Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Karuna and her husband Horace visited my sister for dinner at our house and I got to say hi and chat a bit. Mimi and Justin did an interview of Karuna on Chanpon. Horace works for the US government and Karuna is now taking care of their new baby, Justin. Before that Karuna was an anchor for CNN on their prime-time news show and before that for other news agencies such as NHK. I remember when she was broadcasting Japanese news in English for NHK, all of the Japanese students in the US who watched her show became HUGE fans of hers. She's quite an amazing person. I first met Karuna at the American School in Japan when for some reason, my trig teacher decided that my algebra sucked and made me take an algebra class with the class below me. The only good thing was that I got to sit next to Karuna. Anyway, all of Karuna's fans can rest assured. Horace is a great guy and worthy of his new position as Karuna's husband. ;-)

Horace, can you do something about the treatment of Arabs immigrants in the US?

howard021219.jpgHoward and I have known each other for a long time. I visited Howard often when he was at the Whole Earth Review and I was hanging out in San Francisco with Timothy Leary and the gang. Howard turned me on to a lot of really interesting thoughts and was one of the first people who helped me started writing. Howard wrote THE book on Virtual Reality which influenced me and the rest of the world and I ended up working with (my now step-brother) Scott Fisher at Telepresence Research who Howard writes about in the book. After the Virtual Reality book, he wrote a book on Virtual Communities in which I appeared. (Maybe the first time I appeared in an English Book.) Howard has always been a great visionary for the future and I'm happy to be a part of it. When the www started to happen, my Eccosys team and I set up one of the first web sites in Japan. Howard writes about how this influenced his thinking. These days we talk about Smartmobs ubiquitous computing and the future of embedded systems. As always, community and empowerment are key.

Howard and I talked a lot about how to be an evangelist for the future. We talked about the issue of how to give credit where credit is due, but how it is often difficult to credit people who you do not know about or who haven't influenced your thinking directly. (As I've recently discovered once again, when Japanese diary community criticized my description of blogs.) Howard told me that there was a saying in the I Ching that says something like, "If you climb up on the wall, you can see farther, but you also become an easier target." This is extremely relevant. We talked about how some criticism is very important, no matter how hurting it is, to internalize, since it will help us grow. Some criticism is important in order to understand how people will view us, and some criticism should just be ignored. Sorting this out is quite a task, but necessary and important. We agreed that learning from your critics helps you fix sloppy thoughts as well as prevent mistakes in the future.

On the other hand, what's a pioneer without critics? One chairman of a large company I know said, "I don't trust ANYONE who doesn't have some enemies." I don't know who to credit this to, but "You can identify the pioneers because they are the ones with the arrows in their backs." Stan Ovshinsky says this often.

So, my conclusion? Give credit to those you influence you or are doing important work. Listen to the critics, be thick-skinned and keep on truckin'.

We also talked a lot about Justin. ;-)

found on
There's an interview with Cameron Marlow, creator of Blogdex and researcher at MIT Media Lab over at Good stuff. Also, that's where pb was interviewed last month.
Blogdex is one of my favorite tools which is now an essential part of my morning RSS fix. This meta-blog space is quite interesting. I have a feeling that blog space is screwing up Googles Page Rankings a bit because there are so many links inside and between blogs. On the other hand, if you think blogs are important, I guess the rankings aren't screwed up. I guess as blogs start creating more metadata, the method for ranking can be tuned more. It will be interesting to see what Google thinks of this space. At Supernova, Sergey Brin said he would consider taking input from to trigger updates. This would be a big first step...

a bio from the ASE web page that I edited a bit
Leonard Liu, Ph.D.

Leonard Y. Liu was President of ASE Inc. since November 1999 and announced his retirement December 6. He was also the Chief Executive Officer of ASE Test and Universal Scientific Industrial Co. Prior to joining ASE, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Walker Interactive System Inc. Dr Liu has held other top management positions at leading technology companies, including Chief Operating Officer of Cadence Design Systems, President of Acer Group worldwide and General Manager of IBM's application enabling software business unit.

Leonard visited today and we spent the day brainstorming. Leonard is on my advisory board and is one of my most helpful business advisors. I met him through his daughter Peggy Liu. Digital Garage invested in his daughter's company and he invested in Digital Garage and later Neoteny.

Leonard was the chief hardware and software architect at IBM at one point and architected SNA and SQL. He moved from research to management and left IBM to become a well-respected serial turn-around/take-to-the-next-level CEO. Leonard is tremendously energetic and is extremely execution oriented and visionary at the same time. I'm always impressed with Leonard's focus and his willingness to spend time to coach me when I have something specific to talk about. I always felt very guilty taking big chunks of Leonard's time when he had a $3bn company to run, but now that he is "retiring" I hope I will get to see him more often and feel less guilty. ;-)

For you serious bloggers...
Blogger announced their new API 2.0 to the developers mailing list. Dave Winer urges Blogger to support the MetaWeblog API. Ben Trott comments as well. Evan explains that it is a preliminary release and they are requesting feedback. On the other hand, Evan explains that the feedback is generally positive. Ben Trott says he have received feedback from Steve Jenson. Ben talks about security a bit. For those of you who don't know, Ben wrote some of the PGP stuff for PERL I think...

So, here is an amazing dance. One of the greatest things about blogs is that they are not being developed by huge evil companies, but by individuals who are members of a community. The blogs tools are amazingly compatible from a data format and API perspective. Hats off to Dave for getting a lot of this started. I think that the phenomenon of creating really useful tools that we all actually use without thinking about where we put the banner ads or creating "barriers to entry" has really pushed this medium forward and I thank the bursting of the bubble for some of this. As everyone begins to add feature sets, grow more quickly and become more commercial, the ability for everyone to maintain compatibility and still compete will be a difficult but important effort.