Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of SoftBank Group Corporation, is a Japanese entrepreneur and investor who has amassed an enormous fortune through his commercial activities and investments. Here’s a rundown of how he accumulated his fortune:
- Early Ventures: Masayoshi Son began his entrepreneurial path at a young age. He created a pocket-sized electronic translator while studying at the University of California, Berkeley, which made him a lot of money. His interest in business and technology grew as a result of his success.
- The Origins of SoftBank: Masayoshi Son launched SoftBank in 1981, initially as a wholesaler of software products. Later on, the company expanded into computer-related products and services. SoftBank’s early success was built on delivering licensed software in Japan, at a time when the software industry was only getting started.
- Internet Investments: Son’s early awareness of the internet’s potential was one of the primary elements that contributed to his enormous wealth. He made a succession of significant investments in internet and technology companies in the 1990s, several of which were quite successful. Among the notable investments are Yahoo (later renamed Yahoo Japan), Alibaba, and Ziff-Davis.
- Alibaba Investment: One of Masayoshi Son’s most well-known and profitable investments was his early stake in Alibaba. SoftBank funded $20 million in Alibaba in 2000, while it was still a very tiny e-commerce startup in China. Alibaba expanded into a global tech behemoth over time, and SoftBank’s investment in the company became incredibly valuable.
- Vision Fund: SoftBank announced the Vision Fund in 2017, a huge investment fund aimed at investing technology startups and innovative firms. The fund received investments from a variety of sources, including the Saudi government. The Vision Fund made significant investments in startups such as Uber, WeWork, Slack, and others.
- Investment Strategy: Masayoshi Son is known for his aggressive and creative investment techniques. He frequently invests in businesses that are challenging existing sectors or bringing novel technologies. While this strategy is risky, when successful, it has resulted in considerable returns on investment.
- Risk and Timing: Son’s willingness to take measured risks and his ability to strategically time investments have both played important roles in his wealth building. He has a talent for seeing emerging trends and technology before they become commonplace.
- Diversification: In addition to technology investments, SoftBank has ventured into a variety of industries, including telecommunications, robotics, renewable energy, and others. This diversification has enabled the organization to obtain revenue from a variety of sources.
Masayoshi Son has achieved great success, but he has also encountered hurdles and losses, such as WeWork’s and other Vision Fund ventures’ high-profile struggles. His trajectory exemplifies the power of entrepreneurial vision, strategic investment, and risk-taking in the corporate world.
- Famous quotes of Masayoshi Son
- Lesser-Known facts about Masayoshi Son
- What companies does Masayoshi Son own?
- What is Masayoshi Son net worth?
- What philanthropic initiatives Masayoshi Son is involved in?
- What are some real stories of Masayoshi Son leadership?
- What can you learn from Masayoshi Son?
- What are some controversies Masayoshi Son is involved in?
Famous quotes of Masayoshi Son
Masayoshi Son is recognized for his daring words and visionary ideas. Here are a handful of his well-known quotes:
- “I have always believed that the biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
- “The information revolution is sweeping through our economy. No company can escape its effects. No industry is safe. It is an imperative to adjust or perish.”
- “When 20 years go by, my biggest fear is that we may have focused too much on what’s behind us, and we might not realize we are already in the midst of a paradigm shift.”
- “I don’t give up easily. I’m either stubborn or persistent, depending on how you look at it.”
- “I am a risk taker. I usually bet the ranch.”
- “My biggest advice for the 20-year-olds is: you should take risks when you’re still not afraid to fail. Once you start to have a family, it’s a different story. I started when I was a student, so I could fail.”
- “For young people, it is very easy to give up after a failure. It is very easy to go back to your comfort zone. But it’s very important to get over your failure as soon as possible and continue with a dream and vision.”
- “People are always asking me, ‘What’s the next big thing?’ They’re looking for some magic idea that will transform everything. But there is no next big thing. There are only next big things.”
- “If 30 years from now, the technology is same as today, that will be my failure. If 30 years from now, every person is equally poor as today, that will be my failure.”
Masayoshi Son’s attitude on risk, creativity, tenacity, and the ever-changing nature of technology and business is reflected in these comments. They reveal his attitude as well as the ideals that have guided his entrepreneurial journey.
Lesser-Known facts about Masayoshi Son
Here are a few lesser-known facts about Masayoshi Son:
- Early Ventures: Prior to launching SoftBank, Masayoshi Son founded a few other enterprises, including a mail-order firm for imported items that failed. In addition, he founded a publishing company that created a multilingual software guide.
- Education and Multilingual Skills: Masayoshi Son earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He speaks several languages, including Japanese, English, and Korean. His language talents have been useful in international commercial transactions.
- Moniker “Masa”: Those who know Masayoshi Son well refer to him as “Masa.” This abbreviated variant of his name is widely heard in everyday conversation and in the media.
- Personal Loss: Kiyoshi Nakayama, Masayoshi Son’s close friend and SoftBank’s president, died unexpectedly in 1992. Son suffered a huge emotional and professional loss as a result of this.
- Ziff-Davis Acquisition: In the early 1990s, SoftBank purchased Ziff-Davis, a well-known American media corporation specializing in technology periodicals. This was one of SoftBank’s earliest international acquisitions, demonstrating Son’s desire for global expansion.
- Japan’s Richest Person: Due to SoftBank’s triumphs and investments, Masayoshi Son has held the title of Japan’s richest person at various points in time.
- Art Collection: Son is known to have a sizable art collection, which includes works by well-known artists such as Pablo Picasso and Gustav Klimt.
- Renewable Energy Initiatives: Son is concerned about environmental sustainability and renewable energy, in addition to technology. He has made significant investments in the renewable energy market through SoftBank’s subsidiary, SB Energy.
- Future forecasts: Masayoshi Son has a track record of making daring forecasts about the future of technology. For example, he projected that by 2040, there will be more robots on Earth than people, and that the Singularity, a hypothetical peak of tremendous technological growth, will occur by 2047.
- Baseball Fan: Masayoshi Son is a baseball fan and the owner of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, a professional baseball team in Japan. He has been active in the team’s operations and is well-known for his dedication to its success.
These lesser-known facts paint a more nuanced picture of Masayoshi Son’s personality, interests, and the many facets of his life outside of his work as a software entrepreneur and investor.
What companies does Masayoshi Son own?
Masayoshi Son is most closely identified with SoftBank Group Corporation, a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding firm. SoftBank Group has or has major investments in a wide range of businesses. Masayoshi Son and SoftBank Group are linked with the following notable firms and investments:
- SoftBank Corp.: SoftBank Group’s telecommunications business that provides mobile, broadband, and internet services in Japan.
- Arm Holdings: In 2016, SoftBank purchased Arm Holdings, a British semiconductor and software design company. The technology developed by Arm is frequently used in mobile smartphones and other electrical products.
- Alibaba Group: SoftBank is a significant shareholder in Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce and technology company. Alibaba has risen to become one of the world’s top technology corporations.
- Yahoo Japan: SoftBank owns a substantial investment in Yahoo Japan, a search and e-commerce company. It’s worth mentioning that, Yahoo Japan and LINE Corporation have combined to form Z Holdings Corporation.
- SoftBank Vision Fund: In order to invest in technology startups and organizations that are disrupting multiple industries, SoftBank established the Vision Fund, a huge investment fund.
- WeWork: SoftBank made a significant investment in WeWork, a co-working space provider. However, due to WeWork’s financial and operational troubles, SoftBank’s engagement with the company experienced obstacles and changes.
- Uber: The SoftBank Vision Fund invested heavily in Uber, a ride-hailing and transportation startup.
- DIDI: Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing and transportation platform, has received funding from the SoftBank Vision Fund.
- ByteDance: ByteDance, the Chinese IT company behind the popular social media platform TikTok, has received funding from the SoftBank Vision Fund.
- Slack: Slack Technologies, a communication and collaboration platform, was acquired by SoftBank Vision Fund.
- Boston Dynamics: SoftBank purchased Boston Dynamics, a robotics company recognized for its advanced robots such as Spot and Atlas.
- SB Energy: SoftBank’s company specializing on renewable energy projects like as solar and wind energy.
What is Masayoshi Son net worth?
Masayoshi Son’s net worth was estimated to be $24 billions of US dollars.
What philanthropic initiatives Masayoshi Son is involved in?
Masayoshi Son has been involved in a number of charitable endeavors, with a focus on technology, education, and disaster relief. Among his major charitable contributions are:
- SoftBank Foundation: Masayoshi Son founded the SoftBank Foundation to promote various social and cultural projects. Disaster assistance, education, and technology-related efforts are among the foundation’s priorities.
- Education Pledge: In 2011, Masayoshi Son vowed to donate 10 billion yen (about $120 million at the time) to educational initiatives in Japan. His ambition was to encourage education and aid in the formation of future leaders.
- Disaster aid: Son has been actively involved in disaster aid following natural disasters in Japan. SoftBank has provided finances and resources to aid in the recovery efforts following natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.
- Global Tech Fund: In 2017, Masayoshi Son announced a personal $50 billion commitment to establish the SoftBank Vision Fund, which aimed to invest in technology businesses with the potential to have a substantial influence on industries throughout the world. While this is not a philanthropic endeavor, it indicates Son’s commitment in promoting technology developments.
- COVID-19 Relief: During the COVID-19 epidemic, Masayoshi Son contributed a percentage of his income to pandemic-related initiatives in Japan. SoftBank also supplied masks to medical facilities in order to solve the shortage of personal protective equipment.
- Innovation and Sustainability: While Son’s investments in renewable energy, robotics, and other creative technologies are not solely altruistic, they do contribute to sustainability and breakthroughs in these disciplines.
What are some real stories of Masayoshi Son leadership?
Masayoshi Son is well-known for his innovative leadership and willingness to take measured risks. Here are a couple of real-life examples of his leadership abilities:
- Investing in Alibaba: One of Masayoshi Son’s most well-known instances of leadership and insight is his investment in Alibaba. Son met Alibaba founder Jack Ma in 2000, when the company was still relatively unknown in China. Despite the skepticism of others, Son believed in Ma’s vision and the promise of Chinese e-commerce. He put $20 million into Alibaba, which turned out to be one of the most profitable investments in technological history. SoftBank’s share in Alibaba has grown tremendously over the years, significantly contributing to the company’s valuation and Son’s riches.
- Vision Fund and daring Vision: Masayoshi Son’s announcement of the SoftBank Vision Fund, a $100 billion investment fund focusing on technology startups, was a daring and audacious move. This was the largest fund of its kind, and it aimed to support enterprises at the vanguard of technological disruption. Despite some doubts about the practicality of such a large fund, Son’s vision and belief in the possibility of technology-led innovation motivated him to take this bold action. The firm went on to make high-profile investments in companies such as Uber and WeWork.
- Response to Adversity: When SoftBank’s investment in WeWork encountered substantial hurdles owing to valuation and management issues, Masayoshi Son exhibited his leadership by acting quickly and decisively. He admitted his mistakes and attempted to rescue the situation by taking charge of WeWork, making reforms, and securing the company’s future. His ability to face challenges head on and adjust to changing circumstances demonstrated his leadership under pressure.
- Promoting emerging Technologies: Masayoshi Son’s leadership is also visible in his support for emerging technologies and industries. His advocacy for the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and renewable energy has not only resulted in investments in these industries, but has also played a part in changing Japan’s and the world’s technical landscape.
These examples demonstrate Masayoshi Son’s willingness to take chances, his ability to identify opportunities where others see uncertainty, and his dedication to promoting innovation and growth. His leadership style combines vision, determination, and a willingness to challenge established wisdom.
What can you learn from Masayoshi Son?
There are various excellent lessons to be learned from Masayoshi Son, notably in the areas of business, innovation, and leadership:
- Bold Vision and Risk-Taking: Masayoshi Son is known for his strong vision and willingness to take calculated risks. Learning to dream large and embrace innovation, especially when it comes with uncertainty, can lead to huge chances and rewards.
- Embrace and Learn from Failure: Son’s approach to failure is one of resilience and learning. He encourages young entrepreneurs to take risks early in their careers because the consequences of failure are less severe. It is critical for growth to learn from mistakes and modify strategy accordingly.
- Pay Attention to Disruption: Son’s success has frequently resulted from identifying and investing in innovative technology and sectors. Being aware of upcoming trends and technological advancements might help you succeed in fast changing marketplaces.
- Long-Term Vision: Masayoshi Son is known for his long-term thinking. His investments and methods frequently contemplate how the world will change over the next many decades rather than merely short-term gains. This long-term outlook can help guide judgments that will endure the test of time.
- Adaptability and Flexibility: A significant lesson is Son’s ability to pivot and alter his methods in response to changing situations. Adaptability in the face of problems or unforeseen developments can aid in the maintenance of success.
- Leadership Under Pressure: The way Son handled issues, such as the WeWork crisis, demonstrates the value of effective leadership during difficult times. Taking responsibility, making difficult decisions, and communicating openly are all important characteristics.
- Diverse Ventures and Diversification: SoftBank’s diverse portfolio across multiple sectors illustrates the importance of diversification. Diversification can help to reduce risks and provide stability even when certain ventures suffer difficulties.
- Global Perspective: Son’s foreign ventures demonstrate the importance of having a global perspective. Being open to prospects outside of your local market can lead to significant growth in a connected world.
- love and Conviction: Son’s projects reflect his love for technology, innovation, and making a beneficial effect. A strong feeling of purpose and conviction can inspire people and create significant change.
- Continual Learning and inquiry: Son’s involvement in a variety of sectors emphasizes the necessity of continuous learning and inquiry. Staying up to date on new technology and trends helps keep you at the cutting edge of innovation.
These teachings can be useful, but they must be tailored to your own situation and objectives. Masayoshi Son’s journey was unique, and yours will be impacted by your own abilities, goals, and circumstances.
What are some controversies Masayoshi Son is involved in?
Masayoshi Son and SoftBank have been embroiled in a number of scandals over the years. Here are a few famous examples:
- Valuation and Governance Issues at WeWork: SoftBank’s big investment in WeWork was met with controversy and challenges. WeWork’s IPO in 2019 was viewed with skepticism due to worries about its valuation and corporate governance policies. In response to these concerns, WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann stepped down as CEO. SoftBank was eventually forced to act to stabilize WeWork, resulting in a rethinking of the company’s valuation and direction.
- WeWork Employee Layoffs: In the aftermath of the uproar caused by WeWork’s IPO and valuation concerns, the firm faced controversy when it announced massive layoffs affecting thousands of employees. The layoffs sparked concerns about the company’s internal management and capacity to keep promises made to employees.
- Allegations of results Manipulation: In the early 2000s, SoftBank was accused of manipulating results through its subsidiary, Livedoor. Takafumi Horie, the creator of Livedoor, was convicted of securities fraud in this case. While Masayoshi Son was not personally involved in the scandal, it did have an influence on SoftBank’s reputation at the time.
- Nikesh Arora’s Departure: Nikesh Arora, a former Google executive, was hired as SoftBank’s President and Chief Operating Officer. However, his stay was brief, and his departure prompted concerns about the company’s leadership dynamics. There have been allegations of disagreements between Arora and Masayoshi Son over the company’s investment strategy and results.
- Saudi Arabia’s Involvement in Vision Fund: The Saudi Arabian government’s Public Investment Fund made large investments in the SoftBank Vision Fund, managed by Masayoshi Son. Because of worries over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and international relations, particularly following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, this sparked criticism and controversy.