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On December 14, 2015, SR commented on Cementing a Position :

I love this success story. It might be easily criticized that a great portion of the country’s wealth is concentrated on this man, but without him, it is also true that the strong business growth generated by this conglomerate would never happen. Currently, it seems that the presence of the leader plays crucial role in expanding this business, but the main issue in the future would be whether he can create sustainable structure of this business. I rather recommend he should design a corporate organization which does not require a strong leader to succeed him.

On December 14, 2015, SR commented on Tinder: Business vs. Operating Model – is it a match? :

I clearly see the potential for growth of this business. I think the biggest asset is “credibility” which are guaranteed by affiliation with Facebook. My concern here is their monetization strategy seems a bit week, despite its very strong attraction for users. Monthly subscription and campaign only is a bit underestimating the potential for monetization from this business.

This is a fantastic example! I can clearly see the strengths of this business mostly thanks to its operational model. One curious thing is that the market share of each product seems very high and the company almost seems to dominate the market. The question I had was that there is a sufficient competition and that their strengths came as a result of competition? Or did they established a strong model nevertheless of the competition?

I just cannot believe that how brave the CEO is to eliminate Toji from its production process. At first, it is actually hard to believe that they used excel to control the quality and taste.
However, yes, the popularity of DASSAI is really great. I assume there should be lots of marketing efforts to, but the operational change made its expansion capable. Judging from the CEO’s statement, it seems that limitation on production volume mattered a lot to target oversea market outside of Japan.

Thanks! I also am interested in whether the recipe for DASSAI is easily transferred or imitated by competitor, as it uses more data than experience. It sounds that DASSAI has some unique advantages over other competitors as they improved their production process, but I assume there is still a “blackbox”.

Thank you for your comments.
Actually your marketing question is also very interesting topic. The CEO did not explain fully about their marketing strategy, maybe because it is one of the key and did not want to let competitors know what they exactly think.

Definitely strong push by Prime Minister Abe and President Obama’s taste boosted its recognition outside of Japan. Japanese Sake is a little different than wine in a sense that there were so many different brand and the production volume used to be very limited, which made each brand difficult to dominate. DASSAI could enter into the market as “new” brand very easily, even though the company itself existed for long period.

Thank you for the post!
I agree that usually brand image comes from the “blackbox” and that is a common sense in this industry. However, here, the CEO tries to explain that their operational change was a key for their turnaround.

In fact, I think still marketing played crucial role for DASSAI. You want to know that DASSAI is coming from Prime Minister Abe’s home town and he pushed hard on this product which was also crucial. This is why many Japanese people think that DASSAI’s success is more about its marketing strategy than operation, despite the explanation from the CEO.

On December 9, 2015, SR commented on Ryanair: A TOM winner from Europe. :

Ryanair is not only one of the airlines I would like to use, but also a successful low cost carrier business model, which I would like to learn more. In Japan, efforts to introduce LCC model failed unfortunately and costs to flight remain high. One of the reasons that Ryanair can enjoy its high volume (the biggest reasons for its success I think) seems to be partially because of the geographical feature of Europe, where people in different countries live within a relatively small area. I assume this feature accelerate frequency and number of people traveling within Europe.
Even though Ryanair was backed by this feature, I need to address it seems to be the only successful LCC in Europe and competitors are not visible. I would like to know more about the competitive landscape of this industry and how Ryanair keeps its position so far against its competitors.

On December 9, 2015, SR commented on Kickstarter: Help bring creative projects to life :

Kickstarter has interesting features mentioned in the post, and these features seem to make this service stand out from other crowdfunding competitors. At least, they obviously contributed to the fast growth so far.
My question is that these “cool” features (especially “Creative only” and “Buzz and Engagement”) which create community values can continue to be sources of value to this company in the future. Once Kickstarter is regarded as a dominant player in this space, it seems to be able to sustain its strong position within the current scope, but for the further growth, I would propose to develop its product line to the other area in order to capture other financing needs.
The mission and philosophy behind this service are amazing, so I hope the service continue to bring power to ordinary people by delivering a service with unique and competitive business and operating models.

On December 9, 2015, SR commented on BHP Billiton – The Big Australian :

I see a really strong competition in this industry on how to secure Tier 1 assets in the long run. Because performances of companies in this industry are very cyclical due to fluctuation of commodity prices, strategy of each firm matters significantly over time. At the same time, many of these companies are tied to its “mother country”, so the amount of Tier 1 assets from their mother countries seem to matter as well.

Under this condition, BHP’s strategy to envision long term success by designing an optimized model including decision making process, organizational structure, etc. is very insightful. However, my question here is how you would define “success” in this industry, assuming each firm has different situation and elasticity to commodity price. Especially, I am very interested how each CEO is evaluated over the history of this industry, when life of mines are sometimes longer than period of one’s career.


This is very intriguing example of Softbank’s marketing strategy, especially its “Pricing model” boosted successful sales. I still remember the excitement of people on “Pepper” was enormous when it was introduced in public, which was more than the time when “Aibo” of SONY entered in to the market.
However, I am very curious whether this pricing strategy hits the overall breakeven cost including R&D, even though the post mentioned that “rumors tell that Pepper business already exceeded the breakeven cost for their variable costs, and partly covered fix costs.” If business around Pepper was strongly supported by its abundance financial capability of Softbank, we still need to wait until robotics business become profitable enough standalone.

Despite the question above, I still Pepper optimistically and think that Softbank took a huge step ahead in the commercial robotics industry in a sense that this had a significant signaling effect to a robotics creator community, which is valuable given the huge potential of robotics business in the near future.