Naoki Yamada is the CEO and founder of Conyac. An entrepreneur by heart, Naoki has always had a heart for the technology side of things. Conyac was result of combing both of his passions. He realized his dream with the technical skillset he built over the years. He gained a Bachelor of Science from California State University. After graduating, Naoki worked for NTT, a Japanese telecommunications company as a technical engineer. In 2009, Naoki decided to take the full shift into entrepreneurship when he established anydooR Inc, with his ex co-workers and soon after he started Conyac. Naoki joins us today to briefly tell us what Conyac is all about and his entrepreneurial experience.
What is Conyac?
Conyac is basically so-called crowdsourcing translation service. We gather translators globally and if someone needs translation, those translators provides translation for you with small amount of money.
How did the idea for Conyac come about?
As my ex-coworkers asked me for translations for their emails and such, I thought we can have a business with it.
Could you walk us through the process of starting up Conyac.
We won a contest for start up to get $ 30,000 investment. We started our company with that money.
How have you been developing Conyac since startup?
My cofounders are great programmers and designers. They worked hard to develop this.
Did you find anything particularly difficult during the startup?
As we couldn’t use that starting money for our salary, we needed to work as a part-time for the other companies as well. We didn’t have that much time for Conyac for the first year.
What is one strategy that you believe has helped grow your business?
Well, we changed our target segment from BtoC to BtoB after analysing our users.
How do you find the industry that you are in?
We came up with the idea first and there were a big market. Translation market is kind of old economy. There was a big barrier to start up a new business with old economy.
Have you developed any industry insights that you could share?
I’m not really have something to share, but the industry is growing really fast with globalisation.
What is your approach to human resource?
I hired people whom my team members know or someone who used to use Conyac.
If you could start all over again, would you change anything about your approach?
I don’t want to start this over again, but if I need to mention one thing, I would hire more people earlier.
What do you think about startups in Asia?
Getting good. Many companies got investment with big amount of money these days and growing number of successful people are there to help you.
What is one market trend that really excites you?
Gadget market excites me the most. For instance, there are several startups doing like Google glasses or Square in Japan.
What is one habit that makes you a more productive entrepreneur?
I run 3.1 miles everyday after I read an article that Juck Dorsey (twitter) runs 3 miles everyday. Well you should sleep well to be more productive and sharpen your body everyday.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
That is just one of a choice when you choose a job.
What do you think are the most important things entrepreneurs should keep in mind?
You have to win if you start your business and never give up. It is like a boxer.
In your opinion, what are the keys to entrepreneurial success?
I’m not sure it yet, but I think believing in your product/business is the most important thing.
Any parting words of wisdom for entrepreneurs out there?
Love the moment. Enjoy your once in a life time moment.
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