Akio Morita

  • Business Ideas – Akio Morita Business Lessons (Sony Company Founder)

    Business Ideas – Akio Morita Business Lessons (Sony Company Founder) by Evan Carmichael     Evan Carmichael discusses how you can model the success of Sony founder, Akio Morita.   “It had to be something different, something that nobody else was making.” – Akio Morita     Action Item #1: Trust Your Gut   There’s never enough information to make a decision that you can be 100% sure of. By the time the information becomes fully available it will be too late – either someone else would have scooped the idea from you or the window of opportunity will have closed. As entrepreneurs we have to trust our gut when making decisions using the best information that we have available.   In 1978 Sony developed a prototype portable product that would allow people to listen to cassette tapes while they were on long flights. The project was put on hold as market research indicated that no consumer would buy a tape recorder that did not have the capacity to record and that earphones would hold the product back as they were seen to be irritating and potentially associated with hearing loss.   Despite the advice given to him by his marketing department, Morita chose instead to trust his gut. He told Sony staff that they were going to create a worldwide culture of headphone wearers and in 1979 Sony released the Walkman. It went on to sell over 330 million units. Morita then gave the following advice for business owners: “Carefully watch how people live, get an intuitive sense as to what they might want and then go with it. Don’t do market research.”   Action Item #2: Find A Good Company Name and Product Name   The names you choose for your company and products are what people remember you by. If they’re too hard to pronounce, difficult to spell, or not easy to recall then you lose out on the opportunity of having customers talk about you to their friends and coming back as repeat buyers.   Sony’s original company name was Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha. Long and difficult to remember in English, the company decided it would need to change its name to better serve the North American market. Trying to find a new name, Morita found that ‘sonus’ is the Latin word for sound. He thought its meaning was appropriate considering their industry. However, he didn’t think that it was catchy enough. Morita decided to combine ‘sonus’ with ‘Sonny,’ a nickname that had become popular amongst American kids. Morita thought ‘Sonny’ would help portray the image of the company as a youthful one, with lots of energy and a bright future ahead. With that, the Sony Corporation was formed.   Similarly, when Sony first released the Walkman, Sony’s U.S. division considered the name ‘Walkman’ to be improper English, and changed the product to the ‘Soundabout’ for the American market. Other divisions also began using different names until Morita put his foot down and insisted that […]


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