Tim Romero is the Head of Google for Startups Japan. He isa Tokyo-based entrepreneur, podcaster, author and teacher who has started four companies and led Japan market entry for others since coming to Japan more than 25 years ago. Tim hosts theDisrupting Japan podcast, teaches corporate innovation and entrepreneurship at the NYU Shinagawa campus and is CTO of TEPCO's Business Innovation Task Force. Tim is deeply involved in Japan's startup community as an investor, founder and mentor.
A lot has been written on Uber’s disastrous failure in Japan. Most authors point to the fact that taxies in Japan are abundant, clean, safe and affordable. While that’s all true, it misses a more important truth.
We were told that technology would fix it. In 1930 John Maynard Keynes predicted that the work week would need to be reduced to 15 hours in response to improved productivity from automation. It hasn’t worked out that way. Things certainly have gotten better. Economies have grown, standards of living have increased, workplaces have become safer, but we are working more than ever.
The Japanese commitment to customer service is legendary, but it has a dark side as well. We Westerners are usually taken aback when we first encounter it, but it is something that most Japanese have simply grown to accept.
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