Repro is like Shohoku High School. - Engineer Edward Fox.




Edward Fox, a software engineer, has been a leader on the technology side of the company since its inception. Without his exploits, there might not be a Repo today. He is addicted to basketball these days. I was told that on holidays, she sweats with her friends at an elementary school near her company. So, in this issue, we followed Fox on and off.

I feel like I've moved to three or four different companies because I'm growing so fast

My father used to be a hippie, so I've been listening to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan since I was little. There are many other bands I like, but I'm all about rock. I didn't like melocore (laughs).

By the time I was in high school, I had formed a band and started playing the guitar. After that, I went to art college to study filmmaking, and then I started working in the jazz lab, but it wasn't what I was looking for. In the first place, I didn't have any attachment to expressing myself.

I learned C, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript on my own, and started working as an intern at a music startup and doing web projects on my own.

I continued to intern after graduating from university, but I couldn't make a living doing that alone, so I worked part-time at an art gallery at the same time for a while, and then joined a small and medium-sized IT company doing acceptance development to hone my skills.

It was around that time that I started helping to develop a service that would become a prototype for Repro. I met Akira Miki, who was the CTO at the time, when I was an intern at a music startup, and we were in the same coworking space as the IT company I was working for, so I asked him for advice. I think it was about May of 2014.

At the time, I didn't even think I was going to join Repro. However, I gradually became attached to the product, and Miki also enthusiastically asked me to join the company.

At the time, it was only a five-person organization, but before you know it, it has grown to over 200 people, so I feel like I've moved on to three or four different companies. The skills required vary from phase to phase, so in addition to the technical aspects, I've learned how to drive business as a businessperson.

Incidentally, we were talking about growing the company in about two years and buying it out for hundreds of millions of yen when it was founded. I think it was an interesting scenario in its own right. However, both the company and the service have grown beyond our imagination, so we are now going to go all out.

"SLAM DUNK" as my bible

In my private life, I'm addicted to basketball. I originally played on the basketball team in junior high and high school, but stayed away from it after college.

Then about two years ago, a member of the B.LEAGUE fan club invited me to watch a game, and my passion for basketball was rekindled. Soon after, I formed a basketball club and now practice once a week at an elementary school near my company.

I've reached an age where I can afford to buy bashes that used to be so expensive that I couldn't afford them, so I buy about three pairs at once and give the ones that don't fit my feet to my friends. It's at times like this that I think I've become an adult (laughs).

We also participated in the team's first inter-company league competition, but we ended up with two wins and two losses, so I'd like to put more effort into training from now on. The club is always looking for members.

Since I started playing basketball, I've become more confident in my life. As an engineer, I'm not bound by time, so I tend to be lazy and tend to be a night owl, but that hasn't been the case much since I started spending one of my weekends playing basketball. I've got a lot of physical strength and I've changed my mind about my body.

Basketball is a team sport, isn't it? So I've started to think more about communication at work as well. Lately, I've been reading "SLAM DUNK" while doing my job and mimicking my lines, explaining to the members what I should do in this case. I'm like a combination of Hanamichi Sakuragi and Goken Akagi and divided by two, so I think it's pretty hot and boring (laughs).

The future is unknown as we expand globally

Repro's engineering team is full of unique individuals. A lot of people are weird in a good way. It's just like Shohoku High School in SLAM DUNK. That's why I never get bored of it.

The organization is also very flat and there are no strange fetters. How do you make a good product? We can only face that one point.

Right now, the company is going through a very interesting phase; until about two or three years ago, I could somewhat predict the future of the company, but after the opening of the Singapore office in 2019, it became an unknown number.

But I think it also means that Repro has a lot of potential: we've decided to raise 3 billion yen in funding by 2020, and we've opened branches in Southeast Asia. As the scale of the service grows, the infrastructure that supports it also becomes important.

I would like to take advantage of this environment to take on more challenges because I will be expanding globally by leaving Japan.

Interview & Writing = Hiroo Murakami / Photography = Keita Tamamura



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