Name: Terumasa Mori
Hometown: Mie prefecture
Favorite pastime: Traveling
Favorite food: Ramen
Meet our dynamic company founder and CEO, Teru. Inspiring and full of energy, he embodies the “work hard, play hard” ethos that we live by. In a daily uniform of jeans and cool T-shirts, Teru (yes we call him by his first name) is unlike a typical Japanese CEO—after all, he called his company “FunkyCorp”, to remind us every day to think outside the box. With a global outlook and a love of travel and networking, he brings ideas from all over the world to create an innovative work environment.
Teru has always been a self-starter and problem solver. Growing up, he was good with computers, getting one of the early Apple models when he was 13 and teaching himself design, at the same time as teaching himself English. At age 15 he was working part-time at a friend’s father’s design office doing graphic design. By age 17, he moved to Hong Kong, working on advertising and promotion projects for an Italian brand, then spent two years in Thailand as a freelance graphic/web designer.
He moved back to Japan after being headhunted by a Swedish IT consulting company as a web designer. “Coming back to Japan was a culture shock,” he says; “The traditional Japanese work style—long commutes, long work hours, wearing a suit, strict hierarchy and conservative thinking—was not me. I knew I would have to start my own company, to create the life I wanted.”
Never stop learning
He established FunkyCorp in 2002, with a core team of four people. “Although we were small, we had a ‘do anything’ attitude, from brand strategy to creating new apps. Our small size was actually an advantage: we were agile and able to adapt quickly.” That flexibility and global outlook quickly won FunkyCorp international clients like Tiffany & Co. and Coach.
But Teru is never one to rest on his laurels. “My journey has been focused to keep evolving; to be better at what I do. And that’s something I want to instill in my team. Aiming to be “number one” is short-sighted; what happens when you get there? Do you just stop trying? Do you stop taking risks because you are afraid to lose that position? For me, my life and my work is a never-ending journey.”
Work hard, play hard
As the business has expanded, so has the team, but the principles remain the same: “To build trust as a team, to foster a proactive, entrepreneurial spirit, and to solve problems.” From creating a new client proposal to designing a better way to reduce paper in the office, Teru leads us to think laterally and take responsibility for our own actions. And while we work hard, he encourages us to play hard as well, taking his team on international trips to build professional growth, stocking the office with coffee and wine to inspire natural interactions, and offering a work/life balance that is rare in Japanese companies.