My business trip this time will be a long one, as long as three weeks. First, let me explain why.
I typically decide to go overseas on business based on whether I will participate in a conference or other event to which I have been invited to speak. So my plans are determined by the specific conference schedule, around which I fit visits to investors, partners, and speeches at business schools as well as recruitment dinners. This was also true for this trip.
Many important overseas conferences take place in October. Many, many people come together for these events, and so beyond their value for networking, I can also let the world know about GLOBIS and learn a lot myself. So I actively participate, while taking what I need and leaving the rest. Thankfully, I am being more frequently invited as a speaker these days. At the beginning of October alone, I was invited to three different places, New York, Singapore and Cannes in France.
New York was for an event where investors gather, but we were required to sponsor it. Given the large amount of money required, we politely declined the offer. The event in Singapore was a technology company and venture capital (VC) gathering. I had been scheduled to speak at the same event in September 2001 but due to the 9/11 terrorist attack, I had been forced to cancel my trip. This time I was out of luck for some reason and communication broke down, so I gave up on it. I said I would go next year.
The third event, held in Cannes in Southern France, is known as ETRE (European Technology Roundtable Exhibition), which brings together technology entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from the US and Europe. I had participated as a speaker in this same event the year before last in Sevilla, Spain. The organizer of ETRE, Mr. Alex Vieux, is a real player, and has been involved in things like purchasing the American technology magazine, "Red Herring." They also organized the ATRE (Asian Technology Roundtable Exhibition) conference in Shanghai where I gave a speech just the other day.
Refer to column: Three-Day Business Trip to Hong Kong and Shanghai
They have high regard for GLOBIS and have always kindly made an effort to get GLOBIS known around the world. I decided I would participate in this event because it was held in France, allowing me to visit investors before and after the event. In addition, the caliber of ETRE participants is very high, so if they were going to offer me a good speaking opportunity, I shouldn't pass it up.
The venue for ETRE this year was Cannes, from October 10 to 13. The head of ETRE, Alex, had paid us a courtesy visit when he visited Japan in mid-September. As I showed him around the campus, I had explained how the GLOBIS business model integrated a business school and venture capital firm. He seemed to have very a good impression of what he saw. As result of talking with him, I secured a good spot, and so I confirmed my decision to participate. I was also really looking forward to it because of the location, Cannes, in southern France.
I was interested in one other event in October, a career forum that was going to be held in Boston from October 22 to 24. While visiting business schools in the US last year, with Ms. Okajima, the director of Globis Management Bank (GMB), we decided that I should attend this event next year.
There were nine days between the Boston and Cannes events, so, in theory, I would be able to return to Japan from Europe before going to the US. However, I also was viewing this trip as a fundraising opportunity, so I decided to combine it with a road show—a "road trip" to visit investors. This would mean going to places like Oslo and Michigan and visiting investors one at a time, and thoroughly explaining to each of them the current status of our fund. Until now, we had asked them to attend an investors meeting in London or New York, but this time we would go to meet them. This would be my first visit to Oslo in five years.
So I arranged my itinerary for the round-the-world business trip without returning to Japan.
|10th (Sun.)||Leave Narita for Nice, via Paris. By car into Cannes (stay in Cannes)|
|11th (Mon.)||Attend ETRE (stay in Cannes)|
|12th (Tue.)||Attend ETRE (stay in Cannes)|
|13th (Wed.)||After ETRE, travel from Nice to Oslo (stay in Oslo)|
|14th (Thu.)||Meet with investors in Oslo. Fly from Oslo to London (stay in London)|
|15th (Fri.)||Visit investors in London and hold a meeting. Visit Apax and others (stay in London)|
|16th (Sat.)||Day off :-) (stay in London)|
|17th (Sun.)||Fly from London to New York (stay in New York)|
|18th (Mon.)||Drive to Philadelphia. Visit two investors, speak at Wharton and hold a recruitment dinner.
Return to NY in the evening (stay in NY)
|19th (Tue.)||Drive during the morning to Connecticut. Scheduled visits to three investors.
Evening, dinner with Alan Patricof. (Stay in NY)
|20th (Wed.)||Visit and hold a meeting with NY investors (stay in NY)|
|21st (Thu.)||Travel to Boston from NY (stay in Boston)|
|22nd (Fri.)||Meet investors in Boston and schedule visit to Harvard Business School (HBS).|
|23rd (Sat.)||Speak at Career Forum (stay in Boston)|
|24th (Sun.)||Hold interviews at Career Forum (stay in Boston)|
|25th (Mon.)||From Boston, go and visit two investors in Michigan, then travel to Chicago.
Hold recruitment dinner in Chicago (stay in Chicago)
|26th (Tue.)||Visit two investors in Chicago, travel to San Francisco (stay in San Francisco)|
|27th (Wed.)||Visit investors in San Francisco, speak at Berkeley (stay in San Francisco)|
|28th (Thu.)||Visit two investors in Silicon Valley, then set off for Japan (sleep on plane)|
|29th (Fri.)||Arrive back in Japan (Yeah!!)|
I intend to write about how this three-week trip goes and what I accomplish in subsequent columns. At three-weeks long, it feels more like living abroad than just another business trip. I intend to enjoy this journey without getting worn out by watching my health and finding some enjoyment in every place I go.
I will record my experiences in each place I visit, one report after another. :-)
October 11, 2004
Cannes, southern France