Tsugio Makimoto: You should think globally in order to be successful in the IT sector
-Welcome to Armenia, Mr. Makimoto. You have arrived in Armenia to receive the President’s award, which has been given to IT sector professionals four years in a row. You are perhaps a winner of various prizes but I’d like to know what your impressions are.
-Yes, in fact I have received several awards, big and small. I think this is the highest award of my life. I have many but this one is special.
-Before your visit to Armenia, did you know anything about the country?
-I have known about Armenia but my knowledge was pretty limited but I have learned a lot by visiting here even a few Armenian words. In fact Armenia interests me in two directions. One of those is the historical and cultural direction and the second direction I am interested in is the new Armenia, which as it seems is quite vigorous. In fact, I am very happy that Armenia considers IT sector as one of its main directions. On these days I have managed to visit various companies of the sector and have had many meetings with IT professionals of the country. I have tried to thoroughly learn about Armenia in those two directions – know the history and culture and understand the current developments. In fact the official visit was planned for three days but I decided to stay 10 days here in order to better understand the old and new Armenia.
-In one of the media publications I read that your dream was to see Armenia and Japan closely cooperate with each other. How do you think these two countries should cooperate?
-In fact, I don’t have a concrete idea but I think that it’s very important to start the cooperation now. On these days I also met the Prime Minister of Armenia and offered him to visit Japan. In fact, not all the Japanese know about Armenia but when the Prime Minister of Armenia visit Japan a lot of people will become interested in Armenia and I think this is the first step for close relations. The Prime Minister also raised the matter of cooperation of two countries and we have spoken about various matters. Armenia and Japan have a major interest in the IT sector but we shouldn’t restrain us with just one sector. I am willing to assist in the process of development of Armenia-Japan relations.
-Armenia considers the IT sector a priority sector for future development. You already mentioned that you have had meetings with representatives from both private companies and the government. How do you envision the development of the IT sector in a small country like Armenia?
-My perception is that it’s very good that Armenia decided and chose the IT sector is a priority sector for development because this sector is the most competitive in the world. In September a seminar took place in Japan about Armenia. I also participated in it. During that seminar it was proclaimed that IT is a priority sector for Armenia. All the prospects and opportunities of the sector were presented. That’s when I started to better realize the approaches to IT sector in Armenia. In fact it was quite impressive for me. And I am very happy that Armenia signifies it so much. I have spent all my life in the EDA sector. In the world there are two famous companies of EDA (Synopsis, Mentor, Graphics – L.M.), two of which have branches in Armenia. This is a quite sound fact.
-What would you advise the young generation? What should they pay attention to? What start-up companies should be founded in order to be successful?
-I think in order to be successful in the IT sector it is necessary to be successful at the global level and not only the domestic Armenia market. It means you should think big. You should be functioning not only in Armenia but also outside of the borders of the country but for that you need good English. Besides, it is important to understand the global market, its demands and needs. As of the start-up companies, they shouldn’t only think in what direction the world is moving but figure out in what branch it would be easier to start and develop. Of course, in the global market it is not easy to function especially if it is a start-up company. There is a big percentage of start-up companies that failed in the business especially after considering the fact that it’s much harder to be successful in the international market. Starting is easy but the process is very hard. All the means should be used to develop the business and succeed. Doing business is not an easy thing. There are many risks but in order to overcome these challenges it is very important to communicate with skillful people. The Armenian market is really small and external opportunities should be explored.
-You are quite successful in your career. What is the secret of your success?
-First, I was successful because I started when the IT sector was just developing. Back then, many sectors were open and there was a big room for development. I think I was lucky to start my career back then. The second reason is that I have worked for Hitachi during a very tough production period. Back then, the innovative methods of the IT sector were not quite explored and I had a very good chance of developing them. In that regard, I was very successful and had the opportunity to start that among the first ones. So my main job was to commercialize the IT technologies. So I would explore the markets, find the problems and tackle them. I was also doing prognoses of further development. In fact all this was a very difficult job because in the meantime I had to make sure that the price of the product wasn’t too expensive to be competitive in the market. I was lucky to have worked in Hitachi. Besides these opportunities and painstaking work I had to go through being fired. But it was the best thing for me because I was very busy back then and didn’t have enough time to think about the demands of customers. Based on all that I founded Makimoto’s Wave company. It was basically an invention. Without all that, I wouldn’t have time to think about the rest. Now, having been in Armenia, I’d like to say that Armenia has chosen a very right direction. I mean the high attention and care to the IT sector. I wish Armenia succeeds in its efforts because I see all the prerequisites for that.