Magazine SWITCH Interview “To Create a Quality Digital World” Director and Executive Vice President Mai Ishiwatari

※This article is machine translated.

This article was originally published in “SWITCH Vol.41-No.6” and is reprinted with permission.


Mai Ishiwatari Director and Executive Vice President
After graduating from the Faculty of Law, Sophia University, she was admitted to the bar in October 2002. Since then, She has been active in a wide range of activities including media appearances in addition to her legal practice. After joining Cocone, She became Director and Executive Vice President in 2023.

Not just for work, but for life.

Magazine SWITCH Interview "To Create a Quality Digital World" Director and Executive Vice President Mai Ishiwatari

– How did you come to work for Cocone?

I used to work as an attorney and had never belonged to any particular organization. At first I was involved in legal affairs as an attorney at Cocone, but when I heard about the direction of the company, I thought it sounded very interesting, and I was subsequently offered a position with the company.

– What is the appeal of Cocone’s apps that you find so appealing?

In talking with our customers, there is one thing that we have strongly realized. That is, the world in the app is another real world that is augmented and a comfortable place to be. There are communities and encounters with others in both reality and the app. I believe that the Cocone app is not just an app, but an important place for self-expression and a place to be with friends.

– It’s not simply an app, but a place for people to be.

Yes, I do. Partly because of the increase in online activities at Corona, but also because of the trend of the times, I feel that the expansion of digital spaces will increase the options for ways of living and self-expression.

– Do you think it is important to improve the happiness of your employees in order to create apps?

First of all, we try not to call the various things we offer ‘benefits”. Benefits are more like a means for a company to improve performance. We are not providing facilities or systems for people to work, but we want to provide an environment where people can be happy while they spend most of their day at the company. Of course, there may be cases where good creativity can be produced in an environment where people put down roots and forget to eat or sleep, but we are moving forward with the belief that we can provide quality service by taking care of the health of our employees and providing an environment with a high level of fulfillment.

– What are some of the things you do to improve the well-being of your employees?

As I mentioned earlier, when you work, you inevitably spend a lot of time at the office. We decided to take advantage of this situation and provide the best possible experience when you come to work. Specifically, we provided free deli, the company cafeteria, and set up a café that serves delicious coffee. We also have a gym where you can exercise, a full range of Pilates and other classes, and several massage therapists on staff.

– I’m sure you can choose from two different deli menus, which change daily.

Yes, it is. It also comes with a salad bar and is health conscious. Many companies in general outsource their company cafeterias, but at Cocone we do not outsource and hire our chefs directly. At Cocone, various teams are working on various initiatives on a daily basis. As a member of the company, the chef knows which teams are busy and when they are having a difficult time, so he or she can offer a word of advice when serving a dish or devise a new dish. I feel that such physical involvement is very important.

Emphasis on communication

– It’s not just a corporate system, it’s a warm and bloody one.

Yes, that’s right. There was a time when the gym had few users in the beginning and I myself was troubled. At that time, Sen, the founding chairman of Cocone, said to me, ‘The fitness staff needs to leave the gym and go talk to people. It was an eye-opener for me when he said, ‘No one will come if you just sit in the gym. I thought, “Yes, that’s what providing service is all about. From there, we created the “3 Minute Stretch ” T-shirts and had the trainers wear them as they made the rounds of the workplaces, teaching stretches on the spot. Through these efforts, the gym gradually gained recognition.

– The facilities such as the deli and gym play a part in internal communication, creating an open environment within the company.

Yes, that’s right. There is a place where people can gather, and someone will talk to you if they see your face. I think it has become a place where people can communicate warmly.

You can order drinks from the extensive menu at the cafe in the back.

– What are some of your impressions of working for Cocone after many years as a lawyer?

I had to be perfectly prepared for my job as a lawyer, and there was no room for error, but right after I joined Cocone, I was told, ‘You don’t have to prepare so perfectly. I realized that at Cocone, it is important to improve the accuracy of each service while discussing it with everyone. Also, I cannot do the design and programming of digital assets that are the main focus of Cocone. However, I can provide legal backing for new technologies such as blockchain. There are times when I have to wait for the designers and programmers to make decisions, but I really enjoy coordinating with them and thinking about things from a legal standpoint. I feel grateful every day that I am now able to play an active role as a “piece (part)” of such Cocone.

– I have the impression that Cocone is not the mechanical corporate image that people have when they hear the word “IT company,” but rather a place where people are constantly learning and discovering new things.

Yes, that’s right. In Korea, we have established an entrepreneurship training school in collaboration with a university, and in Japan, we operate a preschool. Every day I feel that this enthusiasm for creating an environment where people can grow is at the root of Cocone.

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