Dear Fans and Supporters of Uzabase and NewsPicks

2018.10.26

Please allow me to inform you of my decision to resign as director of Uzabase in order to concentrate on the treatment of an immune system disease that I have had since 2012. While this has been a very difficult decision for me, it is based on deep consideration of which path would be most true to the mission and values of Uzabase Group in the long term.

The Uzabase Group has been an amazing, magical company for me. The Group is made up of talented individuals from around the world, who work with dedication to their mission and values. In the early days of the company—in the apartment in Shinagawa which we rented as our first office—Umeda, Inagaki and I often talked about what kind of company we wanted to create. I remember clearly the time Umeda said, “Don’t we want to make a company where everyone involved can become happy?” The motivation of the management team has remained the same ever since.

We have been working towards our vision of creating a company in which every member can unleash their originality and talent without suppressing their authentic selves: one that can channel its members’ energy to consistently deliver innovative products and services, so that as a result, all of its stakeholders—including employees’ families, customers, business partners, and investors—would feel true satisfaction with being involved in the company.

When a company engages in commercial activities, the long-term financial success of all stakeholders is a prerequisite that cannot be compromised in any situation. However, this is only one part of pursuing happiness for all stakeholders. Equally as important are the members which, through all of their activities, continuously convey their values and the world they envision. In doing so, they share the very raison d'être of the company with its stakeholders.

I believe this is the only way for the members to hold onto their day-to-day passion and sense of meaning, deliver their best performance, and motivate stakeholders to support the company over the long term. In turn, being surrounded by such emphatic fans of the business, reinforces the real passion of the members. In this way, we can create a virtuous cycle in which all stakeholders, including ourselves, become happy.

Of course, over the ten years I have been involved in management, I cannot in any way claim that we have fulfilled all of our stakeholders’ expectations. On the contrary, the reality was that we struggled and learned hard lessons many times whenever we could not meet 100% of the short-term demands of our stakeholders. Nevertheless, I can say with absolute confidence that even in cases where we did not meet everyone’s full expectations, we earnestly discussed what would be truest to our mission and values in the long term, and acted accordingly. I know more than anyone else that the current management team has been doing this every day. This stance has helped us overcome obstacles of all kinds: I actually feel that the Uzabase Group has always grown and gained strength through such hard experiences.

The first of the seven values of Uzabase is “Think beyond the norm and take your own initiatives.” This is a statement of our belief that when people unleash their unique talents without suppressing their authenticity, choosing the path one believes in is the best way to maximize performance. Moreover, to take one’s initiative and to fulfill one’s commitment to stakeholders are two sides of the same coin: in order to take your own initiative, it is essential that you take your own responsibility. In my ten years involved in management, I have always been making sure that all members of the Uzabase Group embrace this value. And I have been particularly demanding that members of management be uncompromising in this stance.

To talk briefly about my personal issues, last year I struggled through several periods of poor health caused by an immune system disease, making it difficult for me to dedicate myself to the role of representative at the Uzabase Group. Reflecting on my own condition, I concluded that I would not be able to consistently fulfill the responsibilities of a representative, and that handing over leadership to the appropriate person as swiftly as possible would be the best way to deliver on my role. In the past year, I focused my attention on restoring my health, and over the time spent in relaxation with family and friends for the first time in a long while, I recovered almost to the point where I can lead a regular life without much pain. But due to the unfortunate nature of the disease, it is difficult to maintain conditions during times of seasonal change and inclement weather. This situation is behind my decision to resign as director and focus on the treatment of this intractable disease.

I believe this is the best way to avoid putting any additional burden on the team because of my potential inability to fulfill the important responsibilities as director, and to mitigate further deterioration of the health of both myself and my family. For the time being, I will serve the company as management advisor, so I can support everyone in the Uzabase Group as much as possible while acknowledging the instability of my own health.

Fortunately, the Uzabase Group has always engaged in team management based on its values. Thanks to this, the team has continued robust management since I stepped down as representative a year ago. As evidence of our values “The road less traveled brings the most growth” and “Your team will be there in your darkest hour,” all of the members stood up in the face of this difficult situation and accepted the challenge of achieving further growth.

I resigned as representative last year, and will now do so again as director. Both decisions have been difficult for me, but when I asked the other executives for their thoughts, they would always smile and encourage me saying, “just go straight down the path that you think is best for you in the long run. That matches your values as leader of Uzabase, and above all, you’ve been telling other members to do so ever since we founded this company. You can now count on the members who uphold those values that Uzabase will stay strong whatever choice you make.”

The time of resignation may not be the best occasion for me to mention this, but since the very beginning of this company, we have embraced the value of helping each other as a team to encourage each other’s self-realization. With this philosophy guiding our way, all members including the new management team have become stronger than ever over the past year. I myself have been greatly supported by their strength, and reminded of all the great things the Uzabase Group stands for.

Needless to say, we are not without challenges. Especially with the acquisition of Quartz that took place this year and further expansion of the Group from the Japanese and Asian markets to the United States, the biggest challenge is whether the members all over the world can truly believe in our mission and values, not just as an ideology, but as the basis of every action they take in their daily work.

That said, as long as the members around the world interact with their colleagues, customers, and business partners with respect, being true and faithful to their mission and values in every action and decision in their daily work, without being swept away in the dynamism of business growth or volatility in the market and business environment, I am sure that the Uzabase Group will continue to be the magical company that brings happiness to all internal and external stakeholders.

The current management team is actually the most powerful in the ten years since the company’s foundation. It is a team of members that hold unwavering faith in our mission and values, and are fearless in tackling difficulties. Thanks to them, I am personally extremely excited about the future of Uzabase Group.

In the past ten years, I was immensely lucky to work together with a great team and do great work I can truly be proud of. The time I spent at Uzabase was the best I could ever hope for. I will resign as director, but look forward to my new life to actively restore my health and keep supporting Uzabase, both as management advisor and as one of the biggest fans of the company.

I cannot fully express how grateful I am to everyone who supported the Uzabase Group so far. It is a true joy for me to see you keep rooting for the global success of Uzabase Group.

 

Ryosuke Niino
Co-founder and Director, Uzabase, Inc.

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