Yoshito Hori speaks about leadership lessons with enthusiasm in a suit and tie

I got up this morning and checked my email and blogs: YES! PROJECT, “Views of an Entrepreneur,” and YES@GREE. My kids were going wild all around me. If we were in our Karuizawa lodge, they would be rushing straight outside thinking only of riding their bikes, playing soccer or catch to their heart’s content. But this isn’t possible in Tokyo, where riding bikes is dangerous and ball playing isn’t allowed in the parks. Besides, it’s just too hot. So, they started to beg me to take them somewhere.

I was trying to work on my computer under the steady barrage of their voices, but I ultimately gave in to them. You can’t beat four kids when they really want something. We hadn’t been in the city for long, so I took them to a toy store at Takashimaya Department Store, where they played with toys on the sales floor until they’d worn themselves out. Then we went for a Kamameshi lunch before returning to Nibancho.

Back at home, I checked my email again, got changed for the summer party, and headed out on my own to Hillside Terrace in Daikanyama. Ms. Etsuko Okajima, the president of GLOBIS Management Bank, and Mr. Akihisa Mino were holding a “partners’ reception” at 5 pm. Their relationship has come to this milestone despite an age difference of 16 years—the bride is the older of the two—but they are a great match.

The invitation had explained why the ceremony was called a “partner’s reception.” It read, “Akihisa Mino and Etsuko Okajima publicly announce their intention to take an oath of commitment to each other as life-long partners.”

The reception certainly was unique. First, the two of them used a PowerPoint presentation to introduce themselves and their vision of marriage. It was just what you would expect from Etsuko, a former McKinsey consultant.

During the reception, a video was shown of the White Band Campaign featuring soccer player Hidetoshi Nakata and swimmer Kosuke Kitajima. The bride and groom called out together, “Let’s declare an end to hunger in Africa.” The bride, wearing a white wedding gown, had a white band on her wrist instead of a bracelet. Everyone attending the ceremony received a similar white band as a gift. The popularity of these bands makes them difficult to get. I immediately put it on my left wrist.

On returning home, I changed into shorts and a polo shirt, since we were going back to the mountains that evening. We left Tokyo at about 9 and didn’t get to the mountains till after 11. I carried the sleeping children up to their beds—it took four trips—and I could really feel the difference in weight between the two-year-old and the eight-year-old. Once everyone was in, my wife and I enjoyed a glass of wine, with the sound of the crickets chirping outside and the soft patter of the rain.

I started wondering about how the YES! PROJECT was going, so I switched on my computer, checked all of posts, and added some comments. Here are some of the comments:

“Views of an Entrepreneur” Comments and Replies

I know you are hesitating about being the chief founder, but you are not pushing anyone out of the way. This is about clarifying responsibility, and I think you should be more confident in what you are doing. 
Poster: Sugiyama

I read the Nikkei article. I think the reason for starting the project, which Mr. Sato of dot-jp talked about in the article, was essentially something you should have explained. For those who know the chief founder of this project, this article must have felt a little odd.
I’m a newspaper reporter myself. I thought they could have written, “The founders of the project are 157 managers from venture companies, convened by Yoshito Hori of the GLOBIS Group.” Having said that, it is hard to cover organizations without having the chief founder right up front. I guess the only reason why Mr. Uno and Mr. Fujita were mentioned was because they are relatively well-known.
Please make yourself known as the chief founder.
Poster: Ko

Mr. Ko, Mr. Sugiyama. Thank you very much for your comments. Mr. Sato and I built this project together, so I don’t think there was any problem with what he said. However, quite a few people have said that the current situation makes things a little unclear, so starting August 26, I will clearly assume responsibility as the chief founder of YES and take more of an upfront role. We appreciate your continuing support.
Yoshito Hori

YES@GREE Comments and Replies

The YES! PROJECT is really starting to heat up. As one of the founders, I am really glad about this. I have worked up the courage to post something on an Internet blog, too. I say, “courage,” since it’s difficult to know who is participating on the internet, unlike GREE, where you pretty much know who is posting. (In fact, it’s impossible to know, although the founders disclose their full names and their company names.)
The founders were to some extent prepared for slander or criticism for appearing to take the side of a particular party. Contrary to my expectations, there are lots of warm comments, and I am very happy about this.
Now, as for the blogs of the founders, I think it would be great to at least have those founders who are members of GREE also post blogs here. Any opinions are really welcome, but knowing a little about those who are expressing their thoughts would draw out the true power of SNS.

Poster: Ritsuko

This is YES chief founder Yoshito Hori. I also get the feeling that, in contrast with internet blogs, good discussions take place on GREE, where you must basically use your real name and so everyone’s position is clear. Yet, I think it’s better to keep GREE discussions and blog postings separate from each other. Of course, I suppose anyone can post on both. “Speak up more” is one of the three things that YES is advocating, so by all means, say what you’re thinking.
I think criticism is healthy, in a way. When you are calling for reform, you are always going to encounter resistance. When we receive this sort of criticism, we can actually feel like we are advancing reform.
Let’s not worry about or fear criticism and continue saying what we believe is right. Isn’t this exactly how entrepreneurs live?

Yoshito Hori

I am so glad to be participating in the YES! PROJECT. I might be jumping the gun a bit, but I’m going to say whatever comes into my head, just so you know.
How exactly is the project going to be run after the elections on September 11? The project is already gaining ground in the cities, but unfortunately it appears that it is not very well known in rural areas. For your information, I am from Gifu, an area where Ms. Noda will probably wield a lot of influence in the upcoming elections. Obviously, I don’t think the project is limited to these elections, but I do have a suggestion: why not designate a promotion committee chairman in each county as a means for developing influence for the project in the rural areas? Even if that’s not possible for the coming election, I would like to see this project developed to the point that Ms. Noda would take notice.

Poster: Koshi

Thank you for your suggestion. Frankly, I hadn’t thought beyond the September 11 elections. However, we already have the support of the Democratic Party and the LDP, and our reputation is steadily growing, so it would be a real waste if it all ended on September 11.
Gaining ground in rural areas is a good idea. We would have considerable influence if we could bring together people in their 20s to mid-40s. If we build enough momentum to advance the reform, this action would be in line with the founding principles behind the YES! PROJECT.
Let’s take this opportunity to make sure we ask people about their visions and ideas. To everyone involved in GREE: Do you have any suggestions regarding how the YES! PROJECT should be handled after September 11?
Yoshito Hori

Blog Comments and Responses

I want to suggest the following for further improving the YES! PROJECT.
– When using SNS, also utilize mixi
– Starting up and making use of an email magazine
– Cooperation with a blog service
– Effective utilization of cell phones

Poster: Richstyles

Thanks for your suggestions. I am going to start considering the following:
– Adding in mixi. Everybody, please express your opinions to people on mixi to encourage them to join the YES! PROJECT.
– Improve blog usability. I have already made this request to dot-jp. Mr. Baron, your guidance on this one too, please.
– I would like to think about how to utilize mobile phones and email magazines depending on what we do about YES after September 11.
If you have any opinions about post-September 11 development, please let me know.

Yoshito Hori

YES is an abbreviation for “Young Entrepreneur Society” (I think Young Entrepreneurs’ Society is the correct name….)
Maybe I’m being too suspicious, but isn’t it true that the original inspiration for this came from YEO (Young Entrepreneurs’ Organization)? YEO is a global network of entrepreneurs under 40 who have set up companies with annual turnover exceeding $1 million. Hmmm..it’s a club for the rich. 

Poster: Kitsune-no-sumika

As you say, YEO members are also core members of YES. It is not possible to carry out political activities at YEO, and we wanted to appeal to a wider range of people outside YEO, so we created a separate organization.
YEO members are all entrepreneurs who created businesses from scratch. They may seem a little flamboyant at times, but basically they are all people who are seriously dedicated to new creation every day.
I would be grateful if you could bear this point in mind.

Yoshito Hori

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