100 Next-Era CEOs in Asia 2014 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Road Frontier

CEO Masao Namiki

Message to young people
First and foremost, I want to become someone who can support Japan. I always tell my students in schools and seminars that I want them to be people who can voice their opinions. To do so requires confidence, strong personal skills and the ability to consider opposing views among other things. Needless to say, it is important to have knowledge and know-how to effectively make use of information, but in this age of economic maturity, it is even more important to be able to act with confidence and maintain an open mind. If we can spread this idea to more people and get society working together, Japan will be able to create new values and nurture people with drive and vitality. That is what I hope to achieve.

My mother was often sick and we were not a rich family, so I spent my childhood thinking of ways to get by. We lived in a public housing complex in a bedroom community and people often threw away their electrical appliances back then. Of course it is prohibited by law to do that today, but I would take those discarded items and sell them to recycling shops for pocket money. I taught myself how to take the appliances apart, gradually becoming interested in electrical engineering, which led me to choose that as my major in university. While I was in university, in addition to tutoring at cram schools and giving private lessons, I also sold PCs I had assembled myself using parts I bought in Akihabara. I invested my money and earned enough to cover my undergraduate and postgraduate tuition. I think even then I had a strong independent mentality, earning me the nickname “Chairman” from my close friends.

As I was juggling two jobs at the time, I decided I wanted to be an independent consultant. In 2008, I began planning and analyzing different industries, while preparing a five-year plan to achieve my goal. However, the “Lehman shock” in 2009 disrupted my plans and, when the laboratory I was working in closed, I was forced to reconsider my options. I had always wanted to get my MBA and become a certified Japan Small and Medium Enterprise Management Consultant, but it was difficult to do while working, so I took advantage of the closing to acquire the certification. When I think about how I want to live and what I want to be, I remember something a cram school teacher I had met while I was studying for my university entrance exams told me: "Change the world with your own ideas and skills. Be someone who can inspire others to live life to the fullest." That is the inspiration for my vision. The year I got my MBA, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck the country, creating a different set of unexpected problems, but I started my business without any reservations and now, thanks to all the people who have supported me, I am able to continue my business.

I once had a client who was carrying a huge amount of debt. I gave them advice, but they refused to listen. When I offered to take care of it for them, they became angry, so we ended our relationship and later the company went bankrupt. I was shocked the client rejected my advice even though it was the right thing to do. What I learned from that experience is that even if someone knows the correct action to take, that alone might not be enough. I realized that a company cannot run on just technology and skill; it needs the proper mindset and passion as well. Once I understood that, I promised not to make the same mistake. In fact, I now stress the importance of those two factors.

Road Frontier's motto is to "Make all members, staff, and customers happy," so I think about how we can share happiness and how we can contribute towards achieving our goal. On top of that, I want to create a group that can help me achieve my own personal goal, which is to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest. This goal is the driving force behind the company and influences the types of clients we take on, including businesses that help and nurture others such as consulting and counseling, targeting professors and principals and the like. I hope more people learn about me and my work as I would like to widen my social circle and invite people to join Road Frontier and do business with me.

Company Profile

Road Frontier
Soft asset management consulting, career consulting, tourism and region revitalization consulting, web and social media strategizing, IT consulting