Becoming a creative hybrid – Tokyo Memoirs Chapter 6: The app store gold rush

This is the 6th post in my "Becoming a creative hybrid" series recounting my experiences building and ultimately selling a digital agency in Tokyo. This post covers the arrival of the iPhone and later Android smartphones, roughly between 2008~2011. Previous memoir episodes series have described how we cracked the code for making content-based promotions in Japan (as with the Puchi Bruce campaign for Die Hard 4.0 explained here), or how we got a taste for building technology solutions (as with the iTunes blogparts explained here). But no account of this period in the late noughties would be complete without documenting the disruptive rise (and rise…. and rise...) of the iPhone, and thence the smart phone, and it certainly had a big impact on the Alien-Eye business too. Zooming forward to … [Read more...]

Cognition as a Service – a new Hybrid Technology

This is an article I co-wrote with Dudu Noy last December for a "coming in 2014" guest post. Dudu is the CMO of Israeli language technology company, Ginger Software, which my company represents in the Japanese market (Ginger Japan website). So far the prediction has proved very prescient. Ginger has developed a super-smart hybrid technology that combines NLP and statistical algorithms to process all the English that is out there on the web, and using this enormous corpus as a reference, corrects non-native English as the user types. Like Japan, Hebrew-speaking Israel is an island nation in terms of language, and so they have similar challenges when it comes to communicating in English. They also have one of the most fervent technology development cultures on the planet. Ginger is a … [Read more...]

Why LINE is eating Facebook’s sushi lunch

This is an article I wrote for the industry journal "Marketing Interactive" in November 2013. Since WhatsApp was recently acquired by Facebook, and now goes head to head with LINE in the chat app race, it is good to be reminded of where LINE has come from, and what makes it so unique and adaptable. The published article was much whittled down, and although it may be an easier read, it left out several of the more interesting cultural nuances that makes LINE so appealing, as well as its cultural-hybrid origins, so I have belatedly printed my original draft below. The Marketing Interactive version can be seen here. On the face of it Facebook have a lot to be smug about when looking at their Japanese footprint. The original Japanese social network Mixi is in rapid decline, and … [Read more...]

Hybrids rule in Japan, and are taking over the world

The words hybrid and hybridisation first became used commonly in 19th century in the context of rearing domesticated animals and plants. A mule for instance is a cross between a horse and a donkey. Rose gardeners created hybrid roses to achieve original colour combinations. These days hybrid technologies are equally if not more common. Among these hybrid cars are the most famous, a technology popularised largely due to the efforts of the Japanese car industry, not least the little known parts supplier Aisin Seiki Co. which invented the Hybrid Synergy Drive that made the Prius an international hit. Hybrid cars represent the classic hybrid concept: take two complementary species or systems, combine them to create a new species or solution that comprise the advantages of both … [Read more...]