Enfani CEO Mac Funamizu Interview

Experience of English Teacher Before Designer!?
Secret Story of the Popular App SUM!

Nice to meet you!
I’m an Enfani blog writer hiro.

I participated as a blogger to Enfani about a month ago because I thought it’s a fun company that makes apps like SUM!

Now I was able to hear the story of birth of the app SUM!.
It’s a math game, adding or dividing numbers from 1 to 9 coming down one after another.

It is an app where you can learn the concept of mathematics while playing happily,

What do you think is Mac Funamizu that made this application like?

He’s not half!

Until recently I thought that Mac was half Japanese and half somewhere.

Also I believed he was younger than me.

However!
He was a genuine Japanese and he’s older than me.

My age is not disclosed, but anyway Mac seems to be considerably younger than the actual age!

And the name Mac comes from

his having been a teacher of English before becoming a designer with a nickname Mac. His real name is Makoto.

Mac himself as well as his designs, seem to be very cool,

but when I actually talk with him, it turns out he is a very warm person, who loves fun stuff and communicating others.

OK then let me introduce the interview with Mac!

 

I will live with English!

~ So your former position was a teacher of English, right? ~

“Yes, I studied English in my school days, so I wanted to get a job that could make use of English.

It was the trading company that I got a job first, but I didn’t get along well.

I wondered if I really wanted to do that and then I immediately quit the job (laugh).

After that, I changed jobs a number of times.

Then it was the teacher of the English conversation class that finally settled down with.

I like to communicate with people, so it was a perfect occupation for me. ”

From there, how did you become a designer?

“Since I had originally liked designing,

In the English school, in addition to teaching, I also made posters and fliers for the school.

Then they asked me to make a website.

But since I didn’t know about programming (all I knew was BASIC), I learned it from scratch by reading books.

I felt really happy when the website I made with such a hard time got popular.

Unlike leaflets and posters, websites can be seen by people who are not even there through the net.

I am pleased that what I want to express is seen by people all over the world.

Through the design, I started wanting to communicate with a lot more people.

Then I decided to become a designer!”

 

A free designer era that can not sell at all

~ I see. So how did you become a designer? ~

“I bought books and taught myself again. First I wanted to take advantage of my experience as an English teacher and thought about working overseas as a designer.

I got interviews twice in Australia, it didn’t work at all.

Furthermore, if I say to people in Japan I’m a free designer, there is nobody who gives me a job…

I spent days like that for some time.

Then at an interview of a small Japanese design office,

I talked about my thoughts and passion about design and the importance of communication, I got hired!

Then I got various experiences as a designer, soon I got promoted and got big projects.

After that, I was head-hunted as in-house designer at a major bank and became independent.”

 

Blogging gave him chance to be independent

~ After being experienced as a designer, you went out on your own. However, was it easy to have courage? What made you do so? ~

“It was a blog.

Almost every week I was introducing my ideas in my blog in English. (Here’s Mac’s blog.)

Then, I got an offer to make their new product of an European company, make speeches about design and so on.

Unlike in Japan, if people abroad are interested in what you’re doing even in a blog, you get chances to work.

You can be evaluated as such regardless of your experiences or achievements.

Then they let me do various kinds of work,

as a designer I gained confidence and I became independent.

After that, I proposed ideas that you’ve never seen before one after another.

SUM! was born through a hard experience

~ Soon after you got independent, the app SUM! was born.
The other day SUM! became the best selling paid apps for children (Congratulations!)! Please tell me about how it was born.~

“I like fun stuff and children, so I wanted to make an app that you can learn while playing.

Thought that if you do not use symbols while learning computation such as addition and division, kids will be really happy (and their parents, too).

I’d had an idea of it for long actually, but it is difficult to make an app for a designer.

One day a very shocking event happened to me.

I was really depressed for days, so I wasn’t feeling like working.

With such feelings I couldn’t make fun stuff.

Then I forced to bring back a positive feeling thinking it was such a good time to realize the idea of the app.

Then after that I got crazy about making the app and struggled for the development of SUM!

But at first it did not work.

The first generation of SUM! seemed to be lacking in fun at all,

When I asked kids to try the app, they said

“How long should I keep working like this to complete?” Though it is a game, it was expressed as “work” …

After that, I kept improving it, and finally the present SUM! was made.

Thanks to SUM! I also forgot that I’d been sad before.

It was a very difficult event for me, but if I hadn’t been through it, SUM! might not have been born.”

Make people around the world happy

Studying design by yourself,
Blogging in English …

Honestly facing what you want to do

looking to the world.

Mac also has the power to turn hard experiences into great outcomes.

At the end of the interview he said

“I want to make things that make people around the world happy as a designer.”

What he was saying was impressive.

Mac really likes people,

and I felt that he loves the job of a designer.

 

★ SUM! is also goof for mama’s brain training

By the way, when I first challenged SUM!

Maybe my brain is weakening(?)

I couldn’t do it quite well, and soon the game was over.

But as I got through several times I got a knack of it and got better points.

I think that it is perfect for children wishing to gain mathematical concepts,

But it seems to be good for Mama’s brain training, too!


Mac Funamizu
Multi-award winning designer of products, concepts and all digital things. Leading Enfani, a design team creating designs to go straight to your heart.
Awards
red dot communication award 2017 winner – App Design
Kids Design Award 2017
Muse Creative Awards Platinum Award 2016 – App Design
Good Design Award グッドデザイン賞 2015 – Product Design
red dot design award “Best of the best” 2013 winner – Concept Design
red dot design award 2009 winner – Concept Design
Publications
National Geographic Channel、Travel Channel、Discovery News Technology、GIZMODO and many other

> About Mac
> Mac’s Portfolio

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夏休みの子どもの過ごし方、悩みますよね。
室内遊びを楽しく、学びのある時間にしたい! と思っていませんか?
SUM! とらんぷは、あそびながら算数脳と創造のセンスを鍛えます!
遊び方を自分で考えてシェアできる、まったく新しいカードゲーム

SUM! とらんぷについて