Tim Romero is a Tokyo-based innovator, writer, and serial entrepreneur who finds speaking of one’s self in the third person to be insufferably pompous and affected.
So I’m going to stop.
Since I founded my first start-up in Japan more than 15 years ago, the positive changes that have taken place here have been astounding. There has never been a better time to be a start-up in Japan — or to be a foreign start-up entering the Japanese market — than right now.
In both my position at Engine Yard, and through various mentoring and educational activities, I have the pleasure of working with some of Japan’s most innovative company founders.
This site is a simply collection of my articles and thoughts on start-ups in Japan.
– Wow! Your Japanese is really good!
No. It’s not. I have a translator that makes me seem much smarter than I really am. I’ve lived in Tokyo a long time, send email, and regularly do presentations and speeches in Japanese, but I am constantly forgetting common words and stumbling over simple grammar.
My friends tease me about it relentlessly.
According to them, speaking with me is like talking to a precocious fifth-grader. Of course, I’ve always believed if you can’t explain your ideas to a fifth-grader, you probably don’t understand them well enough.
– I have a cool start-up. Can you help me, give me advice or introduce me to VCs?
Maybe. But you will be much better off coming to one the events I coach at or attending one of the open pitch events. You’ll get a wide range of input and advice there. And, although first time entrepreneurs find it hard to believe, raising money is by far the easiest part of running a company.
– Why did you come to Japan?
I first came chasing my dream of being a professional musician. I worked incredibly hard, made a lot of wonderful friends, and had way more fun than one person should be allowed to have, but my music career was very short — even by Japanese standards. Thankfully, this all happened in an era long before YouTube and MySpace.
– Why are you still in Japan?
Japan is my home. I have considered moving back to America a few times, but each time an interesting project came up, and I ended up starting another company and staying a bit longer. I spend a lot of time in San Francisco these days, but Japan is a wonderful place to start a company. It’s actually better than Silicon Valley in several ways.