Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

I had dinner tonight with Barak, Michiel (who started today as an intern from Hitotsubashi Biz School) and 4 students from Stanford's ATI program. Michiel said that he thought that I was unfocused. (I've been called this before. Jun called me "scatterbrained" when asked about me after he first met me.) Michiel said he felt my blog was too unfocused. I guess that's true, but I thought it was a feature, not a problem. Michiel admitted that he was often negative. (Jun said the other day that he thought people sounded 30% smarter when they were negative.) Anyway, I had been actually been worried about this in my blog, but I didn't admit it to Michiel. So, I wonder. Do people care what I care about or is focus and order more important than my random thoughts. I guess it depends. (Doesn't everything.) At the Fortune brainstorm meeting former congressman Jack Kemp said, "People don't care how much you know until they know that you care." So I guess I wonder whether people are reading primarily for 1) entertainment, 2) because they care about what I think, 3) they are looking for information... Again, I'm sure it's a combination. Maybe I should do a cluster analysis on my readers. Maybe I shouldn't care. As 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web says, (I found this site on Blogdex.) "write for yourself; you are, in the end, your most important reader." So there you go. I'm justified.


Loose organization seems to me to be one of the main attractions to blogs. If you spend more of your time organizing the content around certain issues, you get something that's aimed at certain issues, not something which is centered around you and what you were thinking (or happened to notice) that certain day. So, unless you find yourself not meeting some goal or other about the page being more thorough in certain areas, it would be a shame to have you curtail the range of things you put on here.

I'm interested in what you have to say for a couple reasons. Maybe this will help.

First, in my experience, you pick up on important technocultural trends early -- you were the first person to show me a personal webzine (Dale Dougherty had shown me the web a few weeks earlier).

Second, you have an unusual social network -- from Otaku to World Economic Forum.

Third, you are very smart.

I'm not in the business of telling people to change who they are. However, I do think it's a good exercise for you and for your readers for you to think about ways to sharpen your focus. I think it's perfectly reasonable to be very broad and scattered -- maybe we share that propensity. But you do have some unique perspectives, opportunities, and insights. Those are the factors I look for here. I can get the other news elsewhere.

Thanks Howard. Good comments. Interesting how, when wrapped in praise, criticism is a lot easier to take. ;-) I will try to focus more on insights and less on news and see if this helps to focus of this blog... It's just that the news is just SO interesting these days. Maybe I can take my urge to share news over to opencola and see how that works.

By the way, I think some people thing blogging about blogs is circular and silly. To hell with them. Blogging about blogs is fun and significant. The more I do it, the more interesting it gets. Definitely much deeper than it first appears.

JOI, really I feel this way, there are no rights or wrongs in life, only learning experiences. This year you may blog one way, next year it could be another way. Point is there are no rules. I come here to learn and be entertained. I cant wait to keep up Howard's new book. I'm fascinated with this new society, and you are the people who put a name to it. I say, be yourself, scattered or whatever. I find it perfectly charming.

Joi, I have just spent half an hour reading your blogs and i hope you don't change a thing! I like the fact you are Japanese, and I enjoy reading your perspective. Blogs don't have to focussed, they should be informative and/or entertainig. Yours is both.