INTERVIEW

YAMASAKI Takao

Executive Officer

When I was rookie by YAMASAKI Takao - “Years of Discipline”

- Tell us your early career and your rookie moments.

I think it was the time for tolerance when I was a rookie.

In my very first job after graduating from university, my work was mainly manual labor - handling logistics in a warehouse. Lifting and carrying heavy parcels every day has hurt my body and it made me think of changing my occupation. Afterward, I moved to a consulting firm. Looking back to that time, I think I was willing to put myself into a tough situation and get trained harder as a professional.

Honestly, working as a consultant was suffering. For a while after I joined, all I did was to attend meetings with clients, take notes, hand them in to my boss, and repeat these every day. And my boss always left such sharp feedback on my notes, saying that I am no good.

I had no space to find a piece of fun in my job, just overworking every day. Those were, literally, a time of discipline. However, all the experiences I used to find suffering or meaningless were actually such worthwhile experiences and helped to shape who I am today. I still remember some specific moments and they remind me all of those experiences mean something.

- Tell us your motto for work gained through your career.

My motto is to think a step ahead. And always look back at those past steps and look into things I overlooked.

For example, I would reflect on this motto even for how to take notes. You are not supposed to simply write down what you heard, but you need to deeply understand, interpret, then sort them down clearly and concisely in words. I learned this from my boss who always revised my notes from this point of view.

Because of that experience, I always carefully envision business a little forward, like who will be involved and what decisions I should make. Through my past career, I learned that even basic and simple tasks can contribute to the company, and means a lot for personal growth as well.

Now, I understand the meaning of the phrase “God is in the details.” If I am to advise a way to achieve good work, always think one or even three steps ahead, and always stick to your work principle.

On a journey named “ZOZO”

- Tell us your unforgettable day at ZOZO

I think I will never forget the day of my job interview.

To be honest, I had already said yes to another job offer a little before I had my interview for ZOZO. But my recruitment agent recommended me for the job interview for ZOZO as it is an interesting company and it may fit me, so I thought I would just make a visit to the office.

Again, to be honest, I was not really thinking of joining ZOZO. But I met the current CEO SAWADA and VP of the division at the interview…and I was totally mesmerized right away. They are “good people” and into developing services with the fullest efforts.

Soon after the interview, my intention was turned upside down, to join ZOZO. Even looking back to that moment, I think I was meant to meet them for today.

- In 2022, ZOZO added the statement “Explore your style. Make you delighted.” to its strategy. How do you describe “style” in your words?

I will just try whatever seems interesting. And if it actually gives me any positive emotions, I would see it as “my style.”

Actually, this is not my word though. Two different people spoke like this and I thought it sounds nice.

I usually pick clothes for comfort, mostly in a simple outfit but I would like to start trying to wear something I wouldn’t usually pick as my first choice. And this may help me to explore my style more in-depth.

By the way, my outfit for today was picked out by the staff. Although it is not what I would usually pick, this may also be my style as I find it nice and feel good in this.

Beyond the service, for the customer's smile.

- How would you envision ZOZO in 10 years?

As our corporate philosophy states “Inspire the world. Deliver joy every day.,” we will deliver even more positive emotions and feelings to the world.

To achieve this, it is crucial to imagine the smiles of our customers to the fullest.

100 million yen we sold means that 10,000 customers purchased 10,000 yen t-shirt each for example. We need to pursue the world where we make all of those 10,000 customers smile.

“I feel like dressing up today,” “Why not pick out new clothes for a date tomorrow,” - these positive feelings from customers will make our sales.

We tend to only look at numbers in terms of business growth, but we always have to keep in mind that there are people beyond those businesses. I will lead my members with that in my mind, balancing numbers and customers’ smiles.

Precious pen, which opened up my career.

- Tell us your essential piece for work.

This is a pen from Montblanc my family gave me as a gift, when I was in my twenties. I had a lot of situations for writing when I was working at the consulting firm so I was always with this.

I was with this pen even when I moved to Spain for study, so this always stayed by my side when I was opening up my career.

I have actually sent a Montblanc pen to my colleague as a gift. That would also make me glad if the pen were there with someone when he or she is opening up their career.

Executive Officers YAMASAKI Takao Marketing Division / Group Business Strategy Division / AI & Analytics Division