380 Articles for '전체'
- 2008/10/07 Jason Calacanis and Loic Le Meur videos on Open Web Asia (2)
- 2008/10/03 A sad day for Korea, and how the internet played its part (12)
- 2008/09/23 Do they sell Mercedes-Benz cars on TV elsewhere? (3)
- 2008/09/23 X Media Lab Seoul is coming up
- 2008/09/19 Enswer is the answer to video search (3)
- 2008/09/18 Naver is now the top email service provider in Korea as well (2)
- 2008/09/12 We've been Googled! (36)
- 2008/09/08 More speakers announced for Open Web Asia '08!
- 2008/09/07 LIFT Asia - as good as it gets
- 2008/09/02 Upcoming speaking gigs (2)
Jason Calacanis and Loic Le Meur videos on Open Web AsiaWeb 2.0 | 2008/10/07 16:53 | Web 2.0 Asia
Yesterday was a truly sad day for all Koreans. Jin-sil Choi, Korea's top actress, was found dead, as she apparently committed a suicide. To put this in perspective, imagine this morning you just saw the headline "Angelina Jolie committed a suicide". Yes, Choi was THE most loved Korean actress of our times.
What makes it even sadder is the stories eminating from this tragedy, that she was suffering from depression, and much of it came from the "bad comments on the internet." It was found Choi actually cared about the comments about her, often spending hours reading all thousands of comments, many of which I assume were worthless piece of garbage.
Most news sites in Korea (I guess elsewhere too) allow anonymous comments that are rarely moderated. I mean moderation is there, but it's usually post-moderation meaning the really offensive comments are taken out only after damages are already done. Taking advantage of these anonymous comment system, some weirdos make all kinds of personal attacks to public figures. But yesterday's Choi incident shows that comments can kill people, literally.
I believe the web we should all strive to create is one where people have respect to each other, not a dark dungeon denizened by some freak trollers. For that, I think we need a better online reputation system. It doesn't necessarily mean forcing all users to use real-world identity (like your social security number and a real name) on the web, as some politicians seem to have proposed. Mandating real-world identities on all web users will make the web as a mere extension to the real world, shrinking the web's vast possibility of enabling us to create a (virtual) world of an entirely new dimension than this world's. Besides, we all know such mandate simply won't work.
If one of the defining characteristics of the Web 2.0 is socialness, why don't we look at this problem through the lens of "social" as well? I think we should introduce what I call a "social whitelist" and "social blacklist." (Hey, it's the term that's racist, not me.)
From our online relationship, we all interact with other identities, and there are some identities we know can be trusted. These good ID's have been there for some time, with proven track record, and most of them have their own websites where they put their reputation and content on. Also, if I can trust this ID, I could perhaps also trust other ID's that are being trusted by this particular ID. Now, if we can somehow aggregate and track these social trusts among online ID's, we could perhaps have a society-wide online trust system sooner or later.
We could do the same thing about the bad ID's as well. If someone is being marked as a bad ID (e.g. spammer) by three different ID's, we can pretty safely call it a bad ID and put a penalty on it. But what if the "real person" behind this bad ID doesn't get deterred and keep generating bad ID's? If it happens, then (and only then) we can cut the link between the real person and the online ID system: Hey dude, you seem to be creating bad ID's all the time, and you shouldn't do that. Oh, by the way, you can also remain silent and appoint an attorney.
The small steps towards an open identity system being taken recently, such as XFN and FOAF, will hopefully pave the road to this "social reputation system." If such thing comes along, I think it will be one of the greatest achievement for the "social" web.
One key reason Google has become the 8000-lb gorilla it is now is, I believe, the company had a truly great piece of technology that couldn't be copied easily by competitors. Even in this "extreme programming" era where rapid development is the name of the game and apps are being churned out in mere days if not hours, technology still matters.
In that philosophy, Enswer is the hidden gem of the Korean web industry. In a nutshell, Enswer is the newest video search engine based on image fingerprinting technology. Today's typical video search engines perform search based on the text metadata associated with videos, so they should actually be called text search. But Enswer is different, as it indexes videos based on, well, the videos - i.e. the actual video content.
As Enswer runs on image/video recognition technologies, it knows which different videos contain the same content, and so it can cluster them together. This can make the world of difference to users, just as Gmail did with its messages clustering feature. Trying to find Beatles music videos? Enswer gives you different "clusters" of Beatles videos, so you can find many different Beatles videos on one screen; Try the same thing on other video searches and you will get all sorts of videos with the metadata "Beatles", all mixed up together, many of them being redundant.
Perhaps the biggest commercial potential of Enswer is more contextual video ads. Right now, video ads are put up based on, again, text metadata (such as "category" information of the video clip). But with Enswer, you can for example insert ads on new game software only on the videos that actually contain gaming-related content.
Enswer has so far indexed more than 32 million videos and are looking at adding 1 million new videos per day, according to their blog. The company has recently raised a venture funding of an undisclosed amount. I will cover them more closely when they come up on stage on the upcoming Demo Day.
Naver was the Koreans' favorite email service with 26% market share, while Hanmail did only 24.2%. Interestingly, the unsung hero here might be actually Gmail, which came out as the 4th most popular email service among professionals with the 9.3% market share. Naver domination in Korea is very much ongoing.
Disclaimer: The contents in this post may pertain to the author's personal interests.
They say "All good things come in threes" - well, the year 2008 was the living proof of that phrase for me. Firstly, Sara and I had our first baby son, Issac, who is our biggest blessing. Secondly, Open Web Asia '08, the premier web conference that I started as a personal project but has since been a great community effort of more than a dozen web professionals, is looking more and more like a hit conference with about 20 top-notch speakers. (Register away!)
And, to borrow Steve Jobs's patent line from his keynote, there's "one last thing" - our company was acquired by Google.
Who we are and why (I think) Google bought us
Chester (who is the original founder of the company), was acquired by Google Korea on 9/12/2008. For those who are not familiar with us, think of TNC as Korea's Automattic - a company that develops a cool blogging platform that's favorited by the nation's A-list bloggers, and also works closely with the open source community.
Despite the danger of sounding too self-important, I would say our company was a fairly good acquisition target for Google. First, we had a killer product: Our previous work, Tistory blog service (now property of Daum as we sold the service to the Korea's #2 portal), made to the top 10 Korean web destination in less than a year from launch, showing some 30,000% growth over the initial 8 months. While other blog services seem to be exploring the idea of integrating social networks with blogs only lately, our new blog service Textcube (link in Korean) had already implemented the feature much earlier. Secondly, we have great engineering talents. Many of our software engineers hail from the nation's leading comp sci programs, such as KAIST.
Significance: Google takes Korean market seriously
Some might say what's the big deal here, as Google seems to acquire companies almost daily. Well, if I may put some meaning to this deal, the notable fact here is that we are a company based out of Korea. To my knowledge, we are being one of the first major acquisitions done by Google in the entire Asia let alone Korea, if we don't count Austrailia and also exclude share-taking activities in China for licensing purposes. Of course I could be totally wrong, as Google doesn't annnounce all its acquisitions.
Speaking of Google in Asia, one piece of fact that my American friends have really hard time perceiving is that Google is an underdog in this part of the globe. Korea is the world's sixth largest market in terms of internet users, and yet Google has a market share that can only be described as "minor" in Korea.
Why? Korean web users mostly use Yahoo-like "portal" services and never really venture out. Part of the reason for that is, Korean portals are so good. But portals have built too thick of a comfort zone for Korean web users, leaving little room for startup innovations. Hence less motivation for startups, hence less diversity and more portal domination (in this age of de-portalization, that is), and so on and so forth - the cycle goes on.
What we will do
Now as a part of Google, TNC will try to better the situation. We will commit ourselves to increasing Google's market share in Korea. Of course, Google isn't entitled with God-given right to become #1 in every region it operates in, just because it's Google. It's actually more about the Korean web industry than about Google. I think the Korean web industry needs a player that can, as a balancing force, provide more options to the users and help create a more open web. Well, who can be that player? How about giving a chance to a company that sincerely strives to be "not evil" despite its sheer bigness?
Perhaps fitting with my personal vision (which is also a motivation behind the Open Web Asia conference and this very blog), we will also try to introduce Textcube to outside of Korea. Textcube was so good that it was called "better than the services in the US in many ways" by some international media like Giga Om, but we were hopelessly behind in terms of globalizing our product, with my perennial excuse that I'm too busy with the Korean market alone. Hopefully Google's global presence will be of tremendous help in globalizing Textcube and other interesting web services coming from Korea.
1) For the deal specifics, as many of you should know well, by confidentiality agreement I am not supposed to talk anything about the deal, so you don't have to bother asking. :)
2) I would like to take this opportunity to thank my partner, Chester Roh. He's been extremely good to work with. If I hadn't met him back in 2004, I would still be pushing papers at a cubicle nation. Of course I owe the same thanks to all the rest of the crew at TNC, and to our investor Softbank.
More speakers announced for Open Web Asia '08!Web 2.0 | 2008/09/08 20:14 | Web 2.0 Asia
As though the current speaker lineup wasn't enough, we are inviting more top-notch speakers to Open Web Asia '08. Jason Calacanis of Mahalo.com is coming; and so is James Wei, Opera Asia President. They will be joined by Andy Yao of 51.com (the hottest social network of China) and Sam Flemming of CIC data, a think-tank with great insights for the Chinese web market.
With these additions, there will be a total of 19 speakers. We truly hope the Open Web Asia will be one of the best web events of the region for this year. I'm quoting the bios of the 4 new speakers here; For more information on other speakers, check out the the "Speakers" section of our homepage.
Jason McCabe Calacanis is the founder and CEO of Mahalo.com, a human-powered search engine. Prior to Mahalo.com's launch in May, 2007, he was an "Entrepreneur in Action" at Sequoia Capital, a position he held since December 2006. Jason co-founded and was the CEO of Weblogs, Inc., a network of popular weblogs that was sold to AOL in November 2005. Upon joining AOL, he was appointed senior vice president. In addition, he was named general manager of AOL's Netscape. Prior to forming Weblogs Inc., Jason was the founder of Rising Tide Studios, which sold its flagship publication to Dow Jones.
James is a seasoned telecommunications industry executive with more than a decade of experience in senior management roles on both the operator and OEM side of the business. His broad range of leadership encompasses the successful implementation of direct and channel sales strategies, marketing, product management, and strong general management. James joins Opera Software as President of APAC, responsible for growing Opera's leading browser technology and services activities throughout Asia Pacific. In this role, James will be responsible for managing all of Opera's integrated customer-facing activities and will lead the sales & marketing organization, technical pre-sales, and field operations. He comes to Opera Software from Teleca, where he served as Managing Director of Teleca Taiwan, one of the world's leading system integrators of mobile phone software. Before leading Teleca Taiwan, James served as General Manager of Openwave System in Taiwan for 3 years, He has also served in executive level sales & marketing and business development positions at HelloAsia and iAsiaworks. James holds a Bachelors degree in Business Administration from College of New Jersey.
VP of 51.com
Educated in Art & Design from China and US, Mr.Yao is skilled in combining his design skill with software development experiences. He successfully started several companies in both China and US. In 1999, he and friends started an online calendar company named FamilyPlex, later sold to Nasdaq listed company Woman.com. In 2007, 51.com acquired Mr. Yao's avatar platform company and successfully integrated into 51.com. Now, Mr. Yao served as VP at 51.com, in charge of Product & Marketing.
Sam Flemming is co-founder and CEO of CIC, the first and leading Internet Word of Mouth (IWOM) Research and Consulting firm in China. Sam has been a participant of China's digital evolution for over 10 years starting with Chinapay.com, the first online payment platform in China. Under Sam's leadership, CIC has built a highly qualified team of analysts who utilize proprietary Chinese language text mining technology to provide a prestigious list of Fortune 500 clients with customized reports and insights based on systematic analysis of tens of millions of BBS and blog posts written Chinese netizens.
I spoke at the LIFT Asia the other day. What is LIFT? If I have to put it in two words, I would say LIFT is "Europe's TED". Speakers talk about some big picture things - For example, Sarah Marquis shared her experiences of covering thousands of miles on foot - she walks across continents, on bare feet, alone. I was totally captured by her stories, and I think choosing her as the closing speaker was a very good choice as she traveled through a totally unplugged world and therefore can give a nice contrast to a generally techie conference.
Anyone who's been part of LIFT will instantly fall in love with it. In an unexplainable way, the conference carries European flair. (Perhaps the invariable presence of the arts?) The venue, ICC, was totally over the top and the Jeju Island is more beautiful than some of the best spots in Asia you may know. The food was lavish, and the networking opportunity was simply great. I was genuinely impressed by the event. Laurent (LIFT founder) and his company did a heck of a job, and I find myself already looking forward to the next year.
I gave a talk titled "The Future of Social Media." I expect the video will go up soon, so I'll try and put a link to the video later on. After the talk, the feedback was very positive - but in the meantime I'm afraid my talk could have been a tad too specific (rather than being high-level and conceptual, that is, "TED-ish"). I would like to take this opportunity to thank Laurent and his team for having me and for all the hospitality they showed to me.
I'll also be moderating a panel on Broadcast Worldwide (BCWW) 2008, on Wed 9/3, in the session titled "Embracing audience in evolution: User-generated content and social media economy." So if you are dropping by either LIFT Asia or the BCWW 2008, and want to have a quick chat, just drop me a note at my email.
Finally, I'll be speaking about "Turning ideas into products" in front of aspiring students at Korea University on Friday 9/6. It's always a fulfilling experience to talk in front of the students and I know I will learn from them as much as I give them.