William Saito was always interested in how things work. He designed programs and built software for companies when he was only 12 years old. His first programming job was at Merrill Lynch. He started his own software company while he attended the University of California, Riverside. He also earned degrees from Harvard and Yale. In 1998, Ernst & Young, NASDAQ, and USA Today named him the Entrepreneur of the Year.
Microsoft bought the firmware rights to his technology in 2000. He has been a principal investor for over 25 startup companies. He has been an advisor to the Chertoff Group, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, and the World Economic Forum. He is considered a foremost authority on cyber-technology and network security. He is one of the University of California, Riverside’s and the Anderson School of Management’s professors. He has been an IT strategist and a Venture capitalist.
William was awarded the Japanese Medal of Honor in 2016 for his cleanup and recovery efforts after Fukushima’s nuclear disaster. He founded the independent accident investigation for the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. He improved Japan’s cybersecurity defense system from 2013 to 2017. He was an advisor to Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese Cabinet. He was also an advisor to Japanese Airlines.
William Saito believes that failing and trying again is the real way to learn. He recommends doing something that differentiates you from everyone else. Use your time at school to create, invent, explore, fail, learn, and fail again. He says startup companies have more potential when they are started in an era of financial stress. Companies learn how to maximize a budget and pitch to investors.
When William chooses to invest in something, he meets with the team and sees if they can collaborate beyond the investment. He exchanges ideas with entrepreneurs and students to find creativity and innovation. He sees if they have failed at any point and if they are prepared to fail when starting their business. He values diversity and thinks it is good for company growth.
William works a lot in Japan, but the country is facing a decreasing population problem. He thinks it is important for entrepreneurs to adapt to the challenge by considering different ideas. Leaders need to establish relationships and industries outside of their own country.