Izumi’s old friends from Guam, Kazumi and Akiko are visiting today on their way back from a tour of Alcatraz. Kazumi lives in Hawaii and is visiting with Akiko for the holidays.

Current Events

Marqui’s “Blogosphere Program” writes that Marqui is paying bloggers ($800/month) to mention their product:

We put no limits on what these paid bloggers can say about Marqui; we only require a badge on their site, a weekly mention of our product and a URL link in the body of their blog.  For their own integrity factor, if they want some sort of disclaimer on their blog, they’re more than welcome to acknowledge that we are paying them to blog with a frame, background, language, etc.

If bloggers paid by Marqui want to do more, whether offering criticism about our products and services or adding their personal endorsement, we welcome it. Criticism is helpful
in our development process and it is always better to be talked about than not.

This of course sparked a lively debate in the blogosphere to which they say:

Complete transparency (sic) is mandatory

The idea of paying bloggers is a controversial one, as it challenges some of the sacred cows of the journalistic publishing business. When we first started talking about this idea, an energetic exchange between people with traditional publishing backgrounds and bloggers erupted on the Web.

If Marqui can support these debates, helping the business community to better understand how to harness the power of the network — which is exactly what our products and services are designed to help them do successfully — we believe our sponsorships will pay huge dividends.

It will be interesting to see how the model will play out for them. It will certainly generate content around their URL and increase the Pagerank of their site over time, then it’s successful. After the hubbub around the ethics of this tactic dies down, they will hopefully get good product feedback this way as well. It’d be great if they provided a list of the 15 bloggers they have chosen as I’d like to read what they are saying about Marqui.

Another fun way to “game” the search engine rankings is what P&G Japan did with their trackback contest. They asked people to post stories about their run ins with tough stains and then trackback to their site for laundry detergent. I think they gave out prizes for every 100th trackback or something but the result was that many websites are now pointing to this page so that it’s become a top ranked page for those searching on tough stains and detergent – exactly what they were after!

Current Events

Tokyo Storm Drains

This has absolutely nothing to do with media, technology, or finance but hey, it’s the holidays and these images are absolutely stunning. Pointed out by a colleague of mine who has a knack to uncovering all that’s weird and wonderful, these photos of a Tokyo sewer system are nested in a larger site that details the engineering behind a large public works project.

Just goes to show, that well engineered public works projects can be both functional and beautiful.

Current Events

SuperDeluxe is the Best in Asia

Our friends over at Klein Dytham architecture have made Time Magazine’s Best of Asia list as a cool spot to hang out and catch the pulse of the avant-garde scene in Tokyo. Located in what looks like an old auto body shop in Azabu, SuperDeluxe has turned into the modern day equivalent of a Merry Prankster’s workshop; there’s always something interesting going on.

Hooray and congrats to you all! For a list of the latest events (the planned one anyway) check out the SuperDeluxe website.

Current Events

White Rabbit

Now I know where Jefferson Airplane gets their inspiration for their song, Chinese candy!


Boating with my neighbor

My neighbor has a small powerboat that he takes out to cruise around the Bay, including over to SBC Park where he’s got season tickets to see the Giants. This morning, at his invitation, Tyler and I went out to cruise around Alameda Island passing the giant cargo cranes (pictured) on the way out of the estuary that lies between the Island and West Oakland. These cranes were built by Hitachi many years ago and passing them one time on the Bart train, the driver came on the PA to tell the passengers that the cranes were the inspiration for the Imperial Walkers in the Star Wars films.

Once we cleared Alameda Point, we were hit by the full force of the wind and water on the open Bay. We then spent the next 20 minutes soaking ourselves as we motored down the leeward side of the Island. Tyler and the neighbor’s son, Julian, whooped it up enjoying the morning thrill but as a parent I was a bit concerned with all the violent thumping – happy to have noted earlier that the hull was “Kevlar enforced.” Drying off later, we headed into the city for supper in Chinatown. Another weekend in San Francisco.

Current Events

Tim O’Reilly on Web 2.0

Richard of  Read/Write Web interviews Tim O’Reilly on the idea of Web 2.0 which, since the conference, has become the codeword for the web as a platform meme. Here’s Tim on RSS:

I mean it’s the classic example of Clayton Christensen’s innovator’s dilemma. When HTML came out everybody said “Hey this is so crude, you can’t build rich interfaces like
you can on a PC – it’ll never work”. Well it did something that people wanted, it kind of grew more and more popular, became more and more powerful, people figured out ways to
extend it. Yes a lot of those extensions were kludges, but HTML really took over the world. And I think RSS is very much on the same track. It started out doing a fairly simple job, people found more and more creative things to do with it, and hack by hack it
has become more powerful, more useful, more important. And I don’t think the story is over yet.

Fresh Fish


We made our way up to the 99 Ranch Market, in El Cerrito for a spot of shopping. The market is part of a larger complex which, once you enter the doors, transports you to what could be any mall in Hong Kong. Tanks of live fish, crabs, lobster, oysters, clams, even a white catfish which Tyler spotted, it’s all there.

We loaded up on good rice, oxtail, frozen squid, enoki mushrooms, Japanese sweet potatoes, persimmons, all sorts of good stuff that you can’t find at your local Safeway.

Later that evening, we went to Oakland for pizza and a movie with the neighbors.


Wise Guy

When the kids ask for something without saying "please," we teach them to use the magic word. This morning when I prompted Tyler with, "What’s the magic word?" Tyler said:


In other news, Tyler also mis-spoke on a present given to him by Grandma Takei. It’s a small, light green teddy bear that has a peridot gemstone on it’s colla. His name is Peridot. I’m not sure he knows the association he’s making but he’s calling it Baba-dot* instead.

*Baba translates roughly as "old hag" in Japanese


Blogs for the Enterprise

I’m starting a new category today to bring together news about the inevitable march of blogs into the corporate space. InfoWorld talks with Google about it’s internal use of Blogger and the benefits they’ve seen from it:

"Since then, we have seen a lot of different uses of blogs within the firewall: people keeping track of meeting notes, people sharing diagnostics information, people sharing snippets of code, as well as more personal uses, like letting co-workers know what they’re thinking about and what they’re up to," Goldman said. "It really helps grow the intranet and the internal base of documents."

Allen Weiner of Gartner is quoted on how weblog companies are nipping at the heels of the larger content management solutions and forced to address this new functionality, some of them are adding blogging to their kit bag.

What is undeniable is that there is a growing interest among businesses towards blogs as business communication tools, particularly among IT departments, Weiner said. "The mandate of IT organizations today is to do more with less, so the better they can communicate and share things, the more efficient their operations will be," he said. "There’s a huge benefit in blogging for companies implementing IT projects. It’s going to be a growing trend over the next couple of years."

Full disclosure – I work for Six Apart and we are actively interested in driving this trend.