Sometimes I am asked, “What do you think is the most difficult thing to do as a CEO?”
The answer may be raising money, selling products, or encouraging employees. It depends on who you ask.
Having managed a company for nearly 10 years and have started several businesses in the past, I can tell you that the most difficult thing to do as a CEO is this.
To keep your interest.
When I talk with fellow entrepreneurs around me, many of them say that this is the biggest problem they face.
There are quite a few cases where a startup is acquired by a big company because the founder is no more interested in his/her business, which leads to a sale of the startup.
Of course, this is not how the media writes.
They write, “Startup XX, only XX years old, acquired by big company XX for XX million,” and people say, “Wow!”
If you are employed by a company, you can change jobs when you lose or change your interest.
Entrepreneurs, CEOs, and founders cannot do that.
Think about it.
Is there anything in your daily life that you have been doing for more than 10 years?
Even in the case of sports and hobbies, it is probably difficult to find something that you have been doing for more than 10 years.
And when it comes to running a company, you are expected to continue with the same topic for 20, 30, or 40 years.
(In that sense, there is much to learn from Kyoto, where there are many 100-year-old companies, and from the senior CEOs who have led such companies. Mr. Iwata of Nintendo is one of them.)
When I decided to found HACARUS, I considered business themes in various fields, and one of the factors in deciding on a theme was whether or not I would be able to maintain my interest for a long time.
I am a novice in the life science and medical fields.
But when I ask myself what I want to accomplish with the rest of my life, I always come back to this area.
How can we use technology to make people healthier?
Alan Kay famously said, “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.” Now I’ve changed my mindset to pursue other business areas in order to continue with life sciences business.
It is an undeniable fact that for HACARUS, life science is the biggest point of interest for me as the founder, and this is the reason I have been able to continue running the company for almost 10 years without getting tired of it.
Unfortunately, in order to concentrate on my business, I have recently had to decline many requests to give lectures at universities, but if I were to dare to give one advice to students, it would be this.
Start a business on a theme that keeps you interested.
And one more thing.
Watch Undercover Billionaire on the Discovery Channel.