SAMURAI ENDURANCE: The Ups and Downs of Japanese Billionaire Masayoshi Son
He is called the world famous investor, Japanese Bill Gates and the king of planning. Judge for yourself – he was the first in history who managed to raise an investment fund for $ 100 billion.
In addition, he founded the financial conglomerate SoftBank, which includes more than 600 companies, and became its CEO. Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son amazed many by claiming that he had laid out the stages of development of his own empire for 300 years ahead. “I think in three centuries people will live for 200 years and communicate with each other using telepathy”, he added.
He earned his first million at the age of 20, and later learned to endure defeat. Analysts have calculated that hardly anyone in the business world has lost more than Masayoshi Son.
For example, he coped with a $ 70 billion loss of fortune relatively easily after a failed investment in a thousand-plus companies. In 2019, his losses when investing in bitcoin amounted to $ 130 million. But Masayoshi Son just waved his hand: “Yes, this currency is the future. But without these investments, I feel much better – I don’t need to bother with what I don’t understand”.
Ease of doing business is his specialty. Son is not worried that he was predicted the role of the main loser, instead of the previous regalia – the first person in the Japanese tech market. Not so long ago, Masayoshi Son shared his greatest desire – to create the same great dynasty as the Rothschilds did. In the meantime, he is developing the company and is engaged in developments in the field of artificial intelligence, focusing on the “symbiosis of computer technology and the human brain, which will lead to telepathic communication”.
“I’m not the richest person in Japan. But those who are richer than me simply inherited the capital of their fathers. So I’m the richest Japanese man, “self-made”, says Masayoshi Son, not without pleasure.
He started at the bottom, but has excelled in Internet technology and communications, and has also become the most respected investor. Masayoshi Son was born into a family of Korean emigrants in 1957.
The status of parents “temporarily residing” in Japan did not make it possible to either get a good job or rent decent housing. The family was forced to huddle in fishing houses – an illegal settlement, which the Japanese once even set on fire so that foreign Koreans would leave here forever.
Since childhood, the boy endured humiliation and discrimination. “I remember how some guy hit me on the head with a stone. It hurt me a lot, and since then I decided to hide my individuality”, recalls Masayoshi Son. To make things easier for themselves, the family tried not to advertise their Korean origins. And even changed their last name to Yasumoto.
When the father of the future great investor thought of making and selling sake underground, the family very quickly got on their feet financially and even bought a car. In order to educate Masayoshi, they moved to the largest city in their region.
When the boy was 15 years old, one meeting with the founder of the Japanese division of McDonald’s, Dan Fujita, changed his life forever. Although he gave Son very trivial advice: learn English, master a computer, visit the United States. He did all this – and succeeded.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
At any cost, he strove to America. Masayoshi Son moved and graduated from high school in San Francisco. Then there were years of college and university studies. Science was very easy for him, but the Japanese immigrant tried to focus on economics and computer literacy.
He tried so hard to start his own business that he sacrificed sleep and food for his purpose. And to attend lectures on not the most important disciplines, he even hired a classmate who put on his things and was a personal understudy.
“I didn’t need money, a house, fancy clothes or a car. The only thing I wanted was to live. And if you live, then why? Pondering this question, I came to the conclusion that one must live in order to make people happy!” – recalled Masayoshi Son.
He made a vow to himself every day to come up with one new business idea and kept it. It was in the United States that Masayoshi Son created a multi-language handheld translator. He recruited the best programmers to work and persuaded them to work for free. He assured them that he would pay off as soon as the translator sold. The technology was bought by Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp. By today’s standards – for $ 1 million.
Masayoshi Son was so excited that he forgot to pay his colleagues for the work and owed them some more time.
“Who am I admiring? Steve Jobs from Apple. For him, the main priority is not increasing income and profits, but improving people’s lives. Many of the current rulers of destinies will be forgotten in a few decades, and Jobs will be remembered in ten centuries”, Masayoshi Son once reflected.
In 1981 he returned to Japan and used the proceeds to create SoftBank. The company became successful by entering into an agreement with the major electronics manufacturer Joshin Denki. The dream borrowed money for a good suit and for the road, remembered the self-control of the samurai and still managed to convince future partners, having received an exclusive contract for the supply of software.
Masayoshi Son recalls, “When there were only two employees in my company, I told them that in five years our turnover would reach $ 75 million. And I kept my promise”.
The billionaire believes that by 2040, 99.98% of the companies currently operating will cease to exist, and his corporation will survive. Watching the rise and fall of Masayoshi Son and his empire, some twist a finger to their temples to admire his entrepreneurial spirit and how right he was.
One of the most interesting recent projects of the billionaire is SoftBank Robotics Holdings. This holding has created and presented a robot capable of understanding emotions. And if Masayoshi Dream does not become even richer, then it will certainly bring the future closer for us. And in this he also sees his mission.