The CEO behind Rakuten and Kobo reveals how his unique approach to empowerment and collaboration defy conventional wisdom, and are the future of growth and globalization strategy.
If Web 2.0 described the shift from static to interactive life on the Web, then 3.0 is the next sea change ― driven by personalization, intelligent search, and user behavior. And that evolution has huge implications for everything we see, buy and do online. Rejecting the zero-sum, vending-machine model of ecommerce practiced by other leading internet retailers, who view the Internet purely as a facilitator of speed and profit, Hiroshi Mikitani argues for an alternate model that benefits merchants, consumers, and communities alike by empowering players at every step in the process. He envisions retail "ecosystems," where small and mid-sized brick-and-mortar businesses around the world partner with online marketplaces to maximize their customer bases and service capabilities, and he shows why emphasizing collaboration over competition, customization over top-down control, and long-term growth over short-term revenue is by far the best use of the Internet's power, and will define the 3.0 era.
Rakuten has already pioneered this new model, and Marketplace 3.0 offers colorful examples of its success in Japan and around the world. Mikitani reveals how the company enforces a global mindset (including the requirement that all its employees speak English, even in Tokyo); how it incorporates new acquisitions rather than seeking to completely remake or sell them for a quick profit; and how it competes with other retailers on speed and quality, without sacrificing the public good. Marketplace 3.0 is an exciting new vision for global commerce, from a company that's challenging all the accepted wisdom.
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Hiroshi Mikitani is the founder and chief executive of Rakuten, the third largest e-commerce marketplace company in the world, with operations in over a dozen countries across Europe, the Americas and Asia, and ranked 7th among Forbes' World's Most Innovative Companies of 2012. An Internet evangelist, he has more than 430,000 followers of his Twitter feed, and has spoken at many events including the eG8 Forum, DLD Conference and Y Combinator's Startup School. Mikitani has been featured in national and international broadcast and print media, including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Forbes, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mail, The Economist, and the Financial Times, among others. Mikitani received an MBA from Harvard Business School, and in 2012, was presented with one of HBS's highest honors, the Alumni Achievement Award. He lives in Tokyo, Japan.Review:
“Marketplace 3.0 is highly readable and largely devoid of the jargon that often mars similar efforts. Mikitani gives a well-considered argument for why Rakuten's business model should be the way of the future...Mikitani's vision for the next stage of the online revolution and his conviction that internet companies have a responsibility to drive change for the better may be an inspiration to aspiring digital entrepreneurs.” ―Financial Times
“When [Mikitani] writes about the future of e-commerce, marketers would do well to heed his advice.” ―The Dallas Morning News
“A Japanese e-commerce guru tells how to succeed in online business by breaking all the rules... In this upbeat debut, [Mikitani] describes his maverick business philosophy, aimed at challenging conventional wisdom and empowering sellers to create lasting relationships with customers.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Mikitani shares the secrets, beliefs, and drive that fueled Rakuten's meteoric rise to success... [he] weaves an inspiring entrepreneurial story and presents a thought-provoking case for breaking rules.” ―Publishers Weekly
“For anybody seeking to understand how to build and scale a company in the new global economy, Hiroshi Mikitani's Marketplace 3.0 provides a compelling guide to Rakuten's success. From Rakuten's early days as an Internet Mall to detailed insights on leveraging social media and providing a path for managers, Mikitani takes you inside the CEO's office with this thorough breakdown of what goes into today's successful global business.” ―Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter
“Mikitani is one of the world's great Internet entrepreneurs. He possesses one-of-a-kind insights on the intersection of e-commerce and globalization. In Marketplace 3.0, he describes his vision of the future in compelling fashion and shares his unconventional but hugely effective strategies for competing in a 'borderless business' environment. Highly recommended!” ―Reid Hoffman, co-founder & chairman of LinkedIn and co-author The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career
“Hiroshi Mikitani provides exactly the right advice at the right time. His fascinating story of building Rakuten into a global e-commerce giant offers profound and practical lessons for any leader who wants to master the new rules of global competition while also improving the state of the world.” ―Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School Professor and author of Confidence and SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth and Social Good
“Hiroshi Mikitani is one of the great truly global thinkers in the the business world today. The ideas about leadership, service and commerce in Marketplace 3.0 are profoundly elegant and immediately actionable.” ―Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote
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