What a CEO once told to be “not qualified for a president” did to reorganize a global team in a month — Pretia’s Mission and Values

Hi! This is Naomi Numata, an intern at Pretia, Inc.

Now, the title of this article might have been a bit sensational.

Basically, we’re going to be talking about Pretia’s mission and values.

Our company’s official language is English. We have members from all over the world. Half of the staff are from outside of Japan, which makes us a “truly” global start-up.

However, we weren’t always the cool global start-up that we are today.

In fact, since we had experienced several pivots in the past, our goals and values weren’t clearly decided until about a year ago.

(Click here to read about Pretia’s history:)

The situation made it difficult for the CEO and the members to agree on the company’s directions.It resulted in several members leaving the company, and some even criticizing the CEO as “a fail president”.

There was especially a gap between the Japanese and the foreign members, since things like “work” and “office” meant different things to them.

(I’ll be uploading another article about this if necessary.)

Feeling the need for action, the CEO then spent a month deciding Pretia’s mission and values about a year ago.

Today, we’re going to have CEO Yu tell us about the meanings behind it.

First and foremost, here are our missions and values; ta-da!

Mission

Empower Collaborative Achievement

Value

Grow True Happiness

Produce Meaningful Impact

Be Courageous

Execute Fast

Seek Fairness

I get the impression that Pretia’s members thinks a great deal of its mission and values.

I myself decided to join this company because its philosophy was relevant to the kind of person I aspire to become.

Now, let’s take a closer look at these mission and values.

~Table of Contents~

1. How we arrived at this mission

2. About our values

1. How we arrived at this mission

-Please tell us how you came up with the mission “empower collaborative achievement”.

We decided on this mission about a year ago.

So I was originally interested in problem-solving in communication areas.

This is because a sense of belonging and social approval is essential to human lives. And for the past few years, social media has been developing in order to fulfill the need of those who felt like they didn’t have enough of that.

A change in technology leads to a change in people’s problems, creating new means of communication. Which made me focus on communication via the internet.

About a year ago, while working on the prototypes, I heard something interesting from one of our users.

“Instead of texting or liking each other’s tweets, I really think it’s best to meet up and hang out together.”

Remote communication had its limits.

Users are looking for a place that can bring them together in real life.

It struck me that by offering materials to spend time with others, we might be able to help people reach their true happiness.

Now, let’s talk technology. AR is unique.

It can overlay virtual contents on top of real-life environments.

Thus, it can effectively enhance users’ real experiences and make it more satisfying.

Entertainments that enhance real-life experience are now becoming extremely popular, e.g. the digital art at “teamLab”, or projection mappings at Disney World.

The user’s perspective and the right technology combined, I decided to create an AR product to make our surroundings a bit more interesting. We aim to deliver truly satisfying experiences among people through this technology.

That’s what inspired us to come up with this mission.

- I see. Could you tell us more about the “collaborative achievement” part?

Think about this; There are millions of ways to deepen your friendship with someone. What about getting to know someone you’re not necessarily friends with?

After we reach a certain age, we don’t have much of an opportunity to work with others and build connections with.

However, we think “Spending time together with someone to achieve something” is necessary for a fulfilling life.

As an example, social games are so popular because it allows users to join teams, communicate with each other, and work together to accomplish a common goal.

Virtual gaming spots would offer more of those opportunities, and AR is strong when it comes to creating them.

Until recently, places like those required decorating the interiors, hiring staffs, and actually preparing a space for the customers.

The advent of AR created more place available to those spots, and now any space in this world has the potential to become a spot for people to share the “collaborative achievement” experience.

Placing pokemons in the middle of a desert to attract people.

A landmark suddenly appearing in places otherwise unknown.

In that sense, I believe AR has 2 kinds of potential; Reinforcing the community you already belong to, and creating new ones.

We’re here to build a future where people can enjoy the feeling of satisfaction―anytime, anywhere, and with anyone you want.

2. About our values

-Please tell us about Pretia’s values.

Grow True Happiness

If we’re going to invest our time and energy into a startup, we want it to play a role in achieving people’s intrinsic happiness. And by intrinsic happiness, I mean an environment where constant problem-solving is happening instead of temporary ones.

By having what continuously helps solve their problems, their life will improve. And gathering members who agree on pursuing that kind of content will result in a powerful team.

I also want to work with members whose happiness is derived from that of others.

Produce meaningful impact

This “impact” has meanings on a macro-level and a micro-level.

On a macro-level, we mean producing a service that has a big, positive impact on our society.

We want to make the entire society better through our services and products.

On a micro-level, we mean prioritizing individual tasks based on how much it would contribute to achieving the goal, deciding whether it has a greater impact than other ones or not.

We’re not reluctant to put our work into accomplishing loads of important tasks. We devote ourselves to bring better results for both individuals and the society.

Be Courageous

This might be unusual for a company philosophy.

A great deal of the most important work is those that require courage.

Giving a negative feedback to your members when they need it, giving a solid no when everyone else is all for it, when you’re recruiting, or when members are leaving. Making decisions in any of those situations takes courage.

Sometimes it might make you look like a horrible person.

Sometimes you’ll get criticized for it.

Whatever the risks might be, you still have to make these decisions because putting them off can result in serious damage.

We must keep thinking what’s needed to achieve the goal and make decisions that will maximize the outcome.

Working with those who are determined, focused, and is willing to be criticized will help the team continuously grow and improve.

Execute fast

There’s 2 parts to this; “Execute” and “Fast”.

Just sitting in office and toying with the idea won’t get you anywhere. You have to actually create the product and put it out there to see if the customers are going to like it or not.

The customers’ feedbacks will become the new source of ideas, which then will be incorporated into the next improved prototype.

The process is important for identifying the user’s needs and wants.

The businesses that can repeat this process endlessly, I believe, are the ones that have a chance of survival.

“Fast”.

Startup businesses, especially when it comes to toC services, change at a dizzying pace. Meanwhile, technology like AR develops rapidly as well.

Taking quick action is essential to catch up with the industry’s pace, and for startups like us, speed becomes a great advantage against major enterprises.

Because we work with both toC and technology, speed is crucial.

“Execute”.

Here at Pretia, we don’t praise people who’s all talk and no action. Instead, we need people who execute, analyze, and improve. Of course, reason is important, but often times it takes longer than simply putting the plan into effect.

When I give feedback to the members, I often tell them something like this;

“This you can assume. Here is the part you need to put it into action.”

Sometimes it’s the other way around, and I tell them they’re acting too early. The main idea is to think thoroughly but quickly on an idea, and put it into action from there.

Seek fairness

All of our values are connected to each other towards the goal of producing consistent impact for the society’s happiness. However, I think the basis of it all is in working in fair environments and creating fair relationships.

Between the company and its customers, pricing would be a good example.

Some customers may still buy the product even if it’s overpriced; But there’s not much of a chance for them to become regulars. In the long run, offering products with reasonable price leads to profit.

Between the company and its employees, paying them the right amount. Cheap pay will only cause them to leave the company. A temporary cost reduction is all it will do.

Fair relationship leads to long-term benefit.

Fairness is happiness. It’s ethical, it’s just, and it makes sense.

I want to work with honest people who don’t cheat.

At our company, we have various kinds of members. Some work part time, some are interns, and some are staffs. But that just means they have different roles. We can all work with much higher satisfaction if we treat others with respect, regardless of status.

Being respected from others maintains psychological safety and results in better performance.

I believe it’s what affects the team’s achievements the most.

That will be the end of the interview!

Once you decide to join Pretia, you’ll get a thorough explanation on our missions and values.

Since all of us have agreed on these values, I can assure you that we work comfortably despite our various backgrounds.

If this article interested you, please contact us!

Pretia Technologies is a Tokyo-based startup focusing on augmented reality technologies and services.