I apologize for the rather impersonal nature of a canned New Year's message, but the New Year's greeting is an essential part of Japanese etiquette and one which I feel compelled to preserve.
First of all, I want to thank all of the people in my life - my family, my co-workers, my friends as well as all of the animals and plants in my life for making this year yet another wonderfully stimulating and fulfilling year in my journey through life. I feel one year wiser and one year happier, looking forward to next year's challenges.
Working on Creative Commons and being part of an extremely successful year has been a joy. In the last year, we've seen the White House, Al Jazeera, Wikipedia and a wide variety of startup companies as well as established organizations begin using Creative Commons. The latest reports show over 350,000,000 pieces of content licensed under a Creative Commons license. In one of the most difficult financial environments yet, we've been able to meet our fund raising targets. The organization and the international network continues to grow in effectiveness and something that I am extremely proud to be affiliated with.
My new friends in the Middle East have helped to knock me out of my comfort zone and open my eyes to a whole culture and world view that had been completely missing from my consciousness and my life. The incredible generosity of my new network in the Middle East is humbling and inspiring.
My transition to Dubai is nearly complete having mostly finished moving into my apartment. I couldn't have done it without the help of all of my friends there and Mizuka's support. Dubai finally feels like home.
Although the credit crisis in Dubai is visible, I see a lot of opportunity in the Middle East and spending time and energy developing my network and understanding of the region feel "right" although it might seem contrarian to some.
I am also developing a wonderful relationship with the community of entrepreneurs in Singapore and the Singapore government and will be launching a bunch of activity there to try to help get the startup ecosystem going in Singapore. Singapore's a great meeting place for my friends from all over the world and I see it as a launch pad into the Middle East and Asia. I'll be setting up a small startup fund the first quarter of the year focusing on Singapore, the Middle East and Asia with some great partners including Pivotal Labs, IDEO, Digital Garage and my trusty new investment manager, James.
The company I co-founded and currently act as a board member for, Digital Garage, just moved out of our old digs that we've been in for the last 15 years into a shiny new building. (yay!) Digital Garage has been helping Twitter in Japan and working with the Twitter team to develop the market in Japan has been a joy and tremendously rewarding.
So, thank you again, my friends, for being there to inspire me and guild me through yet another great year and hope to see you all soon in Dubai or where ever our paths my cross.