Konosuke Matsushita

Have you heard of Konosuke Matsushita? Born in 1894 in a village near Osaka, Japan. Matsushita lacked formal education, wealth, connections and even a special talent. His father had lost their farm property due to poor investments and the family of eight was forced to move to a small house in the city. To help support the family, Konosuke become a store apprentice.

The early hardships had produced a lifelong thirst for learning. His father taught : “the skills you are learning will ensure your future. Succeed as an entrepreneur, and you can hire people who have education.

When Konosuke foresaw that electricity would be the wave of the future, he applied at a power company, leaving his apprenticeship at 15. Seven years later and already a highly-paid inspector by that time, he remembered his father’s advice and left his job to set up his own company.

Undaunted by meager resources ( he started out with only 100 yen), poor sales, and the departure of two co-workers (leaving only his wife and brother-in-law to help out), the young man pursued. Then, on the brink of bankruptcy, the company was saved by an unexpected order for a thousand insulator plates for electric fans.

With money to invest, he launched a new manufacturing company on the first floor of his home. Konosuke developed innovative items like a battery-powered bicycle lamp, resulting in a flood of orders. While thinking of a brand name for an invention, Konosuke noticed in the dictionary that the word “national”, which means “of or relating to the people of a nation”, was perfect for product that he believed every household in the country needed. In 1927, the National brand was born.

Konosuke also placed high priority on the interests of his employees with his guiding principles, which included service to the public, fairness, honesty, teamwork for the common cause, continuous improvement, humility, accord with natural laws, and gratitude for blessings. This shy idealist also advanced his then-radical philosophy: the mission of a manufacturer is to relieve poverty and create wealth, not only for shareholders, but for society.

Matsushita’s company became one of the world’s largest electric goods manufacturer, sold under the Panasonic, Technics, and JVC brands. After he retired in 1973, Matsushita wrote 44 books on his social and commercial philosophies, one of which sold over four million copies.

When he died in 1989 at the age of 94, he left personal assets worth $3 billion and a company with $42 billion in revenues.

FINAL ADVICE : RISE

When you fall, rise up. If you encounter a stumbling block, turn it into a stepping stone. There will always be a fulfillment of dreams to those who persevere and never quit. And when you feel like quitting, never, never, NEVER give Up!