What is LINE STYLE?

Let’s learn about LINE’s unique way of thinking and getting things done.

Nov 30, 2019

LINE is …

“A place where people who dream the same dream and realize that dream together.” The dream goal at LINE is to create No. 1 services, loved by users around the world, and to realize LINE’s mission of “CLOSING THE DISTANCE.” With that No. 1 goal in mind, LINE is the place where we work together as a team to achieve great things.

In order to realize the mission of “CLOSING THE DISTANCE,” LINE always tries to understand consumers’ constantly changing needs, challenge ourselves and look at the bigger picture. Although LINE started as a search service, it drastically changed directions to become a messenger app due to the support we got from our users. And from that messenger app, we have grown into so many other fields, like gaming, fintech and AI.

WOW=NO. 1

The value that LINE considers to be most important can be summed up in a single word: “WOW.” “WOW” is that “amazing first experience and impression that people want to share with friends.” No. 1 services that lead the market and that change paradigms always have “WOW.” The two ideas are inextricably linked: Pursuing Wow creates No. 1 services, and aiming to become a No. 1 services means creating WOW. Therefore, LINERs always need to ask ourselves this question, “Is this WOW?” This isn't just about products or services. It is a value that all LINERs must adhere to regardless of the organization they belong to or the job they are in charge of.

 

LINE STYLE, LINE's DNA!

LINE STYLE refers to LINE’s unique way of acting and thinking, and is the actualization of “WOW=No.1.” It is like LINE's DNA. Just like a species’ DNA isn’t created overnight, a company's own way of working and thinking evolves over time, too. And LINERs are the people who comprise LINE's genes, that is, LINE STYLE. The word LINER, which you can see all over the BLOGs on the LINE recruitment page, implies the meaning of individuals who make LINE's worldview.

The story of LINE STYLE’s creation

In January 2017, the first LINE STYLE (1.0) was created, consisting of six keywords: NEEDS, SPEED, DETAIL, DATA, TEAMWORK, and ENJOY. In fact, the ideas behind LINE STYLE had always existed at LINE since the company’s birth, but this was the first time we fully explained those ideas and came up with a common language to talk about them. People who had been working at LINE for a long time already knew those values from their experience, so they didn't need to have them explained. However, as of 2018, the total number of LINERs globally had grown to more than 7,000, with more than half of them joining LINE in the third and fourth year following the company’s establishment. So, for those newer LINERs, we needed to narrow the gap between them and those who had been at LINE since the beginning.

 

In order to make it clear to everyone what kind of work style we are pursuing and to deliver it to the next generation of LINERs, we had to organize that knowledge in writing. This meant not creating something new, but a prioritization of what we have always talked about. Through this approach, we believe that LINE's unique corporate management and working methods will be maintained and will continue to develop!

Reflecting the feedback we heard about LINE STYLE 1.0 — that the six keywords were somewhat abstract — each keyword was explained in more detail in LINE STYLE 2.0, which came out in October 2018. LINE STYLE 2.0 also demonstrated the changes in the internal and external environments that had occurred between the two versions, and the changes that LINE required in response. LINE STYLE will continue to be updated in the future as needed.

LINE STYLE keywords

There are a total of 11 LINE STYLE keywords and key concepts. Shall we take a look at them together?

Users Rule
It’s not about us. It’s about them. Our entire business is built on understanding our users.

To create WOWs, it is most vital to truly understand user needs. You must think from the users' perspective when making critical decisions and make their needs your prime criteria because users are the judges who ultimately determine success.

But uncovering our users’ needs is a more difficult challenge than you may realize. Their needs can change from moment to moment. Often users don’t even know what their needs are, so discovering them requires an obsessive, almost fanatical, level of analysis. You need to keep an eye on their every action, no matter how slight, to uncover those hidden needs, constantly checking and re-checking, using every quantitative and qualitative method.

Stay a Step Ahead
A swift beta rollout is better than a perfect one that comes too late

However perfect, a service won’t draw attention from users if it misses the timing. The competition LINE is taking part in is a speed battle in a volatile environment. To be the best, a service must offer an amazing and unprecedented experience—with an emphasis on “unprecedented.”

But unprecedented means more than just being first. What matters is being the first to be recognized by users. Plans can never be perfect, so you have to take risks, put them to the test right away, and then revise them constantly.

Perfect Details
‘Good’ is never good enough

What makes the difference are the details. Detail is what differentiates a top service from the also-rans—because when we talk about details, what we’re really talking about is meticulousness.

Those details emerge only after we repeatedly and painstakingly ask “Is there anything we can do to make this better?” “Is there any way to make this a little more perfect?” That attention to detail forces us to tweak and make endless tiny adjustments, gradually improving our services and taking them to a higher, more outstanding level.

Always Data-driven
Follow the data, not your feelings

Numbers don't lie. However, our feelings are much less trustworthy. Especially after putting a lot of hard work into a project, all of us have the tendency to see what we want to see. It’s tough to stay objective.

Are users embracing a service as we expected? If not, why not? How do we fix the problems that are holding a service back? The solutions are in the data. You should always make decisions based on the numbers, especially in new markets. Fierce disagreements and fiery discussions are fine, but always look to the data for evaluating your opinions and choosing outcomes.

Build Lean and Exceptional Teams
Leading services are made by agile, elite teams, not sprawling bureaucracies

Making a team twice as large doesn't mean it can accomplish twice as much. In fact, it can often result in slowing down the team’s working speed. Leading services are often created by elite, compact teams, not sprawling bureaucracies. A soccer team with 100 good-enough players will lose to a team that has 11 elite players.

As a company grows, its operations should be like a hundred lean start-ups working together, rather than like a bloated conglomerate. No one can compete with the giant global conglomerates based on size alone. Our advantage must be in the quality and efficiency of our workers. Always focus on organizing small, elite teams and strengthen them. Better, not bigger.

Open Communication, Vertical Decision-making
Teams need to discuss things openly, but follow the leader’s decisions

Everyone, including leaders, can make a wrong judgment. And no one is an expert in every field. The odds of finding success increase when you can have passionate, frank discussions, and everyone in the team feels empowered to add their voice when necessary.

However, after going through the discussion process, only one direction can be chosen. The leader is the one who makes the choice and is responsible for the results. To successfully achieve that goal, a team’s members need to trust in the leader's judgment and work together toward putting the decision into practice.

Keep in Sync, Aiming for the Same Goal
The end point can change, but the team always stays together

When working towards a goal, a team has to concentrate its energy on going in the same direction. Otherwise, you’ll never get where you’re going. Every member should clearly understand the objective of the project, and if the needs of users shift then the team members also need to understand exactly how that changes their goals. It is the leader’s job to communicate those goals clearly and make sure everyone understands any changes. Team leaders and team members have to keep moving together, constantly sharing feedback and always aiming at the same target.

Work Intensely and Be Focused
You’re in trouble if you’re just ‘working hard’

Working a long time doesn't guarantee results. You are in trouble if you are just “working hard.” When you work hard, you get caught up doing whatever is right in front of you and never think about why you do what you do. To be the best LINER, you have to use your time in a smarter and more focused way. It is better to spend an hour working really intensely than 5 or 6 hours just kind-of-hard. You should also always be aware of the fundamentals underlying your work: What you are doing, for whom and why.​

1% Problem-finding, 99% Solution-making
Don’t ask ‘What’s wrong?’ Ask ‘How do we make it right?’

Thinking critically can be an important part of creating a product or service, but don’t spend too much time fixated on what’s wrong—just 1% of your energy. Instead, put the other 99% into figuring out how to make it work. Anyone can find obstacles and potential problems, but at LINE we want people to concentrate their energy on discovering new things and generating new solutions that nobody has thought of before.

Go Brave. No Fear. No Regrets
If you want to hit a home run, you’ve got to swing for the fences

In baseball, a home-run king also tends to be a strikeout king because hitting home runs requires taking full, hard swings, which increases the risk of strikes. You cannot hit a homer from a bunt.

The same is true for creating new services. If you have identified a feasible project with a sizeable potential market, you should take a serious swing at it, without being afraid of failure. And when someone else’s bold play turns out to be a failure, you shouldn’t criticize them. Instead analyze what happened and figure out the key lessons you can share, to prevent others from repeating the same mistakes. Learning from failure is the first step toward creating a success.

Enjoy the Challenges
If your heart is beating fast, then you’ve taken on a true challenge

The history of LINE is the history of achievement and growth made through boldly taking on all challenges and failing without regret. This process is not enjoyable for everyone. Sometimes it can be so exhausting that you just want to walk away. But the harder the challenge, the greater the sense of achievement when you overcome it. It's exciting to know that, after so much effort and many trials and errors, our services can bring a sense of WOW to the world and make life easier and more enjoyable for millions of people everywhere.

But that kind of heart-pounding experience is only available to those who enjoy wrestling with big challenges and who don’t give up in the middle. If you like being the first person to leave footsteps in the fresh white snow and are proud of leading a difficult challenge to success, you'll be able to enjoy your journey no matter how hard it is. And that's a great way to build a WOW service.

LINE STYLE in LINERs’ everyday lives

With the initial release of LINE STYLE in January 2017, the LINE STYLE keywords could found at every moment of LINERs’ lives. They aren’t just words, but concepts you encounter constantly throughout your everyday work. LINERs see LINE STYLE in the onboarding programs that new LINERS receive, in the in-house communication programs and events, the employee evaluation system, and the Global WOW Project Awards, where employees determine which projects created the most WOW each year! LINE STYLE is with you every moment from when you start and as you grow as a LINER.

 

In addition, after the update to LINE STYLE 2.0, we began sharing the LINERs’ way of work by applying them to various products so that it can be easily accessed anytime, anywhere. In particular, a guidebook was created so that LINERs can understand LINE STYLE in more detail and in three dimensions. We also distributed WOW and keyword stickers that can be attached to visible places so that everyone can be reminded of the LINE STYLE keywords throughout the day. In addition, LINERs are able to see the keywords throughout their office space, on desktop wallpapers, screen savers and digital posters.

 

*See LINE STYLE BOOK

LINE STYLE BOOK and soft and fluffy stickers
LINE STYLE stickers for laptops, calendars and diaries
Desktop wallpapers and screen savers on LINERs’ PCs while they are away 

We are looking for people who are ready to challenge themselves to make their dreams according to LINE STYLE.

LINE STYLE is not just a word, but a way of thought and a system of values we use for making our choices and judgments, and the foundation for every moment of our work as LINERs. Those who want to hear users around the world say “WOW” work according to LINE STYLE. Those who dream of creating No.1 services and want to do so together with outstanding colleagues.

Above all, those who think “LINE STYLE sounds like my style,” do not hesitate, but challenge yourself now!

 

Go to LINE Careers

 

*See LINE STYLE BOOK