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Robert Schuman

Zehitomo Inc.

Date of birth: Dec. 26, 1981

Hometown: Londonderry, New Hampshire

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 4 (as of February 2019)

Robert Schuman
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

Although the first time I set foot in Japan was after college graduation, my first encounter was much earlier as a curious middle school student. I loved learning about electronics and would take apart appliances around my family’s home to see how they worked. I remember being impressed by the quality of anything labeled “Made in Japan” and how unimpressed my mother was when I took apart our VCR.

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

“Chance favors only the prepared mind” by Louis Pasteur. There have been numerous times in my life where hard work — and the support of good people — have provided unexpected and exciting opportunities, including my career shift from California to Tokyo.

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

I am proudest of the teams and work environments that I have helped build and scale over the last decade for many startup companies. Creating work environments that employees are excited to engage in each day, and witnessing the innovative products produced by these ecosystems, is truly satisfying.

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

My current mission is to make Zehitomo Japan’s next successful startup scale story. Each day, I strive to help our teams make better decisions, communicate more effectively and use strong data-driven and lean UX strategies to help us validate our work efforts. And at a more macro level, I would like to help spread these strategies to the growing Tokyo startup community as well.

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

Japan very much feels like a “country of introductions,” and thus your work life will thrive in Japan by joining and supporting a good network of positive people. Meetups and startup events focused on your industry are often a great way to start building this network.
In my case, I have been able to connect with strong influencers in my industry and recruit talented international and domestic engineering talent, all thanks to people I have met from various events and through personal introductions. Some of these connections have turned into good friendships as well.

Last updated: Feb 4, 2019