Monday, July 20, 2009

Why Japan’s Cellphones Haven’t Gone Global

Interesting piece in the NYT on this subject. Man, the things I could say on this.
Followed the development of i-mode etc in Japan back in the day, and was inside at Telstra for a brief moment when they tried i-mode there.
But, most of all, I think the real take-away for Japan's business community is that they need to learn from this.
Japan has long been tagged with the label of follower rather than innovator.
The development of mobile phones in Japan surely led the world and Japan was unable to transfer that knowledge into a competitive advantage internationally. [It was also around this time that Sony really started to lose the plot.]
I have some theories on the whys and wherefores, and they are all fairly ephemeral.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Japanese politics

I've avoided writing anything about the recent events in Japanese politics, mostly because I don't care.
And when I say that, I don't really mean it. Not at all.
Deep, deep down, there is an incredibly strong desire to see radical, sweeping change wash away so many of the problems inherent in Japan's political structures.
So much of that which is stagnant in Japan can be traced to the inability of the political system to move past some very entrenched political structures [not that this is unique to Japan].
At the same time though, the kind of revolution that it would take to knock these structures apart would cause immense upheaval and pain within Japanese society. And it is hard to wish that on anyone.
So while I may hope for change in Japan, I can't really want it to occur; not at that level anyway.
And, frankly, the DPJ is as hidebound as the LDP in too many ways. So, even, if somehow, the LDP doesn't find a way to cling to power again (it usually does) and the DPJ does gain traction, the old adage will still apply: plus ca change.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Hence: I really don't care.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If I am writing a blog post, it must be procrastination Wednesday

I am writing tonight.
And really, I am.
I am at that very big point where all the groundwork has been laid, the vast majority of the research has been finalised, all the previously written words are logged and accessible -- and I now just have to make it hang together the way it should.
The best way to think of this point in the process, I have thought, is like that of a sculptor looking at a soon to be moulded piece of clay or marble or driftwood, divining the natural path the artwork will take.
Each lump clay or driftwood, some might say, has a story within it that the artist brings out.
In the case of the written words, the hidden shape, the final grand structure of the narrative rests within all the information gathered, gleaned, researched, sifted, considered and analysed.
Yes, I could force an order on this. But, I am not writing fiction, I am writing fact. And at its heart the story is very straightforward, in a strange way -- but it is also immensely complicated, with countless strands feeding into and out of it.
And, it is also a story of manipulation and ego. To lay bare the arrogance of those in that game the story is devoid of such antics.
To respect the simplicity needed while maintaining the crystal clarity of the storyline and the joy of the writing (and the reading) the structure needs to be true to itself -- above all else.
Hence, the overview, the staring, the pondering, the pausing -- and the procrastination.
All in the name of divining the perfect structure.
It may take more than one night, but that is OK. That is part of the joy of writing.
And the joy of procrastinating like this. For while the typing may not lead to yet another finished page, it is allowing the mind to focus indirectly on the true task at hand.
Finishing, finally, the book.