Aula 2006 ─ Movement: Joichi Ito

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450pxjoichi_itoThe last keynote speaker at the Aula 2006 ─ Movement meeting in Helsinki next week is Joi Ito, who hardly needs me to introduce him. Most of you have probably at least heard his name, it is so ubiquitous on the web. Among other things, he was one of the early bloggers and Joi’s blog remains one of the most-visited in the world. As a matter of fact, Joi gave me some good advice by email about blogging in the early days of 3QD, and I am looking forward to finally meeting him face to face.

This is from Joi’s bio on Wikipedia:

Joi Ito, is a Japanese-born, American-educated, activist, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist.

Ito has received much recognition for his role as an entrepreneur focused on Internet and technology companies and has founded, among other companies, PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and Infoseek Japan. He maintains a blog, a wiki, an IRC channel and contributes to the Tokyo Metroblogging. Early on, Joi was involved in running a nightclub in Japan, bringing industrial music from Chicago (Wax Trax) and later the rave scene, including importing Anarchic Adjustment to Japan. He was an active player on the first Multi User Dungeons (MUD) at Essex University and once worked with Sega, on the Dreamcast‘s online features.

He also appears as a character in a webcomic, The Adventures of Epicenter, which was once linked to in his blog.

185pxwow_box_artI am sure that others besides me must also wonder how Joi can possibly have time for everything that he does, but to his unbelievably busy schedule he has managed to add the time-drain of playing World of Warcraft! In a short article he recently published in Wired (and which I had also posted at 3QD a few days ago) he confesses that:

I started playing a year ago and have become custodian of We Know, a guild of about 250 people worldwide: medics, CEOs, bartenders, mothers, soldiers, students. We assemble in-game to mount epic six-hour raids that require some members to wake at 4 am and others to stay up all night. Outside the game, we stay in touch using online forums, a wiki, blogs, and a mailing list – plus a group voice chat, which I’ve connected to my home stereo so I can hear the guild’s banter while I’m cooking dinner. I have never been this addicted to anything before. My other hobbies are gone. My daily blogging regimen has taken a hit. And my social life revolves more and more around friends in the game.

But don’t let this fool you into thinking that Joi is any less productive than ever before. Check out some of his current activities (also listed at his Wikipedia page):

…Ito is [currently] General Manager of International Operations for Technorati, Chairman of Six Apart Japan, and also currently a member of the board of Creative Commons, Socialtext, The Metabrainz Foundation and Technorati Japan. He is the Chairman of the board of Creative Commons International. He is the founder and CEO of the venture capital firm Neoteny Co., Ltd. In October of 2004, he was named to the board of ICANN for a three-year term starting December 2004. In April of 2005, he was named to the board of the Open Source Initiative. In August of 2005, he joined the board of the Mozilla Foundation. In 2006 he was appointed to the board [1] of WITNESS.

And as if this weren’t enough:

He is attempting, again, to educate himself and is studying at the Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy [2] as a Doctorate of Business Administration candidate…

There is far more one could say about Joi, but I’ll end by saying that he is endlessly surprising. For example, I recently found out that he is Timothy Leary’s godson! Check out Joi’s touching remembrance of Leary on the 10th anniversary of his death:

Tim321tm Timothy Leary passed away 10 years ago today. I was with him the evening before he died and I still remember his humor even in his final hour.

I met Timothy Leary in Tokyo in the summer of 1990. Tim was excited about virtual reality and had told his friend David Kubiak in Kyoto to help him track down “young Japanese kids who know about virtual reality”. I wasn’t a VR expert, but I was into computer graphics, games and the rave/club scene. I had also just opened a nightclub in Tokyo. David, who lived in Kyoto, directed Tim to me and several others in Tokyo and we hooked up with him at a bar.

I hijacked the situation. After dinner I grabbed Tim and took him on a whirlwind tour of the Tokyo club scene.

Read the rest of that post here. If you want more info on Joi, Google him and, trust me, you’ll get plenty to keep you going for quite a while. See you on Wednesday, Joi!