Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poken at Tokyo 2.0

Earlier this week I attented a Tokyo 2.0 evening at Super Deluxe in Roppongi. In contrast to the previous week's Beer and Blog night, this was a much larger event. Nine different companies each had a 10 minute time slot to present their business. The theme was The Sustainable Web.

The presentations varied in style: some were smooth and professional, others could have done with a little more polish to attract the interest of the audience of more than 100 people. Most of the talks were in English with a second person translating, or some people talked in both English and Japanese.

Flavio Souza presented his community website called It is a forum for discussion on all aspects of how IT can help the Green cause. He has a video of his presentation from the event on the site, only available if you've signed up to the site.

Kaoru Iwasaki demonstrated her project TakuTomo which, roughly translated, means 'Taxi Friends'. The site enables you to share a taxi ride home in the early morning after public transport stops running. The idea is that you register on her site along with the locations you often stay late at and your home destination. When your evening has ended and it's time to go home, you send a quick message from your mobile phone and it will match your desired route with others in the vacinity keen to share a ride to save money. I think it might work, but it will need a large user base to give you a good chance of getting a rideshare.

Hiroshi Ikeda and Hirofumi Manganzi gave a presenation on their company OpenTrace. Their idea was one of the finalists at TechCrunch50. The aim is to build an open database of the materials used in the production of various kinds of products, from cars and computers to food and clothing. The goal is to be able to calculate the impact on the planet of any product you might buy. It's a massive task, I wish them good luck.

Peter Van Der Weeën gave a short presentation on Poken. These are the little 'electronic business cards' that I mentioned last week. They have launched the Japanese website now, and are planning to make them available for sale in shops in Japan very soon. They proved very popular at the event and I have now exchanged details electronically with 21 people. One feature available on the website is the timeline of your contacts. So each time you meet it is still good to touch poken, to keep track of when you last met the person.

These mini gadgets, that plug into the USB port, normally cost 2,000 yen each, but if you go on over to JapanSoc Blog, Nick Ramsey is running a simple competion you can enter to have the chance of winning one. Check out his video where he explains how to use one too. The competion ends on April 26th, so don't waste time: get twittering, blogging or YouTubing to enter the draw.

And, if you dont win one there, I have just ordered a pack of 12 from their website and I will be running a competion on this blog very soon for another chance to win one.

If my description has not completely put you off Tokyo 2.0 events, the next meeting is titled Women in the Web Industry and will be held on May 13, 2009 from 6:30pm to 10pm – at Super Deluxe. I hope to Poken you all there.

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