More Intensely User Oriented

Happy New Year!

The curtain has risen on the year 2003. Looking back, three years have already passed since the beginning of the twenty-first century. They have been three years of constant battle over values as we tried to shift from the values of the twentieth century to the values of a new century. Moreover, toward the discovery of new values, the state and the market have demanded an environment in which businesses, companies, and individuals have been forced to change. Amid such volatile changes, fate has been divided.

Although we talk about new values, however, the essence still lies in the existence of human beings and people themselves. Values that stray from this essence have been eliminated. A good example is the collapse of the information technology bubble. As we approached the new century, people appeared who claimed that the bubble-type values meant progress. They were building castles in the sand.

What we learned from the bubble era is the importance of looking at the essence, the limits, and the true parts. In my personal opinion, there were quite a lot of shady groups swaggering around at that time. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, speaks of the education that he received from his mother. He can soon tell whether someone standing a long way off is shady, he says.

During these past three years, the shady characters have suffered quite a bitter experience. Human beings are wonderful on the one hand and stupid on the other. When share prices rise, they think that they will go on rising forever and calculate only aggregate market value. Eventually the value of working hard to earn their money disappears. But as the year 2003 begins, this dubious[LEX1] value has sunk to rock bottom.

This shady value saps the morale of companies and individuals, too, because of the behavior of dubious characters at the top. But I believe that the situation can be returned to normal thanks to the sparkling light that is the essential wonderful value possessed by human beings.

In 2003, unless we make a new departure, starting from the real value of human beings, and respond properly to the needs of our users, we will end up becoming a shady business. There have been shady products as well?products that aimed solely for profits and had little content and no users.

Especially now, a more intensely user-oriented approach is important. Even more than before. Considering the living environment, people are only going to purchase products if they really do stand out. In November of last year the unemployment rate stood in the 6% range. It was 9% for men. This means that one out of 10 men have lost their jobs. In such circumstances, impulsive buying is out of the question. Our whole business must rally together to propose products that stand out and make the lives of users more affluent.

Throughout this essay I have been using the word "shady," which is not really very appropriate for the new year. But one out of 10 men have lost their jobs. Right now, I think that it is the prime minister and other politicians who are the most shady, because they talk about this abnormal situation as if it were none of their business. January 2003 I have not been able to calm my anger.