Gave a talk at the American Chamber of Commerce of Japan yesterday. Americans living in Japan are the most fun to speak to because they generally agree with what I say. ;-) It's a bit like preaching to the choir and obviously, I'm not adding as much value as when I'm debating with my opponents, but the Q&A session after my talk was good and there were a lot of good comments and thoughts. In addition to my "ad hoc society of Japanese revolutionary wannabes" maybe I should try to participate in more meetings about democracy with foreigners living in Japan...
I was at the lunch table with Thierry Porte and Kumi Sato, both vice presidents of ACCJ who told me that I have to become a member of the ACCJ. ;-)
Anyway, I talked about Democracy, Weblogs, Risks and Japan. It was a slightly modified and improved version of the talk I gave at the MIT Forum. Here is the 32MB PDF file of my Keynote presentation.
Update: Here's the 12MB Keynote file.
Had a nice chat on the phone with Seyad, the creator of Blogshares. He says that it's been much more popular than he had originally anticipated and this popularity has both positive and negative repercussions on his life. ;-)
So here are a few of my thoughts on Blogshares. Blogshares is fun. One of the problems with blogshares right now is that blogshare dollars mean different things to different people. Maybe this is OK. Maybe this is true with real money. The thing is, people are gifting me shares of their blogs and I feel guilty. Sure, I visit the site and take a look, but like when I receive real money, I feel guilty, but don't know what to do in return. I could link pack to them like Mark, but that seems like "selling out" to me. Also, it seems weird being serious about playing a game when not all of the players are playing to win.
One thought I had was to use blogshares as a way to show your supporters. For instance, if I could have a list of my blogshare holders in my sidebar and a list of how many shares they had (I guess I could write a Python script! ;-) ) that would be cool. Maybe there could be a voting mechanism where I could ask my shareholders to vote on something about my blog or even ask them to vote for a board of directors for my blog. Anyway, tying in governance, emergent democracy and other things into blogshares would be interesting. Having said that, voting shares is marketing oriented, but not really "democratic". It's about as democratic as wallstreet and the millionaires would control the blogs.
Etoy has shareholders who are their supporters and we get to vote on important issues that they think about. I guess the fact that there is a real market on blogshares makes it harder to control who your shareholders are and difficult to "control" your blog. Maybe this method would work best for multi-author blogs like Metafilter if they were able to distribute their shares to people who contribute. There should be a way for a blog to distributing shares to contributors and directors...
More thoughts on this later, but blogshares is interesting. The main problem is there are game, social software, search engine elements all in one place and I think trying to find a good balance that's fun, fair and useful will be key.
A new group weblog authored by Elizabeth Lane Lawley, Ross Mayfield, Sébastien Paquet, Jessica Hammer and Clay Shirky to focus on social software was announced at ETCon I hear. Great team and looks interesting. It's also great that Clay is finally blogging after all of that "it's not for me" business. ;-)