Speedy, Inc. has been in business for 5 years, entering its 6th year!
According to a social network alert, five years ago today (January 16, 2018), Speedy, Inc. essentially launched its business. The photo is the first visitor to the meeting.
At the age of 52, he resigned as President of Sony Digital Entertainment (November 30, 2017) and founded a company without any purpose to live freely. My good friend Yoko Sakanoue coached me and sent me a wonderful greeting letter to the entertainment industry! She made the text resilient so that it didn’t have a typical retiring tone. Then, to see the atmosphere of the world first, I went around the world to Paris, London, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Bangkok, etc., and returned to Tokyo in January 2018. That was five years ago today.
Speedy Inc. was founded by him and his secretary from Sony, Masami Toyoda. The company was capitalized at 10,000 yen. The start-up capital was only 1,000,000 yen. Since we could not afford an office, we wrote the prospectus at a Starbucks in Aoyama. Unlike his days at Sony, he had no credit, so he was not allowed to open a bank account. I asked my junior colleague, Jun Kobayashi, to open a bank account for me at Mitsui Bank. (Japanese banks are cold to startups!).
When I went to the corporate registration office in Higashi Azabu, I could not even make a copy myself. The young notary office staff told me in dismay that I could make a copy at a 7-Eleven.
From there, I was motivated. Mr. Kenji Kitatani, a Sony alumnus, asked me, “You must be embarrassed to be unemployed, so why don’t you become a visiting professor at the graduate school? He invited me to use the 13th floor of the Kanazawa Institute of Technology’s Toranomon Graduate School in Toranomon as his office. The first person to visit me was the film director Minoru Kawasaki. I met him at the cafe of the Toyoko Inn next to the graduate school, but it was not open. We pulled up a chair by the remains of the hotel’s pay phone and talked. It is hard to believe that it was only five years ago. Human beings can do anything from scratch.
In March 2018, we gathered our friends from our Sony days. Livia, Nana and Aimi joined us. I was able to work with Non-chan again, and in May of the same year we acquired Comidia, a comic production company, and in the summer we opened a small art gallery in downtown Los Angeles next to Ricky Takizawa’s office. He also opened an office in Estonia as a European base. He also had an office in China, although it is now closed. Within a year, we had a structure in place that allowed us to work with the world. Since then, we have been able to realize many exciting projects, including the acquisition of the 48-year-old publishing house Koryosha Bookstore, seven farms and a resort hotel in Okinawa, and an 18-unit estate in California. Next month, he will also open a BAR in Roppongi.
Speedy’s original capital outlay was only 1 million yen. Since its establishment, the company has remained debt-free, profitable throughout the year, and cash flow positive.
Even today, the company does not set an annual budget and runs its business on a whim. Instead, the numbers are very detailed. We check and fine-tune the numbers in single digits every week. On the foundation of such management, I have many excellent friends who help me make things happen. One person cannot do anything alone. But nothing would have happened without my motivation. The only way to accomplish something, even if it seems reckless, is how you team up with excellent people. And even if they are excellent, they must think for themselves and do everything they need to do, without leaving it to others, or it will not work. Also, I really believe that I can build two things of the same scale in 10 years. Lately I’ve been asked, “Is your hobby a BAR?” I am asked, but no way! I believe that any business of any size has to be in the black or it will commit seppuku. The process of making it profitable is what excites me. To just sit back and watch the money go out is just laziness as a business owner.
So, “A new year, pull yourself together!” What an amateurish thing to say. I’ve been a business owner for a long time, so I can always relax and brace myself in a normal way. Sorry to be so bossy.
Today is a day to be thankful for all those around me. Thank you.