As one of those (underpaid) foreign managers that you speak about, albeit
one that was hired here in Japan based on local experience and knowledge, I
think that in an extremely general way you have a point: Parachuting foreign
managers and 'experts' into Japan generally is a poor strategy, and has led
to some fairly spectacular failures.
However, I think that you are racist. My race and nationality has nothing to
do with my understanding of the Japanese market, or anything else about
Japan. Period. 'Foreigners just don't understand Japan' is simply not true.
More accurate is 'people who don't have a lot of experience in Japan,
preferably starting from childhood, have a hard time understanding Japan.'
Sure, that does cover a lot of foreigners, but it is not because they are
foreigners. You asking your company's people what they think *because they
are Japanese* is equally mistaken. There are Japanese idiots just the same
as foreign ones. Sure, if you are doing market research, you ask a broad
sampling of your target market, no question. But the picture you get from
market research is an aggregate of a lot of people, and that is what gives
it some validity. Not because they are all Japanese and therefore their
opinion is absolutely sacrosanct. And neither can you say that a foreigner
who has deep experience here, and a very good understanding of a certain
market, does not have any idea, and that their opinion is invalid.
Eric asked what people thought. To then scold him for asking that question
on this list is ludicrous. There are some people on this list who have been
involved with the mobile market in a deep enough way to have perfectly valid
opinions about a product. Your defense is that you, who have been in Japan
for 22 years, have limitations. But when you are talking about marketing,
everyone has limitations: A geezer sitting at the top of Sanno Park tower
has no better understanding of a 16 year-old joshi kohsei than you or
I, probably worse. That is why you do market research. But asking a question
on a list of people interested and often quite deeply involved in the
Japanese mobile market and then being told that any foreigner doesn't have a
valid thought about the topic is absolute bollocks.
Please keep your racism to yourself.
On 2/14/07, Gerhard Fasol <fasol_at_eurotechnology.com> wrote:
> Hi Raphael,
> thank you for your comment - I fully agree with what you say.
> What I wanted to say is basically that a lot of foreigners working
> with or in Japan totally overestimate their knowledge of Japan.
> I have been working 22 years with Japan's telecom sector - with
> Japan and with Japan's high-tech sector, and I open say that
> most things I only understand superficially - and need the help
> of our Japanese team members to understand.
> Again: I could list you probably 100 foreign companies where
> foreign managers overestimated their capabilities in Japan and
> On 2007/02/14, at 16:06, Raphael Mazoyer wrote:
> > Joe Bowbeer wrote:
> >>> [...] if you need the answer to your question for serious business
> >>> development, then I suggest not to rely on the opinions of
> >>> foreigners.
> >> Seems paradoxical:
> >> Gerhard Fasol was a foreigner who said: "The opinions of foreigners
> >> should not be relied on."
> >> -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epimenides_paradox
> > lol
> > But I think Gerhard has a point: a number of things that work out on
> > the Japanese market are totally counter-intuitive to my European
> > mind, and as often as not fail utterly when replicated in Europe
> > (even when execution is not botched).
> > I guess the point is: foreigners have a very partial view of the
> > Japanese market, and it doesn't take a Greek philosopher to realize
> > your own limitations :-) He was basically recusing himself:
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recusal
> > Best,
> > Raphaël
> > --
> > Raphaël MAZOYER <mazoye_at_wni.co.jp>
> > Contents Planner Europe
> > WITH Station / Weathernews, Inc.
> > This mail was sent to address fasol_at_eurotechnology.com
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Received on Wed Feb 14 12:15:21 2007