I come from a family where no one had gone to college or university, not even our extended family. I was determined to pursue higher education, and once I narrowed down what I wanted, I spent years preparing myself for the process.
When it came time for the application results, Harvard was only one of the eight MBA schools I applied to that accepted me. The advice of several Harvard and other business school graduates helped shape my application process. This later proved to be a strong factor in contributing towards the message of my essay. Following my acceptance, I tried to return the favor by advising other applicants, many of whom would ask me to share my essay with them.
During my experience at Harvard, I was mentored for 3 months by Mick Mountz, the founder of the $750 million Kiba System that Amazon uses today to automate its warehouses. I also had an opportunity to meet with Ms. Namba, the founder of DeNA (a listed company in Japan with $4b market cap) and serial entrepreneur Ghosh Shikhar, who would later become an instrumental advisor for Nature. To me, there is no doubt that Harvard’s reputation for creating connections with people was in full display during my time there.
6 years after outlining my dreams in the essay, it is slowly becoming a reality. It’s been five years since I’ve founded Nature, and although there’s still a long way to go, I finally feel that my dreams are taking shape.
I am sharing my essay here in hopes of pushing myself to stay focused on the original goal and inspiring as many other people to overcome their limitations and strive towards achieving their ambitions in life.
My aspiration to found, launch, and run an innovative clean energy start-up has been formed by several of my experiences in life, starting as a young teenager.
When I was thirteen years old, I found an old computer running BASIC, a primitive computer language, at my grandfather’s house and I convinced my parents to bring it home. It took me two months but I managed to create a program for Space Invaders. For a kid who liked writing and drawing, programming was like a tool to build a new world. This experience changed my perception of the world, made me take nothing for granted, and nurtured my habit to think logically and creatively.
Around the same time, my father launched his own company and created Circuit Beat, one of the first 3D racing games for PlayStation. When he was developing the game, he let me play the game for further improvements. Contributing to a real business development was inspiring. One day, I heard him shouting in our bathroom, “Ready Go!”, which I found in his game a week later. I loved seeing my father so motivated for his business, even working while in the bathroom. At that point, I decided to start my own business in the future.
Several years later, my father told me that he had been offered the opportunity to build a 3D racing game using a license for the Japan GT Championship, but he rejected the offer since he wanted to launch “his product” from “his own company”. I felt that he succeeded as an engineer and would have had more success in business if he had acquired strong business skills and network. So I pursued a strong technical foundation academically and then shifted to business development, aiming to launch my company someday.
After I graduated from the Royal Institute of Technology, I took a three month, thousand mile sailing trip with my father on his boat. One night, seeing my father’s tired face, I suggested he get some sleep in the cabin. Alone on deck with the sound of the waves and surrounded by the beautiful phenomena of nature, I felt the wind blow, and, a couple of seconds later, the boat moved as if it replied to the wind. I experienced the perfect harmony of nature with something man had created. Snoring from the cabin broke the uplifting feeling, but this moment showed me that human beings are created to exist with nature on a genetic level and ignited my desire to bring nature into greater harmony with society.
To build a strong business foundation, I joined the IT business unit in Mitsui, hoping to bring Japanese ubiquitous technology overseas by leveraging my technical background. After I joined, I realized that Mitsui has been rapidly expanding its power business, and also exploring clean energy business. Clean energy development offered the chance to fully utilize my technical
background and best satisfies my personal interest to bring human society into harmony with nature. Therefore I initiated a transfer to the power business unit.
In the power business unit, I had opportunities to visit several thermal power plant sites. Whenever I visit them, especially coal ones, I look at the scene and feel that something is wrong. The construction of the power plant comes with the destruction of nature and sometimes results in horrible accidents. This feeling grew even more when I took a small Cessna to visit a coal mine at rough frontier in Indonesia. The scale of mine was unbelievably enormous and coal miners were riding monster machines. Why are we destroying our precious nature and struggling to tame such monsters, which sometimes even endanger human life? Aren’t there any ways to better live with nature and avoid such accidents? I strongly believe that there is a way — distributed, smaller scale clean energy. My desire to expand clean energy transformed into an absolute commitment.
However, the harder I worked and the more recognition I received, the further I was kept from clean energy business because clean energy is not yet a core business in Mitsui. A number of my attempts to promote clean energy business ended in vain because I was told that I had become a critical part of the team developing thermal power projects. However, the attempts allowed me to grasp the challenges that the industry was facing and to realize that the innovation to change the perception of power supply is required for clean energy to become a stand-alone business, which I have begun to doubt can be initiated by a traditional, large organization like Mitsui. So, I decided that I will leave Mitsui to prepare to initiate the breakthrough from my own company.
Nature is the name of the company I will establish to bring innovation in the clean energy business. Once Nature expands and hits a stable upward track, I will embark on a sailing trip all around the world re-living the memorable sailing trip with my father and personally propagate an energy efficient lifestyle, where people adjust to, not destroy nature.