Tag Archives: Japan

NEST2017 – part 2


Below are mentioned some notes that I took during the second day following the first day.

Ride-sharing, car-sharing and autonomous cars related session:

  • 85% of cars are not used

  • Middle east GDP: 3 trillions USD

  • Getaround: rent your car to people

    • 6 billions unused cars everyday in the world

    • Their mission: solve the car overpopulation issue

    • San francisco: plenty of cars at every block

    • Smartphone: key to your car

    • Available in 12 cities

    • 3 problems:   hardware device, insurance, new behavior


    • The AI computing company

    • Tesla says a full self-driving car will show up very soon

    • Prediction: 150 millions autonomous cars by 2025

    • They are making cars that learn human driving behavior

    • There is a lack of AI engineers in Japan

  • Cabify and Careem

    • Different markets: different labor cost

    • 70% of taxi cost is driver salary: in the middle east it is only 20%

    • Dubai is quite advanced and quite eager: by 2025 Dubai wants to get to a point where 25% of cars are autonomous

  • Questions from the audience

    • What happens to the car industry when self-driving cars appear? → coexistence and retrofitting from non AI to AI


Koizumi Junichiro’s speech:

  • On nuclear power and nuclear waste processing and neutralization

  • “Genpatsu Zero!” (Zero nuclear plants!)

  • Now Japan has only 3 nuclear plants

  • Natural energy such as wind and solar provide more than 30% of the whole electricity consumption in Japan and nuclear energy is only below 2%

  • Over the past few years “Genpatsu Zero” has been proven right

  • 100% security is not possible

  • He really respects Ozaki Yukio


Yoshiki’s session:

  • Art of life

  • Life is ephemere: his father died suddenly where he was only a child

  • Any dream can come true if you set the corresponding goal

  • He learns English 5h per day

  • Cool japan: being Japanese has become cool

  • You do not ride the waves, you create them

  • You just need to remove the negative thoughts

  • There are songs creation patterns

  • AI cannot create recklessness


Tom Kelley’s session:

  • Design thinking

  • Empathy

  • Ideo

  • Start with the need

  • Treat life as an experiment

  • Do more experiments to be a successful entrepreneur

  • Leverage the power of storytelling, put it short:

    • Ex: Steve Jobs on the first ipod: a thousand songs in your pocket

Drones’ session:

  • Airmap

    • Airmap is making drones part of everyday life

    • Partnership with Rakuten (Rakuten Sora)

  • Rapyuta Robotics:

    • Accelerate the accessibility of drones for users

    • Create a drones data management platform

  • Yuneec: aviation technology

  • Geofencing, drone air traffic control

  • The Japanese government is actually very helpful in building regulations for drones

  • The sky is the limit: let us work together

  • Autonomous flying is the future

  • There will be  2 drone licenses: autonomic and non automatic drones respective licenses


AI panel:

  • Jay Bellissimo of IBM’s Watson

    • Data is doubled every 3 years

    • Unstructured data is massive

    • Leverage data to make decision

    • IBM: 300,000 employees in the world

    • The best tool for recruiting: to have a great mission

  • Yutaka Matsuo of Tokyo University

    • Deep learning

      • 5.2%: human error rate

      • 3.1%: machine erro rate

      • Deep learning + reinforcement learning

    • Machines Cambrian explosion

    • Japan is in a very good position because they are very good at building physical robots and machines

    • At the same time the population is shrinking: AI can play a crucial role to solve the problem

    • Deep learning is becoming a commodity

    • Life is different from intelligence. Intelligence is just a tool

    • Monozukuri has a lot of potential combined with deep learning. Japanese people should learn a lot about deep learning.

    • AI should be a great opportunity for Japan to regain traction after those lost 20 years

  • Masaya Mori of Rakuten Institute of Technology

    • Delivery drones with AI

    • Using AI to find hidden human needs and interesting correlations for marketing

    • Separation: collaboration between AI and humans: humans are great at creating new frameworks

    • The role of Humans is to create startups


Closing session:

  • Mikitani: transportation is undergoing an IT revolution: from ownership to services

  • Very soon around 30% of all houses will be vacant

NEST2017 – part 1


A few weeks ago, as a co-director of Descartes Search, LLC, I, Pascal Hideki Hamonic got the opportunity to attend NEST2017.

It was the second time for me to attend NEST, the first time being NEST2016.

As last year, it was a very fulfilling experience.

Below are mentioned some notes that I took during the first day.


Button Inc founder:

  • First mover advantage is not crucial

  • What is crucial is to be passionate about what you do

  • The competitors do not know what they are doing

  • The best way to be successful is to really solve a problem for the market and prove your model with customers, users and revenues

  • Good entrepreneurship is having a mission

  • About Japan:

    • Design

    • Innovation

    • Very high level services


Chat between Mikitani and Horowitz:

  • Recent AI breakthroughs: AI can compute efficiently very precise approximations

  • Autonomous driving: edge cases are tricky to handle

  • You don’t know why machine learning goes wrong: this is the real danger

  • Bushido spirit: keep death in mind all the time

  • You cannot be prepared for every scenario:  the role of the CEO is to make high quality quick decisions

  • Horowitz invests in people that have figured out something about the world

  • Evolution of technology: hardware —> software —> data (maths)

  • How to solve Japan’s aging population problem: immigration, making babies


Panel discussion between the Takashi Inoue, Son Masayoshi and Chikatomo Hada:

  • New concept: circular economy

  • Michelin: tyre as a service

  • Rice work, life work, like work

  • Mention of hydrogen-based energy system….


Drew Houston’s session:

  • Dropbox: 500m users

  • Cloud data storage products to help teams work together

  • Work about work: 60% of work is wasted

  • Dropbox paper: to work together remotely

  • Dropbox is great for sharing documents

  • the new admin:

  • He reads a lot

  • Even strengths can be weaknesses

  • Coaching is very a good industry

  • Constantly learn new skills, by giving up one’s own strengthens

  • AI is very good at doing the work for work


Kathy Matsui’s session:

  • In Japan interest rates and cost of capital are low

  • 2.8% unemployment rate

  • 43% more jobs than jobseekers

  • There is a need to raise wages—> That is why japanese inflation rate needs to go up

  • Japanese exports are 15 % of GDP, consumption is 50%

  • Make Japan more self sufficient with a bigger domestic economy

  • Japan needs more deregulation

  • Japanese economy is shrinking, there is no growth but Japan has a massive stash of savings

  • A need for new trade policies + structural reform policy

  • 2 duties of citizens:

    • vote

    • stay informed

  • There is a lot of competition for mindshare

  • Questions from the audience

  • WSJ’s business model is to make pay for subscriptions

  • Labor-intensive industries need the society to invest more in IT

  • Construction and nursing are examples of labor-intensive industries: Japan needs more immigration

  • 2020: tighter job market, higher interest rates

Slush Tokyo 2017

slush tokyo 2017

We attended Slush Tokyo for the first time a few weeks ago.

This is was a very interesting experience.

We could get very valuable information about the Japanese startups scene in Tokyo.

Below is a digest ofsome notes taken during the event.

Allison Baum

Go global:

⁃ Because you will be able to access a bigger market
⁃ Because you will be able to optimize your operations


The 3 most important things when you do a startup:

⁃ Disrupting
⁃ The team
⁃ The vision

Carlos Ghosn

⁃ Diversity is a strength but it is difficult
⁃ Innovation is when you face adversity
⁃ Globalization is not going to stop
⁃ There is sometimes correction in big trends
⁃ The performance of the ceo should be measured in terms of the company’s revenues and profits
⁃ Look at the long term
- You want to innovate: propose an idea that nobody wants to listen to

Rapyuta Robotics

- You have to look at the market and the scalability of your technology
- 2 elements in order to be able to raise money:
- To have a very clear vision
- To have a great team
- They have a global team
- English is their main language

Karoli Hindriks of Jobbatical

- Bringing diversity inside the company helps grow the company
- Diversity is what makes Silicon Valley great

Taizo Son
- “IPOs are so 2015″

Maya Rogers’s panel discussion:

- If you want to grow your startup you need to focus on a problem and solve it but do not attract negative problems
- You need to be a doer (Execute)