Why am I a fit for Uber?
This single word defines the Japanese philosophy of reaching for perfection, while acknowledging that it can never be achieved. It means to improve continuously; to empathize with the customers; to challenge the status quo and search for a better way to do things. To me, Uber embodies this philosophy. Uber doesn’t toss a hundred features imaginable in the app and give it to us; instead, each and every feature available today seems to be an essential one for someone. For example, the suggestion of pickup points; this feature can be thought of only if you empathize with the customers and look for their pain points. I used to always search for a nearby shop or a gas station before opening the Uber app, so that the driver and I would not have to contact each other and waste both of our time. I don't have to do that anymore.
I believe I am a fit for Uber because I have and will always consider things from the customers' perspective. For example, when I first moved to the U.S. three years ago for school, I noticed that there were small communities of Japanese international students scattered across the San Francisco Bay Area - each of them confined to that particular university, community college, or language school. Of over 400 Japanese students that I’ve met, most of them struggled with communicating in English. When I realized that these students and communities had no means of finding and connecting with other communities, I decided to create an organization - which I soon named Silicon Valley Japanese Student Association - with the aim to bridge the gaps between all of these communities, serve as the central channel of communication and interaction, and promote a sense of community. I did not do this because I wanted to write it on my resume. I did this because I could only imagine how much tougher my life abroad would have been if I did not speak English. We had over 400 members in 6 months.
Empathy is essential to the philosophy of Kaizen. It is one of my core values, and I have exercised and implemented this throughout various stages in my life. I see this philosophy in Uber. I believe that when two parties that practice this philosophy work together, they will be able to produce extraordinary results. At Uber, I will be able to contribute to the growth of a company that I believe in, in my home country, through implementation of what I am good at - Kaizen.
Why am I a fit for this role?
I believe I am a fit for this role for two reasons.
Upbringing - I immigrated to Japan from Taiwan when I was 3, and lived there for over 16 years. I studied English at international schools, spoke Mandarin at home, and worked with Japanese people. I lived in and understand the country and its people, especially the Millennials, from both insider and outsider's perspectives. For example, I know that older Japanese people place higher value on the quality of service, while the Millennials care more about the experience and the price. Localization is important, but so is standardization. I want to help Uber strike the right balance.
Experience - After dropping out of school, I worked in retail for a year. In Japan, no one is really in "customer service," but at the same time, everyone is. People care about the quality of service that they receive and provide, almost as much as the product itself. This is why Omotenashi, which is the Japanese art of hospitality, so important. I was taught that to provide extraordinary service, we had to go beyond what customers expected, and deliver that before they expect it. We put rain covers on shopping bags, face cover (for makeup protection) in fitting rooms, and offer to carry or temporarily hold on to large luggages while they shop. Omotenashi is why there are two different types of ratings for cab drivers in Japan; why there are black cabs, which are driven by drivers who earn the highest ratings; and why the doors are automatic. Having practiced this for an entire year has prepared me to be the perfect candidate for this position because Uber and Omotenashi has mutual traits - ride for users when they want it, where they want it, only a few taps away.