Kyoto University-Graduate Math Engineer is becoming a new face for the domestic OCR and DLA technologies in Japan
Hello! Thanks for tuning into our employee introduction series. Today’s member interview is Gensuke Toshiro, Open Room’s backend engineer. Keep reading to find out why a tech startup is Gensuke’s ideal outlet for creativity.
Name: Gensuke Toshiro
Title: Associate Engineer
Age: 22 years old
Nationality: Kyoto, Japan
What kind of work did you do before joining the firm?
Before working at Open Room Inc, I was a university student at Kyoto University. I had a couple of part-time engineering jobs throughout university, which focused mainly on developing web applications and maintaining servers, in case of crashes. It was an ‘old’ environment in all senses. There was a traditional way of completing tasks, and it had to be done that way. I felt stuck that I couldn’t voice my opinions or suggest alternative solutions to projects.
Working for a proptech startup
What is your view on the Japanese real estate industry?
I had no idea what was happening in the real estate industry before taking on this position, but now I see that it is stuck in the stone age. It seems as though no one cares to disrupt the market because the real estate industry is a money-making machine. It saddens me to see lack of creativity in this sector.
How come you chose to work for a startup? What is unique or special about it?
A startup’s environment is very ideal for engineers because you get to work in the way you want. Personally, I am able to self-manage my work and am encouraged to explore my creativity freely. When I worked for a traditional Japanese company, someone was always managing my tasks and telling me how to solve problems. I can’t imagine going back to that kind of environment again.
Working at Open Room Inc.
Why did you decide to work at Open Room Inc.?
Initially, I wasn’t necessarily looking to work for a startup. In fact, when I was offered the job by Toyo, I was very hesitant. I didn’t even know whether I wanted to be an engineer because I had so many different interests like writing, music, and maths. The deciding factor for me was Jonathan, the lead engineer. I was fascinated by how he thinks as an engineer, and I can confidently say that there are not many people like him in this world. He has a fresh mindset and an advanced approach to engineering. I think, at least in Japan, an engineer like Jonathan is unique to startups, and I couldn’t waste an opportunity to work with him.
What is your vision? How does it overlap with the company’s mission?
It’s hard to say what my vision in life is as I’m still so young. For now, I know that I like being able to put deep thought into an idea and develop something out of it. I want to just sit down and really dive into thinking, and I can do that forever. Open Room supports the way I want to work and enables me to live a life closest to my dreams.
What is the most exciting thing about working at Open Room Inc.?
Being able to code every day and solve problems to create products our clients are looking for.
You started working for Open Room straight out of university. How has working for Open Room Inc. been a good foundation for your future career/ helped you decide what you want to do in the future?
I came across this job as a coincidence, but I am truly grateful for this opportunity. I’ve learned that there are more progressive jobs for engineers than what I was exposed to previously, and have found a place where I can work the way I want to. I now know that self-management is something I value deeply and feel as though I can only work in a place where I am able to do so. Working here has already taught me so much, and I’m excited to keep learning and growing with the company.
Working with the team
What do you strive to do in order to create a positive work dynamic?
When I am very focused on my work, I tend to be very quiet and can work alone for hours. We have such a free and easy-going environment within the team where each member is delegated with much responsibility and trust, and I never feel pressured to work or act in a certain way. Sometimes someone would drop a random comment, and it gets the whole team talking, but otherwise everyone's completely focused on work. It's very unique and works great because we all have a strong sense of trust and respect for one another's work ethics.
What is it like working with such a diverse group of people?
I find it very interesting because even though everyone speaks in one language, we all have such varying perspectives, which display our cultural differences. Some members always engage in small talks, which is very unusual and amusing to me. Everyone is very unique, and I’m always fascinated by them.
How do you feel being the only Japanese member in the tech team?
Of course, I do think differently or act differently compared to some members, but I don’t think that’s because of my nationality or ethnicity. We are all different people so it’s natural to be unique, and just because I am Japanese, I don’t feel any less connected to the rest of the team. We all get along well, and I think it all comes down to our shared values and care for one another.
What is one thing you love about our service/ product the most?
I am proud to be taking an unique yet technologically advanced approach to solve solution for real estate that applies a combination of DLA and OCR technology. It’s something that is not easily being done, especially at our level of accuracy.
Do you have any message or career advice to someone who is reading this article?
It’s fun to challenge the norm.
Thanks for tuning in! Come back next week to read about our associate engineer, Rob Weiss.