Mickey’s Voice

Insights from our CEO

  • Despite the many important choices any CEO makes each day, it’s rare that they spend the time to actually reflect on the way they make decisions.

    How to make decisions like a CEO

    I like to think of myself as a founder and entrepreneur. But my job is also to be the CEO of Rakuten. And perhaps my greatest responsibility as CEO is to make decisions that will positively impact the company, our employees and society. Recently, during a Q&A session at the company-wide morning meeting that we call Asakai, an employee asked me how I go about making decisions. It was simple que…

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  • How do you take a collection of disparate parts & form them into a robust ecosystem that supports your customers' needs? Here are some essential ingredients

    Building a consumer-focused ecosystem

    Global conglomerates are everywhere; large companies that offer a wide range of products and services, seeking out efficiencies of scale and new synergies. At Rakuten, we’ve taken the concept a step further. We, like many global companies, have many divisions under one brand. We offer e-commerce, entertainment, financial services, logistics and mobile messaging, just to name a few; all operating u…

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  • A simple concept may work well for a time, but it may act as a hurdle to future innovation and evolution. Unchecked, simplicity can become a trap.

    Simplicity: It’s Complicated

    Many experts argue the case for business simplicity. A simple product or service is appealing to customers, popular with investors and can be cost effective to deliver. It’s no surprise then that simplicity has become such a buzzword in corporate circles. But while simplicity has its merits, it can also have downsides. Companies that over-index on simplicity risk long-term health. A simple concept…

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  • The cashless future is coming and it will be a boon to both businesses and customers

    The cashless future is coming: why businesses should embrace it

    Someday soon, money as we know it — the bills and coins we count and carry with us — will be as quaint and collectible as vinyl records. Consumers are already comfortable with credit and debit cards, and mobile payment apps like Rakuten Pay, the QR code payment platform most frequently used by Japan smartphone users, are quickly growing in popularity around the world. Now the next evolution is upo…

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  • Rakuten CEO Mikitani makes a point of speaking directly to employees around the world, answering their questions and explaining the reasons behind major company decisions, a practice critical to generating – and maintaining – buy-in.

    Getting your team on board

    After the publication of her book on the language of global success, Harvard Business School professor Tsedal Neeley came to visit us at Rakuten Crimson House in Tokyo and share her thoughts on helping to chart the early success of our Englishnization Project. At our all-hands meeting, she highlighted several reasons for our success in the process of adopting English as our corporate language. One…

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  • The imaginary audience: The next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, try this exercise: Imagine you are an objective third party, watching the story play out on TV.

    The imaginary audience in times of crisis

    The next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, try this exercise: Imagine you are an objective third party, watching the story play out on TV. Sit back and view your drama as if you were in the audience instead of the action. How does it look from the outside? Is it a small issue or a major crisis unfolding before your eyes? Are you making the right moves or making it worse? We may make…

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  • Why we’re powering Stephen Curry’s ‘Underrated Tour’

    Redefining expectations: Why we’re powering Stephen Curry’s ‘Underrated Tour’

    Today, we announced a new partnership with NBA star Stephen Curry. As one of the most exciting and innovative players ever seen not just in the NBA but across all sports, we’re honored to connect the Rakuten brand with Stephen, but this partnership is not based solely on recognized sporting excellence. This new partnership is rooted in shared values and experiences: With remarkable track records o…

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  • "In 2019, our ambition is not only to become the greatest company in Japan – we want to become the greatest company in the world," says Rakuten CEO Mickey.

    Welcoming in the New Year: An optimistic outlook for 2019

    2018 was a special year for Rakuten for many reasons. It was a year of tremendous growth: with our global registered membership surpassing 1.3 billion and transactions on our platforms around the world now approaching USD140 billion. More qualitatively, it was a year that saw Rakuten take a big step forward in terms of brand identity. We introduced a new logo that underscores our identity, launche…

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  • Customers judge us, every day, on the service we provide. And their standard is nothing short of perfection. That's why the Key Perfection Indicator is...

    How to win over customers this Christmas season: The Key Perfection Indicator

    What does it take to win over customers during the busiest shopping season of the year? If you answered low prices, fast shipping or popular products, you’re only partly right. These elements are important to shoppers, of course, but the measure that customers will judge you by and remember you for is service. Customers judge us, every day, on the service we provide. And their standard is nothing…

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  • Imagine you are writing your own obituary. Start with the job you hope you will have at the end and work backward, considering along the way what steps...

    Write your own obituary before planning your next career move

    It may sound macabre, but envisioning your own death is a good way to generate a successful plan. We are used to thinking about our lives in forward motion—noting where we are right now and picturing our next steps. Of course, thinking forward is useful, but it is not the only kind of thinking that can help you. We are less used to thinking backward. When we take the time to reverse our convention…

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