Japan remains a big question mark. Sometimes qualified as strange, sometimes thought as very innovative, often unknown to many. Can you name one Japanese startup? Can you name one Japanese web service that you use? Do you know Facebook is almost inexistent there? With the recent successes of Twitter (almost 20% of worldwide tweets are in Japanese), the iPhone (shaking a very insular mobile market), is Japan opening up to the US and the world? Similarly, with Rakuten, the Japanese eBay, acquiring Buy.com & opening offices in the US, but also entering China and elsewhere, are we witnessing a new era of Japanese companies' expansion? Japan remains a land of opportunities. A country where innovative models are popping up every day. Let's learn about Japan.
by Ian Kelso, Sean Kane and Tony Schum
More than ever, governments across the world, at both national and local levels, are working hard to attract the "creative/digital industries". When you're looking for a job, you may not know how much your city, state or even national government often play a role in what companies are hiring in your community.
While traditional economic development has typically meant a scenario like bringing a factory to a rural area, a newer practice involves growing so-called industries of the mind. Canada has led the way, but now many states across America are offering incentives to game developers and other tech-related companies (to say nothing of the massive internal investments by certain countries, such as Russia). The benefits can be tax breaks, loans, grants, tax credits and even free rent to get you and your brain trust to make the move.
This discussion will look at why these sorts of incentives are thought to bring benefit to not just the companies, but to their communities and taxpayers, too.
Indisputably, algorithms and user interface (UI) are both crucial to any software’s success, but many companies struggle to find the sweet spot where back end meets front end development in a perfect balance of product success. The age-old battle of function vs. fashion emerges when resources need allocation, road maps are determined, and the fate of a startup hangs in the balance.
Algorithms crawl the internet, digesting tons of data to spit out content that is valuable for users, while UI attracts, retains and instills trust in users to delivering that value to the masses. But in the end, drives innovation and success, the algorithms or the UI? If you’ve got funding for 6 hires, who are they?
This informative discussion will be led by Aaron Patzer, VP/GM of Intuit’s personal finance group and Founder of Mint.com, an algorithms engineer with several patents at the core of his product who also recognizes the value that perfectly pixilated, easy-to-understand charts and graphics brought to Mint. Panelists, including a UI designer, algorithms expert and CEO of company that has successfully merged the development of both, will discuss how to combine different types of expertise into a winning formula; what’s necessary to create complex technology and dense data into simple information for users, whether product innovation should be driven from the product’s front end or back end, and how an organization’s structure changes the way product development takes place.
11th–15th March 2011