President of Method IT KK
by Poppy Calvert
Established in 2004 by President David Arthur Kinney, Method IT provides information technology solutions for businesses in Japan. Method IT’s main services include and are not limited to network administration and support, code development, data center colocation, and office setup and relocation.
How long have you been in Japan?
I moved to this country on a complete whim. Ten years ago in Canada I got talking to a Japanese gentlemen in a bar who didn’t think it was possible for me to get a visa and live in a place like Japan. We made a bet and I lost, I thought for sure they would not let me in. I didn’t know a soul when I got here but it’s my ten-year anniversary in November.
Could you tell us a bit about your company?
Method IT began in 2004 so we’re now into our fifth year. We provide a many IT services to international companies including network administration and support, code development, data-center colocation hosting, and office setups in Japan. We work with companies at all levels from startups all the way up to the enterprise. I have the best IT core team this side of Silicon Valley. Noriko, Dan, and Niko are like the navy seals of IT. There is no network we can’t manage and no problem we cannot attack.
What are the Japan-specific challenges you face here in your day-today work?
In Japan, if you are only marketing to the international community, your options are limited. You need to look at all aspects of Japan and not just the expat community.
We actually just began a new division called Method Managed, which brings small businesses all of the technologies that a large enterprise has It is the first time we have targeted our services specifically to Japanese businesses as well as international and I’m fairly new to this experience.
The Japanese market is very special compared to anything else in Europe and America. On the marketing front the Japanese demand very high quality and are very smart consumers in this way.
This brings me many challenges but I’m finding it a unique and interesting experience.
What do you have planned for the future?
Element RGB is our next venture. We will introduce public space technology to hotel lobbies, office lobbies, and other busy spaces in an attempt to make Japan a more multi-lingual place. Interactive technology, large projections, touch screens, customized interface design, and integration with internet applications and websites are some of the technologies that we propose to create. For example, if you are in Nigata and want to find a good onsen, our systems in your hotel will have them flagged and mapped so that you are ready to go!
What do you do for fun in Japan?
In the summer I golf and in the winter I snowboard. During the week I spend the eveningsdining out and enjoying all the wonderful foods that Japan has to offer with my team and my clients. This way of living has really become part of my business. I think trust is important. We like to treat our clients as people, not only on a professional level but on a personal level too.
I like my lifestyle in Japan, we work, work, work and we play, play, play and we do both really hard.
What kind of advice would you give to aspiring professionals here?
We meet with a lot of entrepreneurs and my advice to them is always: make sure your fundamentals are correct. Know what you are selling and who you are selling it to. Make sure you have a good accountant, a good sales structure, and a good marketing strategy in place. You have to look at all aspects of the business and be able to juggle them. But of course none of this matters if you don’t have passion. Especially in these hard times it’s passion that gets you through.
Do not underestimate the Japanese market place. It is the second-biggest economy in the world. A lot of people don’t actually know that Japan has more entrepreneurs in its capital than any other city in the world, so be prepared to face some tough competition.