Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, APM Blog, Stackify Blog, Progress Blog, LeanTaaS Blog

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Machine Learning

Agile Computing: Article

Web 2.0 Is Hot in Japan...But Nobody Knows MySpace

A First-Hand Report From the 21st ProWise Forum in Tokyo

Coach Wei (pictured), International Advisory Board member of Social Computing Magazine, writes: I was in Tokyo during the week of September 18th attending the 21st ProWise Forum, a business oriented information technology conference. Still feeling residual heat from the $900M Google/MySpace deal and the lonegirl15 phenomenon, I decided to talk about "Web 2.0" for my session. I picked Web 2.0 because I thought it would be very cool and novel to introduce this exciting web 2.0 phenomenon in US to the Japanese audience.

Boy, I was wrong. Japan knows web 2.0 – probably better than us in US.

2006 ProWise Power Forum in Tokyo, Japan

First, I was surprised to find out that the subject of the keynote session before mine is also web 2.0. The speaker, Mr.Kurihara, is a thought leader in Japan who maintains a widely read  blog in Japan (I learned later that Mr.Kurihara is also a fellow MIT alumni graduated a few years before I did). I was a little concerned that the audience may be bored by my now-not-very-novel web 2.0 talk, especially Mr.Kurihana's session would be given in Japanese. I "nervously" sat through his session. Mr.Kurinhara spoke well. The audience seemed to be familiar with Web 2.0, and they responded to his talk very well. Due to my poor knowledge of Japanese, I can only guess what he was talking about from the occasional English words that popped out of his mouth. It made me a little more concerned because these English words are very much the same English words I planned for my session. But it was too late to change my slides. So I thought to myself maybe I should open my session with some exciting stories that the audience would resonate with. The story I thought about was MySpace.

Boy, I was wrong again! Nobody knows MySpace.

I opened my session by asking the audience "How many people have heard of MySpace? Please raise your hand". The audience became silent. Most people looked puzzled. Some of them were looking at each wondering what "MySpace" means. Nobody raised hand. My translator asked me quietly what I meant by MySpace. As I was desperately explaining MySpace to her, she suddenly said "Oh, that's like Mixi". All of a sudden, the audience got it - MySpace is the Mixi in US.

The First IPO of a Social Networking Site: Mixi
To my fellow blog readers , Mixi (http://www.mixi.jp) is the MySpace in Japan. Apparently very few people in Japan have heard of or paid attention to MySpace. Their attention is on Mixi, the biggest social networking site in Japan. Launched in February 2004 and membership by invitation only, It has grown to over 5 million registered users by July 2006. Its traffic ranking is 38 globally according to Alexa.com.  Mixi's forecast revenue for fiscal year ending March 2007 is about $40M with a profit of about $14M. It is revenue mostly based on advertisement and 10-20% from premium services.

A Screen Shot of Mixi.jp: The Most Popular Social Networking Site in Japan

Mixi went public on September 14th 2006.  Its stock price jumped from about $15 to $32 on the first day and valued the company at about $1B. -Does the story sound familiar to people in US?

Mixi IPO is a good barometer for how the public market would value a consumer web 2.0 company, especially in Asia. A valuation benchmark that some people took from Mixi IPO is about $200 per member ($1B market cap with about 5M users).  This benchmark would value US company Facebook at about $1.5B for its 7.5 million users.

Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li has a good blog on Mixi that is worthy of reading.

The Culture Element of Web 2.0
Web 2.0 in Japan is apparently thriving and exciting not any less, if not more, than US. An interesting observation is how much culture plays in "web 2.0". Websites like Mixi and MySpace are fairly culture dependent and they become part of the culture as well when they grow more successful. Simply copying a US web 2.0 consumer website to another culture may not work. Metropolis, a leading English-language magazine in Japan, writes that Mixi is "happening in a uniquely Japanese way: it's heavily mobile-based, it's privacy-oriented, and it's happening concurrently on both a mainstream and niche market level". Another example is MySpace China. Despite its wild success in US, MySpace has very little presence in China now. As a result, Wendi Deng (wife of Rupert Murdoch) decided to step in and build MySpace in China given that she knows both China and MySpace well.

LocationValue – A Company to Watch
Another web 2.0 company in Japan worthy of watching is LocationValue (http://www.locationvalue.com/), a company started by Masaru Sunagawa ("Sunny"). (Disclaimer: Sunny is a friend of mine).   Sunny told me some of his thoughts a few years ago when he just graduated from Harvard Business School. Then he joined a GlobeSpan Venture Partners (a US venture capital firm in Boston and the bay area) for a few years where he gained significant experience in venture capital and business development. The most recent time I met him was October 2005 when he just kicked his company off the ground with a small amount of money.  As I was trying to get together with him this time in Tokyo, I discovered that LocationValue just closed a $20M or so financing round and has been covered in national TV in Japan. Though still early, I think LocationValue is worthy of watching partially because I think very highly of Sunny and partially because I think Sunny’s vision of enabling and establishing a service market place by leveraging the web and mobile location-based service is big and has tremendous potential.

Enterprise Adoption of Web 2.0 in Japan
Talking about "Web 2.0" in Japan, what I was mostly impressed by is how Japan has been adopting web 2.0 in enterprise environments. There are a lot of confusions with "Web 2.0", one of which is the over-emphasis on consumer websites like MySpace and the lack of visibility on the enterprise/business side.

In Japan, they have been adopting Web 2.0 technologies for some incredibly complex and mission critical systems with great success: financial trading, current exchange, project management, insurance, and power/electricity management, etc.  Two speakers, Mr.Tatsukawa and Sakai, both from Hitachi Systems, showed some really impressive case studies and demonstrations in their session.

   
Some Screen Shots of Enterprise Web 2.0 Applications in Japan (Sorry, I don't have better resolution ones)

I definitely believe people in US need to see what they have done. I invited them to attend the upcoming AJAXWorld Conference in Santa Clara, and I will try to ask them to demonstrate some of their work during one of my sessions. The reasons that I strongly believe people in the US should see what they have done are:
  • A lot of these systems are significant projects that requires teams of engineers and cost tens of millions of dollars. The success of such projects requires not only solid and robust web 2.0 technologies, but also significant experience and capability to manage such big projects;
  • An important principal for web 2.0 is "Don't maltreat users". In US, we tend to put users at a lower priority. "Web 2.0" brought the users into a higher level of importance. However, there is no other country than Japan that understands "Don't maltreat users" better. We all know and love the consume electronics and cars from Japan. For enterprise web 2.0 applications, Japan seems to be truly outstanding as well. We have seen a lot of web 2.0 demonstrations from various US companies, a lot of which emphasizes sexiness rather than what is really important to users. - in contrast, if you see the demonstrations from Japan, you will see how they took care of every aspect of user-centricity: look and feel, screen layout, style, visual cues, navigation, efficiency, performance, etc. to the degree that you almost feel the Japan culture embodied within these applications.
In summary, I'll invite Mr.TatsuKawa and Mr.Takai to show some of their work during one of my sessions at AjaxWorld Conference. If you are going to be at AjaxWorld, I highly recommend you come and see the demonstrations.

More Stories By Coach Wei

Coach Wei is founder and CEO of Yottaa, a web performance optimization company. He is also founder and Chairman of Nexaweb, an enterprise application modernization software company. Coding, running, magic, robot, big data, speed...are among his favorite list of things (not necessarily in that order. His coding capability is really at PowerPoint level right now). Caffeine, doing something entrepreneurial and getting out of sleeping are three reasons that he gets up in the morning and gets really excited.

Comments (5) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Dario de Judicibus 01/09/08 07:21:25 PM EST

I invite you to read [http://lindipendente.splinder.com/post/15354690/World+2.0 World 2.0]

Rich Pav 10/20/06 12:40:26 AM EDT

Maybe you haven't heard that Mixi's stock tanked on Oct. 5, and soon thereafter Mixi started deleting thousands of user accounts without warning or recourse, causing a massive user revolt. I recount the story on my latest podcast.

Japan62 09/23/06 08:37:33 AM EDT

South Korea's Cyworld has recently entered the Japanese market, too.

BW 09/23/06 08:35:48 AM EDT

[From BusinessWeek] While mixi is no MySpace there are currently 5 million users at mixi - its membership has quintupled in the past year. At 7 billion page views a month, mixi trails only Yahoo! and Google in Japan in online traffic and is the No. 37 site globally, according to Alexa.com.

BW 09/23/06 08:35:24 AM EDT

[From BusinessWeek] While mixi is no MySpace there are currently 5 million users at mixi - its membership has quintupled in the past year. At 7 billion page views a month, mixi trails only Yahoo! and Google in Japan in online traffic and is the No. 37 site globally, according to Alexa.com.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...