[OUR LEADERS] Ryo Matsuo, Regional Director, South East Asia & India


OUR LEADERS – FreakOut celebrated its 10th anniversary on October 1, 2020, and at the same time, implemented new medium-term management plan for next 3 years.
At this beginning stage, on our blog “Insight at FreakOut”, we interviewed the leaders of FreakOut global team about their reviews on work, career path, direction and goals for 2021.

2020 is a year that brought changes to everyone’s life, but particularly to our Regional Director, Ryo, who used to travel frequently for business trips within Asia every week, faced big changes and challenges.

Time goes by very fast, and the year is almost over. How is your year 2020?

There are many challenges in 2020. The biggest one was of course that I couldn’t go to the office for a few months and travel to any countries at all since March due to the pandemic of COVID-19. I was forced to change my ways to communicate with respective teams and members. However I feel we are surviving the situation well thanks to the talented and reliable members in each country. Also I was a bit struggling to get used to WFH style. 

Can you explain to readers what kind of role you have played in FreakOut?

My first role at FreakOut was Ad Operations. I learned not only how to deliver campaigns but also how to analyze data and report results to clients through this role. And a year later since I joined, I was promoted to Sales Manager to lead a 6-8 members’ team. I learned team management for the first time through this role.

Then I established FreakOut India and was appointed as CEO there in 2017. Then after being CEO of FreakOut Philippines, I became Regional Director of South East Asia and India which is my current role.

Well then, go back a little further, why did you get into this industry?

I majored in Media & Advertising at my college. So my career is totally based on those categories from the beginning. BTW I originally wanted to work for a TV company and produce TV programs since I was in junior high school. This was the reason why I chose my college and Media & Advertising as my major.

What kind of career have you ventured so far?

I joined a PR & social marketing company as my first career because those categories were very important in the marketing industry when I was a new graduate in 2011. I was an account executive and involved in many brands there. This experience helped me a lot to understand the whole marketing ecosystem well. After this company, I joined FreakOut.

Why did you join FreakOut?

A category of Adtech was emerging in 2013. Also FreakOut was one of the first movers in the Adtech category and launched the first DSP in Japan. That’s why I was really interested in FreakOut even before I joined, and decided to join in the end. At that time, FreakOut had below 100 members only and was aiming to get listed on Tokyo Stock Exchange.

What do you think about our culture?

The culture is totally unique. We always value our philosophy which is expressed by Mission, Vision, and some key messages from the founders of FreakOut. Money is of course very important as fuel to run the company, but it’s not the purpose. When we decide something, the criteria are whether it’s based on our philosophy at first. We always think about what we want to do and who we are. I’ve really been proud of this culture since I joined FreakOut in Japan.

FreakOut has updated its Core Values. Which of the 5 Values you (or your team) have been able to achieve the most this year?

The best one was “Just Dive In” as per my feelings. As I mentioned earlier, I was forced to change my working style. Accordingly I needed to try a lot of new ways to adjust to our current situation and keep the momentum of our business. For example, redefining our Vision and Core Values (to express our direction more clearly without face to face communications), updating the appraisal system, discussing/creating/launching new business (one of them is obviously FreakOut Social), and etc.

What is your professional goal for 2021?

2020 was the period of time to organize everything such as strategy, product, team, meeting/reporting format, and finance/back-office tasks in each country. Also there are many restrictions to challenge something new due to the pandemic of COVID-19. So I would like 2021 to be filled by more challenges rather than just organizing. In order to achieve that, I really hope that I will be able to go to the office and travel to each country as soon as possible to increase face to face communications and more productive discussions.

What do you expect from teammates for 2021?

As some members already noticed, HQ in Japan and Global Team are getting closer month by month. Accordingly, we are gradually getting ready to bring something new from Japan compared to past years. At the same time, we are getting ready to make some business ideas by the Global Team happen. The ideas are not limited to something totally new but including minor updates as well. So I expect members to keep looking for room to improve/enhance ourselves and having productive discussions internally in each country. Feel free to share your ideas with me anytime, “Just Dive In” and “Get on the Stage”!