Tatsuya Nakagawa once wanted to be a professional tennis player. Now, he’s the president and CEO of Atomica Creative Group, a Burnaby-based strategic product marketing company that works with manufacturing and technology firms.
Nakagawa was born in Tokyo and lives in West Vancouver. The 31-year-old University of British Columbia graduate coauthored (with Peter Paul Roosen) the book Overcoming Inventoritis: The Silent Killer of Innovation (Happy About, 2008). He’s also a director of the Burnaby Board of Trade.
The Georgia Straight sat down with Nakagawa in a West Broadway café.
What are you working on right now?
We’re working on a bunch of different product launches...consumer product launches and some B2B launches, primarily in North America.
What is “inventoritis”?
Inventoritis is a condition, where the end result is people falling in love with their products and neglecting other aspects of the business—overestimating that the strength of their product or their technology gives them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
In a nutshell, how does a tech company overcome inventoritis?
This is all assuming that they have something that’s worth marketing. They assume that their product is terrible. You cannot go wrong with that. Then you focus in on how you deliver it, and work very hard at delivering it.
What’s one piece of advice that you’d give to an Internet start-up in Vancouver that’s preparing for a launch?
In terms of their planning and stuff and their materials, see how much they refer to themselves in their product, as opposed to the customer. Check the language, and, if there is a disconnect, make sure you address that, because the thing is you may be the only one that thinks those things. So, make sure everything is validated by customers, before you go out and spend a lot of money developing or launching.
How do you use social media for marketing?
It comes down to a few different areas. But it mainly comes down to giving the company—depending on the company—the tools to better connect with their customers or other people. So, that could be one-to-one relationships, that could be community-based. That’s how we use social media.
Can you think of one great launch of a technology product or service in recent memory?
Something I’m pretty impressed with right now is mainly the companies that are doing good work in and around some of these major platforms, like, for instance, Twitter. All these apps that are launched through those sites—Seesmic, TweetDeck—I’m impressed by what they’re able to do with that and the ramp up on what’s happening with those.
What’s the next Twitter or Facebook?
I like Qik.
What do you like about it?
In Canada, I think that bandwidth is still fairly expensive, but I think the U.S. is a lot cheaper. But, as bandwidth gets a little bit cheaper, people are going to be doing live broadcasting through their phones. It’s just a matter of time.
What other social-networking sites do you use?
I narrow it down. The ones I use the most are LinkedIn and Twitter. But there’s a few sites. FriendFeed a little bit. It’s got a little more flexibility. I like some of the old ones. Flickr I still use quite a bit. A lot of the stuff out there right now is a little bit faddy. So, I want to wait a little bit until they have a little bit more pickup before going on to those.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? Tell Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.