Web 2008 Expo in Tokyo next week (Dec. 3 & 4)

Next week sees another event in Tokyo, the "Web 2008 Expo". Organised by SNS XShibuya, the byline for the event is something along the lines of "The Vision of a Web Era the Japan Sends to the World" .... fascinating!

XShibuya is an area-based invite-only SNS started in July 2006 by the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), designed to match up "Creators" in the Shibuya area of Tokyo for business opportunities. The site is operated by the Greater Shibuya Area Creator Matching LLP (!) ( 広域渋谷圏クリエイターマッチング有限責任事業組合 ) , which seems to be backed by Otsuka Shokai, Takara Tomy, Total Brain and others, and is headed up by Shuji Honjo, a VC from Net Service Ventures.

Although they claim to have 3500 members (up from 2600 in Nov 2006), it's a little hard to see if this SNS is alive or dead, as you cannot see anything without logging in, and can't sign up without an invitation. The fact that their magazine site has not been updated since 2006, their press release section since 2007, and the link to the more information PDF is broken does not lend much confidence. BTW: I am doing a little survey of Japanese Business SNSs, so please send me an invite if you are in XShibuya!

Nonetheless ... they have managed to organise this conference, which seems to be positioned as a cheap and cheerful replacement for the simlarly titled failed O'Reilly event - Web2.0 Expo 2008 Tokyo. In fact some of the panelists were either due to present at the O'Reilly gig, or presented at the event in other countries.

Here is the Conference Schedule:

Dec 3: Open ID and Open Web Day

5:50-6:05 Keynote: Open ID Foundation Japan

2 Fl: Panel Discussion: Japan's Blogs:

Blogs in Japan have different characteristics to English language blogs. We discuss these differences and the opportunities they present.

5Fl. Open ID Foundation Japan

7:00-7:40 Sessions:

2Fl. Panel Discussion: Developments in the Social Web

Panellists from Mixi, Microsoft and Community Design Labo.

5Fl. Open ID Foundation Japan

7:50-8:50 Networking Party (drinks and light snacks provided)

Dec 4: Web Innovation & Creative Day

5:50-6:05 Keynote: TBD
6:10-6:50 Sessions:

2Fl: Geodata-fying the Web

5Fl. The Possibilities of Web Design

7:00-7:40 Sessions:

2Fl. Mashup and beyond - Mashup Awards 4

5Fl. The Evolution of Car Navigation Systems

7:50-8:50 Networking Party (drinks and light snacks provided)

The Event Site - just a blog really - is here http://d.hatena.ne.jp/web2expo/.

At time of writing you can still sign up here https://event.tokyo-cci.or.jp/event_detail-18688.html. The conference costs 4000 yen per day, payable on entry.

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Gen Kanai's Gravatar There seems to be a total disconnect between the goals of the SNS and the content of the conference. If you go, I'd be interested in your evaluation.
# Posted By Gen Kanai | 12/1/08 12:05 AM
Rob Cawte's Gravatar Yes ... hence the "fascinating" label above :) This is definitely a "conference of contrasts". Although I am not expecting a revolution, I _am_ curious to hear what "Japan's vision for a web era for the world" is going to be (frankly - I was a little surprised to hear that Japan actually has a unified "Vision of a Web Era"!!!)

While there are many cuts of SNSs, the idea of a parochial "Shibuya-specific" one does seem a little incestuous to me. I was working at an agency in Ebisu in 2006, but left to join MS just as this SNS started, and I wasn't aware of it's existence. Still, without access to the network it's hard to tell if it's real or not.

I hadn't heard of Shunji Honjo or NSV (or the Greater Shibuya Area Creator Matching Limited Liability Partnership!!) either prior to this event. The SNS was backed by the TCCI and several partner companies. With the site embarrassingly out of date - even the link to the obligatory more information PDF (blechh!) is broken - you wonder if these sponsors are getting value.

Still... they are just organising the conference .. some of the sessions look interesting - if not necessarily for the right reasons. The future of social networks with Mixi and Microsoft? Hmmmm ... Does this mean that Japan's vision of the future of social networks is "Closed" (mixi) and "Unloved and unlovable" (Windows Live)?

Note: There are free drinks at the end of each day... which is also a major draw card :)

Will be sure to take notes, and post them here.
# Posted By Rob Cawte | 12/1/08 8:41 AM
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