- Co-founder & CEO
- Zehitomo Inc.
Date of birth: Aug. 15, 1986
Hometown: New York City
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 11 (as of February 2019)
I first came for a summer internship, fell in love, and had reverse culture shock going back to the U.S. I then found an opportunity to come full time immediately after graduating from university in 2008 and I’ve been here ever since!
“Vision without execution is hallucination”
Many people talk about change and there are so many good ideas in the world, in Japan, at Zehitomo, but it means nothing if we can’t execute them. As with anything, I think you get out as much as you put in, and acting on something you believe in is an often hard, but invaluable opportunity.
We’ve surpassed many challenges at Zehitomo, but I’d say I’m proudest of my wife for supporting me in starting a company right as we were starting a family (two daughters now!). I hope in the future I can say I’m proud of how much we’ve supported the revitalization of Japan’s economy via freelance and local services economies, “womenomics,” the Japanese startup ecosystem and more, but honestly we’re just getting started!
Through my life and career I’ve enjoyed problem solving, and what we’re working on at Zehitomo is the biggest challenge I can find. Our goal is to make a more productive and efficient Japan by bringing one of the last consumer sectors online, and in the process solve a myriad of socioeconomic issues in Japan.
As a foreigner who speaks Japanese, Japan has arguably the best quality of life in the world. The best food, service, transportation and more. That said, my advice is to treat people respectfully. If doing business here, make the time to understand the culture and who you’re working with. Japan can be slow to adopt change, so really understand if your proposal will be better for society as a whole. If so, there is a lot to improve in Japan, and the startup scene is just getting started here — it’s never been a better time to join!