Your Circumstances Aren't That Hard (Part One)

One of the world’s greatest companies was born from the ruins of a nuclear bomb.

The bomb landed on Hiroshima when Akio Morita was 24. WWII left large swaths of Japan’s industrial base in ruins.

At 25, Akio and Masaru Ibuka founded a radio repair shop in the bombed-out Shirokiya Department Store in Tokyo. The fire marshall suggested putting bags of sand around their walls to reduce the risk of the building burning down.

They adapted old radios with shortwave receptors, better suited to playing music and entertainment, instead of bomb threats.

Akio was inspired by the Ford Motor company’s integrated manufacturing and slowly built out his company’s ability to manufacture products. They started with a tape recorder.

From the tape recorder profits, they invested in miniaturizing their radios to fit in a pocket.

In 1950, they sold the first tape recorder in Japan. In 1979, Sony introduced a lighter-weight version with headphones, called the Walkman.

They eventually sold 400 million units, prompting Steve Jobs to say he wanted Apple to be the “Sony of computers”.

Humble beginnings can yield huge companies.

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