Lasting Words : An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur

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Home > Articles > Lasting Words : An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur

 Lasting Words : An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur

Today's Manager
April 25, 2012

By William Saito
John Wiley & Sons Singapore Pte Ltd
Reviewer: Tan Chee Teik

Child Prodigy Turns Entrepreneur
WHEN William Saito was 10, he was designing financial programs for Merrill Lynch. While in college, he was running a business creating software for corporate giants like NEC, Toshiba, and Sony. In this book, Saito reveals the path to success and gives an insight into his childhood.

While at college, he was making money writing software for information technology companies with the help of selected undergraduates working from spare dormitories. He ran the business under the name of I/O Software Inc with minimal overheads. To the outside world, the group looked like a respectable, downtown kind of company. Thanks to the magic of the facsimile and the new cellular phone technology, Saito was able to keep in touch with his clients in Japan, and they were unaware that they were dealing with young undergrads.

One day, he received a call from an NEC group who were in the country for the Comdex show. They said they would visit Saito’s setup in four days’ time. He panicked. If they realised that his company was so tiny, they would cancel all future contracts. He rented an office in a small town close by and with his supporters equipped the place so that it looked like a professional office. They convinced some 20 “programmers” to show up at the new office to pretend to be working. The plan worked and the NEC people were satisfied that they were dealing with a professional group.

Some of the advice he gives to would-be entrepreneurs include: Keep your passion burning; don’t let opportunities pass you by; don’t be afraid to promote yourself; and encourage a culture of empathy through volunteering.

Copyright © 2012 Singapore Institute of Management

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Today's Manager April-May 2012

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