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[ venture] Corona pandemic -- the second oxygen tank blew up! Luck is not an accident.

Hi This is Takeshi CEO of and movie lover ;-)

Too often, if you keep getting beaten up, you become numb to being beaten up. The last six months have been a series of such things due to the coronavirus pandemic. We had cancellation after cancellation, or postponement, or cancellation after postponement of various projects. Yesterday, our annual short-term training with the University of Tokyo was cancelled. And today I received another cancellation from a research institute in Kyoto, where I had been awarded a visiting fellowship. All events and projects involving the movement of people were cancelled after the corona pandemic.

50% of me thinks, "This is going to be tough next year," the other 50% thinks, "Let's try something new," and the rest of me thinks, "I can surf more".

Count my chickens before they are hatched, I thought that this year's activities would be more balanced between the Think, Do and Be departments than the last year's, but it turned out to be pretty bad. At the same time, we've been working on a number of new activities since the corona pandemic hit. To give you a quick idea, I've been holding online seminars almost every week, I've started a little YouTube, I've started an online salon with about 70+ people already registered, and I teach sustainability to 200+ high school students every Friday. It is truly an online, online, online parade.

And now I'm crowdfunding and using that as a seed to create a system to continue to deliver our stories and coffee and chocolate. To that end, I've decided to change the website to be more connected to consumers.

I always use metaphor and anecdotes a lot when I talk. That way, I can connect a story we're all familiar with and a slightly difficult concept and I wrap it up in an ode and makes it easier to swallow.

Every now and then I tell the staff that is in the state of Apollo 13. Apollo 13 was the thirteenth spacecraft that the United States planned to land on the moon, and the movie based on the story, starring Tom Hanks. Although Apollo 13 was not able to land on the moon, it is said to have been the project that NASA is most proud of, as it brought the astronauts safely back to Earth under very tight conditions. The oxygen tank exploded midway through the passage, causing a serious power shortage, but as a result of emergency decision makings and managements, the astronauts were able to return to Earth safely on the day.

Most of our resources for 2018 came from consulting and research projects. At the end of that year, I finished two four-year European Commission projects and a five-year UN project while launching the first crowdfunding. When those big projects were finished, I think I was in the same situation as one oxygen tank breaking down because of my failure to get the next big fund. I then survived last year by BE's activities (training) and taking consulting projects from new clients. This year we had more cash engines, so I thought it was better than last year... Then, we had a corona pandemic -- the second oxygen tank blew up!! However, we managed to survive this year with two new European Union projects that we had been planting and other projects from another new client coming in.

When I say "somehow I survived", I don't mean this as an accident. It is not just a matter of trying to make an effort in the dark, but of calmly finding a direction in which to survive and focusing on it. In other words, it's just like the story of "Apollo 13 Return to Earth". I like the ten principles of Gene Kranz, who led that Apollo 13 project, so I'll put them below. With the right effort, the chances of survival in these corona situations will increase.

Gene Kranz: Guiding principles

  1. Be proactive

  2. Take responsibility

  3. Play flat-out

  4. Ask questions

  5. Test and validate all assumption

  6. Write it down

  7. Don’t hide mistakes

  8. Know your system thoroughly

  9. Think ahead

  10. Respect your teammates

The recovery from the explosion of those two oxygen tanks has given me the confidence to survive if the third one explodes next year. is a small company, but has three divisions - Think, Do and Be - which have been able to adapt to different situations. This is in our way to form sustainability.

After the corona pandemic, we are now 100% working remotely. At the same time, we've been holding monthly retreats (online, of course) to develop a mutual understanding of why we're working. Just today was the day of that retreat, and I came up with this story because Amanda used this picture of Apollo 13 in a slide. A team is a group of people with the same rules and the same goals, working together and communicating with each other to achieve those goals. I'm glad she used this slide.

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Velly!! Yes, long time no see. There are up and down, but we are still surviving!!! I hope you are well and keep in touch at least virtually here for now ;-)


Hi Tak! long time no see you (directly) :) but thanks to's monthly newsletter and your story (Cynthia always sent it forward to me and Mariana) so I think for now it is enough to recalling all valuable memories when I was in And I can also see's values are getting stronger and stronger. Very inspiring and just on target :D stay healthy for you and family, also Lili :))


Nov 26, 2020

This pandemic situation has changed everyone. We shifted our activities or even started new activities. This story will make us know better about activities!


Nov 26, 2020

These should be pervasive values among our members. Thanks for summarising it well!

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