12. Sony in USA General Magic Technologies (Continued)



1. Sony working atmosphere


*Sony creating new products:


During I was working with Sony, Sony UK, Sony USA, there was much more challenge sprit and taking risks to create new products, new type of services together with the commitment

provided by top management. A young junior manager (kakarichou) can discuss anything with the top management without permission by one’s immediate manager.

There was a freedom in discussing business, products, opinion, suggestion etc with any managers including top management.


Anyone taking risks to develop new product, new ideas would start investigation and making prototype and the design people, supporting people, one’s staff, managers can work together to

get product out to the market.


Sales and Marketing people were also able to have opportunities to discuss new ideas, user interfaces, design of products, etc with R/D people as well.

I had a number of opportunities in this with Mr. N. Kihara’s R/D people.

we were also helping R/D people to visit any potential companies, partners etc overseas.

This kind of interaction created a team sprit among Sony employees.


* Sony creating new services


I would think there maybe year middle of 1980s, the products concept to develop new ideas, product based on new technologies have changed to make more user friendly

operations (more software built-in), services such as down loading contents are

beginning to show up. Sony was good at “Walkman” whereby user can listen pre-recorded tapes. Sony is trying to launch downloadable listening device but it was used only Sony standard CODEC.

This was a one of largest mistake Sony has done! Sony people had a success of “Walkman” story and less attention to the creation of world-wide standard and services

Many products have been developed by Sony engineers but due to the fact that these products were successful, they have missed what is the most important subject which is

“How users can use it and how users can enjoy using products”

I believe there is a lack of shared objectives among Sony R&D people, development engineers,product marketing, product planning and sales people as well as new concept of listening music.


Before this stage, Sony product can create new market, new business etc but now the products can not create new market itself.

It maybe too early to rushing in to make a conclusion but I would think there is a huge lack of software engineering management capabilities. It was also indicated that the senior management

of products group headed by engineers, mostly electronics, or mechanical, not software.


Other element of this situation was caused by too many captains and not enough sailors. This I meant that the Japan domestic marketing company is not really teaming

with development team in HQ. They are teaming with people who are in charge of producing products, or designing new products. So, R&D team has lost its direction, missed launch

timing, new products not wanted by marketing team etc.

In addition to this fact, there is manufacturing company who s takes over a part of engineering matters from product design team which has created lack of experience in

developing new products and difficult to produce it by manufacturing people.


What is the most important for Sony?

Sony to bring new products and services to the market where users can enjoy using Sony products and services.

The too many captains, this meant too many sales, marketing, product planning, can create too much work with too small number of staff and taking much more time to finalize

the entire plan.

There was a lack of evaluation of success and mistakes made and such information are not widely shared by many engineering people. So, similar mistakes coming up again, again.


The lack of Top Management skills

I felt during my assignment at NEWS, PIC(USA) that my bosses have virtually

No understanding about computer and computer industry, technology trend etc so they asked me standard questions to answer. However, their questions were not helping to run my businesses and created unnecessary work! I was really frustrated to get these questions from my Bosses.