Thanks to Serkan Toto (who is by far, one of the most brilliant people I have ever met), I attended JapanNight, a start-up competition and boy, am I glad I did.
The winner was a wearable technology company called Ring and the promo video, had the entire room buzzing:
They are on their second prototype and Ring’s purpose is to complement wearable tech vs competing with monster companies like Google and Samsung — that approach is why I became a believer.
Ring, to me, epitomizes Japanese ethos: taking great things that exist and making them better. In Ring’s case, it’s taking wearable tech: Google Glass, Pebble, Samsung watch, etc. and made it stylish, minimalistic and more compact.
The other products really didn’t do much for me (some hipster app, a few niche gaming apps, a Japanese solution for Survey Monkey, some learning platform, etc.) but the websites and presentations were really well done. As we enter into the age of user experience and design, I’m excited to see how the Japanese will deliver our creativity to the world and where I fit into the equation.
I got to Japan at the perfect time, as I believe the next few years will showcase exactly why I chose to live in Tokyo — one of the best cities on the planet.
If you’re interested, Japan Night’s finalists are on their Google+ stream here.