Jin Nanogami: “Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS”

Do you know your business could be much bigger than it currently is, but aren’t sure how to get there? I can help!

Focus on the main user interface. A beautiful user interface is very important for modern mobile applications, but every screen is not used equally. Focus on the user interface on major screens.

In 1992, Jin joined Mitsubishi Chemical’s Magneto Optical Disks Division and spearheaded production control, business development and product planning. In 1994, he introduced the early stages of the Web as part of a promotional campaign for Magneto Optical disks in Japan. In fact, the clear shell case optical disk designed by Jin was adopted in the movie, “Mission Impossible.” He was attracted to the world of internet and joined Sun Microsystems in 1996, which had the vision “The Network is the Computer.” He achieved great success in sales in the telecommunication and systems integrator sectors. After management positions in the Corporate Planning Office and Finance Services Business Division, he was appointed as the Executive Officer at Sun Microsystems K.K. in 2009. Sun was then acquired by Oracle in 2010. He led the Systems Division as the Vice President and Executive Officer at Oracle for two years. Jin founded VELDT Inc. in August of 2012 in his pursuit to create the future of the internet world with IoT. Years later, in 2019, Jin directed the launch of the Riiiver platform and LUXTURE app. He is also an acclaimed author of “How to create IoT product for Service” (Nikkei BP). Jin graduated from Kyoto University in 1992 with a degree in Economics.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

When I was selling disks in 1990, I read the book “Being Digital” written by Nicholas Negroponte which described the difference between bits (digital) and atoms (real). I was selling the “refrigerator of bits,” but found it interesting to build “water supply of bits,” which is the internet. Since then, my mission was to make the internet pervasive. In 2010, I was introduced to a short story called “The Veldt” written in 1950 by Ray Bradbury. The story highlights children who are addicted to the virtual world, and the parents who gave the kids this virtual experience were killed by a virtual beast. I quickly realized that this “concept” was now our reality. Later, I founded VELDT to set a different and positive ending to the story, “The Veldt,” and shifted my mission to solving problems caused by wrong use of internet and technology.

VELDT began developing IoT products and services in 2012, successfully integrating luxury watches with technology to offer products and services that are connected to cloud systems. SERENDIPITY was the first product VELDT developed and the second generation is LUXTURE — the coined word LUX (light) and Future. My goal with LUXTURE was to create the possibility for people to enjoy pre-defined functions, but also create their own to enhance their lives. The LUX “Light” concept was embedded in the product design but the “Future” concept needed a large investment. From there, I met an executive of Citizen Watch at Baselworld who understood my goals and concept ideas, which led to the development of the Riiiver platform. The “Future” side of LUXTURE was complete.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

My “Aha Moment” came to me after many discussions with friends and colleagues, as well as reading informative books. For example, our smartwatch has unique and patented LED UI which I developed after having an engaging conversation with an engineer. In addition, I had many conversations with an executive at Citizen Watch discussing my vision for an engaging application, and that’s how we developed Riiiver.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Our company focuses on Internet of Things and develops both hardware and software. The development was a huge investment and really tough to prove the viability to raise funding. I never gave up. I believe it is important to create original development methods which fit to the project. It’s a lot of trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t. I recovered from failures quickly and each accomplishment from there led to gaining credibility from stakeholders and business partners.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Things are going well today, however there are endless challenges when you’re creating a product or service that can be complex at times. I welcome the daily challenges with a positive attitude, which has definitely led to my success.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

I really wanted to have a cool office space, so I designed an original desk. It was very cutting-edge and unique, but the desk corner was so sharp it continuously got caught on my jeans! The biggest takeaway from this was to practice functionality, and of course stay safe.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We are innovators with agile development methods focused on IoT, which requires integration of various factors — hardware and software, design and engineering, cutting edge technology and craftsmanship, and input and output devices. The Riiiver platform has the methodology to integrate these different factors with agility and great talents to execute. In addition, the platform gives users the ability to create personalized forms of experiences in three easy steps — a trigger, a service and an action — to create functions each individual wants for their own lifestyles.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I’d recommend to always stay on your toes and have a unique approach to each situation. If you’re competing in an area that has already established rules, you have to find a way to stand out. I believe in Apple’s motto — “Think differently.” On the flip side, it’s important to stay true to who you are and find a work/life balance that fits your needs to avoid any sort of “burn out.”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I am grateful for my wife. Without her understanding and support, I couldn’t continue this challenge. I always tell my wife that half of my success is hers, no matter what.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

We recently launched an app called LUXTURE that connects with VELDT’s smartwatch products. It’s still in the beginning stages. However, our IoT platform, “Riiiver,” owned by Citizen watch and designed, developed and operated by VELDT, has been growing exponentially, nearly 3,000 hardware users. This number has exceeded the limit of the manufacturing capacity for now. We are working with various IoT partners and mobile service providers, which will rapidly increase our global community soon.

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

We have three different monetization models. First is VELDT smartwatch products and LUXTURE app. The revenue is generated from our product sales and services. Second is the platform business. We provide open SDK to IoT product vendors to connect our IoT platform with reasonable charge. Third is data processing and analysis business. In the near future, we’re going to provide unique data analysis engine.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SAAS? Please share a story or an example for each.

Competitive and agile development method

It’s all about the customers journey. When an app or service is first released to the general public, it’s very rarely perfect. It’s important to have continuous improvement. It’ll be useful to have a competitive and agile development method to accommodate continuous changes.

Attitude and process

In addition to the systems and methods, it’s important for team members to have a positive attitude and streamlined process. The culture should be motivating with the team looking to “wow” the users during their experience.

Focus on the main user interface

A beautiful user interface is very important for modern mobile applications, but every screen is not used equally. Focus on the user interface on major screens.

Turn users into developers

The volume of content is defined by the quantity of developers. If the content is created only by the company, internal developers will find themselves as the bottleneck. Similar to SNS, it would be powerful if users voluntarily create the content. VELDT and Citizen created a simple yet creative approach for users to develop new internet services with three easy steps on the Riiiver platform.

User friendly design

The Riiiver platform, as well as other successful apps and services, have the ability for users to share their positive experiences easily to family, friends and colleagues.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

We need to collectively work together to live and build a more sustainable lifestyle. The newest services and technologies may provide us with convenience, but sometimes are not good for the planet. I’m working on creating a movement to find a common balance where we can all make a positive impact.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram: @j.h.n

LinkedIn: Jin Nonogami

Facebook: Jin Nonogami

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Riiiver Background:

Riiiver is an open IoT platform service to expand experiences with “time” and “lifestyle” by connecting people, things, and services based around watches. Transcending race, gender or generation, people can find their own lifestyles, share and connect them through Riiiver. The name comes from the idea of how rivers have transformed and evolved human civilization in such context. The three “i”’s in Riiiver stand for “imagine,” inspire” and “innovate,” which are the key actions that support that expansion.

LUXTURE Background: LUXTURE takes data from your smartphone health app so you can track health indicators such as activity level, steps and weight on the LUXTURE app. Another feature typically found on classic luxury watches, LUXTURE expresses the moon phase with yellow lights.

Jin Nanogami: “Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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