Genki Shiota, founder of gaming company Akatsuki Inc., shares how to stay motivated and connected when working remotely, as well as some thoughts on the post-coronavirus transformation of the entertainment industry.
How do you stay positive about work during coronavirus?
COVID-19 is an inescapable fact, but how we respond to that fact is a matter of personal strength, I think. Life isn’t always happy and comfortable. Dealing with bad situations can be a way of expanding your potential or discovering important things about yourself. I think COVID-19 is sending a message to all of humanity.
Of course it’s important to figure out how to defeat it, to eliminate it. That’s natural. But we also need to look inside ourselves and ask, “How can I adapt to this new reality?” The way we experience something depends on how we interpret it. If we constantly worry about COVID-19, if we constantly focus on the negative, that’s a kind of choice. No one’s forcing us to obsess over it. Fear and unease are responses we can choose. But we can also choose to try and make the best of things. It’s important to remember that, in the end, there’s always a choice. You can apply your willpower to make choices. Even as we face coronavirus, knowing that you can change how something affects you is powerful.
How do you maintain work relationships remotely?
Working from home is efficient. There’s no commute, and online meetings are often short. This is because what used to take an hour can be done remotely in 30 minutes. Decisions can be made much faster. But rather than end the meeting, we should ask colleagues how they’re doing. Those bits of small talk that have nothing to do with work are important. We need to include them in online meetings just as much as in face-to-face ones. It’s easy to skip these little human interactions. But they’re even more important when you’re working remotely. We just have to be more conscious of each other, to interact online in ways that we take for granted in person. We have to train ourselves to use the time that we save for small talk and digressions, because it’s those human touches that keep people working together smoothly.
What is the future of the entertainment industry?
My goal is to make entertainment that lasts, that stays in people’s hearts. I think the true role of entertainment is to provoke a reaction and open something inside the viewer, to expresses something that they’ve always wanted. It’s about creating new possibilities for people.
I don’t think that’s going to change. But the focus might shift from providing snippets of entertainment that people consume during short breaks in their busy lives, to something more expressive. Because people have more time now. That’s how I’d like it to change, anyway.
And it’s not just a matter of consumers changing. The people making entertainment might change, too. Creators might realize that they need to do things in new ways or convey a different message. So it’s possible that we’ll see a lot of new entertainment as a result of the pandemic. It might even have more cultural value. A lot of entertainment is just fun and nothing more. But it can develop into something of lasting value. There are a lot of examples in Japan of artistic traditions that started out as light entertainment, but matured over 100 or 1,000 years into something of lasting cultural value.