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DoCoMo--Japan's Wireless Tsunami: How One Mobile Telecom Created a New Market and Became a Global Force Hardcover – October 29, 2002


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America is just waking up to the vast potential of the wireless Web. In Japan, nearly a third of the population already works, plays, and shops with wireless, continuously connected to a universe of data, services, and communities. The force responsible is a young company with a name that means "anywhere" in Japanese: DoCoMo. Another case study that examines a specific corporation for management lessons it can share with others, DoCoMo--Japan's Wireless Tsunami takes a riveting look at the world’s second-largest mobile phone service that has, after only two years, a customer base as big as AOL’s. Don’t think of this book as an apology for the languishing telecom industry. Instead, it’s an inside look at how creativity and innovation were nurtured at one of the world’s stodgiest companies--Nippon Telephone and Telegraph--and how a small team of committed visionaries never said "Never" and created DoCoMo’s extraordinarily popular I-mode technology.

For those who've read of the importance of "intrapreneurship" in corporations, here is a real-life exploration of that principle in action. Noted business strategists John Beck (The Attention Economy) and Mitchell Wade give us story upon story of the dynamic personalities behind I-mode, from NTT Chairman Kouji Ohboshi--who saw DoCoMo through a series of crises that would have meant early death for most U.S. startups--to CEO Keiji Tachikawa, whose post-WWII childhood gave him a keen grasp of the economics of disparity.

With chapter headings like "People-People Who Need People" and "Passion Is Destiny," this book sends the strong message that every successful business model depends so heavily on the human factor--a point that seems lost in the venture-capital-dominated model of the West. With lessons for all business leaders, in any industry, this book stands as a testament to the pivotal role of conviction, integrity, and personal passion in business success. --Charles Decker

From Publishers Weekly

NTT DoCoMo is among the most exciting and profitable companies in the world. In three years, it has sold Internet wireless telephones to 29 million Japanese residents, despite a recession and low consumer spending. DoCoMo's I-mode phones are not just, or even primarily, for talking. They can take and transmit pictures, access the Web, send and receive data and transact business without credit cards or currency. When the company announced plans for 500% market penetration (by selling wireless services for pets) and replacing paper currency, no one laughed. DoCoMo is working hard to replicate its success outside Japan, and in March listed its stock on the New York and London stock exchanges. As a spinoff of the stodgy Japanese national telephone company, DoCoMo has unrivaled appeal for trendy hipsters and geeky gadget-heads alike. It spends $10 billion a year on research and development, a field most service providers have abandoned. Unfortunately, this book on the company written by two thinkers from Accenture's Institute for Strategic Change is outrageously padded. It provides only the sketchiest information about I-mode and the company's history and strategy. There are two pages about scheduling an interview with Chairman Kouji Ohboshi, but the interview itself is a six-year-old newspaper reprint, short and far from incisive. Much of the book consists of sidebars, such as a table of 1998 world steel production by country and a World Bank analysis of land redistribution in Japan, information seemingly irrelevant to DoCoMo and not referenced in the text.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (October 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814407536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814407530
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,073,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carla Killetti on March 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've been looking for literature that explores why Japan is so technology obsessive, they have to have the latest of everything and feel utterly out of touch if they dont. Technology is fashion.

Having lived there a year i instantly recognised the name 'DoCoMo' and thought it was the perfect forum to analyse this exact phenomena, DoCoMo is the mother of all technology companies over there and really has become a part of the way of life there.

This book separates into chapters based on emotion, an odd idea, but one that works quite well. For me the Love and Fun chapters accurately depict the passion the Japanese have for technology and how DoCoMo capitalized on that.

However I wasn't looking at this book as an example of a business model. I skipped most of the facts and figures, though they are easy to read and very relevant. People who are skepical of this books practical use offering a business model that has a totally different approach, probably havent spent enough time in Japan to see how successfully DoCoMo has been. I believe this may be the future of the business model. But essentially i think this book would fit much better in the 'Technologies Influence On Society' section of the bookshelf.

Those who are researching technology as part of society are the ones who will really get a kick out of this book, there are so many interviews with developers, users, fanatics and novices, it is a feast of information that explains just why the Japanese are atleast a year ahead in the Mobile Industry. And why the Japanese are so passionate about their gadgets.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Declan Hayes on October 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Chapter one of this pathetic book begins by informing us that "Business cases aren't romance novels. Things begin, and end, with the numbers". Not so this book. As well as seemingly endless diversions into such eclectic themes as post war land reform in Japan, General MacArthur's victorious cavalcade into Tokyo, hitch hiking in New England, some unfathomable nonsense about the "mystic Southwest" of the United States, a reference to Mary Poppins, a couple of paragraphs on Bruce Springsteen, the problems of mowing lawns in Utah, the relatively high mortality rates of upper class Britons during both world wars, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the usual sociological drivel of upwardly pointing nails getting hammered down in Japan, some buzz words from complexity theory, some tips on putting golf balls and interminable pages of insipid tips on how to turn your (non Docomo related) work into fun, we are given six shallow chapters respectively titled Love, Inequality, Impatience, Luck, Fun and Strength with a further appendix called Intimacy and M-Commerce. That is followed by a mercifully short interview with Docomo President Kouji Ohboshi, which, because it was originally carried in 1996, is, like the entire book, totally irrelevant to the current market conditions Docomo faces.

Although the book's blurb claims the authors had unprecedented access to Docomo's top executives, there is no evidence of that in this over priced book. We are, however, told that Ohboshi "looks like a conventional Japanese executive. He is tall". We are also told that he has the style of a cockroach, meaning that he is impatient and hurries around a lot. Because cockroaches tend to get stamped on, it is a dangerous and, at best, very silly metaphor to describe a dynamic CEO of a thriving company.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What we have here are really two separate but related books bound together in a single volume: One examines the extraordinary success of the world's second largest mobile phone company, Do-Co-Mo (which means "anywhere"); also, using Do-Co-Mo as a case study, Beck and Wade explain why that company's "huge techno-success story is all about feelings....In the end, what sets Do-Co-Mo apart is [in italics] passion." Reflecting on what they learned from their rigorous research, Beck and Wade confide that their findings forced them to propose "a radical, almost embarrassing idea: In managing your business, human passions matter. A Lot. More than any of us admit, and certainly more than any of us act on....Reflecting on the research presented [in this volume], we believe that a company that understands the power of human passions, and manages those passions in its customers, its employees, and its leaders, will create value faster than its competitors." So, this volume combines a highly informative, at times compelling case study with a thoughtful and eloquent explanation of how the core lessons of Do-Co-Mo's success can help literally any organization (regardless of size or nature) to achieve its own success by creating, nourishing, and sustaining the passion of everyone involved.
Please allow me a brief digression. By now I have become convinced that it is impossible to motivate others but that it is possible to inspire others to motivate themselves. I am also convinced that what people believe determines their values and those values determine their behavior. Throughout human history, the most effective religious, military, and social leaders have been passionate about the given enterprise and their passion was contagious. Because others shared their faith, exceptional success was achieved...
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