I apologize for the rather impersonal nature of a canned New Year's message, but the New Year's greeting is an essential part of Japanese etiquette and one which I feel compelled to preserve.

First of all, I want to thank all of the people in my life - my family, my co-workers, my friends as well as all of the animals and plants in my life for making this year yet another wonderfully stimulating and fulfilling year in my journey through life. I feel one year wiser and one year happier, looking forward to next year's challenges.

Working on Creative Commons and being part of an extremely successful year has been a joy. In the last year, we've seen the White House, Al Jazeera, Wikipedia and a wide variety of startup companies as well as established organizations begin using Creative Commons. The latest reports show over 350,000,000 pieces of content licensed under a Creative Commons license. In one of the most difficult financial environments yet, we've been able to meet our fund raising targets. The organization and the international network continues to grow in effectiveness and something that I am extremely proud to be affiliated with.

My new friends in the Middle East have helped to knock me out of my comfort zone and open my eyes to a whole culture and world view that had been completely missing from my consciousness and my life. The incredible generosity of my new network in the Middle East is humbling and inspiring.

My transition to Dubai is nearly complete having mostly finished moving into my apartment. I couldn't have done it without the help of all of my friends there and Mizuka's support. Dubai finally feels like home.

Although the credit crisis in Dubai is visible, I see a lot of opportunity in the Middle East and spending time and energy developing my network and understanding of the region feel "right" although it might seem contrarian to some.

I am also developing a wonderful relationship with the community of entrepreneurs in Singapore and the Singapore government and will be launching a bunch of activity there to try to help get the startup ecosystem going in Singapore. Singapore's a great meeting place for my friends from all over the world and I see it as a launch pad into the Middle East and Asia. I'll be setting up a small startup fund the first quarter of the year focusing on Singapore, the Middle East and Asia with some great partners including Pivotal Labs, IDEO, Digital Garage and my trusty new investment manager, James.

The company I co-founded and currently act as a board member for, Digital Garage, just moved out of our old digs that we've been in for the last 15 years into a shiny new building. (yay!) Digital Garage has been helping Twitter in Japan and working with the Twitter team to develop the market in Japan has been a joy and tremendously rewarding.

So, thank you again, my friends, for being there to inspire me and guild me through yet another great year and hope to see you all soon in Dubai or where ever our paths my cross.

7 Comments

How do you feel to live in a city that is built and is still being built by slaves? A place where slavery is actually present in the year 2010?
Have a good read
http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3113142&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=1

Hey Bingoman.

I wrote a long response to that particular article here and here. There are numerous comments in the threads there. Take a look. Thanks.

Here's wishing you a most successful 2010! I think Dubai is a fascinating place and hope to visit there again sometime soon. Keep up posted on your projects.
Have a great year!
Steven Diamond

Happy New Year Joi! also thanks to you, this is year has been incredibly inspiring and full of insights and new discoveries!your presence in the Middle East and the travels that we have been doing all across the Region, meeting with the people and the CC community over there have been exciting experiences very rich of humanity (and fun, too!). I'm glad you are getting to know better and closer this Region that I love so much, and I'm looking forward to having you back in my second home town to show you and Mizuka its treasures and beauties.This year has been a difficult one for the Arab region -and unfortunately 2010 is also starting in a "critical way" in this part of the world- but inshallah with the great energies and passion of the Arab people we can build something meaningful all together. thank you for sharing this year with us in the Arab region and thanks for the great work and the passion you put in it. More this year, inshallah:) dona

Long time since last I spoke with you, Joi, but I continue to follow your web page. I think 2010 will be a good year, at least from where I stand. I'm getting more and more involved in sports for disabled persons (parasports, some say) but Japan has a long way to go. A good friend of some years is the Vice Chairman of Japan Paralympian Association, and has some good ideas. But the association needs more expertise and advice than I am equipped to give them, so naturally I thought of you. Sometime when you're in Chiba and have a moment, it would be great to introduce you to these committed people. Spoke to Okura Shonosuke yesterday. Will be doing a major article on him for ANA Wingspan inflight mag. Sounds like you're doing well in Dubai. You have much more courage than I. Hope to see you in 2010.

Charlie

Joi,

Thanks for letting all of us who would love to move to Dubai live vicariously through your adventures there.

2009 was the year that I rediscovered (so to speak) the joy of Creative Commons. I saw my stuff remixed under my CC license all over Canada, from the Toronto Star to the CBC this year. During one of the conversations about using some photographs I took with a CBC producer, he told me that when they see the CC logo, it's an invitation for a conversation on using my stuff which was pretty cool.

I hope 2010 is a safe and prosperous one for you and your family.

Happy New Year Joi Ito and congrats for this new move.

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