Mickey's Voice

  • Blog
    With Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo just around the corner, Mickey Mikitani shares the deeper meaning behind his company's involvement in the event.

    Inspired by Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo: Creativity in Business

    Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc. Next month, Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo returns to the city, showcasing great designers and the fruits of their inspirational creativity. When I met fashion icon Anna Wintour in New York recently, I didn’t mention that I won a “best dresser” award last December in Japan. (True story! Although it’s a bit ironic considering I almost always wear…

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  • Mickey's Voice
    Although technology allows us to communicate all the time, it is often face-to-face conversation that drives the most profound change.

    The Power of Conversation

    Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO, Rakuten, Inc. Who did you talk to today? I don’t mean via email or social media or even on the phone. I’m thinking about face-to-face conversations: You can look into the other person’s eyes, hear the tone of their voice and see their body language. Conversations that took some time and space in your busy day. Whatever that conversation was — with a collea…

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  • Blog

    Leaders go first

    “That will never work. It’s crazy!” I hear it a lot. Even as CEO, there are plenty of times when someone looked at me and told me that the thing I’ve just said — a deadline, a goal, a new idea — is simply nuts. I’m used to it. What’s more, I have a tried-and-true plan to combat it. Whenever I propose an outlandish idea, I volunteer to go first. So when I announced to my Tokyo-based company in 2010…

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  • Blog

    The Empowerment Solution

    The first moment I truly understood empowerment, I was watching an early Rakuten team member start his day. We were young entrepreneurs and this was the late 90s. I was most likely wearing an oversized shirt of some kind (as was the look at the time). He was at his desk, reading the Wall Street Journal ⁠— not the paper copy he used to have to wait to have delivered from the Tokyo airport, a day af…

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  • Mickey's Voice

    Walk Together: A message for our times

    In Japanese, the word “rakuten” means optimism. This outlook is the cornerstone of our brand. For everyone in the Rakuten group, optimism holds a special meaning. It’s a shared understanding that through our work today, we can make the future better ⁠— not just for us, but for everyone. “Everyone” means all people, not limited to company employees, customers or shareholders. As Rakuten…

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  • Mickey's Voice
    Why Rakuten's partnership with Tokyo Fashion Week, which will rebrand the event as Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo, makes sense for Japan's designers, shoppers and more.

    Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo: Empowering Fashion

    This summer we announced a partnership with Tokyo Fashion Week that will rebrand the biannual showcase of Japanese style as Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo. We’re proud and honored to partner with one of the world’s premier fashion events. The reasons for this partnership are many and just one of those is about a special connection that takes us back to our roots. Rakuten was conceived and launch…

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  • Mickey's Voice
    Speed is important, not just because it gets you out in front early, but also because it generates momentum for your project.

    How to navigate the business world at speed

    In the early days of the internet, success was all about first-mover advantage — and speed was a part of that thinking. In fact, that need for speed was the genesis of one of our five guiding principles at Rakuten: Speed!! Speed!! Speed!! But over the years, the quest for speed has led us to new understandings. Speed is important, not just because it gets you out in front early, but also because i…

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  • Mickey's Voice
    Although our partnership with KonMari Media is new, we have been in sync with her philosophical outlook since the inception of Rakuten.

    Why we’re partnering with Marie Kondo

    A global company like Rakuten has many partnerships — from sports to tech and beyond — but few are more personally resonant to me than the one we recently announced with Marie Kondo. Marie Kondo, also known by her nickname “Konmari,” is an international phenomenon. She successfully grew her “tidying up” business from a startup when she was a 19-year-old university student in Tokyo to the media sen…

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  • Mickey's Voice
    A successful company is one that has shikumi, or strong strong frameworks for execution that can be applied to all manner of initiatives.

    Shikumi: The power of frameworks

    The best companies are not powered by their products and services alone. A successful company is one that has strong frameworks ⁠— structures and consistent processes for execution that can be applied to all manner of initiatives. When an industry evolves ⁠— or as is more frequent these days ⁠— is upended through new technology, being able to draw from a base of sturdy, common frameworks allows a…

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