About Making The Most Successful Electronics Product In History – “Made In Japan: Akio Morita And Sony” (Book Review)

It was back in the year 1990 when I read this book for the first time. As of the time I am reading now, which is May 2022, the book and I have really aged a lot. Yet, reading Akio Morita’s story again, having spent 30 years in the area of patents and innovation, I still enjoyed it enormously. And that for several very good reasons. In hindsight, one can say that Akio Morita is not only a great pioneer of consumer electronics’. Akio Morita created the most successful consumer electronics product ever: the Walkman sold 250 million units.

This is because Akio Morita’s book helps to explain my preaching that every start-up should have an Entrepreneur and a Technician for being successful, and a Manager who keeps these two people from ripping each other’s eyes out. That must eventually happen because the Technician’s task in life is contrary to the Entrepreneur’s task in life.

And one of the most important chapters in Morita’s book for me is when he describes how he developed the Walkman product and morphed it into a successful product. He adopted the corporate policy of introducing new products that were basically unrated products. Then he let consumers tell the company what improvements they wanted, what features they did not like, and so forth. Then he told his engineers to implement the recommended alterations made by consumers.

This book is a keeper and that is why I bought it as a hardcover version.

This is what my 4×4 Innovation Strategy is all about: get your first product out within the first priority year after filing your first patent application. And be sure to file your first patent application before you go public, testing the market with a sell-sheet or a simulation video.

The rationale for this strategy is that your standards may not be relevant to what consumers want. Let the consumers tell you how to improve the product. Listen to the consumer, not your fears. Don’t pursue perfection when you can start making money with a product that is 80% ready for prime time. Take the money, and listen to the complaints. Only then improve the product.

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