I was on a flight the other day and grabbed the Autumn 2006 issue of Strategy + Business Magazine - Issue 44. I did not even glance at the cover to see what stories were covered, it just seemed like a good, quick mag to stream through after boarding and prior to being able to Blog. I spent a good chunk of the flight engrossed in an article about Joichi Ito (aka Joi Ito) called, The Ambassador From The Next Economy (registration required). Joi is one of the first Bloggers, a spokesperson for social media and an investor in all things next.
I've had Joi Ito's Blog in my feeds from, almost, day one. He's just a fascinating guy who splits his time between Asia and the west coast of the U.S. where he dabbles in social entrepreneurship and is always one of the first guys "in" on next generation social media technology. He's been in at the beginning of everything from Moveable Type to Technorati to World Of Warcraft.
I'm not going to spoil this fascinating biographical article that Lawrence M. Fisher put together, but here's a great part:
"'I'm not a typical venture capitalist," says Mr. Ito. 'Just about everything I get involved in has a steep learning curve, has lots of unknowns, and has risks. Just as some people are obsessed with money and are willing to do boring things day in and day out to be wealthy, I'm obsessed with always being in a state of wonder.'
Mr. Ito is known in high-tech circles for his uncanny ability to identify the 'next big thing' long before other people get to it, and for his quiet but pervasive influence on the development of the Internet. The first Internet server in Japan was housed in the bathroom of his Tokyo apartment, and he played a critical role in pioneering online chat, digital advertising, social network software, Weblogs (blogs), wikis (Web sites and documents, such as the well-known encyclopedia Wikipedia, that allows users to add and edit material), and other interactive media that continues to redefine the limits of communication and community-building."
Ito's also involved in the community. From ICANN to Creative Commons, he's an active social entrepreneur. You'd think he's a multi millionaire, but he's not. He keeps his mobile number on his Blog and, according to the article, he's very down to Earth.
It's an influential and important read if you are interested in being an entrepreneur, looking for funding or have a general interest in how the world of technology, communications and social networks is directly affecting the more protein-based world the rest of folks live in.
Great primer to get me all pumped up for this week's Digital Marketing Conference 2006.
Bonus Round - the same issue of Strategy + Business also has an article titled, On Trust And Culture - Five books about social networks explore the importance of "who you know," by Karen Otazo. I need to make a pit stop at a book store now.