Akiko Naka takes you by surprise. When you first meet Akiko, her reserved and unassuming manner makes you wonder if she really understands how potentially transformative her ideas and her company really are. As the interview progresses and you get to know her, however, it becomes more and more clear that she knows exactly what she’s doing.
She’s just decided to do things her way.
Japan is still very much a male-dominated society, so when journalists get a chance to talk to a female entrepreneur there is a tendency to focus on the novelty of her gender rather than the substance of her actions, and they miss out on the most important things to learn.
We talk about her journey from programmer to manga artist to CEO, about how social and corporate hierarchies are changing in Japan and how she learned to over-communicate her vision.
During our conversation Akiko also provides some solid insights about the best way to take on the Japanese power structure and win; by challenging them indirectly.
For more podcasts about the startup scene in Japan, check out Disrupting Japan.