8．Acquiring 100 million social friends in 3 years
You all know you can get free stamps on LINE, don't you? We have contracts with clients such as P&G, Fujiya, House Foods and UNIQLO who are developing their businesses globally. Sony Digital doesn't receive any official credits when under contract with such major corporations, but I'm quite sure that most of you have at least one stamp we have produced.
In fact, we are not just involved in branding stamps for companies. We are also top of the paid distribution field. One download is counted as one person, but over the last three years we have acquired approximately 100 million customers. If you consider this number as a friend count on social media, it would make us a world class competitor. Many of our stamps are designed to make you chuckle. Examples would be "Golgo 13" and "Osomatsu-kun", and more recently "Bonobono", "Kobito Zukan" and even "Chotto Uzai Sangokushi Stamps". Stamps for the CG animation "GOLDEN EGGS" that was a major hit on MTV 5 or 6 years ago are produced by Sony Digital. I utilize my network of contacts in Hollywood which I developed during my years at Sony Pictures to work with interesting freelance creators who do not belong to any national or overseas organizations.
9．Work that is easy to take is easily taken
At present, more people have smartphones than they do computers. In the future it may be possible to do everything on just one all-in-one smartphone. In reality, more and more people that head to Tokyo from small towns don't even have a television, let alone a computer. Even Sony sold their VAIO computer brand. If you read the newspapers, the remaining manufacturers such as Toshiba and Fujitsu are now looking to manufacture computers together. This is how bad the market has become for computers.
Just as a small aside, earlier this year there was an event called "South By South West (SXSW)" held in Texas. An economist studying America in the year 1900 found that 98% of the population were farmers. 100 years later on in the year 2000, that number was just 0.2%. So the number of people involved in farming that was close to 100% changed to less than 1% within a hundred years. But on the other hand, we can now grow many hundred times the amount of farm produce than we could 100 years ago. This is a result of automation enabled by the Industrial Revolution. If you read the newspapers, you can often see concerns that artificial intelligence will replace human jobs at some point in the future, but I think that is an unwarranted concern. But just like the transfer of farmers in the United States, work that could easily be done by robots maybe should be done by robots.
Products that you cannot sell are products that no one wants. Any person wants something they feel they need. This is why people changed from flip phones to smartphones. So what will happen in the future? I'm interested in the relationship with artificial intelligence. When drones are developed to be able to fly by themselves and communicate from the air, maybe we won't need smartphones any more. I hope that you all actively create new ideas that will move and change society in a better direction.
10．Do we really need that product or service?
I am constantly saying to staff, "It would be ideal if everyone was full of ideas". For example, someone was about to open a store and they ask us to "make the opening lively". A conventional type of advertising company would say "let's get a famous person there" or "let's give out this type of souvenir", giving suggestions that would make the store itself the stage. But we would show the place itself as a lively location on social media such as LINE and Instagram. Through being shared on the Internet, the one "point" would become a virtual "face". As a result, cost performance would increase and it can be made a talked about topic. This is why we need ideas and imagination.
When a company makes a new product, the idea of making a TV commercial and securing enough sales floor space is a 20th century concept. I still believe that television is one of the strongest media, but now we have Internet media. We must therefore think of how to best utilize this media in order to sell products. In these situations then, we say to people, "our company specializes in the Internet, we can give you a lot of ideas". Here, our most important task is to look from the viewpoint of, "does the world really need this product or service?"