173 episodes

Startups are changing Japan, and Japan is once again starting to innovate. Disrupting Japan explores what it's like to be an innovator in a culture that prizes conformity and introduces you to startups that will be household brands in a few years.

Disrupting Japan: Startups and Innovation in Japan Tim Romero: Serial startup founder in Japan and indomitable innovator

    • Entrepreneurship

Startups are changing Japan, and Japan is once again starting to innovate. Disrupting Japan explores what it's like to be an innovator in a culture that prizes conformity and introduces you to startups that will be household brands in a few years.

    DJ Selects: Why Your Startup Accelerator is Going to Disappear

    DJ Selects: Why Your Startup Accelerator is Going to Disappear

    Almost all startup accelerators are going bankrupt and going away.



    Hiro Maeda, the founder of two of Japan's most successful, and most different startup incubators explains both the brief past and precarious future of startup incubators and accelerators. We talk not only about the mechanics and challenges of what it takes to make an incubator successful, but Hiro has some practical advice on when founders should consider joining an accelerator and how they can avoid the 99% of them that provide no real value.



    Hiro also explains why so many Japanese VCs today find investing in South East Asia more attractive than Japan, the forces behind Japan's startup boom, and what the next ten years holds for Japanese startups.

    • 36 min
    One important lesson startups will forget after the panic

    One important lesson startups will forget after the panic

    Innovation drives society forward, but everyday competence keeps it on the road.



    Over the past five years, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about the importance of disruptive innovation, but today I’d like to talk about the framework that allows disruptive innovation to be a net positive to society.



    The coronavirus pandemic has some people looking for innovation and others for stability. However, examining how Japan and the rest of the world are getting though it shows us something very important about innovation. Something that is almost always overlooked.

    • 18 min
    Why boring startups are actually the most interesting

    Why boring startups are actually the most interesting

    Some of the most important startups are ones you never hear about. 



    Some industries are so complex and arcane that its hard for people on the outside to understand the problems that startups are solving or the long-term gain of solving them. 



    Freight forwarding is one of those industries. 



    Today we talk with Taka Sato of Shippio, a startup trying to change the way freight forwarding works in Japan.  We talk about the challenges involved in trying to disrupt a low-tech, low-margin industry and also the potential rewards if Shippio succeeds. 



    We also cover some of the bight spots in Japanese entrepreneurship and talk about how one large company, in particular, has had to change their hiring practices to respond to the fact that so many of their best young employees are leaving to found startups. 



    It's a great discussion, and I think you will really enjoy it.

    • 36 min
    DJ Selects: How this Musical Shoe is Helping Hospitals

    DJ Selects: How this Musical Shoe is Helping Hospitals

    Most great startup ideas don’t grab your attention right away. It takes a while before the founder’s vision becomes obvious to the rest of us. On the other hand, the startups that immediately grab all the press attention often go out of business shortly after shipping their first product. Reality never seems to live up the to promise.



    And then there are products like Orphe. This LED-emblazoned, WiFi-connected, social-network enabled dancing shoe seems made for fluffy, flashy Facebook sharing, but only when you really dig into it, do you understand what it really is and the potential it has in the marketplace.



    Today we sit down with Yuya Kikukawa, founder of No New Folk Studio and the creator of the Orphe, and we talk about music, hardware financing, and why this amazing little shoe is finding early adopters in places from game designers to hospitals.



    It’s a great conversation, and I think you’ll really enjoy it.

    • 39 min
    Why Japan’s #KuToo is Not Really About Shoes

    Why Japan’s #KuToo is Not Really About Shoes

    Today I am going to correct two big mistakes; one of my own and one of society's.



    I lot of listeners emailed me about the comments I made regarding how Japanese companies treat their employees and customers while they are pregnant. I got it wrong, so I would like to set the record straight.



    I also explain what I see as the obvious answer to the current #KuToo controversy. I realize that this puts me at serious risk of having to publish another retraction, but I think it's an important way of looking at this problem.



    Please enjoy, and let me know what you think.

    • 20 min
    Big News for Disrupting Japan! – Japan Startup News

    Big News for Disrupting Japan! – Japan Startup News

    There is big news for Tim and for Disrupting Japan this week.



    It's a very short episode, and I have no special links or show notes this time around. Please give the show a listen for the big reveal, and please accept my sincere thanks for all your support over the years. 



    Disrupting Japan is just getting started. The best is yet to come.

    • 7 min

Top Podcasts In Entrepreneurship

Listeners Also Subscribed To