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Date of publication: Oct 1, 2018

Juan Felipe Botero

Founder
WineBox
http://www.winebox.jp

Date of birth: Nov. 19, 1981

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 5 (as of October 2018)

Juan Felipe Botero
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

My first encounter with Japan was on a vacation to Tokyo and Kyoto in 2007. I flew in from Beijing where I was working at an international law firm. I still remember being astonished by the sophisticated atmosphere of respect.

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

To try is to celebrate our human condition. History and others’ experiences are of course helpful in assessing the risks of a potential endeavor. Yet, the process of trying, and many times failing, is rich in learning and benefits from the full power of creativity — a distinctively human resource — which in my opinion, presents the most significant challenge to artificial intelligence.

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

Making the WineBox team a reality. After switching from a law firm to a corporate environment in 2013, the importance of motivated teamwork as an essential driver of any enterprise became starkly clear (naturally, not without numerous disputes, likely resulting from the vain assumption that problem-solving was a one-way avenue). At our young start-up, we face challenges with the confidence generated by a common motivation to pursue our #OfflineEntertainment mission.

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

To channel the power of an enterprise (WineBox, or one yet to be born) for the construction and support of a more gender-equal society. In my experience, which includes fathering a daughter, I have yet to find reasons to accept social or policy practices that deprive women of a level playing field. A genuine commitment to action and improvement is essential to solving the demographic challenges that lie ahead for Japan.

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

I would encourage people living in Japan to enjoy its very unique approach to aesthetics as can be experienced, for instance, in their design or culinary traditions. This, while patiently observing and interacting with a society founded on and bound by respect for the other, which of course includes nature. 
For those working here, my advice would be not to underestimate the local nuances of human exchanges. Forms and tradition still play an important role in Japanese work ethics, and an approach to business that prioritizes directness has to be judiciously calibrated. That said, as I read about the fate of certain local companies (or compare them with the likes of Google, Apple or Amazon), I also understand why some say that current workplace dynamics stifle the speed and flexibility required to build a competitive future. 
What if we encourage a slightly more vertical approach to time management in the pursuit of results?  Perhaps less chronos (linear time) and more kairos (opportune moment) ?

Last updated: Oct 1, 2018