Interview with Nobuyuki Idei -- "We have to believe that we'll be out of the darkness some day" (page 5)

Interview with Nobuyuki Idei

Apr 9, 2001

Q: If you change your values this much centered around semiconductors and application, won't some of your engineers be left behind?

A: We have many engineers: There are those in charge of production design and others in charge of cost-cutting. Cost-cutting is now a role played by semiconductor process compression. For example, the price of a Memory Stick includes the conventional mechanism. If this is so, engineers engaged in developing the mechanism will inevitably have lesser roles to play. But these engineers can devise something that surprises the others. If they are in a section that manufactures something that is smaller and customized at higher prices, the traditional technologies will come in handy. There is a need to think whether acquired technologies can be applied in the frontline. Technology is not something that is useless if it's old. Engineers who know how to express themselves will never lose their jobs in not matter what environment.

Be a large company that can realize dreams

Q: Supposing that you are an engineer in your 30s in the prime of business life. What would you do?

A: If I had the talent to manufacture something new in the true sense, I would either leave the company to make that something new or make use of the backing of the big company to draw a grand plan. If I were to choose either of the two, I would probably go the latter way. I want to make use of a big company to realize my dreams. Venture business is a tough game to play. With the world so big and technology spreads so fast, anyone can imitate you once you announce a new technology. There is no time for the company to grow. I think the larger companies will be incubating the smaller companies.

Q: Can Sony offer backing to engineers so that they could realize their dreams?

A: Before coming in for this interview, I was talking away with an engineers and I even forgot to have lunch. He said, "You say that IPv6 connection will open a new world but that's too much of a dream." So, I told him that he was right. Then he said that the employees were mistaking me. So, I said to him that IPv6 is a means and not the purpose. Then he said that I should clarify what the purpose is. I think it's good for the engineers to call me to tell me that I wasn't doing the right thing. Of course, I can't tell if IPv6 connection is good or not. But Sony is a company that allows such exchange of opinions. I think it is good that we could worry ourselves over such issues.