Akio Morita and Masara Ibuka founded Sony in 1958. Morita was an Engineer who was interested in creating finely engineered miniature electronic products. He was the chair of Sony up to 1994, and died in October 1999 at the age of 78. His personal estimated worth was $33 billion US dollars.
Morita being an Engineer believed that offering a finely designed and built product together with first class customer support was the most important. He took the word quality right out of the dictionary and added to it. To him it meant more than meeting customer satisfaction. Moreover, customer satisfaction was the most important aspect of running a large and successful company.
When he started Sony, he was not thinking of profits, his goal was to impress the world with his innovative products. Being an Engineer at heart his main aim was to leader as an innovator; however, he also understood that innovation alone was not enough to make a business successful.
His products always came with an impressive looking circuit diagram in the last page of the manual, which made a statement. His philosophy was that if the product failed, and was out of warranty, then it should be possible for the customer to have it repaired locally, and not have to incur the loss of the product.
He was so proud of his products that he did not hide behind the one-year consumer protection guarantee because he believed that his products were superior and should last for more than a year, consequently he even repaired an item if it was out of guarantee.
He also believed that building consumer trust was the key to success, and to do that his products had to be reliable.
Having recently visited Japan and met many Japanese people, I have come to understand that reputation is the corner stone to Japanese culture. Good business name is the same as a good family name. They are a very proud and civilised culture, which is why to Morita it was second nature.
When Morita was in charge, Sony had a true purpose and direction; it was a company in its peak because at the very heart, there was the resonant voice of Morita's vision. If I were the CEO of Sony, I would run the firm using Morita's vision.
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