Daisuke Inoue, Karaoke Inventor:
I took ten of the karaoke machines to acquaintances’ clubs and asked them to place them on the bar. All ten agreed. One week passed, and when I visited each drinking place, the story was the same: Some customers had asked about them but no one had touched them. There was no money in any of the machines. Convinced we just needed the right spark, I asked a female employee to act as a decoy and go around to a few of the clubs and sing a song or two on each. I figured a cute girl in a sexy outfit should help to draw interest. It paid off, and in no time the machines became moneymakers.
I don’t know who was the first customer to put in the first ¥100 coin (roughly $0.35), but the decoy girl had said it was a lot more fun than she’d expected, and that she’d go back again and again. I set up the machines to play five minutes per ¥100. The average song was three minutes, so a person would have to put in another ¥100 coin to make it through the second song. My idea was kind of like the modern-day prepaid card. After about a year, my machine had found a place in 200 drinking establishments in Kobe.
(Via The Appendix)