Japan: this is why we are so behind #tech

This perfectly epitomizes what is wrong with Japanese tech.

So I received a snail mail invite to supposedly one of the largest tech events:  Japan IT Week Expo.
There are exhibitions and key-notes on: cloud computing, big data, security, web + mobile marketing and something about the 3rd annual Smartphone and Mobile Expo.

First of all, what is the difference between a smartphone and a mobile?
Or does ‘mobile’ mean tablet?? What is this… web and mobile marketing they speak of??? Why are they separate???? It’s 2013 — have you heard of responsive design? GET ON THAT.

Then please take a look at the brochure, jam packed with text.
This looks like a conference for bankers.

photo 1

And can we talk about one of the keynote speakers?
Does that man down there look like he can teach anyone anything about mobile tech and trends??

photo 2

To top it off, they showed some photos from last year’s exhibition:

photo 3

I mean seriously.

No wonder monster corporations like Sony, Panasonic,  Nintendo and et al., can’t get their shit together. The people on top are old farts who learn about ‘the web’ from other staunchy old farts at venues like these.

God. Sometimes, I’m so embarrassed for this country.

Goes to show how much opportunity for disruption there is.
Reason no bajillion I’m in Tokyo :)

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What Wall Street Analysts are Forgetting About Technology

I get it. I do. And I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m slightly concerned that with

1. Steve Jobs gone
2. Android taking the smartphone marketshare in 2011
3. makers like Samsung, Xiaomi and now even Sony are shipping massive quantities of affordable smartphones and
4. as always, Apple sales are performing lower than expected

I see it. I do. I find myself agreeing with arguments like this one.

But what analysts forget is how technology rapidly changes human behavior. Human behavior is consumer behavior. Human behavior is predictable… yet not. Technology is predictable… yet not.

What people like Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Jack Dorsey + company at Twitter and even the people at Naver (the company that owns LINE) get, is deep comprehension of the intersection between human psychology, technology and the instinct to cherry pick data that drives decision making.

While decisions focused on design and user experience can not be measured, they certainly can be felt by people who are consumers and users.

That’s why I don’t need numbers or data or research to know that after using iOS7 and the 5s people will continue to line-up for Apple products. That even with only 200M users vs 1.1B of Facebook, Twitter will be the more valuable social network than Facebook — long term.

And for those who still don’t understand, watch this and listen closely:

This is it. This is what matters. The experience of a product. How it will make someone feel. Will it make life better? Does it deserve to exist? We spend a lot of time on a few great things, until every idea we touch enhances each life it touches. You may rarely look at it, but you’ll always feel it. This is our signature, and it means everything.

Henry Blodget on Joy Covey, Amazon’s IPO CFO

My new price target had triggered another spike in Amazon’s stock price, and for the first time in my experience as analyst, a company was angry about that.

Amazon’s spiking stock price, Joy explained, was causing problems at the company. It was distracting employees, who were spending their days obsessing about the stock price instead of Amazon’s customers. It was making recruiting difficult, because Amazon stock options were losing their attractiveness to would-be employees as the stock shot ever higher. It was focusing the press on the stock when Amazon wanted the focus to be on Amazon. It was, in short, making everything all about the short term, when Amazon’s whole business strategy and philosophy were about the long term.

I protested to Joy that I had merely said what I had thought we both agreed on — that Amazon was a great business that would be worth a whole lot of money some day.

“Yes,” I remember Joy saying. “Someday. But now all anyone is thinking about is today.”

Henry Blodget in his tribute to Joy Covey who passed in a tragic biking accident Sept. 18, 2013

Tim Cook

We’re a product company, and so the products show the values of a company. They speak to innovation. They speak to caring about every detail. They’re a reminder of how incredibly important experience is, so when you begin to use 7 or you begin to use the fingerprint sensor here … every detail has been thought through. The experience is an “Aha” moment.

— Tim Cook, Apple CEO via Bloomberg

If you haven’t read it yet, read the interview here.
Inspiring.

The Internet Highlights Stupidity

It really bothers me when people share Buzzfeed articles like the collection of racist comments directed to the newly crowned Indian Miss America. I wonder when people are going to realize the people at Buzzfeed scour Twitter, searching for the worst of the worst.

Then everyone is outraged, re-sharing the collection of stupidity and calling out these idiots who think terrorists are from India.

As much as I want to say racism will ‘go away’, let’s be honest. There are and will always be ignorance in the world. We live on a planet where 7B people co-exists. There will always be people with closed minds — whether we like it or not.

So to the people who are bothered by these morons getting five seconds of Internet infamousness by RTing and sharing these articles all over your social networks… Surprise! You too, are contributing to the stupidity by encouraging publications like Buzzfeed to keep on putting together these kinds of garbage ‘stories’.

C’MON. Think!
The post in question is here.

How a Relationship Dies

Russell Clayton, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, who surveyed two hundred and five Facebook users about relationship conflicts related to Facebook. “Our study found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating,” Clayton said, according toScienceDaily. He went on, “Facebook may be a threat to relationships that are not fully matured.”

via “How a relationship Dies” — The New Yorker

When trust and security  two of — if not the most — important factors in a lasting, healthy relationship, excessive Facbooking (basically creeping on people’s profiles and photos) can be detrimental. But we are so used to mindless stalking, it doesn’t really register.

I was in a long distance relationship for a while and I agree, it’s really difficult, near impossible not to be jealous when the underlying trust isn’t built yet. A lot of his activity would pour into my feed and his LIKEs of photos of random girls and flirty comments he would leave started bothering me.  The worst, was when I started questioning myself for being bothered by his actions. So I unfriended him.

That said, although I’m well beyond my teenage years, I use the Internet and social networks like one. I constantly have several apps open, have several group chats, one-on-one texting sessions going while browsing Twitter and Instagram so I’m probably biased to the above opinion of this one Russell Clayton. Plus, I have experienced it first-hand.

Ah, social networks — or more like, no more long distance relationships for me. Either way, I learned something about myself and in the end, that’s all that matters.

Female Japanese Entrepreneur on Other Japanese Female Entrepreneurs

“When I worked for a securities firm, I was pushed way beyond my capacity because as a woman I was assigned back-office tasks — even making tea! — and at the same time working in a front-end role equally as hard as men,” Tanizaki says, adding that Japan’s Mad Men days of a decade ago are fading fast, in Tokyo at least. “It was more for political issues, not sexist reasons, I quit,” she says.

Tanizaki agrees with Otsuka, arguing that additional support for women entrepreneurs is good, but says that the individual business grants, at around $20,000, are inadequate for tech startups. “Developers and web engineers are expensive in Japan. The grants could be useful for very small ventures such as cafes, not so much for tech entrepreneurs.”

Private venture capitalists, she says, are a better bet for funding and open to women entrepreneurs. However, Tanizaki warns, women in Japan could be their own worst enemy. There are equal opportunities in Japan, she explains, “but in my experience, women don’t want to take risks, they don’t want, on the whole, to take responsibility, they are less ambitious, less willing to sacrifice. Basically, most Japanese women lack courage.”

Pointing out the shame that, even in the startup world, she scarcely meets female executives, Tanizaki wonders how far women in Japan are willing to stick their necks out. “I’m afraid I agree with Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg that women don’t want to sit at the table. It’s as simple as that.”

— Shuku Tanizaki, founder (? maybe? Doesn’t say) of project management services to the financial services industry, the other a social lending venture company called AQUSH ExchangeCorporation.

HMMMMMMMM. I have thoughts but will stay mum until I’ve spent a little more time in Japan.