Be a Bridger Between Business and Engineering as a Pioneer of New Industry
As a first entry, we interviewed Hiromitsu Azuma, the General Manager of WARPSPACE.
ー Can you explain your responsibility in the team?
As a premise, WARPSPACE doesn’t set popular departments, but has mainly two functions, engineer team and business development. But I’m responsible for mediating them as a general manager.
ーWhat is your background?
At the start of my career, I founded a software company when I was 23, and after a while I started an information service company. In those days, contracted development and integration service were main works. After that, I worked for a cyber security company in Tokyo. During the time, I had worked on different projects in Junior Chamber International Japan. It’s still less than two years since I moved to Tsukuba.
ー Well, you used to work in different sectors.
Yes, that’s right.
ー What brought you to join WARPSPACE?
I met Tsunemachi (CEO) in Junior Chamber International Japan, and he was my mentor in those days. At the same time that I quit the cyber security company, he assumed CEO of WARPSAPCE. I found it on FaceBook and he talked to me, “Let’s work together!”, then I said, “OK!”. That’s how I joined.
ー Is that how!?
What He Found after Diving into the Space Sector from Outside
ー Did you have an interest in the space industry before you join?
Not at all. It was a completely unknown field for me. Actually I’ve never watched the 『StarWars』. But it is not that I hated something mystical like space though I have never imagined that I work.
As same as cyber security, the commercial market is not matured. The space market is especially unique so I thought, “it can’t be a commercial market”.
ー What inspired you to dive into the space industry despite you thought like that?
ー Not industry but personal relationships was the reason that you decided.
（Left：Satoru Tsunemachi, CEO . Right：Hiromitsu Azuma）
What He feels After Joined the Team
ーHow do you see the space from the perspective of your standpoint?
I think it is just a dawn of commercialization. Center of balance is shifting from government-centered to private sector-centered. If the project we work on has succeeded, it won’t spread immediately as an infrastructure. It’ll become widespread little by little and in the end, bring a various way of utilization of the outer space for each industry.
Like the internet is consist of small element, lots of companies have started investing and heading to space. I see ourselves as just one of them.
ーPioneer is not just WARPSPACE.
ー Do you feel excitement being part of the Danw of space industry?
People don’t often talk about the space industry or even talk, it’s about something special therefore the conversation is not related to daily life. But I wonder that something special might be able to give us dreams or hope from a different perspective.
Let’s take the internet. In recent years, the smartphone market and other related one such as communication and content service are expanding, but such situation is hard to believe from the view of last few decades. Then, people can’t be moved by the same things and desire something new, on and on.
In this context, I suppose that the commercial basis of space industry, like space travel, is a more realistic movement. Hence I feel that what we do is something that gives dreams, hope, desire, and a new paradigm to the people as a pioneer.
ー Sounds amazing!
ー What is the key point to keep being pioneer?
As a general manager, I think the key is how well I can manage the entire risk.
The technology we develop and what WARPSPACE aims are challenging. In the first place, once we send something to the space, we could hardly manage.
Fortunately, I have not experienced horrible incidents for now. But we need to build a resilient team and expand the capacity in preparation for the expected risks, any obstacles, and the worst scenario in the current project. That’s the reason why to keep trying and risk management are the most important.
ー In terms of Compass of Behavior, What is the most important thing for you?
For me, “Respect your crew” is the most important.
All we have different values despite members are mainly Japanese. On that premise, it is very difficult to work heading towards achievement all together.
Then, the real question is, “What is the key factor which combines the members?”.
There must be various thoughts and objectives for each member. I think the only way to harmonize those different ideas and values is to respect each other. Even if there is something that we can’t empathize with, we could understand as long as we try to know each other.
I think WARPSPACE, as a space tech venture company, is a completely new organization which tries to do something that I’ve never done before.
In fact, “waterfall model” is an efficient approach as a project management method and that’s exactly how I was trained in the previous companies. However, it doesn’t always work when it comes to creating brand new products and innovative value. Therefore, we try to make an antinomy company that includes creativity and stability as a manufacturer.
The Compass of behavior is created based on the creativity including new values in order to grow up as a startup. Meanwhile, what we are willing to try is the long, large scale, and heavy manufacturing in the space sector.
ー What kind of person do you want to hire?
Of course we would like a well trained person to join our team, but more importantly, someone who desires to realize visionary, conceptual, and extraordinary future.
We try to implement antimony concepts at the same time so it is challenging and unusual.
The only way to realize it is to put them together on another level.
In this sense, we are eager to create innovative service by combining the traditional, rational technology and sensuous ideas as embodiments of absolutely new values called, ”WARPSPACE”. We are always open to put any ideas on the table and discuss how we can realize them even if they are really visionary ideas that seem like “it’s impossible”.
Such ideas and decision making based on a fact is required to implement a leaping idea, and because of that, we need to build one team by communicating and respecting each other even though there’s something we don’t have in common as well as risk management.
In conclusion, I’d love to create such a new value with people who are willing to try with the same feeling.