William Saito was born in California and displayed an interest in software programming from an early age. He began programming in elementary school, and by college had actually started his own company. In 1998, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year and was known as a leading authority on encryption and other areas of data security. Today, he is widely recognized as an expert in cybersecurity.
Saito eventually sold his business to Microsoft. In 2005, he moved to Tokyo. There he founded InTecur, a firm dedicated to innovative technology, global talent, and successful entrepreneurship. Saito is extremely active in multiple areas. He has served on prestigious councils and boards, been an advisor to national governments and organizations, teaches at more than one university, is a frequent TV commentator, has authored several books, and writes a weekly column for the newspaper.
In 2011, “An Unprogrammed Life: Adventures of an Incurable Entrepreneur,” Saito’s autobiography, was published. The book tells the story of a young entrepreneur who combined child prodigy talents with a drive to learn which led to enormous early and continued success in the word of computer programming. The story centers around entrepreneurship and data security, the two areas Saito are most passionate about.
In town for Interpol World 2017, William Saito, special adviser to Japan’s cabinet, talks about the Japan-EU trade deal and the third arrow in Abenomics.
According to a recent article in Hi-Tech Chronicle, Saito grew up in the 70’s and 80’s struggling to learn English. He was a first-generation American with Japanese parents who had limited English skills. What he lacked in English skills, however, he made up for in curiosity. He always liked to know how things worked and spent a lot of time taking apart devices and gadgets to see how it functioned.
So, naturally, he was fascinated with the software of the time, which was not as complicated as today, but still not readily understandable to the average elementary student. Being the exception, Saito was breaking into software for fun since fifth grade. Having a personal computer at the time was rare and expensive, but Saito’s parents provided one for him. They were not so happy when the first thing he did was to take the computer apart to see how it worked. However, being forced to learn how to put it back together gave him further knowledge of computers, from the inside out.