Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I'm a "Mentor" of the prefecture of "Nagano". I'm not sure exactly what that means, but it does mean that even though today was a national holiday, I spent the afternoon in the Nagano office with the Governor's staff giving advice with the other Mentors on a variety of plans that they had. Actually, it was fun. We are trying to set up a lot of interesting trials involving wireless network webs, community VoIP networks and lots of other rather subversive, but community oriented projects. Nagano is the home of Governor Tanaka, who I wrote about before.

After the trip to Chiba, Mizuka and I are thinking about moving to the countryside and just keeping a small apartment in Tokyo. The Governor's staff in Nagano said that they would help us look for places. I told them we were thinking of moving to either Nagano or Chiba. Nagano is closer, but it's colder. It's a bit classier than Chiba as well... but Chiba has an ocean. hmm...

vorschau.jpgI heard that there are more movies produced in India than anywhere else in the world. I saw a lot of Indian movies on my flight to India and have started to really enjoy their interesting style. Here is a very funny Peugeot commercial that looks like it was shot in India.

Thanks for the link Neeraj!

Great example of the media harnessing new technology. Now all we need is video. Interesting, this was EXACTLY the example I always used to give when I talked about the future of Internet and IT. This was also the example I gave to Chairman Shima of NHK to get him excited about getting online. It's a great feeling to see your "dreams come true." I also remember the news people who laughed at me. I wonder where they are? They're probably still editing tape in expensive studios instead of using a iLife on the Mac. ;-p

BBC News Online wants to report the world from your perspective.

And the digital revolution will help us to do that.

So, if you have been active with your phone camera, or any other digital camera, send us your pictures.

Thanks for the link Matt. Dan Gillmor talks about this too.

I did an interview with Irene a couple of months ago about the government's idea about bailing out small businesses. I blogged about how throwing it around or letting so called "experts" doesn't make sense. Having said that, we received funding from a government backed fund which is managed by professionals. Singapore also has a variety of well manged government funds. If the government is going to put money into the market, choosing the right people to run the fund is essential. The "old way" just greases the political machine. The difficulty is choosing the people who choose the companies and make the investments. Transparency is probably a good place to start. Incentives are also important. The devil is in the details and it's quite difficult.

Business Week
FEBRUARY 7, 2003
By Irene M. Kunii

Don't Stifle Your Entrepreneurs, Japan
The bureaucrats and politicians who have presided over a decade of economic woe need to encourage startups, not stymie them

Koizumi seems to understand that Japan can only benefit from more entrepreneurial activity. Now he needs to realize that serving up fresh pork isn't the way to nurture the young business leaders the country so desperately needs.

Clay Shirky has a very interesting piece about power laws. He explains that just as with everything else, some blogs get more attention and in fact, the 2nd place blog has 1/2 the value of the 1st place blog, etc. in a 1/n sort of fashion. If you plot this power law distribution, you find that 2/3's of the blogs are "below average" and that this sort of inequal distribution of attention is natural if you think of the way the system works.

Dave protests and says that blogs are different.

Dave Winer
To get an idea of what I'm talking about, skim Clay's article. How many of the weblogs he mentions have you heard of? I found that most of them were strange to me. So if we're hitting a scaling wall, why are these blogs becoming popular, even dominant, without any of us knowing about them? If we were all on a mail list together, believe me, we'd know the names of the people who dominate.
So I am reading Steven Johnson's book Emergence - The connected lives of ants, brains, cities, and software trying to prepare for a 8000 word article I have to write for Illume on the future of information. I've been thinking about just this issue for the last month. I think that trying to connect the discussion about emergence with this issue is key to understanding how blogs are different.
Steven Johnson - Emergence
The technologies behind the Internet--everything from micro-processors in each Web server to the open-ended protocols that govern the data itself--have been brilliantly engineered to handle dramatic increases in scale, but they are indifferent, if not down-right hostile, to the task of creating higher-level order. There is, of course a neurological equivalent of the Web's ratio of growth to order, but it's nothing you'd want to emulate. It's called a brain tumor.
by definition, no page on the Web knows who's pointing back.
Self-organizing systems use feedback to boothstrap themselves into a more orderly structure. And given the Web's feedback-intolerant, one-way linking, there's no way for the network to learn as it grows, which is why it's now so dependent on search engines to reign in its natural chaos.
So as the former Chairman of Infoseek Japan, I use to think about this power law and tried to figure out ways to get EVERYONE on the net to hit the Infoseek top page. We were able to route a significant amount of the Net's traffic through portals because the web pages weren't self-organizing into anything intelligent enough to sort itself out.

Blogs are different. Although the search engines and metaindexes are useful, they are no longer the first place you go. I read my RSS news feeds before I go searching on a portal for news. As Dave says, don't know most of the blogs on the top 100 list and I don't care. We are organized into more intelligent communities and although there is a power law of sorts with respect to blogs that get a lot of attention, there are many local peaks. I think it looks much more like clusters of blogs with interconnections between communities. A lot like a strength of weak ties sort of map.

I'm going to focus on this for my paper. Any references to things I should read or any comments would be very helpful. Sorry to use you all as my editorial support team for my writing all of the time. ;-)