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

CAGE Distance Framework

Want to expand overseas? The CAGE distance framework can help ensure you're constructing a solid global strategy in four areas: cultural, administrative, economic, and geographic. Learn how to leverage useful differences between countries, identify potential obstacles, and achieve global business success.


Groupthink refers to group pressure and the perception of consensus which together lead to ill-formed decisions—or even unnecessary risks. Learn to identify the warning signs of groupthink and apply countermeasures in this online course.

Deductive and Inductive Reasoning

Solving problems with the best results means using two types of thinking: deductive and inductive reasoning. In this online course, learn to form a broad premise, make observations, and form conclusions from different perspectives.

Critical Thinking: Hypothesis-Driven Thinking

Anyone can come up with a good idea. The real challenge is putting that idea into action. In this online course, explore how to form compelling, testable hypotheses and bring ideas to life in your own organization.

Critical Thinking: Structured Reasoning

Even a few simple techniques for logical decision making and persuasion can vastly improve your skills as a leader. Explore how critical thinking can help you evaluate complex business problems, reduce bias, and devise effective solutions.

Critical Thinking: Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is a central business skill, and yet it's the one many people struggle with most. This course will show you how to apply critical thinking techniques to common business examples, avoid misunderstandings, and get at the root of any problem.

How to Dream

Join globally renowned author and Columbia Business School professor Dr. Sheena Iyengar as she explains how to approach your dreams with a new perspective. Learn to reflect on what you long to accomplish and what stands in your way.

Logical Thinking

Logical thinking is at the heart of confident, persuasive decisions. This course will equip you with a five-point approach to more becoming a more logical thinker. Learn to classify ideas and distinguish fact from opinion.

Investing & Diversity: The Changing Faces of Venture Capitalists

Is the venture capital industry embracing diversity in investors? Watch global venture capitalists from around the world discuss the state of things and what needs to be done for a more inclusive future.

Servant Leadership

There's more to leadership than driving a team to profit. In fact, there's a word for looking beyond self-interest to prioritize individual growth: servant leadership. Try this course for a quick breakdown of what that is, how it works, and how it can lead to organizational success.

Organizational Behavior and Leadership

Ever wonder what makes a great leader? Whether your role requires leadership or not, understanding organizational behavior is useful for your career. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can set you on your way.

Leadership vs. Management

Leadership and management are different skills, but today’s leaders must have both. Try out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to understand the difference, as well as when and why each skill is necessary for motivation, communication, and value.

Strategy: Creating Value Inside Your Company

Have you ever wondered why certain companies are more successful than others? The answer is strategy: internal processes that control costs, allocate resources, and create value. This course from GLOBIS Unlimited can give you the tools you need for that strategic edge.

Strategy: Understanding the External Environment

To plan strategy on any level, you need to understand your company's external environment. In fact, your level of understanding can impact hiring, budgeting, marketing, or nearly any other part of the business world. Want to learn how to do all that? This course from GLOBIS Unlimited is the perfect first step!

Using Japanese Values to Thrive in Global Business

Japanese companies have unique cultural, communication, and operational challenges. But they also have values that have led to remarkable longevity. Check out this seminar to hear how these values help earn trust from overseas head offices and develop employees.

Turnaround Leadership: The Differences Between Japan and the West

What's the best way for leaders to communicate a shift in corporate strategy? How do you even know when it's time for such a change? This course explains how Japan might have one answer, Western companies another.

Conflict Management

Conflicts in the workplace are inevitable. But they can lead to positive outcomes if they’re managed well. Check out this online course for a two-step process that can help you manage conflict successfully.

Evernote Founder: How Tech Startups Can Break through in Japan

Can startup models from Hollywood and Silicon Valley succeed anywhere? Phil Libin, cofounder and CEO of startup incubator All Turtles, explains how AI can solve everyday problems to bring products to market.

Women Empowerment: Lessons from Cartier

How can women overcome gender inequality and reach their leadership goals? Cartier Japan CEO June Miyachi shares her secret in this special course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Marketing: Reaching Your Target

Every company works hard to get its products into the hands of customers. Are you doing everything you can to compete? In this course, you’ll find a winning formula to turn a product idea into real sales. Follow along through the fundamentals of the marketing mix and see how companies successfully bring products to market.

Marketing Mix

Seeing good products into the hands of customers is no easy task. The marketing mix can help. It's a collection of strategies and tactics companies utilize to get customers to purchase their products or services, and is an essential part of the overall marketing process.

The Principles of Negotiation

With the proper skills and attitude, anyone can become a successful negotiator.  But first, you'll need to learn the basics to prepare for, assess, and respond to offers for the best results. GLOBIS Unlimited can help.

Negotiation: Creating Value

Want to create more shared value between yourself and your negotiation opponent? Discover how cognitive bias affects the judgment of others. Try this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to master the value of negotiation.

Finding Your Life Purpose with Ikigai

Ikigai can guide you in your quest for self-discovery. Listen to Japanese brain scientist Ken Mogi explain why and how.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Want to leverage Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a leader? Try this short course to see how the theory can be applied in practical work scenarios.

Confirmation Bias

We all subconsciously collect information that reinforces our preconceptions. It's natural . . . but it does lead to a kind of flawed decision-making called confirmation bias. To become more objective and impartial, check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

An Investor's Lesson to Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs have the power to transform societies for the better. But how do you attract investors to start or grow a business? Or to sell one? Check out this seminar for the answers to these and more, straight from a master venture capitalist!

Managerial Accounting

Managerial accounting is a powerful way to measure progress, identify problems, and meet your goals. Check out this course to learn how data-backed decisions can help you run your business.

Finance Basics: 1

For a healthy mix of quantitative planning, evaluation, and management, you need solid decision-making. And finance is the secret sauce! Get the essentials of finance in this two-part course from GLOBIS Unlimited.

Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis

Want to compare your performance vs. a competitor? Or evaluate a potential vendor? Then you'll need to conduct a financial analysis. This course will teach you how to use three financial statements and evaluate financial performance in terms of profitability, efficiency, soundness, growth, and overall strength.

Career Anchors

What drives you to be good at your job?

Career anchors are based on your values, desires, motivations, and abilities. They are the immovable parts of your professional self-image that guide you throughout your career journey.

Try this short GLOBIS Unlimited course to identify which of the eight career anchors is yours!

Digital Marketing Psychology to Transform Your Business

How does digital marketing really differ from traditional marketing? How is social media changing things really? And what's going on in Asia?

Pyramid Structure

Having the pyramid structure in your communication toolkit can not only help you approach a problem, but convince others that your solution is valid. Break away from linear thinking and test your logical thinking with this course from GLOBIS Unlimited!

Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi

The key ingredient to success? Passion.

Finding your kokorozashi will unify your passions and skills to create positive change in society. This GLOBIS Unlimited course will help you develop the values and lifelong goals you need to become a strong, passion-driven leader.

AI First Companies – Implementation and Impact

AI is changing the way companies operate. How do you structure teams to increase efficiency?

Technovate in the Era of Industry 4.0

Is Industry 4.0 is the next step of human evolution human civilization? Dr. Jorge Calvo seems to think so. Join him to learn how the past can help you set goals for an exciting future of digital innovation.

Technovate Thinking

Business leaders of tomorrow need to harness the power of technology and innovation. That means understanding algorithms and how they drive business results. Discover opportunities to make technology work for your competitive edge.

Product Life Cycle

Every product takes a natural course through the market—there's a how, when, and why customers adopt products at different stages. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited to find out how a product you use every day is part of this cycle.

Logic Tree

Logical thinking is the most valuable asset any business professional can have. That's why logic trees are such a valuable tool—they can help you identify a problem, break it down, and build it back up to a solution.

MECE Principle

Using the MECE principle can help ensure you categorize without gaps or overlaps. Check out this course from GLOBIS Unlimited for a practical demonstration of how it works!

“GLOBIS, Venture Capital, Japan!”
“GLOBIS, Venture Capital, Japan!”
“GLOBIS, Venture Capital, Japan!”

With this phrase shouted three times, I concluded my remarks to a raucous audience. I have given a speech every November.

I was in Hong Kong, attending the Asian Venture Capital Journal Private Equity & Venture Forum. With up to 800 participants, this is a major annual event at which members of private equity firms, venture capitalists, investors, lawyers, accountants, consultants, and others gather together from across Asia and around the world.

GLOBIS has sponsored the welcome reception of this conference for the last several years. Every year I am given the opportunity to say a few words at the reception, but participants are more absorbed with the beer, wine and food than the speeches, and basically ignore the speakers.

As a last resort to capture the audience’s attention, I came up with these phrases to say. My remarks are usually simple. “I am happy to see all of you, please enjoy the conference. Today, all the drinks are on GLOBIS, and have a good time. Finally, I have three words I’d like you all to remember.” After these introductory remarks, I shout out the phrases.

This has worked well every time, and energizes the venue. Recently, when I mentioned GLOBIS to some people I was meeting for the first time, they even responded with, “Venture Capital, Japan!” The fact that the GLOBIS name has gained this much recognition has made it worth sponsoring the event for several years.

Enough introduction; I’d like to get onto my main point. The mood was quite different than usual at this year’s event. I have participated in this conference every year for more than ten, since around the time of the Asian currency crisis, but I’ve never felt such seismic changes as I did this year.

The morning after the reception, David Bonderman, a founding partner of Texas Pacific Group (TPG), delivered the keynote address. TPG is a player in private equity and manages large-scale funds on the same scale as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), The Blackstone Group, and The Carlyle Group.

Mr. Bonderman was very pessimistic. “If I were you, I wouldn’t expect any returns for seven years. Since we now cannot get financing, it’s just not the right time for making deals, and this downturn is completely different from those in the past. There won’t be any V-shaped or U-shaped recoveries; only an L-shaped recession.”

Mr. Bonderman is notorious for being shabbily dressed, and wearing a wrinkled suit and a crooked tie with disheveled hair. When he showed up looking this way for his speech last year, it almost seemed as though he were saying he didn’t give a damn what he wore, and in fact he looked strong and proud. But this year, his casual appearance merely came across as shabby, and I felt it was almost sad.

Even the audience appeared to sympathize with him; no one asked any hard questions since it seemed he was already facing a tough enough time. Everyone was thinking about the 700 billion investment by a TPG-led Group this April to Washington Mutual, one of America’s leading financial services companies. As remarked by a participant in a panel discussion at Harvard Business School (HBS) last April, this was “the most foolish deal in the world of private equity.” Amid the swelling wave of the subprime meltdown, Washington Mutual soon went belly up, the investments were all lost, and the share value plunged to zero.

The environment surrounding private equity is clearly undergoing a dramatic change. Since bank loans are hard to come by, it is difficult to attract investments and highly likely that companies that have received investments will suffer slowdowns, causing losses to investors. In addition, because shares in these companies were purchased when prices were high, several private equity firms have already suffered losses based on current stock prices.

The only good thing is that there is no redemption. Bonderman’s TPG manages a hedge fund too, and he said that hedge funds have been even harder hit.

“The money invested in hedge funds has to be redeemed at the investor’s request. That’s why we have to sell the shares. On the other hand, private equity doesn’t require redemption at all. Since investor funds are locked in for ten years contractually, you can remain a partner for the contract period.”

Hedge funds, private equity and venture capital fall into a category known as alternative investments. From the perspective of institutional investors, investment options roughly fall into four categories: stocks, bonds, real estate, and alternative investments (these categories are referred to as asset classes; sometimes real estate is included under alternative investments). Venture capital accounts for a small part of alternative investments.

It is common to disperse various asset classes into America, Europe, Asia, South America, China, Africa and other parts of the world and to develop investment portfolios. For GLOBIS’ venture capital business, this means investors are asking two things:

(1) Is it worth investing in Japan?
(2) Should investors consider venture capital among the asset classes?

Recently many investors in Asia have stopped investing in Japan and have shifted to China and India. In addition, there has been a trend toward avoiding venture capital as an alternative investment. It is not easy to collect money around the world.

Let’s take a quick look at the venture capital business, in which operations can be divided into investment and fundraising. Investment involves discovering startup companies, making the investment, joining the management team, promoting business growth, listing the company, or selling the business. Raising funds means collecting cash from around the world to use for investment.

Most of those attracted to venture capital business want to participate in the investment operations of the venture business. Therefore, fundraising operations, such as marketing and IR, are not as popular.

My basic management approach is to do what others can’t do or don’t want to do, and so fundraising has become my primary job, and as a result, I travel around the world to raise money. As part of this, I have been promoting GLOBIS’ venture capital investments, as I mentioned at the beginning of this entry.

And now a movement has emerged that will cause seismic changes in the venture capital business.

This movement first appeared in Silicon Valley in the U.S. The reality is that after 1999, most venture capitals there had not even recovered their principal. Just as they were about to recover from the bursting of the tech bubble, they were clobbered by the subprime bubble collapse. Faced with a worsening slow down in consumption and corporate performance, fundraising at investee companies has been rapidly deteriorating. In addition, stock prices have cratered, and there have been no new listings in the past three quarters. The situation seems severe.

It is said that China and India, which have been hot up to now, are facing serious problems as well. Because of the continued stock price bubble, the share prices for investee companies were overvalued. Then, the economic downturn hit, so of course there can be little expectation for listings and selling. Many of the venture capital firms from the U.S. who had made inroads into China and India are projected to fail.

On the other hand, of course, Japan is not exempt from these influences. Japan’s situation, however, can be said to be better than those of other countries. The rest of the world must be surprised by the fact that new listings are still appearing in Japan. Japan’s venture capital returns are likely to remain better than those in other countries for several years to come.

Fortunately, GLOBIS’ venture capital investment returns are not bad, relatively speaking. Our first fund, the Globis Incubation Fund established 1996, has generated more than a sevenfold return for investors, and our second, the Apax Globis Japan Fund established 1999, has already recovered the amount invested. Listings of promising companies are waiting in the wings. In 1999, venture capital funds around the world collapsed, and the Nikkei average has lost half its value since then. Under these circumstances, I think GLOBIS is holding up well (of course, investors expect a higher return, so we should not be too satisfied).

I think the VC industry is entering an era of weeding out weaker firms. George Soros said at a public hearing, “I wouldn’t be surprised if hedge funds decreased to half, one-third, or a quarter of what they are now.” I won’t be surprised either if the scale of operational funds in the venture capital industry (including the private equity business, of course) declines by half.

A fifty-percent drop in the size of the industry is a major, seismic change. What we can do to prepare for this change is to strengthen our own foundations. Fortunately, there are many promising firms among the companies we have invested in. I would like to ride out this storm of seismic realignment by keeping a firm hand in the management of these companies.

My stay in Hong Kong was brief but significant. We held a board of advisors meeting, consisting of investor representatives, and had an opportunity to exchange opinions with them. I also moderated a panel discussion on venture capital and was able to grasp the global situation first hand.

I left for Japan still mulling over the words, “from now on, there will be an L-shaped recession,” and this very day, U.S stock prices fluctuated violently. In just one day, stock prices have shifted in the unbelievable range of nearly $900. What will happen to the world as a result of the changes arising from this volatility?

This weekend, the heads of major nations are scheduled to gather in Washington, D.C. for the G20 meeting. From now, a serious economic downturn will strike the world.

Individuals and companies who are steadily doing what they have to do will survive and prosper, just as in the fable, “The Ant and the Grasshopper.”

Yoshito Hori
November 17, 2008
At home

Connect with Insights

Trouble keeping up with all the insights? Subscribe to our newsletter for monthly career inspiration right in your inbox!
Your newsletter subscription with us is subject to the GLOBIS Privacy Policy.