SVIF Seminar "Differences to Make a Successful Venture": 「成功できるベンチャーは何が違うのか」 [Report]

SVIF Seminar: Mitch Kitamura "Differences to Make Successful Venture"

Title タイトル: "Differences to Make a Successful Venture -- What to Do";
Speaker スピーカー: Mitch Kitamura; 北村充崇 (Managing Director, DraperNexus)
Date/Time 日時: May 13(F), 2016, 7:30-9:00pm; 5月13日(金)19:30~21:00
Venue 場所: Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, 650 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, CA
Website ウェブサイト:

Mr. Kitamura's Presentation at SVIF Seminar; SVIFセミナーでの北村充崇氏のプレゼン
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Based on his venture capitalist career for two decades, Mitch Kitamura (Managing Director of DraperNexus Ventures) made quite an impressive and informative presentation about recent trends in venture business in Silicon Valley at his SVIF seminar for mostly Japanese business audience in Northern California.
After identifying four target areas for current venture business, namely, big data-based insurance, autonomous vehicles, cyber security, and blockchain, he listed key factors which seem to differentiate successful ventures from unsuccessful ones -- (1) grit (or resolve), (2) persuasive story, and (3) fast growth.
On the other hand, the single most important reason for failure appears to be "no market lead", that is, no market demand for the new product developed by venture business, according to Mr. Kitamura.
However, there were quite a few questions about this statement from the audience, pointing out that at least some of the successful venture businesses made a success, exactly because there were no markets for their products until they produced and marketed -- so the question is how to resolve this dilemma for venture business.
Apparently no clear answer exists, but what Mr. Kitamura called the Silicon Valley Rules could give a good suggestion as to how to deal with this dilemma for future success in venture business: that is, (1) pay it forward: give and take, (2) do and build a thing, (3) open to feedback, and (4) be excited with what you do -- very good advice indeed.
(Reported by T. Miyao)

Stanford Seminar on” Immigration Policies”: スタンフォード・セミナー「移民政策について」 [Report]

Stanford OpenXChange Seminar: "Learning About Immigration Policies"

Title タイトル: "Learning Together About Immigration Policies & Experiences"
Panelists パネリスト :
Shanto Iyengar, Chair in Communication, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Political Communication Laboratory
Ana Minian, Assistant Professor, Department of History and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE)
Greg Walton, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
Date/Time 日時: May 12(Th) 15:30-17:00
Venue 場所: Branner Hall Lounge, Stanford
Website ウェブサイト:
Sponsored by 主催: OpenXChange, CCSRE, El Centro Y Chicano, Immigrants' Rights Law Clinic, Stanford Humanities Center, SIG, Stanford Law School

Panel at the Seminar in Branner Hall Lounge: セミナーでのパネリストのプレゼン
Report (English/Japanese):
At this interactive seminar, three panelists specializing in history and policy of immigration presented their views and analyses on the highly controversial issue, especially in the current presidential election year.
Reflecting their disciplines, their presentations and subsequent discussions tended to emphasize a close link between the immigration issue and racial problems within the context of US politics and policy choices, thus often resulting in rather short-term fluctuations in public interest and enthusiasm in this issue, as some panelist pointed out.
What is missing in this seminar as well as public discussion in the US seems to be the analysis and understanding of long-term cost and benefit of immigration, especially in economic terms, from the national and international viewpoint.
(Reported by T. Miyao)

Stanford Seminar on "Bitcoin and China": スタンフォード・セミナー「ビットコインと中国」 [Report]

Stanford Engineering Seminar: Bobby Lee "Bitcoin & China" (May 11, '16)

Title タイトル: "Bitcoin, China, and Startups"
Speaker スピーカー: Bobby Lee, Co-founder and CEO of BTCC
Date/Time 日時: May 11(W), 2016, 4:30-6:00pm
Venue 場所: NVIDIA Auditorium, Huang Engineering Center, Stanford
Website ウェブサイト:
DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series
Sponsored by 主催: Stanford Technology Venture Program, Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students

Huang Engineering Center; Bobby Lee's presentation ボビー・リーのプレゼン
"Physical version" of bitcoin, Seminar shown on monitor outside the auditorium
Report: (English/Japanese)
Mr. Bobby Lee with his BS and MS in Computer Science from Stanford is "co-founder and CEO of BTCC, the leading bitcoin financial platform and the longest-running bitcoin exchange worldwide," according to Stanford's event website.
His seminar at the Engineering Center Auditorium has revealed why he has been so successful in this highly controversial business in the tightly regulated country.
After explaining the basic concept and nature of bitcoin, including "bitcoin mining," which itself is an interesting process, he turned to why bitcoin is so popular in China and also how to make a good entrepreneur in China, rather than getting into technological details about bitcoin, such as "blockchain," which most of the audience was interested in.
Furthermore, in taking up the Chinese situation, he emphasized mostly positive aspects (saying "the Chinese like bitcoin because it represents the digital future" and "the Chinese government seems supportive of bitcoin") and minimized the widely believed negative aspects (saying "bitcoin is not so heavily used to evade capital controls in China").
So, this seminar turned out to be a kind of promotional pitch rather than an academic explanation about bitcoin and its acceptance in China.
In any case, he is a terrific salesperson, and it is now understandable why he has been so successful in China for so long.
(Reported by T. Miyao)

Opportunity Conference 2016@CUHK: 香港中文大学でのコンファレンス2016 [Report]

Opportunity Conference 2016@CUHK: 香港中文大学でのコンファレンス2016

Date/Time: April 23 (Sat), 2016, 1:30-7:00pm: 日時:4月23日(土)13:30-19:00
Place: Cheng Yu Tung Building, CUHK: 場所:香港中文大学Cheng Yu Tungビル
Organizer: Business School at CUHK: 主催:香港中文大学ビジネススクール
Theme: HK: Hub of Innovation in Asia: テーマ:香港;アジアのイノベーション・ハブ

Opening Remarks: 14:00 - 14:10
Prof. Jeff YEUNG, Director, MSc, Info & Tech Mgmt, and Dept of DSME, CUHK

Session I: Innovation in Asia: 14:10 - 16:00
[Left] Prof. Kin Chung HO (Open Univ. of HK) “Creating an Innovation Space in HK”, [Right] Prof. Takahiro MIYAO (Tsukuba Univ. & USC) “New Opportunities for IT Innovation and Entrepreneurship” - Right Photo from Facebook

[Left] Ms. Elaine ANN (Kaizor Innovation) “What Can Bruce Lee Teach Us About Innovation for HK”, [Right] Panel Discussion: Moderator, Prof. Walter MOK (CUHK & Stanford Univ.) -- Right Photo from Facebook

Session II: Keynote Address & TI Town Hall Meeting: 16:30-19:00
[Left] Ir Allen YEUNG (Gov. Chief Info Officer) “HK: Hub of IT Innovation in Asia”, [Right] Hon. Charles MOK, JP (HK, Legislative Councillor) “Creating a Bright Future for HK IT Industry”

Town Hall Discussion: Moderator, Prof. Walter MOK (CUHK & Stanford Univ.)

Conference Website:
Conference Facebook:

Hong Kong as Asia's innovation center a la Silicon Valley in the global economy -- that is what outsiders like me might as well expect of this economically vibrant city, which is often ranked number one in international competitiveness and IT infrastructure.
However, surprisingly, at least to me, almost all the speakers at this year's Opportunity Conference at CUHK addressed various problems and obstacles that young people in Hong Kong are facing in trying to start new business as entrepreneurs, much like what I hear about entrepreneurship, or lack of it, in Japan.
It looked like everyone in Hong Kong was doing "soul-searching" and asking what innovation should be of the people, by the people and for the people of Hong Kong, as surprisingly few new ideas and innovations are coming out of this technologically advanced city.
After all, it comes down to the obvious fact that it is not the existing technology or the current standard of living, but the "ecosystem" and "culture" of risk taking for active human interaction and open exchange of ideas to produce innovations and entrepreneurship, which tend to be lacking even among most advanced regions across East Asia, and Hong Kong is no exception.
Having said this, I strongly feel that many young people in Hong Kong seem to be taking a step forward to be true entrepreneurs through excellent entrepreneurship programs at HK's business schools like the one at CUHK. Hopefully, those small steps by individuals will eventually amount to a giant leap for Hong Kong to become a true innovation center in the global economy in the near future.
(Reported by Takahiro Miyao)
世界経済におけるシリコンバレーのような役割を果たすアジアのイノベーションセンター香港 --- これが私のようなアウトサイダーが持つ香港のイメージであり、それはしばしば国際競争力やITインフラのレベルで世界一にランクされる経済的に繁栄するこの都市に期待するものでもある。

Prof. Walter Mok's Class at CUHK in Hong Kong: 香港中文大学でのモク教授のクラス [Report]

Prof. Walter Mok's Class at CUHK in Hong Kong: 香港中文大学でのモク教授のクラス

Date/Time: April 20 (W), 2016, 6:45-9:45pm: 日時:4月20日(水)18:45-21:45
Place: Business School at CUHK: 場所:香港中文大学ビジネススクール
Lecturer: Prof. Walter Mok: 講師:ウォルター・モク教授
Class: "Startup - from Idea to Reality": クラス「スタートアップ:アイデアから現実へ」

Prof. Mok's Class in Cheng Yu Tung Bldg at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
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"In the West, especially in Silicon Valley, investors like venture capitalists often help startup entrepreneurs succeed as advisers or mentors, while investors in the East just sit and wait to be paid back successfully by the startup companies that they invest in," commented by Prof. Walter Mok, when he took up a statement "Don't befriend your VCs" in the video of Guy Kawasaki's lecture on "Top Ten Mistakes of Entrepreneurs" shown at the beginning of his class at CUHK.
That kind of useful suggestions and discussions took place in his very creative and interactive class "Startup - from Idea to Reality" attended by about 40 students, who seemed eager to be successful entrepreneurs themselves.
As Prof. Mok himself is an active scientist and entrepreneur, affiliated with Stanford University, he could give any kind of information and advise that those students need to start their own business in HK or elsewhere.
In fact, CUHK Business School seems quite eager to connect with Silicon Valley, as evidenced by a joint activity like the "EYE (Empowering Young Entrepreneurs) Program" between its Center for Entrepreneurship and Google to boost HK's startups:
For Dr. Walter Mok's background, see the following:
(Reported by Takahiro Miyao)

Stanford Colloquium: Japan’s Great Earthquake & Nuclear Disaster: 5 Years Later [Report]

Japan’s Great Earthquake & Nuclear Disaster: 5 Years Later (March 10, 2016)
Japan Program Colloquium Series@Stanford University:
“The Great Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: 5 Years Later”
Date/Time: March 10(Th), 12:00-1:30pm
Venue: Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, Stanford
Phillip LIPSCY, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Freeman Spogli Institute Center Fellow, APARC, Stanford University
Daniel ALDRICH, Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and Co-Director of the Masters Program in Security and Resilience, Northeastern University
Kenji KUSHIDA, Research Associate, Japan Program, APARC, Stanford University.
Kyoko SATO, Associate Director, The Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Stanford University
(From left) Dr. Aldrich, Dr. Kushida, Dr. Sato and Dr. Lipscy
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Commemorating the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear accident on March 11, 2011, this timely colloquium presented three speakers with very different attitudes and approaches toward the unprecedented disaster in Japan.

First, Dr. Daniel Aldrich gave a summary of his comprehensive study on differences in casualty rates as well as social recovery rates among towns and villages in the affected regions, and drew an important conclusion, that is, human connections or social capital made a significant difference in most of the cases.
Second, Dr. Kenji Kushida made a visual presentation about what was really happening in and around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant during and after the accident for the purpose of filling in some information gaps about the nuclear disaster and spelling out some misinformation that is still circulated and widely believed among the public.
Finally, Dr. Kyoko Sato tried to answer the question of why the Japanese who went through the nightmare of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, came to embrace nuclear power as an important source of energy for the nation, however reluctantly, in the postwar period, and applied various social-political models for possible explanations.

Although all these presentations were very interesting and informative, there remained quite a few questions to be asked, such as whether it is appropriate to use "crime rates" to be a proxy for the degree of human connections in Dr. Aldrich's study, whether how "socially," if not academically, significant it is to revise the timeline of the nuclear accident in detail 5 years later, as Dr. Kushida did, and whether we can ignore, as Dr. Sato did, the fact that many Japanese, at least most political and business leaders, were really concerned about the heavy reliance of imported oil and its security and environmental consequences to find any meaningful answer to her question.
It is too bad that there was not much time left for discussions after the three presentations within an hour and a half. Hopefully, some more Q&As will take place at a seminar about nuclear safety to be held on March 11 as a sequel to this colloquium:
(Takahiro Miyao)

Stanford Seminar: Yamaha Motor in Silicon Valley [Report]

Stanford Seminar: Yamaha Motor in Silicon Valley (March 8, 2016)

Silicon Valley-New Japan Project Public Forum Series
Title: Back to the Source: Yamaha Motor’s Challenges on Business Development
Speaker: Hiroshi "Hiro" Saijou, CEO and Managing Director, Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley Inc.
Date/Time: March 8(T), 2016, 4:15-6:00pm
Venue: Philippines Conference Room, Enc ina Hall, Stanford
Report: by Takahiro Miyao

“I did not want to join Honda, which was number one in the motorcycle industry, and I did not like companies with their headquarters in Tokyo,” said Hiro Saijou, who explained why he chose Yamaha based in a small town to display his fighting spirit, which eventually led him to the current position in Silicon Valley.
In fact, he graduated from Kyushu University, where he apparently learned the spirit of “Kyushu Danji” (Kyushu guys), who brought down the Tokugawa feudal regime and established the new Meiji government in the late 19th century.
This analogy seems perfect, as Japan is now facing another “Kurofune” (Black Ship), not led by Commodore Perry, but by Silicon Valley disrupters, who are seriously challenging Japan’s traditional, if not feudal, way of doing business.
Saijou, who is one of the very few software engineers at Yamaha Motor and thus calls himself as an “alien,” says he always tries to challenge the traditional mindset of his bosses and fellow engineers in Japan, reminding them of the corporate founder’s pioneering philosophy: that is why Saijou chose the seminar title “Back to the Source.”
In his talk, he touched on so many ideas including his social and business objectives, his technological and management approaches, his current and potential projects, etc., which were not necessarily well-organized in presentation, or not even consistent with each other in content. But at the end of the day, a couple of things clearly came through:

First, he likes to do what he does best, that apparently is robotics. After all, he is a software engineer in that field. As a result, he prefers the idea of robots which drive motorcycles, rather than networked vehicles without human or robot drivers, claiming that robot drivers could be more widely and readily utilized than networked vehicles (although his approach would not necessarily serve his original purpose of solving the parking/congestion/accident problems).
Second, his company, Yamaha Motor Corp., seems to be making full use of the contribution of his presence in Silicon Valley and his projects, especially robotics, as a good business and PR strategy to compete with its rivals, Honda and Suzuki (see Nikkei Shimbun, featuring the Shizuoka economy, Feb. 21, 2016).
Finally, it appears that in his business pursuits Saijou is not at all afraid of or intimated by anything, whether it is his company’s president in Japan or it is Google in Silicon Valley. He has his enthusiasm and fighting spirit to challenge the “main stream,” just like a young samurai in Kyushu against the incumbent Shogun government in Edo. Whether he will survive and succeed in his endeavor to initiate a new business trend for the industry remains to be seen, however.

Hiro Saijou's Presentation and Q&A
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ケベック州政府国際関係省での対話 Conversation at Quebec Gov’t Ministry of Int’l Relations (MRIF) [Report]

Conversation at Quebec Gov’t Ministry of Int’l Relations (MRIF)

M. Etienne Baillargeon, Mme. Maude Cote, and M. Donald Leblanc



実際、ここでこのようなテーマについて議論するのはタイミング的にも場所的にもまさにベストで、ちょうど州政府の庁舎の近くにあるケベック州美術館(で、日本に関する特別展示が行われていた。それは「ジャポニズム」の時代を取り上げた「Inspiration Japon」とケベックのアーティストによる日本の伝統を題材とするポップアート「Nippon-Fiction」というもので、私は国際関係省を訪れる前にこれらの展示を見て回って大いにエンジョイすることができた。




Conversation at Quebec Gov’t Ministry of Int’l Relations (MRIF)

On Monday, August 31, I visited the Ministry of International Relations and Francophonie (MRIF) at the Headquarter Building in Quebec city, where I was greeted by three officials in charge of Asia and Japan, M. Donald Leblanc (Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean Director), Mme. Maude Cote (Chief of the Japan, Korea and Oceania Desk), and M. Etienne Baillargeon (Officer at the Japan, Korea and Oceania Desk).
The main purpose of my visit was to exchange opinions and information with the Quebec officials about recent cultural activities concerning both Japan and Quebec.

First, in response to the surprisingly strong interest in Japan’s pop culture and the “Cool Japan” concept on the part of the Quebec officials, I tried to outline the recent strategy of the Japanese government to promote and support Japan’s popular culture such as anime, manga, games, films, fashion, design, cuisine, etc. for the purpose of marketing pop culture-related goods and services abroad as well as attracting foreign tourists to Japan in connection with the 2016 Summit in Mie Prefecture and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The timing and location for our discussion on this subject matter seemed perfect, as the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec near the Parliament Building ( was featuring the special exhibitions about Japan, “Inspiration Japon” (Japonism) and “Nippon-Fiction” (a Quebec artist’s traditional Japanese-style pop culture), which I enjoyed viewing, prior to my meeting at the Ministry.

Then, we discussed possible ways to encourage the exchange of artists and creators between Japan and Quebec. As pointed out by the officials, a number of Quebec artists such as dance performers have visited Japan for a short stay supported by the Quebec government, but there has not been any such arrangement for Japanese artists to stay in Quebec supported by the Japanese government so far, and it might well be under consideration by the Japanese government in the context of the Cool Japan strategy, especially in some pop culture fields such as anime, manga, games, films, cuisine, etc.

Then our discussion led to a possibility of creating a kind of “matching site” as a platform to introduce artists and creators on one hand and sponsors and business people on the other to facilitate mutual exchange of information and possibly business interaction between Japan and Quebec. However, the important question about this idea is how to meet the “quality” and “legal” requirements for real collaboration between them across national boundaries. Our tentative conclusion was that as a first step professional organizations such as film industries in Japan and Quebec could be interested in creating a platform for more active interactions between Japanese and Quebec film industries. As a result of this kind of step-by-step approach, a more comprehensive, across-the-board matching platform for artists/creators and hosting/business organizations might emerge in the long run.

All this discussion took place within an hour as planned, which implies how efficient the Quebec government, or at least the MRIF, operates, and I truly enjoyed talking with those three officials in such a friendly and productive manner, hoping that Japanese government officials could learn from them in this respect.

Quebec Premier’s speech in Japan (August, 2011):
My visit to Montreal and Quebec city (August, 2007):

宮尾尊弘「秋の経済教育」(報告とビデオ) [Report]


日時:2014年11月15日 16:00~17:30

1-1: 「需要」と「供給」はオークションの例を使って具体的に見られるようにする。
1-2: 「効率」と「公平」の望ましい組み合わせは人によって違うことを具体的に示す。
1-3: 「公共」と「協力」は社会で自発的に達成が難しいことを実感させる
2-1: ビデオ教材はデジカメでもビデオカメラでも自分だけで簡単に作成できる。
2-2: ウェブへの掲載はYouTubeを使ってアップし、Google Sitesでページを作る。
2-3: クラスでの使い方は、予習用と授業中の利用の両方をうまく組み合わせる。
3-1: 経済に関するストーリーをビジュアル化して伝え、特にビデオ教材などを活用する。
3-2: 知識水準ではなく、知識獲得の過程と学ぶ努力と進歩が重要であることを実感させる。
3-3: ビデオ教材による予習とクラスでの対話と評価を行い、学ぶ習慣の獲得を促進する。

あまり得られなかった(3人)、 ほとんど得られなかった(0人)


Workshop on Great Tohoku Earthquake@USC (6/28/2014) [Report]

Workshop on Great Tohoku Earthquake@USC (6/28/2014)

"Economic Effects of Great Tohoku Earthquake":「東北大震災の経済的影響」
Date/Time: June 28, 2014, 1-6pm: 2014年6月28日 13:00-18:00
Place: USC Davidson Conference Center: USCデビッドソン・コンファレンス・センター

Report (see the Japanese version posted below the photos):
At this workshop, three interesting papers on the effects of the Great East-Japan Earthquake were presented. The first two were the econometric analysis of the negative effects of regional net output and supply shocks in the Tohoku and other regions in Japan, whereas the third one was about the financial impacts of the negative effects on main banks of the Great Earthquake in the Tohoku region.
Each of these three studies faced the problems of data and analytical limitations, but were successful in obtaining some meaningful results, at least as a first step.
At the same time, many hints on how to proceed from here to more comprehensive studies on the subject matter were obtained during the discussions and Q&A sessions. For example, more disaggregated, at least prefectural-level, data should be used to distinguish between the regions directly affected by the Great Earthquake and the other regions to obtain more relevant results, especially for policy purposes.
More hints and suggestions along those lines were explored in the final panel discussion session, although some time was devoted to related issues such as Abenomics and nuclear plant safety.
Takahiro Miyao (USC)
PS: For Abenomics, see the USC Conference organized by Prof. Robert Dekle:

Session I (1pm - ):セッション I(13:00 - )
Chair: Tsutomu Miyagawa (Gakushuin University): 宮川努(学習院大学)
Speaker: Robert Dekle (USC) : ロバート・ディークル(南カリフォルニア大学)
"The Regional Spillover Effects of the Tohoku Earthquake"
Chair Prof. T. Miyagawa (middle) and Speaker Prof. R. Dekle
Co-author W. Xien, Discussant Prof. W. Hanlon & Prof. Dekle's response

Session II (2pm - ):セッション II(14:00 - )
Chair: Kaoru Hosono (Gakushuin University): 細野薫(学習院大学)
Speaker: Joki Tokui (Shinshu University) : 徳井丞次(信州大学)
"The Economic Impact and Recovery of the Supply Chain Disruptions in the Great East-Japan Earthquake"
Speaker Prof. J. Tokui and Discussant Prof. Douglas Joines (USC)

Session III (3:30pm - ):セッション III(15:30 - )
Chair: Najimadin Meshkati (USC): ナジマディン・メシュカティ(南カリフォルニア大学)
Speaker: Daisuke Miyakawa (Nihon University): 宮川大輔(日本大学)
"Financial Shocks and Natural Selection"
Chair Prof. N. Meshkati and Speaker Prof. D. Miyakawa
Discussant Prof. Yasushi Hamao (USC) and Q&A with participants

Panel Discussion (4:30pm - ):パネルディスカッション(16:30 - )
Economic Effects of the Great Tohoku Earthquake & Concluding Remarks
Chair: Robert Dekle: ロバート・ディークル
Panelists: Kaoru Hosono, Najimadin Meshkati & Tsutomu Miyagawa
Chair Prof. R. Dekle and Prof. K. Hosono's presentation
Presentations by Prof. N. Meshkati and Prof. T. Miyagawa

Report in Japanese: レポート(日本語版)