Our company interesse international inc. has celebrated its 20th anniversary on June 1st, 2016.
We have come a long way to maintain our 15 branches in the US and Japan. Looking back now, we've experienced the fruitful good times and persisted through the sluggish bad ones. It was a bumpy path upon which we had some missteps, but ultimately accomplished much.
During the last 20 years, there were several major events that affected our business in a profound manner. The first one was undoubtedly 2001’s September 11 Attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
Our company was doing well and expanding our business when the attacks occurred. In addition to our New York Headquarter office, we had opened two offices: the Los Angeles office in 1998, where we finally started to pick up our business after staving off the area's competition, and the brand new San Diego office in 2001. Up until then, our New York office supported the operations of other offices and businesses. Upon the September 11th Attacks, anticipating the downward inevitable business trend in the New York area, I clearly saw in my mind that my life and Interesse were crumbling before me. On the day of and after the attacks, we struggled to contact all of our staff members to make sure they were safe. I clearly remember the tremendous relief we felt when all the staff members were found unaffected by the attacks just three days after reaching out. Though I put on a steadfast exterior, I felt uneasy, traumatized by the event for some 2 weeks.
As for our business, we had to endure layoffs because of the gloomy 2002 New York business climate along with foreign business withdrawals including Japanese businesses.
On the verge of desperation, we came up with the idea of creating a new business in an area unaffected by the attacks: the south-eastern United States. We opened a new location in Atlanta, and eventually weathered through the poor economic climate. As the US economy was recovering, we continued to expand by opening new branches to Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Houston, and Honolulu.
However, life will constantly offer up new challenges. After some successful years of business, we had invested in opening new branches and strengthening the IT structures in 2007 and 2008. We hired new employees and created training programs to be ready for the next challenge, when the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers crept up on us from nowhere in September 2008. The event took place right after we spent a sizable amount to invest, and I thought this was going to truly be the end with no way out for myself and our company. The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy affected all of the US and beyond, and I came to realize that we had nowhere to find a good business unlike after the September 11 Attacks. I felt like this extraordinary situation of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy resembled a singularity in Math, an exceptional set that cannot be defined. Our usual calculation or mathematical rules have no power against such a fluke occurrence. Thus, we endured with the very basics reminding ourselves from time to time that we were not yet dead as long as we still exist. We knew our company could have been ended any time, but we learned how to lay low, reminding ourselves that no one comes out of life unscathed.
In addition to these two significant crises, there was the Economic Bubble Burst in Japan in the early 90s, which happened when I was in Germany on assignment in my previous company. These three life-or-death experiences helped me acquire the stamina necessary to thrive.
In our recent years, we've started to provide a new human resource cloud service along with our staffing and placement service. I have come to realize that these two services are related to the so-called “matchmaking” business, which is similar to the business of my hometown’s famous ancient shrine, Izumo-Taisha in Shimane, Japan. We provide solutions for people with problems.
While “matchmaking” is a system with a long history, I consider bridging and connecting needs and relationships is a very important role, no matter the era.
Therefore, we are here to cherish the role of “matchmaking,” to cultivate and appreciate the relationships we have as well as to strive to contribute to any of the needs and support for businesses.
interesse international inc.
President & C.E.O Masato Fujihara