Disrupting Japan: From Salarymen to Freelancer

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The nature of employment is changing fast in Japan. A few decades ago lifetime employment was the norm, and now even high-ranking industry leaders and government officials are saying that freelancing is the future.

CrowdWorks is emblematic of this change.

Koichiro Yoshida took CrowdWorks from idea to IPO in less than three years, and today both CrowdWorks and crowd-sourcing in general are growing at a phenomenal rate. Just 10 years ago, Japanese politicians pointed to freelancers and part-timers as part of the cause of Japan’s economic woes. Fortunately, Japan’s leadership is now beginning to realizing that having a flexible and skilled workforce is actually a tremendous economic advantage.

Of course, since so much of modern business culture in Japan is based on the idea of belonging to a specific company, the move to large-scale freelancing will lead to large social changes as well. Both good and bad.

Koichiro and I talk about the impact those coming changes will have, and about his own journey and how there were many years of preparation, hard work and painful failures hidden behind the “overnight success” of CrowdWorks.

For more podcasts about the startup scene in Japan, check out Disrupting Japan.

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Inside stories from Japan's startups.

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