Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

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Martin is a fellow World Economic Forum Global Leaders For Tomorrow member, but I didn't talk to talk to him face to face first. We hit up an email conversation after he made some interesting comments on my speech for the Trilarteral Commission. Martin is a serial entprepreneur who is more excited about starting new companies than running them after they are set up. He is on his 4th successful company. I guess you could call PSINet Japan, Digital Garage, Infoseek Japan and now Neoteny 3 successes and working on the next one for me too. We talked about how similar we were. When I realized that he a billionaire at one time and now a multi-hundred millionaire, I decided we weren't THAT similar. ;-p He also spends more time on public service (he is the only foreign board member of the Clinton Foundation among other things...) and spends a lot more time flying and sailing around having fun than me, but has managed to be much more successful than me. Go figure. We discussed hard work. He said that he knows many people who work hard and make a lot of money, but he doesn't work THAT hard, but has managed to make a lot of money. If I could choose, I would choose his style.

I had asked him for a good place to visit in Europe between my speech at Ars Electronica in Linz and the GLT summit in Geneva. He said that I should stay at his place in Menorca. Little did I realize what he was offering me.

Well, you've read my report on Menorca. I didn't want to disclose too much about Martin until I asked his permission to blog about him. He bought the Menorcan farm a year ago and hired Manolo who worked on the farm before the last owner let it fall apart. Manolo is working very hard to restore the orchards, houses, etc. The main house overlooking the sea should all be done in April and should be totally amazing. We stayed in the first house to be restored.

Martin decided to pop down to Menorca from Geneva to have lunch with us on one of his 4 planes. It was a Lear Jet... He took us out on his boat which is the dingy for the BIG boat he has. We cruised around the bay in Mahon. We jumped into the sea and swam around a bit. I didn't have a swim suit so I jumped in in my underwear. It was amazing weather and felt SOO good.

We showered and had a great lunch. We decided to join Martin in his jet and fly to Madrid with him today and leave with him to the GLT summit in Geneva on Friday. Sounded much better than the Lufthansa HUB-a-thon. Walking through the Menorcan airport with a nylon bag with wet clothes in it wearing shorts and getting onto a private plane was a bit weird, but we landed at a military base near Madrid with his bodyguard/driver, Felix, waiting for us who zipped us away to his house and later to a hotel. So, here I am. A few hours ago, I was combating catapillars and now I am sitting in the Inter-Continental. (room service just arrived.) And there is an E-E-E-thernet port in front of me but I have NO ETHERNET CABLE. HOW STUPID of me! I dialed Earthlink, but I couldn't log in. Luckily, GPRS is now working and it is a bit faster than on Menorca, but I want my 56K. I chatted with Earthlink support on the Net, which was VERY cool until they couldn't figure out my problem. Then it wasn't so cool anymore...

So anyway... there is definitely the prestige of having boats and planes and farms, but the geek factor of owning 4 planes and piloting yourself, the freedom cruising around in your own boats and planes, the geek factor of restoring a 200+ year old farm and the lifestyle of doing public service while being a serial entrepreneur and still being free was a true inspiration for me...


Sorry about the sort of sloppy style. This VNB connection is like writing with pen and ink. Fixing and editing is really an task... I'll fix it up when I have a better connection.


This guy's life and yours as well are totally out of control. ;)

So I dragged Mizuka to a computer store to buy an RJ-45 cable to connect my computer to the ethernet port in my room. Walking around the computer store I got this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. They were selling RJ-45 cables for regular phones! Yes. You got it. In Spain, they use RJ-45, not RJ-11 (like in Japan and the US) for phones as well as ethernet. I bought an ethernet RJ-45 cable anyway and brought it back to the hotel... and there was no flowing from that RJ-45 port in the wall with a computer icon on it. I guess it must be dialtone. So here I am, still in connectivity deprivation, but at least I still have my gprs. After all the grief, it's turned out to be my lifesaver.

You could get an acoustic coupler for some of those backward European countries... ;)

Had dinner with Martin and two of his friends again. Found out he was an ambassador at large for Argentina. He has treaty signing and other authorities just like a real ambassador, but he travels and receives orders from the president.

That sounds like a pretty cool role. I can't imagine the Japanese government letting me do that. But after the REVOLUTION... ;-) Maybe Prime Minister Oki Matsumoto will appoint me as his Foreign Minister or something. ;-p