Launching LinkedIn Japan: Creating Transformation as a Team
October 26, 2011
Update: Check out a welcome video to our Japanese users from our CEO, Jeff, here. - Ed
I joined LinkedIn almost 18 months ago because I wanted to work with smart people, to solve problems in a collaborative way, and to share in a culture that believes in leadership and fun. LinkedIn offered all that to me when I joined, and it’s been true every day since.
After working for several months in business development, I had the opportunity to work on a dream assignment: launching LinkedIn in Japan. My entire business development team was behind me while I transitioned to my new role, and the team that came together to launch Japan – from all functions in the company – inspired me every step of the way.
LinkedIn has a unique culture where big projects ripple across every facet of the organization. When LinkedIn started thinking about establishing a physical presence in Japan, I leapt at the opportunity to draw from my experience and contribute. Even better was the enthusiasm my colleagues showed for the task at hand: securing an office in Shibuya, building our site to support our Japanese users, managing a launch event from across an ocean, and working around the clock to accommodate deadlines and timezones. Now that we’ve launched LinkedIn in Japan; looking back, laughter and celebration is what I will take away from my weekly 4 am calls with my team at headquarters. Likewise, they were regularly emailing me at midnight, 1 am, and 2 am Pacific time with deliveries of their own, often so I could have something ready for my work day in Japan.
My interest in Japanese culture began in my childhood. I grew up in Kentucky, where Japanese auto manufacturers had a big presence. This exposure led me to study Japanese in college, and then spend two years after graduation as an elementary school teacher in Tahara, Japan. That’s when I fell in love with Japan, and Japan has become the strongest thread in my career history. I’ve worked for and with tech companies in Japan for more than 10 years.
I’ve since moved to Tokyo to build out our office and continue to grow our presence in Japan, and it’s truly a dream come true. Rei Hasegawa – our awesome marketing lead in Tokyo – and I have a whiteboard and a window, and we are in daily touch with our team at home, working together to achieve all the goals we have for this year and beyond. We’re recruiting a strong leadership team in Japan to help us – come work with us! And we feel lucky to be in this early stage environment together with the support of our brand and our company behind us.
LinkedIn is unique. It’s a company that creates an environment in which employees can take responsibility and accept a challenge, knowing that the entire organization will step up to help. And we have fun doing it – just look at the photos of the Japan team accompanying this story! If you’re attracted to solving hard problems with a talented team, and bring your passion to work, you can do no better than LinkedIn.