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Akio Morita

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Akio Morita co-founded Sony. Founded in a bombed-out Tokyo department store after World War II, Sony became indisputably one of the world's most innovative companies, famous for products like the pocket-sized transistor radio, the videocassette recorder, the Walkman and the compact disk.

And Mr. Morita, whose contribution was greater in marketing than in technology, made the Sony brand into one of the best known and most respected in the world.

Time magazine selected him as one of 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century, the only non-American on the list. He passed away in 1999 at the age of 78.

Companies and Investments

Sony (co-founder)

Lessons Learned

On Sony's Success

1. I established the rule that once we hire an employee, his schools records are a matter of the past, and are no longer used to evaluate his work or decide on his promotion.

2. My solution to the problem of unleashing creativity is always to set up a target.

3. I believe one of the reasons we went through such a remarkable growth period was that we had this atmosphere of free discussion. A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management.

4. I have always made it a point to know our employees, to visit every facility of our company, and to try to meet and know every single employee.

5. The company must not throw money away on huge bonuses for executives or other frivolities but must share its fate with the workers.

On Business Advice Generally

1. Advertising and promotion alone will not sustain a bad product or a product that is not right for the times.

2. From a management standpoint, it is very important to know how to unleash people’s inborn creativity. My concept is that anybody has creative ability, but very few people know how to use it.

3. I believe people work for satisfaction. I believe it is a big mistake to think that money is the only way to compensate a person for his work. People need money, but they also want to be happy in their work and proud of it.

4. There is no secret ingredient or hidden formula responsible for the success of the best Japanese companies.

5. There are three creativities: creativity in technology, in product planning, and in marketing. To have any one of these without the others is self defeating in business.

Inspiring Quotes

Akio Morita's Quotes

We all learn by imitating, as children, as students, as novices in the world of business. And then we grow up and learn to blend our innate abilities with the rules or principles we have learned.

Akio Morita

Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. But make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

Akio Morita

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. I knew we needed a weapon to break through to the U.S. market, and it had to be something different, something that nobody else was making.

Akio Morita

If you go through life convinced that your way is always best, all the new ideas in the world will pass you by.

Akio Morita

Our plan is to lead the public with new products rather than ask them what kind of products they want. The public does not know what is possible, but we do.

Akio Morita

Influential Books