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Akio Morita Articles
The Man Who Made Sony: The Early Years of Akio Morita
He turned what was once a small bombed-out department store in Tokyo into the world’s most successful consumer electronics company. Not only that but Akio Morita, co-founder of the Sony Corporation, was also one of the few entrepreneurs that helped Japan’s economy recover in the aftermath of World War II. Today, more than half a century after the company’s initial inception, and with Morita at the helm until his only recent departure, Sony remains one of the world’s largest media conglomerates, with over 158,000 employees worldwide and revenues in excess of $63 billion.
Mr. Electronics: Morita Brings Sony to Life
World War II may have ended, but for many countries, the years following proved to be the even more difficult ones. Japan was one of those countries. Almost every single large city in Japan had been damaged, along with their industries and transportation networks. Food shortages were rampant, not to mention the fact that nearly 3 million able bodied workers had been killed during the war. In short, Japan was devastated and, if it was going to recover, it would have to start rebuilding from scratch.
Lesson #1: Take Your Market Research to the Streets
Morita might have been the Chairman of Sony Corporation, but that did not mean he stayed cooped up in his office all day long, removed from the daily action. He enjoyed tinkering with electronics as a child, and nothing had changed in the years since. Morita took a constant and keen interest in the research and development branch of his company. In fact, in the early years, there was one product that particularly caught Morita’s attention.
Lesson #2: Give Your Marketing a Mass Appeal
“Advertising and promotion alone will not sustain a bad product or a product that is not right for the times,” Morita once said. That, however, did not stop Morita from creating successful marketing campaigns that would help transform Sony from a local Japanese shop into a multinational corporate giant.
Lesson #3: Management Means To Inspire Creativity
“From a management standpoint, it is very important to know how to unleash people's inborn creativity,” said Morita. “My concept is that anybody has creative ability, but very few people know how to use it.” Morita created one of the world’s largest multinational corporations but he did not do it alone. Indeed, over his fifty-year career, Morita became one of the most outspoken businessmen for sound management principles, of which his were largely based on Japanese traditions.
Lesson #4: Challenge Conventions and Break the Mould
In 1989, along with the outspoken Japanese politician Ishihara Shintaro, Morita co-authored a book about Japan’s economic rise called, “The Japan That Can Say No.” In it, Morita criticized American business for what he saw as the “hollowing out” of the country’s economy. Specifically, he thought their focus on mergers and acquisitions, and relocating operations overseas, was taking away from the creation of real manufacturing power.
Lesson #5: Create the Market Where There Is None
In 1950, the Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation had a problem on their hands. Morita and Ibuka had finally conceived and designed Japan’s first tape recorder by grinding up magnets and sticking the powder to strips of paper that they had covered with rice paste. The product worked, and they believed it had great potential, but as of yet, there was no demand.
Made in Japan: How Morita Became an International Success
“There is no secret ingredient or hidden formula responsible for the success of the best Japanese companies,” said Morita. “We all learn by imitating, as children, as students, as novices in the world of business. And then we grow up and learn to blend our innate abilities with the rules or principles we have learned.”
Akio Morita Quotes
Akio Morita Quotes
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By: Evan Carmichael
By: Evan Carmichael
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