This year's fabbit Conference National Convention was held on 11/14 at The Prince Park Tower Tokyo.
The event featured special lectures by Mr. Spencer Rascoff, co-founder of Zillow Group, and Mr. Eikoh Harada, Chairman, President, and former CEO of McDonald's Holdings.
After studying political science at Harvard University, Spencer Rascoff worked in M&A at Goldman Sachs Securities, the private equity firm TPG, and other companies in the financial industry. He then co-founded the online travel reservation service Hotwire.com, which was sold to Expedia, and co-founded Zillow Group, which he guided through its IPO as CFO, becoming one of the most prominent executives in the U.S.
In his lecture, he explained that Zillow gained attention for launching a service called Zestimate, which predicts the sale value of a house based on data analysis. No other site has acquired 100 million users on the day of its launch. In addition to having explained the service to various media in advance, Zillow was apparently able to meet users' need to know the value of their own real estate property.
Mr. Rascoff's career has been formed by his accumulation of experiences and ability to apply those to new ventures. Mr. Rascoff utilized his experience monitoring investments in an airline company with TPG when he founded the online travel reservation site Hotwire.com. He was then motivated by his experience navigating unclear property values as he tried to purchase real estate after selling Hotwire.com when founding Zillow Group.
In response to a question from the moderator regarding privacy issues in disclosing real estate information, Mr. Rascoff explained that it is all public information that can be acquired at a government office. Zillow just added clarity and ease to the process.
Through successive M&A, Zillow Group has succeeded in bringing together various brands and integrating the back end of group companies to reduce costs. Mr. Rascoff managed this by closely observing the same strategies in Expedia.
When asked about the possibility of expanding overseas, especially the possibility of expanding into Japan, Mr. Rascoff replied that for the time being Zillow will concentrate resources on the U.S., where they have over 1 billion users, and Canada, where they are currently expanding. However, his family loves Japan and they have visited together. Mr. Rascoff commented that it is a wonderful country.
Mr. Rascoff, who has already retired as CEO of Zillow Group, is now involved in the management of the company as a board member. He also spoke enthusiastically about his plans to invest in startups as an angel investor and build an ecosystem in Los Angeles, where he lives, and to teach at Harvard Business School.
His shared experiences with the moderator in investment banking and angel investment made for a smooth and interesting conversation.
Eikoh Harada is former Chairman, President, and CEO of McDonald's Holdings Japan, as well as the only Japanese person to have direct experience working with former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
Mr. Harada shared his management know-how, drawing on his experience leading the recovery and growth of major Japanese companies, including the V-shaped recovery of McDonald's after a difficult 7 consecutive years of negative growth and the breakthrough driven by organizational reform at Benesse.
McDonald's, which had been in the red for 7 years, achieved a V-shaped recovery after Harada's appointment thanks to his prioritization of "QSC."
(QSC: Quality, Service, Cleanliness)
The reason Mr. Harada began to recognize the importance of QSC and implement measures to improve QSC nationwide was a store in Oita Prefecture, the only one in the nation not to have been promoted. It was finally promoted and enjoyed tremendous growth because they focused on improving QSC.
Human resources are also important - McDonald's has been able to effectively recruit part-time employees through strategies including having employees introduce their friends and having managers scout among customers and at other stores.
When the moderator asked whether a stores' sales depends on the manager, Mr. Harada replied, "When a store performs poorly, it is either due to bad management or a bad location. First we bring in a manager from a strong store and look at the numbers. If the numbers improve, we know it was the fault of the previous manager. If they don't improve, we know it was the fault of the location."
The fabbit Conference National Convention was a huge success, with many people in attendance at the main venue and each satellite venue.
We hope it was a meaningful event for everyone who participated.
The fabbit Conference series is a monthly event held as a component of fabbit's program to support startups, venture companies, and SMEs and to facilitate business matching between those and larger companies.
These popular events feature not only seminars by listed companies, VCs, and accelerators and pitch opportunities for startups, but also Q&A time, chances to speak directly with CEOs of listed companies and other executives and innovators, and business matching and networking opportunities.
The next fabbit Conference will be held on 12/4 with the theme, "Startup Ecosystem - 2019 Roundup." fabbit Global Gateway “Otemachi” will serve as the main venue, with live broadcasts in Aoyama, Hachioji, Sakae, Osaka Honmachi, Kobe Sannomiya, Hiroshima, Across Fukuoka, COMPASS Kokura, and the Philippines. Please participate at a venue near you.