I feel like it all started one day when I was nineteen, when my mother died of an illness. She had been managing five beauty salons and we were relatively well-off, but when she passed away, everything fell to pieces. We were 40 million yen in debt, and debt collectors started coming to our house just like you see in TV shows. At that time, I was also suffering from a retinal detachment and could not see out of my right eye at all. The night after I had undergone surgery and was waiting to find out whether or not it had worked, I thought this to myself as I sat on a hospital bed: “Is this what life is like with no money? I’m at rock-bottom right now. If the surgery was successful and I can see again, I’ll push myself harder than anyone, become rich, and protect the people who are important to me.”
The surgery was a success, and my plan for becoming rich was to be an entrepreneur. To achieve that, I first needed to make it to college and work under some great entrepreneurs. So, I decided to join SoftBank, which was run by Masayoshi Son, who I respected. I worked harder than anyone and became the top businessman in the company by the time of the dot-com bubble. Growth in the internet sector was huge, and I knew I had to start an internet business. But just as I was making preparations to go solo, I met Susumu Fujita, the CEO of Cyber Agent. When I described to him the model for the company I was thinking of making, he asked if I wanted to try out my idea as part of his company. That was how I ended up transferring to the rapidly-growing Cyber Agent. At the time, the company had only existed for nine months, they barely had more than ten employees, and weren’t even on the stock market yet. I figured I should learn a little more about the industry before starting my own company.
After my transfer, I not only started my opt-in email service MailIn, but gained experience with a variety of different jobs including media sales and managing advertising slots. About a year after I joined the company, MailIn was sold to another company. I was at a crossroads: at that point I had the choice of either going to the company that bought MailIn, staying with Cyber Agent, or starting my own company. After giving it a lot of thought, in August of 2001 I decided that since I had a fair amount of money saved up and had just turned 30, it was the perfect time to start my own business.
My experiences at SoftBank and Cyber Agent showed me the possibilities of cell phones and the internet, and so I decided to name my company Mobile Factory with the intent of starting a business centered around software development for mobile platforms.
Currently, we produce two main kinds of apps: social apps, and mobile media apps. Our mobile media services have been successful for over 10 years and have provided a steady stream of profits. On the other hand, ever since mobile platforms started becoming more open in 2009, companies that have embraced the trend of social apps and brought their products overseas have seen huge growth in that area. In light of the possibilities of social apps, most of our manpower is currently focused on social app development.
My management motto is “Management without debt”. I like to try and tackle difficult problems while also maintaining stable profits. Balancing risk and return and making a reliable profit is vital. I believe that my upbringing has influenced my company’s continued existence, and the fact that we have been in the black for 11 consecutive years starting from Mobile Factory’s second year. I have been involved with managing an internet-centric business for over 10 years, and in that time I have seen many companies come and go. The death of a company is something that brings grief to every client, user, and employee involved. As CEO, although I understand the difficulties of continually expanding a corporation, I would like to keep my drive to continue challenging new things.
Although my early experiences in life caused me to want to start a company simply to get rich, that goal has changed a lot over the 10 years that I have run Mobile Factory. Now, I am dedicated to delivering emotional experiences to all the users of our various services. Currently, we are including story elements in our game apps that need it the most — which have been received warmly by our users — but I would also like to produce media and services which are helpful to the world at large and make a positive impact on our users.
I hope that you will continue to support us going into the future.