Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Since I was the chair of the Forum planning committee this year, I had to give the opening speech. (not really a speech, but an announcement) I had been dreading this for a whole year, but it's finally over. I was visibly nervous, but I got through it OK.

The panel later with Oki Matsumoto, CEO of Monex, Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, and Professor Takeuchi from the Hitotsubashi Business School was a lot more relaxed and fun. There were about 1200 people in the audience... Takeuchi-san is like a talk show host and it was a lot of fun. He always hosts the Japan dinner at Davos and knows the three of us well...

Right now, I'm listening to Professor Kurokawa's panel on medical ventures. It's very interesting. Japan has quite a bit of technology in Universities, but does not have the infrastructure to convert this technology into products. I'm a big fan of Kurokawa-san and he is probably the most controversial and influential MD in Japan right now and he's really going for it right now pointing out many of the problems with Japanese system...

I switched. I promised myself I would do this before I left for the US on Tuesday. I spend the day today moving stuff and tweaking. The only thing I couldn't get right was the kanji (Japanese character) files in my contact list and my Japanese email moved over. It was much easier than I thought and having switched, I feel euphoric. I'm now listen to music on iTunes (which tell me that I have 3.5 days of music), am syncing my Treo with my contacts, creating a this blog entry with Kung-Log staring at my brand new Dell Latitude trying to figure out what I'm going to do with it. ;-) Windoze now feels so... crass. It reminds me of when I got my first Mac back in 1984 and switched away from my Apple II.

I was talking to Jun Murai the other day and he said that a lot of the IETF folks were switching as well. I think the Unix at the core really makes it easy to get the geeks over...

Anyway, as with blogging, I'm a bit late in figuring it out, but it doesn't look like I'm late for the party.

Now I have to seriously start bothering people to write stuff for and port stuff to the Mac.

Read a great blog entry by Jon Udell about "power law distributions". It is the notion that when you link everything up into a network, you don't get an egalitarian world... power accumulates just like in the real world. We thought a lot about this when we were building Infoseek Japan... I'm going to have to think about this more before I can contribute something intellectually to this, but you should read the entry. He also quotes the WSJ at the end of the entry. I add this to add some holiday cheer here...

John Udell
Jon Udell: Scale-free networks and mirror worlds

Well, not quite forever. Today's Wall Street Journal featured this grimly comic fantasy about the financial debacle we have lately endured: In a recent letter to shareholders, Ralph Wanger, the iconoclastic chief investment officer at Liberty Wanger Asset Management in Chicago, laments that his firm lost $956 million through the end of the third quarter. To put that figure in perspective, he tried to figure out how hard it would be to lose that much money on purpose. His explanation follows:

Wall Street Journal
One way to do it would have been to convert $956 million into $100 bills on Jan 1, 2002 and order our 20 investment professionals to spend all their time burning it. It sounds sort of festive really -- drink some beer, make S'mores and enjoy the glow, warmth and fellowship around the bonfire (singing Kumbaya optional). How hard would we have had to work to do this? Well, if one person diligently burned one $100 bill at the rate of one bill every 10 seconds and worked seven hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that one person could burn up $63 million in a year. It would take all 20 of us working full time at this repetitive task to get rid of $956 million in just nine months.

A poster from Despair Inc.
There is a poster section called "demotivators". It is a parody of motivational posters. I think these posters are a very American phenomenon. I always thought it was strange that anyone would read "Great Place to Work" on the wall and really think it was a great a place to work... On the other hand, a lot of Japanese companies have the philosophy or the rules of the company on the wall. Also, common is the picture of the founder glaring down at you.

Saw this first on Doc Searls Weblog

Japan Times
The Japan Times Online Microsoft to reveal source code to Japan, which has eyed Linux

Microsoft Corp. will disclose the source code of the Windows operating system to the Japanese government in line with the government's e-Japan project, company officials said Wednesday.

I recently made a public comment on the record at the oversight committee for the National ID about Microsoft and trying to get them to open up the source code. I wonder if this had any effect. I guess we must all have had an effect. I assume many people have been saying this. It's a great step forward, even if it is just MS trying to keep Linux out.