Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Although I still haven't decided which camera to take with me, I'll be leaving for Linz in a few hours to attend the Ars Electronica Festival. According to my bio page on the site, this is the 10th year that I've participated. Most years I've gone twice - once for the jury and once for the festival. I think that makes Linz the city I've visited the most in Europe.

I love Ars Electronica and all of the people involved and I'm excited to going back after missing last year. I'll be giving a few talks and will be on a number of panels. A few of them are linked from the speaker page. Otherwise I will probably be wandering the installations and the talks with my camera.

See you there!

Performing Gion Kouta

Just got back from visiting Kyoto with Reid, Michelle and Mizuka.

Posted some photos to a Flickr set. Also posted a short chat with Reid about venture business in China and Japan in mp3 (8.9 MB) and ogg (15.3 MB) formats.

Going to Kyoto for a few days without a computer. See you later. ;-)

Shanghai
View from Shanghai JW Marriott

Just returned from a trip to China with Reid, Michelle, Ellen and Kazuya organized by Leonard Liu and his team.

We met with VCs, entrepreneurs and a few of my old friends.

I was in Shanghai a few years ago just as the US VCs were starting to set up offices in Shanghai. Things have clearly moved forward a notch. The first wave of entrepreneurs have exited their successful ventures and are now on their second or third venture. The VCs seem to have a community. More and more US educated Chinese seem to be returning.

There are many things about the Chinese venture scene that remind me of the Japanese venture scene. There are clearly fewer experienced VCs and entrepreneurs compared to Silicon Valley. Many of the people are copying US models - some with a great deal of success.

The Chinese market in general reminds me of Japan during the bubble. Everyone hugely optimistic, explosion of spending, explosion of brands and luxury goods, investors from all over the place flocking to participate. While the dynamics are quite different and the market much larger in many ways, I see some of the similar indicators of irrational exuberance as well.

When we launched a lot of our ventures in Japan like Internet advertising, ecommerce and other things that were going strong in the US, we typically overestimated the short term growth for Japan. I have to give Reid credit for triggering this thought, but I now think that it is possible that many entrepreneurs may be overestimating how easy it is going to be to get Internet ads and ecommerce going in China. On the other hand, even very narrow nitchy markets in China are HUGE so it's possible to build pretty big business with a narrow focus compared to what you can do in the US or Japan.

I'm still not sure what we're going to end up doing in China if anything, but I'll keep you posted. Thanks for everyone who took time in their busy schedules to meet with us and share thoughts. Thanks especially to Leonard, John, Vivian and Stefanie for organizing such a great trip!

I organized my photos into the Shanghai part and the Beijing part.

First of all, THANKS to Six Apart and the community of users for the support. Creative Commons and WITNESS can really use the money and we appreciate it VERY much. A portion of the donations by users for permanent Live Journal accounts was donated to RAINN, EFF, Creative Commons and WITNESS during a recent campaign.

Unfortunately, we failed to disclose my involvement in Creative Commons and WITNESS when Six Apart was conducting the campaign. I'm the chairman of Creative Commons and a board member of WITNESS. I apologize to everyone for this oversight. I think that transparency is an essential part of everything we stand for and it really is unfortunate that we didn't handle this properly.

I would like to make it clear that while I donate time and money to WITNESS and Creative Commons, I pay all of my expenses and have never charged anything to either of these organizations... so while it doesn't make the lack of disclosure OK, I don't personally benefit financially from either of these donations from Six Apart.

Anyway, thanks again for everyone's support of Six Apart, Creative Commons, WITNESS and other organizations that I love.

BTW, Valleywag posted about the lack of disclosure.

UPDATE: BTW, my wiki profile probably is the best list of affiliations that I have if you're interested.