Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.


Today was the first shareholders meeting since Pia went public. Pia is the largest ticketing company with 60% of the market in Japan. They started as a publisher of magazines about leisure such as movie guides and the publishing business continues to be a big business. The shareholders meeting was in a large event hall called Blitz in Akasaka. A pianist played on stage before the event which was very well produced and very appropriate for an entertainment and leisure company.

I was officially elected as their first outside board member at this shareholders meeting.


Hey Joi:

Congratulations on the blog -- looking good. Question: why did Pia make you their first outside director?



Thanks Terrie.

I only recently become friends with the president of Pia, Yanai-san. Maybe a few years ago. Pia had been doing Internet, but recently started putting a lot of more energy into it. Yanai-san asked me to help them think about their online strategy and IT in general. Pia has (using the sort of misleading 100 yen = 1 dollar exchange rate...) 800mm or so in revenue and 15mm or so in earnings. A big chunk of their cost is IT. So in addition to new markets through digital tickets and web pages I think that switching to more efficient technologies can greatly increase their earnings. They have a fairly low percentage of foreign investors and have not done a lot overseas yet and I guess I might be able to add value there as well.

So... net net, I'm not exactly sure why they asked me to join, but it's great fun and has a lot of synergy with what I'm doing at Neoteny because Pia is a great platform for launching new technologies. (I also get better access to tickets. ;-) )

Also, for the record, I'm still 100% full time at Neoteny and work with Pia by attending the board meetings. I have a few guys from Neoteny working with Pia at an operational level looking for new opportunities.


Congratulations on the luanch of your new site. The content, style, and structure will generate more interactivity amoung the participants.


p.s. Yanai-san sounds like a very smart executive.

Congrats, Joi. Does this mean that there exists an "old boy network" and a "new boy network" in Japan? Are you straddling the line? How about a seat on the board of Toyota next? :-)

Just make sure you don't get on the board of the next Enron coming out of Japan... I am sure that there are some dirty books in Tokyo, just waiting to be found...

Wishing I was an expense, not a capital expenditure,


Well, Pia is a relatively large company, but it was started as a student venture 30 years ago and still retains the venture spirit. I doubt any real established company would invite me on the board right now.

Well, there are definitely more than two networks. See Toshio Yamagishi's papers on trust to see how some of these work.

"glad you're not my expense or capital expenditure." just kidding... ...not