Posted by Tom Foremski - June 9, 2008
We visit Cybozu Labs, created by Cybozu, a very successful Japanese software company founded by Toru Takasuka, from Lunarr. Cybozu Labs tries to offer a US-like environment to incubate new ventures.
This work environment is far different from that in other Japanese companies, which one person described as "jail" with very little space per person because of the high costs of office space. This is part of Cybozu Lab's efforts to attract top talent away from the large companies.
We see presentations from Yuichi Kawasaki, from Hatena; Shimizu Ryou from Ubiquitous Entertainment; Tom Sonoda from Utagoe; and Ken Suzuki from Sargasso. We also have a discussion about the differences between markets in Japan and in the US.
One of them asks how do you take a product out of the geek community and into the consumer markets? I said that this is a problem in the US too, there are a myriad web 2 applications popular in the geek communities but are completely unknown in consumer markets. Education needs to happen buy that's a slow process.
I have a very interesting chat with Cybozu Lab's in-house blogger about Japanese blogging. "Akky" Akimoto tells me the most popular bloggers in Japan are celebrities and that the posts are usually ghost-written. He says that regular people like to blog about their lunch, photos of food is popular.
He says that people do not like conflict on blogs or forums, it is considered disagreeable to disagree, but they will if they can use a psuedonym - which is popular on many sites. There are also ways to disagree online by clever uses of the 3 different Japanese character sets - a type of reading between the lines in which reading across gives a different message than reading down.
[I'm on my first trip to Japan as a guest of Lunarr - a Portland based tech start-up founded by two Japanese entrepreneurs Toru Takasuka and Hideshi Hamaguchi. On the trip with me is Marshall Kirkpatrick from Read Write Web, Bob Walsh from 47Hats, and Kristen Nicole from Mashable.]