What a change in three years!
At the e-Jan office in Tokyo, it is normal to hear conversations not only in Japanese but also in English and Chinese. This movement towards multi-nationalization started only three years ago. It quietly started out with our in-house English lesson program and in December 2013, the Australian English teacher joined the company as the second non-Japanese full-time employee after an Indian Engineer joined us in 2005. Now, over 20 percent of our full-time employees are non-Japanese.
It's only been three years, but it's been a solid three years. Diversity has allowed us to challenge selling our product to the oversea markets. However, the original product that sold well in Japan was not well-received outside of Japan. While going through the grinding process, we evolved and modified our product to better fit the oversea market. Localization efforts also turned out to be beneficial back in Japan; it allowed our product to evolve into the next stage.
It is easier to say "we believe in diversity" or "we have international employees at the company" than to deal with issues that occur in an international environment. However, in this fast-changing world of IT, I have a strong belief that the benefits of diversity outweigh the difficulties that come with it; it is the source of unlimited ideas and energy. If we had not challenged to go in that direction, our future could have been very different, perhaps in a bad way.
Running a successful business is about the accumulation of "improvements"; challenging unknown areas, thinking outside the box, coming up with new ideas, and improving ourselves. As long as the business continuously accumulates improvements, it will be successful. The only thing we need to be careful of is finding excuses not to improve. Simple.