A 7 minute walk from Ebisu Station, in one of the most popular and fashionable areas in Japan, and near a famous shopping mall, the Garden Place…
A large window extends over the southeast wall with a high ceiling taking in all the sunlight. The interior design is wood themed. A bright, spacious and open environment…
“If I could only work in an office like that.”
This is my first impression of EDOCODE, a startup company which I interviewed for this article.
In 2016, EDOCODE became independent from its parent company, Wano, and started its own business. With “Point Mall” as its main business, EDOCODE has been actively working for three years since its establishment to develop new business models for loyalty rewards programs.
For this article, I interviewed the executive officer of EDOCODE, Mr. Kyo Yamada, to learn more about the company.
◆ About EDOCODE
We operate a web loyalty rewards service called “Point Mall.” Since this service brings us pretty stable revenue now, we want to start a new business in the near future. The new business plans are currently under consideration. About once a week, we hold meetings with employees and discuss new business plans. There are two categories that we are considering right now: businesses that can be carried out by our own company alone, and businesses through partnerships with other companies.
– Growing our own business
The “Point Mall” business we have been doing so far is in collaboration with partner companies, and we share the profits with them.
In the future, EDOCODE will also pursue businesses that we can run independently. With independence we are free to be very ambitions with our concept – “to make something that everyone in the world, no matter whether they are men or women, or what nationality they are, would want.” This is because the company’s goal is to “help people all over the world.”
Although this is a very open-ended goal, we will start with a product which has “features which people already ask for.”
Even if there are existing products which provide such features, we want to improve the parts that people find difficult to use, and add the uniqueness of EDOCODE by making our own product. These ideas are still at their beginnings, however, we are slowly building them up!
– Business leveraging Partners
The point mall business started providing services 10 years ago as a business unit of Wano. Over the years, things have changed. As a result, we hope to bring the next wave of innovation to point malls. Companies work with us have a strong reputation of trust, and some of them are industry leaders. They take our suggestions and feedback seriously even though our company is small. I think this relationship is very precious and I would like to continue to cherish it.
For this business plan, considering our background, I would like to continue to be involved in shopping in some form. For example, there are proposals by employees such as providing a small amount of insurance for online shopping. I think such a direction is possible, and we would like to keep good ideas coming and implement them.
◆ Company’s culture and policy
Our company values diversity and cooperation.
As I mentioned earlier, EDOCODE has been trying to create something useful for people all over the world. To achieve this, diversity within the company is essential. Thus, we want people from different areas to give diverse opinions.
However, I think that “diversity” alone is not good. There has to simultaneously be cooperation and teamwork in the company. We will respect the diversity and our employees’ sense of values of course, but I think whether they fit the company’s vision and beliefs is very important. Without this fit, both the company and the employees will fall apart. It is like a lotus or a water lily in the desert. They cannot bloom in that area. What I mean here is, to grow up there has to be an environment where you can adapt.
For example, EDOCODE aims for a flat organizational structure, and there are no strict vertical relationships. Some people may find it to be a friendly environment, while others may not. Whether candidates suit EDOCODE’s atmosphere is an important point in the selection process.
In terms of cooperation, we don’t recommend remote work very much in our company. It is better to work with a team physically together to carry out discussion especially when we are creating new products. Of course, we hold teleconferences at regular meetings with other companies and I think it’s natural to work with people in different places.
Another thing that I want to say is that we cherish “achievement,” not “efficiency.” Even if it’s not efficient in the short term and leads to detours, if those processes lead to an improvement in product quality, I think the “efficiency” is not very important. Of course, if you are just being inefficient and wasting resources, it is not the best use of your time. In any case, I think the processes required to create user-supported-products should be done.
◆ People we look for
The most important characteristic for EDOCODE employees is “friendliness”.
I think it is important to be able to care for others naturally to make the working environment comfortable. There are not any rules like “You have to do this or that” in our company, though there is something like “NG lists” which shows something you cannot do to maintain the relationships with coworkers. However, those are not strictly specified. This means that you have to be able to think naturally what kind of action you have to take to make the working environment comfortable for everyone.
“Humble and opinionated people”
This is also one of the characteristics we want our employees to have. What does this mean?
Well, a strong opinion is your thoughts on the business or your own opinion on it. This strong thought and opinion should be communicated to the team. And if the opinions of other members are different from yours, and if you think they are correct, accept them. I want this flexibility in our employees.
At EDOCODE, product managers, software engineers, and designers have many discussions together. So whether you can listen to other people’s opinions seriously and accept those to a certain extent, it is very important for teamwork. “Humble and opinionated people” are good at both.
It may be similar to “having a strong opinion”, but we also want employees to be passionate about the business and the products we make. I am looking for someone who likes to work, and has a strong will like, “We will absolutely make this!”
EDOCODE has been using Justa for a few years.
I asked why Mr. Yamada continues to use Justa, a recruitment platform for startup companies.
◆ “Justa has many talented candidates”
What I feel when I’m using Justa is that there are many talented candidates on this platform, which other domestic platforms do not have. The candidates’ background is sufficient, of course, but even when I meet them face-to-face, I can tell that they are very “smart.” In addition, I can see the candidates’ continuous efforts through their GPAs. Japanese resume rarely requires the information of GPAs, but it is actually very helpful information for recruiters. Also, I feel like we can reach people who really want to work hard in startup companies since Justa is originally a human resource introduction platform for IT startups. For these reasons, I feel like the employees we want matches very well with JUSTA’s candidates.
◆ “I want to use Justa in the future too”
The reason for this is that the talent of the candidates that we are looking for matches very well with the platform, Justa. However, Justa’s sincere response to comments and feedback is one of the biggest reasons to keep using it.
I use it everyday as a recruiter, so there are things that I feel are not enough or should be improved. Whenever I felt so, I can always give feedback to Justa through the person in charge. Of course it may take some time for those problems to be solved, but Justa is very sincere. If you look at their attitude, you will want to continue using it as well.
Mr.Yamada eased the formal atmosphere from the beginning of the interview with his friendly conversational skills and Kansai dialect. He answered each question with seriousness and gave very passionate answers, and I was able to strongly feel his dedication to the company and business.
I was not able to transmit his Kansai dialect through this article, but I really hope that you were able to see his friendly personality and the atmosphere of the company.
By Mao Kameyama