In order to survive and succeed in the fierce competition of a rapidly changing market, we need to be constantly evolving with user and market trends, fearlessly developing and creating new value, and continually looking out for game-changing innovations. Never satisfied with the status quo, we must keep searching for opportunities to improve, to create things that can revolutionize our world. And the standard by which we measure our success in these efforts is “wows”.
All successful products and services—no matter how popular—are born from a sense of amazement that wows each user.
These wows connect friends, family, couples and acquaintances, and cross national borders and language barriers. These wows build up, growing to become full-blown innovations that change people’s lives.
This “wow” spirit is not limited to our product and services. In our human resources, legal department, public relations and all other business activities, we do not waste time trying to emulate other companies. Instead, we continually strive to deliver wows that exceed expectations.
Underlying and informing everything we do have been six keywords, which we must keep in mind as we go forward and create new wows. There is no hierarchy among these words. Only when all six are met can that spirit of “wow” be achieved.
The first thing to consider is needs. Understanding user needs is an essential starting point to everything we do. However, we don’t stop there. More than just listening, we must identify critical needs even before our users have figured out how to put them into words—and then we must find solutions.
You won’t find any answers by simply asking what users want. True insight comes from immersing yourself fully into their lives, thinking about everything our users think, want, and feel, pushing your imagination to discover what they truly need.
Once you envision an idea that will wow users (that can meet their needs), it’s essential to actualize it into a real product or service as quickly as possible. Outstanding ideas by themselves don’t have value, nor do great strategies. In a fast-changing market, speed is the key to seizing opportunities, as well as a means of protecting from risk.
We don’t have any answers ourselves—the answers are held by our users. To discover if our services meet their needs, we put them out in the world and ask users to decide. This means relentlessly repeating trial-and-error experiments hundreds and thousands of times, refining services hand-in-hand with our users. The speed with which we launch our services, the speed with which we improve them, and the speed with which we keep evolving, that is our competitive edge.
Are speed and quality conflicting ideals? We don’t think so. Speed is extremely important, but that doesn’t mean doing things carelessly.
We are a company of creators who imagine and develop products and services. Everything we do needs to be considered from our users’ point of view, imagining what they will find most useful and appealing. The labels on menu and buttons, user response times, font sizes—every tiny detail must be evaluated without compromise, making one precise refinement after another.
As Michelangelo purportedly said: “Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.” There is no finish line to this creative process. Every minor detail adds up to become major differences, which ultimately will be the deciding factor in how we surpass our competition.
All of our decision-making criteria are based on numbers, or more precisely data. Data means more than just rows of mindless figures—we see it as the totality of our users’ needs, a no-nonsense means of evaluation, and a compass for determining the direction of all our strategies and actions.
Personal experiences and anecdotes may mislead, but numbers don’t lie. Throw away your preconceptions and prejudices, and instead accept the fundamental reality of the data. Based on that data, recognize where you fell short of your targets, and put in the gritty, hard work to make steady improvements—that is the way we do things at LINE.
Contrary to what outsiders may believe, we are a collection of ordinary people—not superstars or superheroes—and we know the limits of what we can accomplish on our own. The reason we have been able to progress this far on the global stage is that each employee at LINE is wholly devoted to a single common goal, trusting and cooperating with their teammates while humbly recognizing their limits.
We believe in the strength that comes from our diversity—people from around the world, speaking different languages and with diverse values, bringing their respective strengths together to create something bigger than the sum of our parts.
LINE is a company that has repeatedly dared to attempt the unprecedented, and stayed firmly on course even when those attempts failed. We will continue to tackle the most innovative and ambitious of challenges. Perhaps these challenges will, more often than not, end in failure. Sometimes the going might get hard and we might want to retreat. It’s at those times when we stay strong and tell ourselves: “Let’s keep having fun.”
Yes, you may face many hardships and failures. But once you have overcome those trials, you can know that your work has helped to create wows to countless users all over the world. That is the rarest of opportunities, and if you embrace it, it can change your life.
Our corporate culture encourages people and teams to passionately take on new challenges, whether or not they succeed. Losing yourself in your work, immersed and passionate in the process—there is a true joy to be found in realizing your potential and the act of creation. So, please, enjoy your work and the thought of all that you are accomplishing.