. I can’t see it, and that’s why it’s always fun and exciting.

Defining Globalization 3.0?

April 1, 2011 by  

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I read the first few pages of The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman. Just wanted to take a memo. Friedman uses the term Globalization 3.0 to differentiate it from Globalization 1.0; globalized nations and Globalization 2.0; globalized corporations. Globalization 3.0 is about individuals globalizing. (Please read the book to know more about what he meant. I will, too)

Although I don’t necessarily agree with making buzzwords like this (Please don’t complain about me engaging in “the law of success 2.0″), I thought his idea is noteworthy. Today, as our economy develops dramatically and consequently the number of middle class population increases, individuals are more empowered than ever before. What I mean here is not that they are becoming cleverer or better (if you’re interested in this topic, read the interview with Baroness Susan Greenfield), but instead, they just have more opportunities to compare than any time of human history.

Considering roles of individuals today, the birth of the law of success 2.0, which aims at proving that there are as many ways to be success as the number of individuals, was inevitable. (This sentence is grammatically wrong and the meaning of the sentence is pretty ambiguous too) I presume activities focusing on empowerment of individuals will constantly increase for the coming decade.

It’s not talking about individualized world (well, if I say so, Dave Snowden will tell me off). it is about how to look at the world. Our world is conceptually architected by the sum of individual cogito. And only intersubjective notions can exist as an objective (or transcendent) existence and knowledge, which as Richard Dawkins explained, are based on evidence.

I feel in this individually globalized world, we will, or already are, witnessing “differences of understanding” in a same word. “Socially good”, “internationally beneficial” – what do these words mean? At the end, these words turn back to subjective consciousness and understanding. Thus when Barack Obama says “for America” or Ban Ki-Moon focuses “on the world”, there will be discourse, discourses of understanding. Foucault taught us power is created only though discourse, and I think Globalization 3.0 will flourish this discourse to the Self-Enlightenment.

Intrinsically we are, said Andrew Oswald, creature of comparison. This comparison will make us realize that the only answer we can have is our own answer. So far this “procedure” hasn’t been possible, but now we can. We can connect, cooperate, compete and compare our notion with anyone in this world on the web with the light-speed. Oops, it is a bit of exaggeration; now “only” a third of the world population are on the web. But it will be third forth within two decades.

It is not a prediction but to make the world a better place where all human beings can achieve success I need to make Self-Enlightenment happenS as there are as many ways to achieve success as the number of population. Words need definition; until now it was based on pseudo-objectivity, from now, definition will be based on subjectivity. I’m not telling this in the same way Nietzsche and post-modernists did; there will be “demands” to set what is good or bad – but at least we need commonly have acknowledgement for our own independent opinion.

John Kim: I Feel Strange When I Feel Comfortable

March 19, 2011 by  

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John Kim on success: I don’t know how others defining success but I haven’t thought about it and actually I’m not that interested in success. But if I’d tried to define, there’s a definition of success in social aspect and personal one.

Social aspect means like position or fame, which society and others determine. And the personal aspect is what you determine. The former is what others determine, so it’s uncontrolable, and that’s why I’m not interested in. I consider success depending on the attitude that I make actions with enough thoughts every moment I live. So yesterday or future doesn’t matter. Every moment I make all myself be into thinking, meeting, moving and doing, all these are accumulated and as a whole I feel successful. What others think just doesn’t matter. I came to think like this since when I was about 30. You know, young people often care about social reputation right?

It’s really important, in your 20’s, to find what you really want to do and try to achieve it. Many young people are afraid that if what they’re doing is meaningless in the future. That’s why only those who have clear vision and determination can go further.

After I became 30, I quitted to put a criteria to succeed outside of myself. I realized that it’s all depending on how I define. Even if the other 6 billion disagreed and only I agree it, then that’s fine. If I know that all the responsibility of the choice is mine, then I can be happy anytime.

I think that’t the true meaning of success. It’s not depending on others, it depends on yourself. If you think like that, you’d be successful forever till you die.

I often teach about the controlable and the uncontrolable for students so that they know what they need to consider in their lives. If it’s impossible to resist, that’s just fine but if you can do anything on it, then you have to put your everything on it.

If you do so, even unfortunate things happen to me, I can switch myself within 3 minutes. Of course if that’s the family’s or friends’ issues, that’d be tough though. But in other cases, my life doesn’t rely on others, because I do what I’d like to do. I don’t stick to one thing, I’m always resilient, I have changed my professional field like economy, law, policy, journalism, telecommunication, and I’ve moved from Japan to America to the UK to Germany and came back to Japan.

By the way I feel strange when I feel comfortable.

HK: I agree with the feeling!

JK: For instance if I feel comfortable in Japan, I feel dangerous at the same time. [Laughter] Since I graduated from the high school in Korea, I’ve lived overseas and my ability of adaptation has been raised whenever I change where I live. I think you’d agree.

HK: Yep. For instance my vitality rises a lot when I went to Israel or America as a homeless.

JK: Indeed. When you play in the different concert, you’d feel difficult in terms of language and how to live but you can find something new in yourself. You can be what you want to be through the interactions with audience of your life – it’s writing the scenario on your own and improvise your life each moment.

HK: Interesting.

JK: I don’t feel any regret when I make a change and by doing so twice, three or four times, my adaptation skill has been raised. I met lot’s of incentive people and realized that I lived in the tiny tiny world. So now I think the world is big enough as I can enjoy until I die. Now I can travel around the world and keep finding the interests in all around the world! I need to visit two or three countries every year…

HK: [laughter]. Why you became a Professor of Law at Harvard and of Media at Keio? Is that the result that you’ve been changing so drastically to be resilient?

JK: I’ve thought that I don’t want to wake up early morning. And I don’t want to work under someone’s order. [Laughter]

I want to use my time for me, not for others. I want to determine my agenda on my own. I’ve been thinking like this for a long time. So what’s the most free and happy occupation? The answer is a professor. Professor is really nice, half of the year you can rest and the other half you can interact with your students, which gives me lots of inspiration. And we get paid! [Laughter]

Just what you need is writing creative papers – that’s it. Every 4 years, students graduate so you can get the cutting-edge information of the time. This is a position even you don’t mind to pay to stay actually. Hahaha. But it’s dangerous because it’s too comfortable for me, as I talked previously.

Also people care about position, like Keio or Harvard, so I took the opportunities on purpose. But it’s nothing after one or two weeks past. Humans get used to their condition; when I thought what’s after Harvard, there’s nothing.

I’lll go to Switzerland from this Friday, there’s lots of beautiful mountains but you’ll get bored in an hour right? I live in Roppongi, at first it makes me fascinated but now it’s nothing.

That’s why it’s dangerous to try to bringing inspiration from outside. That greed gets grown forever; car, house, money, and so on so forth. So you need to find out value in your mind - you shouldn’t see the outside of people, you should see their inner side.

HK: I see. Since you’re familiar with innovation and such, I’d like to ask few questions in the field. At first about how to make creativity. I don’t think it’s right to say that Japanese people are not innovative but people in this country are struggling to be so. What’s your thought?

JK: My definition of creativity is very clear; it should be new for society and it should be meaningful for society as well. This combination is an essential component of creativity and plus implementation, it’d be innovation. I think it has two sides of definition; personal and social one.

HK: Then it’s linked to the talk about success we did right?

JK: Yes, creativity should be meaningful for both you and society. And you know, society changes by the era and nations; community has always changed. In other words, creativity or innovation is depending on how you persuade society.

HK: Interesting.

JK: So even if society and it’s majority say one worthless cup is new and meaningful, that’s creativity. In this sense innovation has really political and democratic process. Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shift is a good example. Even natural science, once people believe the Ptolemaic theory, that’s gonna be true.

So it’s all depending on society. I think of society as a relative entity – there’s no absolute truth. If your believe right, that’d be “truth” and that part isn’t where others can invade; it’s really arbitrary thing. Human beings create not only commodities but common sense.

HK: I agree.

JK: In this way, the disruptive and incremental innovation are just the matter of definition. If the incremental innovation had a big impact, that’d be the disruptive one. No one can draw a line between them and the criteria is all depending on who you are.

It’s a really interesting theory because the two opposite word can be the same. Talking about innovation, the more important thing is not how to define but how you create benefits for society.

Japanese people are really good at creating new things but very bad at persuading society with story-telling. Even if you create a thing, no one buy it, that’s pointless right? Even if you find out that the earth is moving around the sun, people say that’s wrong and no one accepts the fact, that’s meaningless.

So I believe the exact moment when the innovation happens is not the time you create things. For example Gogh or Bach, their arts were evaluated after hundreds of years from their death. Of course for them, it’s really great innovation but not for society. I believe the time when the thoughts or commodities spread out into the whole society is the exact moment of innovation.

HK: I’d like to hear your opinion on social media recently rising. What’s the biggest change since its appearance on our society?

JK
: I think the connecting points among the people increased drastically on Facebook or Twitter. Like us, it’s possible that someone introduce us, we exchange DMs, and the meeting happens. We can say that our ways to communicate has been enriched (although some say it’s getting poor).

But at the same time, rareness of analog has increased a lot. You know, the ability to feel atmosphere and make a choice based on the understanding – that’s the ability people are required nowadays, that’s the ability that digital can’t do. Today, consideration for others are also important because everything else is digital and can be done by the Internet or robots.

I always say to my students not to get knowledge on Google because that can be done by 5-year-old kids. Students, especially in the universities, need to get wisdom that can not be found on the web.

HK: For example what kind of things cannot be done on the Internet? What cannot be changed into digital?

JK: At first atmosphere. I often attend universities’ board meeting, and it’s hell long. We prepare the next year’s meeting from this autumn and every two months, well-known professors come along and discuss 2 hours or so. But for me, two weeks are enough to prepare it; just send emails and get conference room and then done.

You don’t have to talk for two hours, just 10 minutes are enough to set agenda. These ‘feeling’ cannot be possessed by robots and it’s only available for human beings who think deeply enough. Is he mission-oriented? action-oriented? That’s everything. Prioritizing fragmented issues and synthesize them – these process should be analog and not digital.

HK: True, could I have your advice to achieve success as the last question?

JK: Hold your criteria of success, don’t put it outside. You don’t have to care about what others talking about you; you have to stand on your own feet. If you do so, you’d be successful forever. Live the every moment and think deeply, do your best, feel joy and if that joy matches to society’s benefit, then you’d feel more joy. These accumulation will make the whole your life successful.

John Kim is a visiting professor at Harvard Law School.

Hemant Dadhich: Happiness is Efficiency

March 17, 2011 by  

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Haegwan Kim: So my interview is about success. You’ve already told me that your goal is always what you can achieve, right?

Hemant Dadhich: Yes.

HK: Then can you tell me how you set the goal?

HM: You see, I set a very practical goal. I set a workable goal. Like in the beginning of this year, we decided as to INR100 should be our target. Alright. Now once we decide INR100, we were at INR60 a year, so we’ve got to increase INR40. Now if you have to increase INR40, you must plan in your mind to increase INR60 so that even if there is a slippage, you still achieve INR100.

Alright, so what I do is, while planning stage, I plan a little extra. While achieving stage, I don’t rush myself. I will achieve. So we divide it then, you know? We have a direct sales. We have a sale through dealers. We have sale independents.

Likewise, there are various segments. So when you divide those segments, you see an normally reinforce your success. You see, if you reinforce your failures, you are bound to land up in failures only, so you must reinforce your success. Wherever you are getting success, move slightly more, push slightly more. You’ll get more success.

Success is something which multiplies. It does not add up, it always multiplies. Success story is something which always multiplies.

HK:  Can you give your definition of success?

HM: I believe success is what you want and what you get. You want something, like I want INR100, alright, now getting INR100 is success, right? Getting INR90 is not a success. Now if you are to get INR100, you have to work for INR120. Alright? So your effort should be much more effort and planning rather than an addiction. It is a plan which succeeds. It is not the effort which succeeds. It is a plan which succeeds. If you plan well, you will achieve well. But if you don’t plan well, you will not achieve.

HK: Your basic criteria to be successful was being happy, wasn’t it?

HM: Happy, yes. Happiness I will tell you, if you remain happy, if you keep your environment happy, if you keep your team happy, your efficiency is much more. Only a happy team can have a good efficiency. If you are morose, if you are depressed, if you have other worries on your mind, you can’t give the output which I really expect from you. So happiness you’ve got to keep in you, in your friends, in your environment, in your team; entire team has to be happy. And only happy people can have better efficiency.

HK: So the happiness is the matter of efficiency.

HM” Happiness is efficiency. And happiness does not come from worldly things. Happiness is a state of mind. I give you a good gift, you’ll be happy, it is not sure. Alright, but if I give you a smile, I’ll do also a smile, that is happiness. Alright? Have a look at your heart. For happiness, you’ve got to touch each other’s heart. For happiness, I have to share your mind.

HK: That’s very interesting.

HM: Happiness does not come by mere lip service, it comes from within.

HK: I was impressed by your background as first like doing an engineer, and then doing mentoring armies and then doing the business as a manager, what did you learn from your total career?

HM: With engineering, I learnt how to apply working principles in life. From mentoring, I understood what is comradeship, what is being together, what is being friend in arms. That I learnt; brotherhood; happy, good social life; bonding. And uprightness. When I came to business out here, I learnt the philosophy or turnover, philosophy of producing better and better and quality products. What sells is quality. What sells in market is quality. If you maintain quality, people are ready to pay. If you maintain your time schedule, people are ready to pay. So this is what I learned in business out here.

HK” Are they connected one another?

HM: If you are a good person, you will emit good vibes and there will be goodness around you always. Everything falls in place. My plans don’t fail. They don’t fail.

Firstly, I try and maintain good vibes all around. Secondly, I try and plan well ahead. When I make a plan, I plan well ahead. I plan for next five years, next ten years. Go slowly on the plans. Try and take cooperation from everyone. It’s a collective situation. So that is the way I plan.

HK: You say that you had to apply your working principles into real life as an engineer. Can you talk about your working principles?

HM: Be true to yourself. Don’t cheat yourself. You can cheat everybody in the world; you can’t cheat yourself. So when you’re planning a thing, be sure you’re not fooling yourself. Alright? So when you’re planning something, be sure what you’re doing is right. If you’re not right, take advice from people. There are consultants available. There are market leaders available. There is no harm in asking. There is no harm in seeking knowledge from anywhere. Alright? But don’t try and cheat yourself. If a process requires three days, it requires three days. Give three days to it. Don’t try and make it two and a half.

But you can optimise other things. You can optimise on resources. You can optimise on labour. You can optimise on other things. But in the entire plan that you make, don’t cheat yourself. Don’t cheat your own mind. Sometimes you will try and convince yourself, oh, I will manage it. No, it’s not like that. When you plan it, make a plan, put it on a pencil, put it on paper, go step by step whatever is aimed at, whatever is the planning phase. Do it that way.

But it’s the people which give the result, not me. In fact, I will tell you, I’m a very small element of the entire workforce. So it is the entire team.

HK: How do you make that great team?

HM: It is to obtain their wilful cooperation from everywhere, and I will tell you, if you genuinely think good of others, like if you’re in trouble, I would like to help you in whatever way I can; if you are in need, I would like to help you; but you know, once I do this, naturally, your attitude towards would be also okay. People reciprocate with you. So whatever I do to others, others do to me. If I do good to others, others will do good to me. That is the philosophy. You will get what you deserve.

HK: Interesting. As a final question, can you tell me your advice to be successful in general sense?

HM: You see, at various points of time, various things have decided the course of young, junior people. At some point of time, people thought having money is being successful. Today, it is not so. Today, even someone has got a lot of money, but it does not mean that he is successful.

In times to come, people with good virtues in life would be regarded as being successful. You take Mahatma Gandhi, he was a very simple man. He did not own lots of worldly possessions. He had in fact nothing much with him. But then he could lead India to freedom. Alright? What are the basic principles? Honestly, truthfulness, and insight. These two/three things he had, and he could lead India to freedom. India became independent. Even the British Empire, which was so powerful, with all its weapons and with all its weapons of mass destruction, it failed in front of Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was a man half naked, with a stick in hand… have you seen his photograph?

He was a elderly person, barely could walk. But he could stand in front of that British Empire. Why? Because he was truthful. He was full of truthful life, and in service, not harming anybody; not killing anybody, in no sense. Tomorrow, in times to come, the same kind of principles will have values in life. Honestly will be a very big word too in life. He was very honest man; he has many achievements though.

Prime Minister Singh says, a very honest person. We may be having all other ministers cheats, but the Prime Minister is a very honest person. Likewise, these virtues will have a lot of values. Value system will also see a change in times to come. You’ll find that in times to come it will evolve and there is something in the world which keeps working and these things will get evolved. Tomorrow, a man with a lot of money will not be considered a rich man. Even money may be considered as a bad virtue. It may happen. But what will be considered good is honestly, truthfulness.

Hemant Dadhich is a Brigadier of Indian Army

Loftwork’s Chiaki Hayashi: Success is All About Creation

March 2, 2011 by  

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A Q&A with Chiaki Hayashi on success.  She says that her definition of success is doing what you want and the mindset is a kind of preparation for that. “I think we need energy to achieve anything, for example passion, wisdom, physical training, or human network. But all of them can be said as “energy”. And you can raise your energy throughout your life. No one has energy since they were born. That’s why I said I challenge everything I can, this is because I want to enhance myself by raising energy. You know, once the work started, you should do no matter what.”

HK:  Let’s talk about Loftwork, the biggest creators’ online platform in Japan. Is this what you wanted to achieve?

CH: Nooooot at all!! [Laughter]. At first I aimed at connecting creators and tho who want creations directly. The concept is called “creators direct”. So this is like if you think of yourself a creator, you’re a creator. Nationality, gender, age, everything don’t matter. Whether it has value or not can be decided only by people, not professional workers. Everything is based on direct matching, which hasn’t been changed yet.

But that was a decade ago, when infrastructure of the Internet hasn’t be set and creators couldn’t even scan their arts. So there’s just few people who update their works and also at that time EC hasn’t been famous, so people were suspicious on buying creative on the web. Many people told me it’s suicide to sell creative at the moment.

HK: You went there too early.

CH: Yup. So I thought if I can’t do this directly, I can at least provide resources of artists indirectly, and Lofwork has been taken the model. Creator Search Platform. Today many people tell me they’ve got lots of works on Loftwork and we made a certain circulation of human talents. But still, when I find a company that connect artists and people directly, I say “Jeez, this is what I wanted to do!!”

I still don’t feel satisfaction but I believe Loftwork made artists’ lives better. And I still pursue the first dream and am trying to accelerate the activities.

HK: I think circulating capital on the web and for creative workers are pretty tough challenge since many of their works aren’t visible. I want to hear your perspective on how you think to capitalize, or evaluate invisible works and create capital flow for them?

CH: I have an idea on that. So, until now, there’s been capital flow for visual materials like images or files on EC. But I think this model will change. I talked about this at Vabel Conference, but Ryuichi Sakamoto’s project let me realize that the model between consumers and producers would be over and instead there will be relationship economy – social commerce.

So it’s not like buying Sakamoto’s song, but it’s more like paying money because we like his way to live, we like to be a part of his musical activities. It’s already happened in the US, for instance Kickstarter. They are paying for engagements. They are not paying for materials but paying for dreams, ideas, and engagements. I believe this will be mainstream in the 21st century. Don’t you think it’s super fun if you pay for 100 dollars for your favorite artists and get a surprising present from him/her!?

HK:  Cool! On the other hand, since you’re engaging in Creative Commons, I have few questions. You know, Japan is really nervous about copyright issues right? And Creative Commons doesn’t disagree copyright itself but is trying to clarify the process.

CH: Yup.

HK: With this part and your loftwork activities for artists, what are your thoughts on how copyright issue will be changed in the future?

CH: Well, just come along to our talk session if you’re free on March 26th. [Laughter]. What you asked me is exactly what we will talk about at Roppongi Art Night. Its title is “20×4 dialogue” and 20 people will talk for 4hours! There’ll be 4 themes and one of them is how we can utilize copyright and we’ll gather people both from artist side and Internet side. Joi Ito will come.

In the session, I’d like to say “society is changing and that’s unstoppable, no matter how you lament”. This flow, more and more people put their works on the web, is irreversible. Of course there’ll be people who get benefice from change and lose their privilege, but this flow itself will never change, never. So it’s useless to talk about whether we use the Internet or not, the important thing to talk is how we use the Internet.

I don’t think it’s negative to share works on the web, and I even think killing information only on the web – except few examples – would lead failure in real world too. Being too protective for copyright would kill works in the real world, at least I believe so. So as business strategy, it’s necessary to enhance your famousness on the web regardless what type of business you do.

HK: So there’s no choice for you?

CH: Nope. But the choices on how you use the Internet – there’s tons of choices on this. So how free you make copyright, when and how costumers pay money, and so on; there’s choices. Of course you don’t have to use Creative Commons. But talking about whether you put your works on the web or not; there’s no choice.

HK: Sharing is the key – I think the sharing is not a cup existing in the infinity space, but hundreds of cups interacting vigorously. And you think this action of sharing itself is synchronizing with actions in real life right?

CH: Yes, but I don’t say we all should use CC and share with people all around the world. It’s totally fine to share just with 100 people. Including all choices, how we share on the web is important.

HK: By the way don’t you think there is negative image on the Internet in Japan?

CH: Yes, indeed.

HK: Since I travel around the world, I realized that each country has each opinion on the web. In India they think it’s a way to get jobs, in America it’s innovation that makes people’s lives better, in the UK, it’s …. way to enjoy life? I don’t know, but anyway they all utilize the power of web. But in Japan, I feel there’s negative image on the web.

CH: I presume many Japanese people don’t want the web to grow, to be honest.

HK: Yes, so I want to ask you whether Japanese people hate share or not! [Laughter]

CH: I think business person don’t like, but in personal they like sharing, very much. You can say that from the fact that Twitter’s second largest language is Japanese, there’s lots of bloggers in Japan. In this sense Japanese really like to tell their stories to other people. So potential at an individual level is quite high. But this mindset doesn’t go to business because Japan had successes with offline works for a long time. But it will change; now is a time of transition. Japan has been famous by creating things. So I think many of mangers can’t resist the atmosphere of the web, saying “you sell this quality!?”

But as I said individuals’ level is high, so will be changed soon. I feel necessity to engage into this transition, that’s why I do lot’s of challenge apart from loftwork.com. What I imagine was each individual has an element to succeed, and by sharing “something” on the web, that elements get bright. So it’s not sharing success story of me with you, but by sharing my story, you realize your own success because your success is only for yourself.

HK: Great opinion. As a final question, what’s your advice to achieve success?

CH: This is my advice. I regard creation as more important than criticism. I believe creating something makes people happy above all. In my mind, success equals happiness, so if I’m happy, then that’s fine. Dr. Mogi was saying the same thing at Vabel Conference right? We don’t know when we die, and when we die, there’s no time to complain others. More than that, I want to spare time to make people happy i.e. creation. Making something new; that can be things, a company, love, children, whatever – but creation makes your life better. This is my belief and advice.

Chiaki Hayashi is a co-founder of Loftwork.

Chiaki Hayashi: Raise Your Energy Throughout Your Life

February 19, 2011 by  

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In an interview with Chiaki Hayashi on her definition of success, not as a co-founder of Loftwork but her personal one, she says, “well, it’s not about whether you can do or not, it’s whether you want do or not and make actions.  I force myself to stop thinking whether or not I can do and if there’s two choices, I take both of them. I think people often take only one when there’s two or more choices, but if we get twice energy, we can do the both right? So it’s fine to challenge everything and just do it!

HK: Wow, that’s powerful. So your stance on challenge itself is success for you. I mean, for many people achieving success is a kind of success, but your success is more like mindset.

CH: Well, my definition of success is doing what you want, and the mindset is a kind of preparation for that. I think we need energy to achieve anything, for example passion, wisdom, physical training, or human network. But all of them can be said as “energy”. And you can raise your energy throughout your life. No one has energy since they were born. That’s why I said I challenge everything I can, this is because I want to enhance myself by raising energy. You know, once the work started, you should do no matter what. [Laughter]

HK: Loftwork, the biggest creators’ online platform in Japan. Is that what you wanted to achieve?

CH: Nooooot at all!! [Laughter]

Kim: Hahaha. Thing goes like that.

CH: At first I aimed at connecting creators and tho who want creations directly. The concept is called “creators direct”. So this is like if you think of yourself a creator, you’re a creator. Nationality, gender, age, everything don’t matter. Whether it has value or not can be decided only by people, not professional workers. Everything is based on direct matching, which hasn’t been changed yet.

But that was a decade ago, when infrastructure of the Internet hasn’t be set and creators couldn’t even scan their arts. So there’s just few people who update their works and also at that time EC hasn’t been famous, so people were suspicious on buying creative on the web. Many people told me it’s suicide to sell creative at the moment.

HK: You went there too early.

CH: Yup. So I thought if I can’t do this directly, I can at least provide resources of artists indirectly, and Lofwork has been taken the model. Creator Search Platform. Today many people tell me they’ve got lots of works on Loftwork and we made a certain circulation of human talents. But still, when I find a company that connect artists and people directly, I say “Jeez, this is what I wanted to do!!”

HK: Hahaha [Laughter]. So this is really not what you wanted to do, but you made a kind of…

CH: Yes, I still don’t feel satisfaction but I believe Loftwork made artists’ lives better. And I still pursue the first dream and am trying to accelerate the activities.

HK: You mean you’ll change the way of Loftwork? Going to EC part?

CH: Of course, but it’s not like EC but creating a platform where money goes to artists directly. For example using Paypal, providing talents not only at a national level but…

HK: International.

CH: Yes. So having the first vision, I want do various challenges from now.

HK: I think circulating capital on the web and for creative workers are pretty tough challenge since many of their works aren’t visible. I want to hear your perspective on how you think to capitalize, or evaluate invisible works and create capital flow for them?

CH: I have an idea on that. So, until now, there’s been capital flow for visual materials like images or files on EC. But I think this model will change.

I talked about this at Vabel Conference, but Ryuichi Sakamoto’s project let me realize that the model between consumers and producers would be over and instead there will be relationship economy – social commerce.

So it’s not like buying Sakamoto’s song, but it’s more like paying money because we like his way to live, we like to be a part of his musical activities. It’s already happened in the US, for instance Kickstarter. They are paying for engagements. They are not paying for materials but paying for dreams, ideas, and engagements. I believe this will be mainstream in the 21st century.

In this sense, creators have huge influence on social sphere and I want to create a platform them, which can be an answer to your question.

HK: Wow, cool idea.

CH: Don’t you think it’s super fun if you pay for 100 dollars for your favorite artists and get a surprising present from him/her!?

HK: Cool! On the other hand, since you’re engaging in Creative Commons, I have few questions. You know, Japan is really nervous about copyright issues right?

CH: Hell yeah.

HK: And Creative Commons doesn’t disagree copyright itself but is trying to clarify the process?

CH: Yup.

HK: With this part and your loftwork activities for artists, I want to ask about your thoughts on how copyright issue will be changed in the future?

CH: Well, just come along to our talk session if you’re free on March 26th. [Laughter]. What you asked me is exactly what we will talk about at Roppongi Art Night. Its title is “20×4 dialogue” and 20 people will talk for 4hours! There’ll be 4 themes and one of them is how we can utilize copyright and we’ll gather people both from artist side and Internet side. Joi Ito will come.

HK: Oh Joi will come? Great.

CH: Yes, and Professor Miyaga, who created MIT open course will also join the session. In the session, I’d like to say “society is changing and that’s unstoppable, no matter how you lament”. This flow, more and more people put their works on the web, is irreversible. Of course there’ll be people who get benefice from change and lose their privilege, but this flow itself will never change, never. So it’s useless to talk about whether we use the Internet or not, the important thing to talk is how we use the Internet.

I don’t think it’s negative to share works on the web, and I even think killing information only on the web – except few examples – would lead failure in real world too. Being too protective for copyright would kill works in the real world, at least I believe so. So as business strategy, it’s necessary to enhance your famousness on the web regardless what type of business you do.

HK: So there’s no choice for you?

CH: No. But the choices on how you use the Internet – there’s tons of choices on this. So how free you make copyright, when and how costumers pay money, and so on; there’s choices. Of course you don’t have to use Creative Commons. But talking about whether you put your works on the web or not; there’s no choice.

HK: Sharing is the key – I think sharing is not a cup existing in the infinity space, but hundreds of cups interacting vigorously. And you think this action of sharing itself is synchronizing with actions in real life right?

CH: Yes, but I don’t say we all should use CC and share with people all around the world. It’s totally fine to share just with 100 people. Including all choices, how we share on the web is important.

HK: By the way don’t you think there is negative image on the Internet in Japan?

CH: Yes, indeed.

HK: Since I travel around the world, I realized that each country has each opinion on the web. In India they think it’s a way to get jobs, in America it’s innovation that makes people’s lives better, in the UK, it’s …. way to enjoy life? I don’t know, but anyway they all utilize the power of web. But in Japan, I feel there’s negative image on the web.

CH: I presume many Japanese people don’t want the web to grow, to be honest.

HK: Yes, so I want to ask you whether Japanese people hate share or not! [Laughter]

CH: Ha ha, I think business person don’t like, but in personal they like sharing, very much. You can say that from the fact that Twitter’s second largest language is Japanese, there’s lots of bloggers in Japan. In this sense Japanese really like to tell their stories to other people. So potential at an individual level is quite high. But this mindset doesn’t go to business because Japan had successes with offline works for a long time. But it will change; now is a time of transition.

HK: So you think this will change?

CH: Yes, Japan has been famous by creating things. So I think many of mangers can’t resist the atmosphere of the web, saying “you sell this quality!?” But as I said individuals’ level is high, so will be changed soon. I feel necessity to engage into this transition, that’s why I do lot’s of challenge apart from loftwork.com.

HK: Do you think we can share success as well?

CH: Yes we can, I think.

HK: Does that mean sharing success story or something and other people gets happier?

CH: No, what I imagine was each individual has an element to succeed, and by sharing “something” on the web, that elements get bright. So it’s not sharing success story of me with you, but by sharing my story, you realize your own success because your success is only for yourself.

HK: Great opinion. As a final question, can you tell me your advice for others to achieve success in their lives?

CH: Well, I’m not a “successful” person yet.

HK: Everyone tells me as you exactly said. [Laughter]. It’s totally up to you.

CH: I have advice for myself. So as I said earlier, I’d be happy if I can share this with people on the web. Make actions – no need to complain.

This is my advice. I regard creation rather important than criticism. I believe creating something makes people happy above all. In my mind, success equals happiness, so if I’m happy, then that’s fine. Dr. Mogi was saying the same thing at Vabel Conference right? We don’t know when we die, and when we die, there’s no time to complain others. More than that, I want to spare time to make people happy i.e. creation. Making something new; that can be things, a company, love, children, whatever – but creation makes your life better. This is my belief and advice.

Chiaki Hayashi is a co-founder of Loftwork.

Hasuna Founder Natsuko Shiraki on Ethical Jewelry & Achieving 40 Million Smiles

January 31, 2011 by  

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Haegwan Kim asks Natsuki Shiraki on her definition of success.  She says, “personally I think it’s the moment you achieved what you want, and that’d be money, occupation, or family – so it’s totally depending on who you are. Since I was a child, I’ve had many things that I want to achieve, and when I achieve one of them, that’s success for me.

HK: So the moments of achievement are not once in your life…

NS: No, there’re many times you can feel so, and by having the moments many times, or accumulating the moments, I think humans can grow up.

HK: So you founded Hasuna because that’s what you wanted to do?

NS: Exactly.

HK: Can you tell me the beginning roughly?

NS: I fell in love with the global cooperation when I was 18. Until then, I was just a stupid high school student, and I’d been thinking what I should do. But when I watched the speech of a photo journalist, I had a vivid sensation. I saw pictures of genocide at Rwanda, poverty in Ethiopia, and natural disaster in Indonesia. I thought there’s so many people struggling with these problems and we need to help them, and that should be my life work.

Since then, my explore into global cooperation has started. I worked as an internee at NGO, NPO, UN, but concluded working as a social entrepreneur, here in Hasuna, is the best way for me.

I embedded my passion on the global issue and passion on fashion and art, which I have had since I was a child, into Hasuna. In fact, I wanted to work as an artist when I was a primary student, but with my mother’s disagreement, I gave up the dream. But with this business, I think I can pursue the dream again.

In that sense, I can do fashion that I like and global cooperation that I found when I was 18 as lifework here at Hasuna. So it can be said that I’m creating my own foundation to achieve what I want to do.

HK: I see. Since I start interviewing social entrepreneurs, I do often ask this question, which is “does your happiness equals other’s happiness?” What do you think about this?

NS: I believe happiness circulates around us in many ways. Of course sadness as well. That’s why I think everything I’ve done will come back to me in the future; it’s like a dogma or mantra. Doing good for society would be doing good for me. So I think it’s important to do something beneficial for others and our society.

HK: Why did you choose jewelry to start your activities as a social entrepreneur?

NS: As I said, I met with the global cooperation when I was 18 and went abroad to study at London University for three years. During the time I went to India for two months to stay with people in poverty. I wanted to know what I can do for them. The villages I stayed are 5 to 6 hours distance by bus from Chennai of South India. I visited many villages in the two months, and found people are quite happy despite their financial condition in many places. However, in a village where only the lowest position of caste live and work at mine, they had really bad working condition and didn’t show any smile. From the old to children, people in developing countries have energy in many cases, but they are totally different; all of them had dark atmosphere. People only say negative things and treat me badly. And then I realized that absolute poverty even deprives a child of smile.

The poorest in the poor, they often lose even the purpose to live, hope to live. Things we can get at mines are marble, jewelries and others that enrich people’s mind, but those who dig mines are so depressive, I thought. They are human beings too. I started thinking about this issue since then, and knew that there’s 14 to 16 millions of mine workers around the world and of course millions of them are children. Many of them are dying because of the harsh condition.

So I thought I want to give smile not only those who put jewelry on, but those who create jewelry. We often have a special feeling on jewelry. For instance things to pass on like father to son, son to grand son or engage ring which will be worn for the entire life. I thought that there should be smile behind the scene of jewelry and I founded Hasuna.

HK: You established the concept of “ethical jewelry”. What does this concept mean?

NS: Very simply, it means, at least we define, the world as that jewelry that’s tender for people, society, and nature. So we lessen the damage on environment and take care of nature and human life.

HK: Although it’s important to take care of nature but to live in capitalism society, earning money is necessary. What does “money” mean to you as a social entrepreneur?

NS: Well, personally I’m not interested in earning money. But I love fashion and am into bargains! Of course its not bad to have money, and if I don’t have it I will suffer. But I’m not interested in, I like buying stuff, though. We, Hasuna, think of money as gratitude; we pay for craftsman as a proof of our gratitude. So money equals gratitude for us.

HK: An interesting opinion.

NS: Of course we have goal set in the company, but we are not using “Yen”, but instead we use “smile”. Like “Let’s achieve 40 million smiles!” or anything like that.

HK: Wow [laughter]

NS: 100 million smiles!

HK: [Laughter]. Let’s talk about a gender issue in jewelry industry. In my personal understanding, the number of females are much bigger than that of male. What do you think about this?

NS: Well, but in fact management teams are almost male. Especially big companies’ CEO or CFO, they are always old guys. There’s a ceremony for the rewardable companies that achieve many success in the year and I attended the ceremony. Those who stood at the arena as representatives are an old guy, an old guy, an old guy and an old guy.

HK” [Laughter]

NS: So the problem is rather aging issue than gender. Our industry itself is aging. And this makes us more protective and conservative.

HK: Understood. What’s the aim of Hasuna for now?

NS: In short term, we will open the first store in March, so we’d like to manage it well. In long term, as I talked previously, I want to enrich the condition of developing countries. Plus, I want to repay kindness for the world of art. For example. Suntroy or Shiseido, they invest lots of benefits to museum and creative works. Like them, I hope we can protect the artists who need money to keep on their creative activities.

HK: We didn’t talk about success that much, so would you tell me your advice to people if they wanted to achieve success?

NS: Having ambition and telling the ambition to other people. I imagine what I will be 5 years or 10 years later once a year. And if the imagination is clear, I can see clear path to achieve the ambition. To make your vision clear, it’s important to talk with various people, read variety of books, and share it with your friends are very important. This is my advice.

Natsuko Shiraki is the founder of Hasuna.

Motohiko Tokuriki: There’s No Longer Clear Distance Between Real & Virtual

January 23, 2011 by  

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Motohiko Tokuriki says of success in an interview with Haegwan Kim: it’s a difficult question, because I haven’t thought about it. I think it’s whether you’re satisfied yourself or not.

HK: Does that mean “satisfied about what you’re doing”?

MT: I don’t think success is a thing that has an end. For instance, selling a billion yen, or earning a million yen – that’s not success. In the end, for me, doing what you want to do and accumulating tiny successes one by one – that’s success. Whether you’re successful is determined only by yourself, and whether you’re doing what you what to do.

HK:  At first, you’re familiar with social media, especially blogging. What’s the beginning for you to start blog?

MT: I was working for NTT and thought I’d like to start new business. But when I started, I didn’t know anything and had a tough time. in 2004, blog was popularized and I got interested in this field.

HK: Is that in Japan?

MT: Yes, the US is earlier than this. Especially I remembered many bloggers appeared after 9.11. They dramatically increased at that time.

HK: You told me that success depends whether you’re satisfied or not. Is the reason you started blog and social media that you felt some sort of possibility for that?

MT: No, it’s opposite. I chose social media not because I want to succeed, but I started blogging and then gathered lot of things and learned a lot.

There’s fundamental difference between us, that’s you interview “successful” people, but I don’t think of myself as a successful person.

I quitted NTT and started venture, but I failed. I mistook many times. The good thing is that I wrote that progress of mistakes on blog, and as a result I had human network and changed my perspective on business and eventually I earned credibility in this business. So I’m still far away from being called like “successful person”

HK: I got it. But the purpose of this research is not interviewing successful people and I don’t try to create a framework for success. What I’d like to do is spreading diverse ideas on success and society.

I want to listen to your opinion on satisfaction again. Do you have any idea on how to be satisfied yourself?

MT: Well, many people who are regarded as successful often don’t think of themselves as successful. For example I like “Hokutono-Ken” (Japanese Manga), there’s really few people who can die like “Raou” (a character in the manga) who said that “I have no regret” just before his death. Son san as well.

HK: Masayoshi Son from Softbank.

MT: There’s few people who can foster a company in one generation that much, but I don’t think he has being satisfied himself. That’s why he takes risks and bought the phone company and keep challenging and challenging.

Of course there’s people who complain about what he’s doing and it’s pretty philosophic but – it’s not always true that “socially successful” people feel themselves successful or satisfied. In the end, once you define success as being satisfied, you would never be successful.

HK: Well, so it can be said that present satisfaction is much more important than expectation for future’s satisfaction.

MT: You can say so. I think success is not “past tense”. Accumulating tiny successes day by day, that’s rather important.

For instance, there’s a person who wants to be a TV star, but there’s nothing you can get just by being TV star, because you will see a new challenge. Same for Hollywood star. So success can be said as a point you’re aiming at.

HK: Then can I say that you left NTT not because you wanted to have a current position but when you look back now, there’s a road you walked so far. Is this right?

MT: When I left NTT I didn’t think anything, but like you said, there’s been changes of value. When I was at NTT, I was so simple, the definition of success equated with a promotion. Once you got into the company, everyone aims at being a CEO. Of course there’s people who’d be satisfied with being VP or DM, though. But now, I can say “success is not a mathematics”. You can’t define success just with number.

You get lots of money but do what you don’t like to do, or you get less money but do what you really want to do. It’s depending on you. And I think it’s linked with the phenomenon of increase in the number of social entrepreneurs in these days. Of course there’s huge differences among people, for example who can be satisfied if his family is happy. It totally depends on who you are.

HK: What’s the biggest change in your life since you started a venture?

MT: It’s more accurate to say “since I started blogging”. So I quitted NTT and had a-year consultancy and moved to a software venture. The biggest change is that, when I was at NTT, I was trying to improve the company’s reputation. But here in a venture, we create a horizontal relationship. For example, promoting i-mode and getting satisfaction in the company – this is a huge company but we collaborate with other ventures and achieve success together. I found the collaborators by blogging. Simply, being friends is the fastest way to promote a venture. Of course it can be said to the gigantic companies, though.

It’s whether individuals come first or companies come first – I learned this since i started a venture.

HK: Since we can see blog as an individual media, can we say that the power of individuals is getting stronger and stronger?

MT: You could say so. When IT companies create new innovation, like Google or Twitter, many of them can be benefits for individuals. Obviously it’s time for people to live “comfortably”.

HK: Personally I think making friends in real society and virtual society is different, and with the stronger individuals on the web, can we say our society itself, especially in terms of how to create a community is also drastically changing?

MT: I think there’s no longer a clear distance between “real” and “virtual”. Until now, even if you chat with someone on the web, you wouldn’t talk to him in real society. But today, especially since 2004 in Japan, there’s so many connections between real society and web, and many people are surpassing the border. People knew each other in blog met in a conference or met in a conference and found their blogs and so on so forth. I don’t think it’s rational to separate real society and the world of web anymore – they are both “a place to create a community”.

The biggest difference is a cost. Meeting people – for example like this interview – takes time and money. Of course phone call as well, you should make an appointment. Blog, Twitter, and other new communications are different – they are “pull” communication. Their attitudes are “hey, I wrote this, so check this out if you like”. It’s not “please read this” – which is “push” communication. Obviously the latter takes more time, energy and money.

For instance, if you take interviews and send it to your friends, I guess that’s 100 or so. Or sending Nengajo (Xmas card of Japanese that send each other on January 1st), you’ll get tired soon.

But pull communication, you don’t have to. Plus, it doesn’t mean to have less communication ability. Sending 100 emails takes lots of time but tweeting to 100 followers takes just a moment. And sending 10 emails are spam but 10 tweets are just usual.

I think with the rise of the Internet, our ways to communicate are getting much easier. So far even if we exchanged name cards, we could barely communicate with some of them, maybe 50 or something? But now we can keep all the connections with pull communication. In this sense as well, we are now living in the age when individuals can life comfortably.

HK: As a final question, I want to ask your advice to achieve success.

MT: It’s good to have a high vision, but I think it’s rather important to start with a small step. I’m not sure whether it’s appropriate example, but people who failed with blogging often have an aim at earning lots of money.

People who are successful with blogging often write because they want to write – that’s why they can blog everyday. They use blog as a personal memo or something, and as a result, gather lots of readers. Their goal is really low, and the purpose of blog is just because they like to write. If you start blogging with an aim of earning money, since it’s difficult to earn money and readers by blogging as you know, people feel frustration and eventually end up as a failure.

But it’s interesting that blog is really helpful in many ways if you keep doing for a couple of years. For instance even it’s a small amount of money you can get on blog, you can communicate with many inspiring people like “oh, you’re the one who write that blog aren’t you?”. The value of these human networking can’t be measured by money. So I believe it’s more important than anything to accumulate small successes.

Motohiko Tokuriki is the CEO of Agile Media Network.

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