Entrepreneur at 17: “Spacework” Transforms the Next Generation’s Way of Working (Part 1)

The app “Spacework” helps you find one-day jobs. It was officially released in September 2017, and registrations have exceeded 10,000 as of August 2018. The app is run by the company Spacelook. Representative Reo Taniguchi found the company when he was 17, and continues to take on new challenges to achieve his mission of "promoting a new way of working to the world". Spacelook itself is a pioneer of a new corporate structure.We interviewed Taniguchi about what made him decide to start Spacework, and what values he wants to establish through his company.

          Reo Taniguchi’s Attuned Motivator Profile


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--Why did you start Spacelook, and what was the context?

I wanted to provide a wider range of choices in terms of types of jobs and ways of working. I first felt this desire when I was in second grade of junior high school. I was forced to move around in a wheelchair because of an injury I sustained during baseball practice, and other mental problems. One day, my wheelchair toppled over next to a road, but nobody offered help. I fortunately regained movement in my legs, but the experience of being “seen, but ignored” never left me.I came to a great realization when mulling about my experience: Japanese people don’t necessarily “see, but pretend not to see” because they are unkind- they simply do not have the headspace to help. This is caused by people “being forced by others to work a certain way.” Jobs and ways of working can be and should be more free and flexible. That’s when I decided to establish a “new normal.” If individuals are able to choose jobs they really want to do, the world would be a place where people are willing to help others in need. This will have a major impact, and eventually even solve problems like poverty.

--The modernization of the way we work is an interesting solution to the fundamental problem of “pretending not to see.” What do you believe is special about Spacework?

Spacework is a smartphone app that allows users to find part-time jobs for one day, with a focus on restaurants and hotels. The majority of users are college students and part-time workers. The app is special because of its B2C matching feature, which helps both users and registered companies.Firstly, users will be able to apply for jobs he wants, and when he wants, without worrying about adjusting shifts, which is necessary in long part-time jobs. There is also no need to produce a resume or turn up at an interview. Users can simply use their smartphone to find work. Meanwhile, registered companies also benefit by avoiding a shortage of workers. Companies will be able to deal with sudden events because users can be recruited on a daily basis.

--There seems to be many job posts for restaurant jobs. Do you plan to increase the types of jobs offered?

Currently, most of the part-time jobs are in the blue-collar service industry—jobs that anyone can do without qualifications or specific skills, like serving customers and packing. We are still at the beginning stages. The next step is to widen the range of industries to include jobs like hairdressing, nail art, and taxi drivers, which all require qualifications.We also plan to implement a mutual review feature between users and companies to provide accurate matching and proof of the user’s credibility. As users try different jobs, data for each individual user and company will accumulate, showing the job type and work culture preferred by the user, and the type of resource the company is looking for. For example, a user may like serving customers in a restaurant, but dislike packing.By increasing the transactions between users and companies, we will be able to accumulate data that is accurate and relevant. Our hope is to ultimately provide better matching and coordination so that we can recommend jobs that are most appropriate for each specific user.The sharing of human resources between companies will become increasingly common. This is because it will become difficult to hold onto workers by using long-term employment. We believe that this will not only improve the liquidity of human resources but also make a fundamental change to human resources management.

--Can you elaborate on this fundamental change?

Currently, the human resources department spends their resources on recruitment. However, if services such as Spacework become popular, the focus of recruitment will be on posting job requirements. Therefore, the human resources department can save labor and allocate their time and energy on creating a system that allows employees to demonstrate their potential. As a result, corporate structure will become more diverse. Our service aims to "change the way we work," and Spacelook is leading by example.

--What type of corporate structure does Spacelook have, specifically?

Spacelook currently consists of the following three teams: seven people in the development team for the app and admin page, seven people in the business development team responsible for sales, and two people in the design team. Among them, five members of the business development team are full-time employees and the other members are committed to Spacelook in the evenings and weekends as a side job. The development and design team are a separate company, with whom we work as partners to expand our business in the long-term, instead of a relationship where one company delegates work to another.Our stance is to not have any management or chain of command. We instead choose to trust and leave it to the staff members. That is how each member is independent and interdepartmental communication arises naturally. Of course, neither nationality nor age is relevant in our company. I am currently 18 years old; the youngest member of our company. Also, our development team members are all Chinese.(Read Part 2 Here)