Connect to web3. Board Members’ Vision of Cocone’s Future Part 1
The arrival of the web3 era.
Building on its existing avatar service business, Cocone aims to create a digital world that integrates AI, blockchain technology, and other technologies.
Through Cocone’s services, we hope to bring positive emotions and a sense of living in a digital world to people all over the world.”
We are looking for people who can challenge with us in a world where there are no right answers or precedents.
We will interview the new board members (management team) in July 2022 about the past and future plans of Cocone, and report on what challenges the company will face in the future and what kind of people the company needs, in two parts.
Shintaro Takaya, Representative Director and CEO
After graduating from Waseda University in 1997, he joined SEGA Corporation, and in 2001 became a director of Hit Maker Corporation, a development subsidiary of SEGA Group, where he was involved in numerous game productions as a producer. 2002 produced Darts Bar Bee, and in 2003 established Darts Live Corporation, where he served as president and representative director for 12 years.
Since then, he has served as an outside director and advisor mainly to entertainment companies, and joined Cocone in 2021.
Director, General Manager, CCP Business Division Tomohito Nakano
After leaving Keio University graduate school with credits, he worked at the university as a researcher.
He then joined Cocone in 2014 as a data analyst. After working in planning and management positions, he was appointed to the position of Business Manager and now also serves as the General Manager of the CCP Business Division Business Unit.
Executive Officer CTO Daisuke Takayama
After working as a web front-end team leader at NHN ST Corporation, he joined GREE Corporation.
As a front-end specialist, he participated in the modification of several existing products and the launch of new products. He then joined Money Forward, Inc. Mainly engaged in front-end and server-side operations.Joined Cocone in 2017 and served as Director of Web Development Office, General Manager of Development Division, and VPoE.
Executive Officer General Manager, Support Division Momoko Hiraiwa
He worked as an attorney at a law firm for 10 years before joining Cocone in 2020.
As General Manager of the Legal Department, he provides legal advice to group companies and supports their expansion into blockchain services.
Shigeyuki Kashiwakuma, Executive Officer, General Manager, President’s Office
He joined Cocone in 2021 after working for Darts Live Inc. As a member of the Strategic Secretary’s Office, he is responsible for business planning, special assignments, and coordination between management and various departments. He is also involved in the management of the group company cocone Education Co.
“Cocone, which has distributed 13 billion digital assets”
-First of all, I would like to talk to you about Cocone’s business.
Nakano: The axis of Nakano: business is the so-called avatar business, which we define as the “CCP” genre of services where “Character” exists, “Coordinate” elements exist, and “Play” can be performed.
With women as its main target, it provides a place to collect, display, and connect with items that resonate with their senses, led by “Pokecolo” has been around since 2011.
In addition to the Pokecolo series (“Pokecolo” “Pokecolo Twin” “Pokepia”), we have released new services every year, including “Livly Island” last year.
All of them are supported by customers who like their world view and designs and will continue to do so for many years to come.
Takaya: Over the past 11 years, we have created 15 services, our in-house designers have created over 600,000 digital assets (digital items), and we have accumulated a distribution record of 13 billion items.
We are proud to say that this achievement is the best in the world for so-called avatar services.
“The feeling of living in a digital world”
-What are Cocone’s strengths that have enabled it to achieve such success?
Nakano: I think our strength is that we still have the DNA from creating and operating avatar services for more than a decade.
If you were to ask, “What makes it different from other avatar services?” I would say that it is not simply the fact that you have an avatar as your alter ego, but that you can immerse yourself in it and have the feeling that you are really living in the world.
As a result, you may want to dress the child in clothes or decorate the world he or she lives in.
And when you connect with people in that state, you get what you want more of.
I think we are the only ones doing this.
Another strength is Cocone’s unique approach to dealing with customers.
We have the intention of creating services together with our customers, and we do not compete on the strength of parameters for items, but rather on whether or not people think that these items are kawaii and that they would like to have them.
In that sense, I believe we are sincere to our customers.
-As the web3 era arrives, how will you make the most of your strengths? Will the value we provide to customers change?
Nakano: I believe that even with future technological innovation and the expansion of the real world into the digital world, Cocone’s business will continue to be connected to the ground.
It is probably common throughout the world that people want to create their own ideal kawaii or cool world.
I think it is a very strong advantage that we have much more experience than other companies in terms of management methods that appeal to the senses and a system that continues to create digital assets.
-Technology is also evolving rapidly. What do you think are Cocone’s strengths in terms of development?
Takayama:Cocone’s engineers are very kind (laughs).
What do you mean by “gentle”? You may think, “What is gentle?” but the designers who create various kawaii items have a very strong desire to fulfill “what I want to do”.
I think that is our strength.
-I thought that strength could be considered one of Cocone’s unique qualities.
Takayama:We have a strong desire to cooperate with each other to create something good, regardless of the type of job.
We discuss things together as we go along, and the engineers do their best to take into account what the designers want to do and give shape to it.
-Teamwork is also required.
Nakano: It is also teamwork, or more precisely, it is “being involved in service”.
The designers, development, planning, operations, CX, BI, everyone is involved in creating something.
We place great importance on being involved and caring about our customers, the service, and the members who are creating the service itself.
It is easier to move at Cocone if people recognize that they are creating a service, including themselves, and I believe that there are a great many employees who do so.
“10 times more customers, 100 times more customers. That’s why we’re going to web3”
-We would also like to ask you about your vision for the future of Cocone.
Takaya: Very simply, we want more customers to experience our services.
Specifically, I would like to increase the number of customers who play with us every day by 10 or 100 times through the services of the entire group.
To this end, we would like to launch the Cocone blockchain service as an extension of our existing services, compete on the web3 and globally, and realize a “Cocone-like metaverse”.
And we need new friends to make it happen.
Nakano: As our customers change, what we need to do will also change, and the number of employees will also increase.
It is common to hear stories about how a company’s strengths and philosophies become blurred or blurred as a result of business expansion.
Rather than maintaining the culture of Cocone, the strengths of the services we have provided, and the way our employees work, we will expand while updating them in an appropriate manner.
I believe that if we can expand outward while properly establishing the inside, we will be able to expand into an even larger company and develop in a larger way, just like Cocone.
-How do you see the future of the services you provide?
Kashiwakuma: I believe that we will add more depth to our service creation to date, which has been based on sensitivity, worldview, and design, and become a company with many faces.
Currently, most of our customers are women, but with our new service, we would like to develop our customer base to include men and overseas customers.
From the business experience with ” Livly Island,” we have also begun to develop our own IP by making merchandise and licensing characters. We are also taking on the challenge of creating new IP characters.
Through various initiatives, we would like to extend our services and strengths in a three-dimensional and multifaceted way.
Nakano: I think it is okay to create “games” that are completely different in genre from what we have been doing. So it is not “we will not do any avatar service other than CCP” at all.
We have developed each service based on our own definition of CCP, our own research, and our own ideas of what our services should be and who our customers should be.
I believe that this way of approaching services is also characteristic of Cocone, and I hope to do various things while adhering to it.
Takaya: As Mr. Nakano said, based on what we have been making, maybe we will make a “game” or a robot.
I see the future in expanding our domain a bit more and extending our business to the rest of the world.
“Metaverse, starting from the palm of your hand”
-How do you see the future of the development sector?
Takayama:The digital assets that Cocone has created so far, such as fashion and interior design, can only be used within the application, and their value has been adapted only within the application.
From now on, new technologies such as blockchain will make it possible to attribute ownership of digital assets to the customer, so that transactions can be made not only within the app, but with anyone in the world, and can be used across app boundaries.
We hope that in the near future, when everyone has his or her own avatar, we can provide a metaverse space where the avatar provided by Cocone can fully express the sensibilities of our customers.
-Currently, most of Cocone’s customers are women. I think many people still find blockchain and metaverse a bit of a hurdle when they hear about it.
Takayama:Yes. We feel that the blockchain industry as a whole has high barriers and is a challenge.
If we engineers don’t develop web3 and blockchain services that we feel are easy to use, it will be difficult to keep up with what we have.
For example, when you hear the word “metaverse,” what you imagine is an open world that requires a PC or VR device, right?
At Cocone, we aim to develop services that allow our customers to express their sensibilities using the smartphones that everyone has, as a “metaverse that starts in the palm of your hand.
-What do you think is lacking in Cocone at this point in your vision of the future?
Takaya: There are a number of things I would like to extend…
Speaking from the aspect of “people,” one of the first things I would like to talk about is internationalization.
Understanding not only the language but also the culture.
Internationalization is necessary for future global expansion.
You are an internationally-minded service producer, planner and engineer.
With the increase in the number of group companies and the difficulty of each project, we still need people with rich experience and knowledge.
This applies not only to new businesses, but also to existing businesses and back offices.
-How about in terms of development?
Takayama:We are also working on hiring more people with new technologies within the company related to the web3 and blockchain businesses that we are developing.
However, I don’t think Cocone has been able to appeal to the outside world that it can also develop in-house, so I would like to strengthen that aspect as well.
-What do you think will be necessary in the future in terms of legal affairs?
Hiraiwa: The Cocone Group is also involved in blockchain services, but the legal framework of the industry is still unclear, and if we are to expand globally, we need to keep a close eye on overseas industry trends and regulations.
It is a difficult situation, but as a legal department, we try to catch the exact things that the division wants to achieve and aims to achieve.
I try to make proposals along these lines, paying attention to points such as “What is NG and what is OK?”, “What we want to achieve is gray, but is it gray enough to proceed?”, and “What modifications to the desired method will clear up the problem?
With the advent of the web3 era, digital assets that could only be enjoyed within apps can now be enjoyed by people around the world beyond the boundaries of apps. As a result, we see an opportunity to deliver Cocone’s services, which have distributed more than 13 billion digital assets, to customers around the world.
He is a designer who has been creating and managing avatar services for more than 10 years, and has the DNA and experience in dealing with customers and giving shape to a variety of “kawaii” and “kawaii” sensibilities.
The second part of the interview will show where Cocone will go in the future while leveraging these strengths.
※This article is machine translated.