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Michael Dykes

Representative Director
Expedia Holdings K.K.
Senior Director, Market Management
Lodging Partner Services, Japan & Micronesia

Date of birth: Nov. 9, 1974

Hometown: Okinawa

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 24 (as of May 2018)

Michael Dykes
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

I was born in Okinawa, but my family moved to Indiana when I was 7. So my first memories of Japan are of beautiful, white beaches and the fusion of Japanese, Okinawan and U.S. culture that is unique to Okinawa. I remember plaintive strains of the sanshin (Okinawan shamisen) coming from our neighbor’s house, rambling through tropical thickets with my siblings, and the very occasional treat of A&W hamburgers.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
More recently, Barack Obama said, “We are the change that we seek.”
We all know that the pace of change is increasing over time. My belief is that we change ourselves — our thinking, our skills and our experiences — in order to have the strength to drive change as an active participant rather than as a passive victim.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

I have always felt the most passion and pride when we leveraged the power of information technology to contribute to positive change for Japan. At my previous company, Microsoft, we helped countless small and medium businesses in improving productivity with IT. At Expedia Group, we are helping our lodging partners and Japan to build a whole new business based on expansion of inbound travel, while revitalizing the domestic travel market.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

My business goal is fully aligned with the government strategy to make Japan one of the leading tourist destinations globally. To do that, though, we need to develop our employees. We have many young, passionate employees at Expedia Group, including new college graduates, and I am passionate about ensuring that they develop into the next generation of leadership for the company.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Assuming that we are talking about foreigners working in Japan, you have to “commit” to Japan, regardless of whether your time in Japan is long or short. I always felt that as bridges between the Japan and the world, we have a unique opportunity to advocate for and represent Japanese customers and partners to the world. Similarly, we are uniquely placed to challenge our Japanese customers and partners when domestic practice reduces Japanese global competitiveness. It is the balance of these two things that leads to success. Skewing too much one way or the other earns you either the enmity of your customers and partners in Japan, or you lose credibility with global leaders.

Last updated: Sep 7, 2018