Date: Thursday , February 12, 2015
Silicon Valley is an amazing place to be in as you can find yourself interacting with many smart people from almost any part of the world. Still today, it continues to make an enormous impact in the society and our day to day lives in an amazing way with new technologies and innovations. There is no single day when one or two articles appear highlighting the accomplishments of enterprising and risk-taking entrepreneurs.
The support system within the realm of an innovative ecosystem that exists here between angel investors, venture capital, risk-taking entrepreneurs, legal and advisory firms and determined and passionate entrepreneurs embarking on solving the next big problem is absolutely fascinating. This month\'s article brings to you a generous angel investor, advisor and highly successful executive who has helped many of these young entrepreneurs from his advice, connections to the global companies and global markets such as Japan. Tsuyoshi Taira, Founder and CEO of Tazan International, a Venture Capital and Management Consultancy Firm, has been involved as founding investor and director with a number of Silicon Valley startup companies including Silicon Storage Technology (SST), Pico Power Technology Inc. (acquired by Cirrus Logic), Junglee Corporation (acquired by Amazon.com), Armedia (acquired by Broadcom), Apptivity (acquired by Progress Software) and many others. Previously, he was Chairman of Sanyo Semiconductor and he also worked at Fairchild Semiconductor. He has published a number of books including "Audio Amplifier", "Transistor physics And application" as a Co-author and most recently a book on entrepreneurship, "My fellow engineer, let's challenge" from Nikkei BP. Based on my recent discussions with him, here are four key take away (4KTA) points that center on the concept around helping others while going through your entrepreneurial journey.
Helping Others - The most fulfilling and motivating aspect is deriving the enjoyment by helping young entrepreneurs to achieve great things from a mere concept and idea. Despite many successes and many failures, one key ingredient that I find in successful entrepreneurs is their sheer focus on helping and benefiting others including employees, customers and partners. Kazuo Inamori, Founder and Chairman of Kyocera Corporation, is an outstanding example of this. In 1959 he founded Kyocera to focus on ceramic materials that became largest supplier to semiconductor industry. His basic philosophy was focused around employee success. He ensured that as company grows, employees are happier and are able to make a decent living. Make others happy, fulfilled and appreciated. This has been the core foundation of his philosophy. These core principles, when applied by any entrepreneur, can harness and channel the vast pool of creative energy from their team members into successful products thereby creating a well-run and efficient organization. When Inamori came to Silicon Valley during its early days, he noticed that telecom cost was much cheaper here compared to Japan. He felt that there had to be a cheaper way for Japanese people to make calls to their friends and family. To realize that vision, in 1984, he founded KDDI Corporation, now Japan\'s second-largest telecommunication services provider. Due to his well-respected success, most recently, Japanese government asked him to help restructure Japan Airlines when it entered bankruptcy protection. His Buddhist belief and Confucius philosophy is a part of his life and for whatever he does, he first asks himself, \"Does it benefit others, not for me? And I will not do it just for my fame\". This mantra continues to guide his success.
Mindset - An entrepreneur must cultivate certain mindset such as anticipating failures, being inherently curious, being able to delegate and following instincts to grow, understand and lead their business. Entrepreneurs with this mindset are the ones who eventually succeed. In addition, they must be passionate and enthusiastic for contributing towards the society and industry to make people\'s lives better. For instance, when the founder of Pico Power came to me for investment and advice, he was amazingly enthusiastic and passionate about helping the PC industry by improving the issues of heat and power that Intel 486 chips were having at that time. With no further questions, I asked Sanyo Semiconductor to make an investment of $1.5 million dollars, which was unheard of in those days for a Japanese company to invest in a startup idea. The company went on to become successful with its products and was acquired by Cirrus Logic.
Teamwork - Teamwork and collaboration are terms often thrown casually into the optimistic mantras for small startups. This is another key ingredient that co-founders must have. When Junglee founders met me, they were still graduate students at Stanford. Their contagious enthusiasm, intense passion and determination to solve the search problem in an efficient way were obvious. Combined with the fun attitude towards each other and determination to contribute to industry inspired me and my friends to provide them with seed money despite us having zero software background. The team went on to create successful product and services. The company was eventually acquired by Amazon for over $187 million dollars. Teamwork was definitely the key to their success.
Persistence - The quality that allows someone to continue doing something even though it is perceived to be difficult by other people is another significant trait for an entrepreneur to achieve the ultimate success. For instance, Sazo Idemitsu, Founder of Idemitsu Kosan Ltd., Oil Company possessed such a trait. In his early days, he could not get money until one angel investor believed in him. However, he ran out of cash quite fast and was ready to give up. When he told his investor about the cash situation, this angel investor sold another house and gave him the money to keep him going with his plan and asked him to persist. Mr. Idemitsu asked his Angel investor, "If I lose again, what are you going to do?" The investor replied,"If that happens, then we both will become beggar together." This is the essence of a true angel investor. Finally, with a lot of hard work and a socially responsible philosophy towards his employees with no layoffs ever, Idemistu made the company successful. His mantra was to always help his employees and take care of them.
In summary, the four essential key take away points for entrepreneurs are helping others, having a mindset to contribute to society and industry, teamwork and persistence to achieve the final success.
The author is Co-Founder of AURISS TECHNOLOGIES INC. and a serial entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley, California. Learn more at www.4KTA.com and follow Naveen on twitter @Naveen_4KTA.