I went to Danny Choo's Tokyo CGM Night Episode 2 (organized with the ubiquitous Andrew Shuttleworth) last Friday, a gathering of Japanese and gaijin geeks, super-bloggers, top vloggers, idols, media folks and what not.
For those not in the know, Danny Choo is a British guy who has been living in Japan for 10+ years now and runs a super-successful blog that covers things like anime, manga, figures, Japanese lifestyle and culture, gadgets, games etc. etc.
And here are five reasons why this man (who I met just three days earlier at "my" event for the first time) is awesome:
1) He personally invited me to that event.
2) The event was very cool.
3) He said I am his networking idol with Andrew Shuttleworth standing next to me.
4) He is a nice and decent man.
5) He put the only picture he shot with me in it up on Boing Boing, one of the top 5 blogs worldwide (TechCrunch is still lots bigger and better but whatever).
The pictures below are taken by me but Danny's blog posting features a lot more and much better ones.
I know I am a tad late (cough, cough) but better late than never: Many thanks again from my side and in the name of Peter Ha for coming to the TechCrunch/CrunchGear Tokyo meetup on February 3 (Japanese version of the meetup notes is here).
Thanks also to Umihiko Namekawa and Nob Takahashi from TechCrunch Japan for being of great help during the meetup (TechCrunch Japan wasn't directly involved in the event though).
The "casual event" turned out to be much bigger than expected with over 100 guests coming in on very, very short notice. Sorry that not everyone could get on the guest list. I will try my bestest to make sure that in the future, we announce events like this earlier!
Here are some pictures (Flickr'd, I didn't have time to take pics or eat!).
Japanese geeks, tech start-ups and TechCrunch groupies, listen well: Peter Ha of TechCrunch and CrunchGear fame is in Tokyo, coming in directly from the TechCrunch HQ in California.
Peter and I are organizing a little get-together on Tuesday night (February 3) in Ebisu or Shibuya (place and time: depending on how many people can come on short notice).
This is the perfect chance to pitch us your web services, products and gadgets!
Drop me a line and I will let you know when and where the meetup will take place exactly tomorrow (Monday):
serkan at techcrunch com
Again, the meetup will take place Tuesday night (February 3)!
I went to two web industry/tech events last month (December 2008).
The first was organized by Ryo Shimizu, CEO and President of Ubiquitous Entertainment, a Tokyo-based web and technology company. Ryo was kind enough to also invite Tetsuya Mizuguchi, one of my absolute heroes.
Tetsuya is a legendary video game creator who used to work for Sega and now runs Q Entertainment. He is also making music videos and lots of other stuff (his English Wikipedia entry is here). I LOVE his stuff (he is the man behind Sega Rally, Lumines and Rez amongst others). This month, I received an email from him when he went to Paris: Very cool!
Ryo's event was a total geek fest. See the pictures below for an example (look at the guy with the LCD glasses - totally crazy). Ryo himself introduced Zeptopad, a cool sketch pad for the iPhone.
The second event I attended was VENTURE BEAT's year-end party. As always, the invitation-only event, backed by CNET Japan, was attended by a vast number of high-profile CEOs, VCs, tech journalists etc.
99% of people are Japanese but this month some guests from the Valley were there. Dave McClure (who has a Japanese wife) and Sean Ellis.
Dave doesn't need an introduction I believe (he is a famous VC, entrepreneur, blogger etc.). Sean is Marketing Advisor at Xobni and currently a self-employed web marketing consultant (he also blogs). Again, famous people but very modest ;).
Thanks again to Hisashi Katsuya from IBM's Venture Capital Group for the invitation.
New year, new role and big news:
I am happy to announce today on my personal blog that I became Director of Marketing at iKnow!, the world's social learning platform this week.
iKnow! is run by Cerego, a technology company headquartered in Shibuya/Tokyo. Cerego has a 14-year old history of applying research in cognitive science and neuroscience to learning technologies (more info here).
iKnow! is Cerego's flagship product and even though the main focus was "only" the Japanese market for most of the time, iKnow! has attracted nearly 400,000 registered users since the launch in October 2007. The service won a Demogod award and was featured in TechCrunch (picked up by yours truly), Mashable, ReadWriteWeb and countless other international super blogs - don't even get me started in Japan ;).
Initially, Japanese users could use iKnow! to learn English but the service has dramatically expanded in the last few weeks: Now Polish people learn French on iKnow!, Russians study German and if you speak English, you can now learn Thai on iKnow! as well. All for free.
Users are welcome to create, share and remix content themselves and they do so like crazy: Almost 30,000 user-made lists (courses) are now on the platform, partially enriched with pictures, audio and video. iKnow! supports creating content in 191 different languages.
Before I get too excited over iKnow! in this posting, I suggest you try the service out for yourself (what a surprise, right?). Please feel free to add me as a friend.
You can find some more info on my position here and here.
I am not leaving TechCrunch.
Estimates suggest that the Japanese iPhone market is about one tenth of that of the US, which is in my view a pretty impressive number. Quite a number of enthusiastic engineers are developing apps for the device that are also of interest for Non-Japanese people.
Now Nobuyuki Hayashi, one of Japan's most renowned IT journalists, has put together a special media event (that will be held in English), which takes place in the US to more aggressively promote made-in-Japan iPhone apps to English speaking users.
The Macworld Expo: Japan iPhone App Developer Special Media Event will be held in San Francisco on January 7 (Wednesday) during the MacWorld expo.
(you can register via the link above directly on Mobile in Japan)
Here is some more information on Asiajin.
This is the first official press release:
Join us for a special press event to find out iPhone secrets from Japan such as:
- Watching TV on your iPhone – the hottest topic right now in Japan
- Draw on your computer screen using an iPhone
- Real-time 3D animation on iPhone
- Beautiful mahjong games
- Samurai chess
- Enjoy a private geisha dance for only 99 cents
WHEN: JAN 7 6.30pm
WHERE: A Venue 10min walk from Moscone; we will email you the detail
after your registration
At this event, Nobuyuki Hayashi (aka Nobi), one of the most famous
Mac/iPhone journalists from Japan will be briefing and taking
questions about iPhone market in Japan.
You will also meet ten of the top iPhone developers from Japan including:
Conit (Samurai Chess), GClue(iKoto, iGeisha), HIcorp (Mascot Capsule),
Hudson Software, J's Avenue (Realtime 3D animation library), JYProduct
(FingerPiano), PokeDía (PokeDía), Royal Gadget, SunSoft (Mahjong
Solitaire), UEI (aka Zeptotools, showing ZeptoPad 2.0, ZeptoLiner,
Watch our video:
This is the second official press release:
Press are invited to join our special evening press reception on January 7th to learn about the state of the iPhone market in Japan and meet 12 leading iPhone app developers, including Ryo Shimizu, the CEO of UEI, creators of Zeptopad (video).
See a video message from the other developers: Vimeo / YouTube
Date/Time: Wed. January 7th 2009, 6.30pm
Venue: Close to Moscone Center. Details will be sent to qualified registrants. (Please register below)
7 pm - 7.10pm Nobuyuki Hayashi (aka Nobi), a Japanese iPhone journalist will brief the state of the iPhone in Japan and take Questions
7.15pm - A dozen iPhone developers from Japan will be showcasing their latest/greatest iPhone applications
To join the event for the best sushi in San Francisco, the latest and greatest iPhone apps and some Japanese gadgets to play with, please register using the form below. Event is only open to press and qualified bloggers. Confirmation and venue information will be sent by email.
Please send any inquiries to macworld-event-reg @ iphoneinjapan.com
Asiajin, one of the very few (and I dare say most successful) blogs in English focusing on the Japanese and Asian web industry, is now 1 year old. 233 blogs were written in 365 days, which is not bad for a non-commercial blog. Details can be found here.
It has been very cool working with the Asiajin crew so far and I will continue to help expose Japanese tech and web stuff on a global level in the future.