Akio Morita was born in 1921 in Japan. He was the oldest son, and so culture dictated that he would take over the family business. Their business dealt with brewing sake and soy sauce. This had been their business for fourteen generations and was handed down from one generation to the next. Instead of focusing on the family business, he started tinkering with electronics. He attended Osaka Imperial University with a degree in Physics.
Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka are the founders of Sony. This internationally acclaimed company was conceived in a basement of a department store. Their idea was actually that of a slow rice cooker. They, however, realised that the appliance burnt all the rice almost immediately. It was rather obvious that they were failing. To make it worse, materials were not readily available, and this made it even more difficult for them.
It is from this failure that Akio came up with making a tape recorder. This was post World War II, and he did not know whether his dream would actually come to fruition. Slowly, Akio started collecting the materials that he would need. He started looking for mimeograph paper. Once he found it, he would cut it into strips with razor blade.
He went further and collected metal to make his first tape recorder. The gadget was never sold, but it inspired Akio to move further and try something else. This something else was to be the first transistor radio in the world. Akio then moved to the next part of his dream which was to sell the radios in America.
At this point, Bulova wanted to sell the radios under their names, but Akio declined. After a year he was able to get the radios to America but under the name ‘Sony.’ The Americans loved it. Akio’s company now became an international company. The profits generated from sales enabled him to invent one of the most popular devices in the world, a portable cassette player. This was referred to as a Walkman. Over 200 million devices were sold in America alone. This served as Akio’s biggest break yet.
Sony has led the market in different innovations since then. They have come up with the PlayStation among other things. The company is successfully years after Akio Morita passed on. His vision was not to provide the market with what they already wanted. He had a vision to bring the market a new product and have them accept it; despite the fact that it was something they had never considered before and therefore did not necessarily have a need for.
If Akio had decided to get into the family business, he would have never realised his dream. If he had also thought about giving up after the rice cookers burnt all their rice, he would not have founded one of the biggest companies and trendsetters in the world. Akio learnt from his failures and all the setbacks and used the same to make bold decisions which had a long-lasting effect on him and on future generations.