Born in Los Angeles, California, 2 years after his parents emigrated, William Saito, a Japanese-American entrepreneur managed to make a name for himself due to his vast knowledge and deep experience in the tech industry. On top of his ventures in the world of tech, Saito is also a former political and strategic advisor, as well as a cybersecurity expert.
Despite the level of his English skills while he was growing up, Saito’s first opportunity came in the form of an internship in computer programming at the age of 10. Due to his interest in programming, he started his own company out of his college dorm room with a number of friends, with the intent to build secure software. The company grew and became I/O Software, which he sold to Microsoft when he was 34 years old, in the year 2000, 9 years after its inception. Saito dedicated himself to working full-time on I/O, and his partnership with Sony is what made it possible for him to ultimately sell the company.
Saito’s new book ‘An Unprogrammed Life’ talks about his beginning in the world of tech during the 1980s. The book also details Saito’s early interest in computers, which started when his parents bought an IBM computer in an effort to help him increase the level of skill in math and science, at the recommendation of his teachers. Pushed by his curiosity, he decided to take the computer apart, which created a huge problem and attracted the anger of his parents, who took a second mortgage on the house and bought the computer for $5000. The incident, however, helped young Saito have a better understanding of how computers work and learned how to put the computer back together, which only served to spike his interest more and more.
According to Mr.Saito, the last economic turmoil has created an opportunity for startup entrepreneurs, and that, despite specific difficulties still existing in Japan, things are beginning to change. The biggest difference between the Western cultures and Asian cultures, in his opinion, is the perception of risk, the Asian cultures not accepting the idea of failing as much as the Western cultures, who only see failure as a stepping stone.
He notes that all companies that became successful and popular started in times of economic turmoil, and he believes that the economic crisis is an opportune time to create a sustaining starter company. This is due to the fact that, because of the circumstances, companies are forced to fine-tune their fiscal responsibilities and their budgetary management, since the option of failing is much more difficult to accept.