From one startup delusion to a new one
All must be difficult, complicated, with most possible rules or... ELSE!
Now I’m in Tokyo and the startup language used is chanted the same as in Shanghai but in a minuscule startup world.
The delusion has just a little shifted: we are using once again the same startup vocabulary but with once more different semantics.
Startups are not in great demand or development in Japan from what I could judge so far. Of course, my vision is very limited even after trips from China and meeting with local chamber of commerce VPs and officials.
It looks like we are communicating (my first mistake was in Shanghai with the local foreign startup community) but in fact, we are reciting words we do not understand, from concepts we have not properly studied, but still, it makes us look sexier to chant the “words”.
VCs and Angels are not a big community bunch in Japan as I see it in 2021. Funding through local bank loans will be preferable rather than expecting investors to open doors like it could be done in US or even in Canada.
As one of my friends repeatedly shouted at me: “you are not cut for life in Japan. It’s the US your best bet.”
He may be right but it’s here, in Japan, that I decided to live for the better and for the worse. So let’s try to understand the local environment, let’s not expect anything yet (and certainly not before the next 2 years), let’s not try to convince anyone of my ideas1. Again, I’m not entitled to anything.
I have been preparing my “immigration” for the last couple of years. My decision to leave China was final2.
Ok, I’m writing ahead of myself here.
I started working on a vague idea about 4 years ago that would help me settle in Tokyo while bringing to the local economy3.
To make a long story short I designed 4 projects headed by a social impact initiative, I knew that while it could certainly inspire a local “visionary mayor”, as a foreign entrepreneur, I will be seen as an annoying intruder (like in Sakata… that was legendary) trying to force changes where traditions are maintained by 60+ officials so that powers stay in place.
There is no way I can change anything and I frankly don’t even try. It must come as an intrinsic demand, like in times of virus spreading.
Some of my local connections are receptive to digital transformation messages still and there is a good chance that in some parts of a-country-that-I-really-am-starting-to-appreciate, some local officials could benefit from some of the best practices of digital transformation around the world.
I do not hold any truth, I can just try to justify my4 insights by starting up projects on my own and show more than talk.
Anyway, I need to prove my speech through direct success as humble as it may be here.
People don’t care about me and that's ok, they don’t even see me. I’m currently transparent. I do not exist. Things will take time and I’m demanding nothing. I’m not even requesting anything yet. I’m learning.
I love China, I got great experiences there but after 20 years I needed a new life experience. A new adventure full of challenges and pain. The pain is already there.
I’ll go into detail later on. It’s strange that after having written so many pages on so many topics, I find myself bored to death in writing about my life, my choices, and my past experiences, and mainly here about my new attempt at entrepreneurship in Japan.
By “My” I shall precise "their” best insights (60 cities around the world involved in digital transformation and ecosystem building).