To all my friends, thank you for a great 2010

This is part of the personal greeting I’m sending to my friends this holiday season.

First of all, THANK YOU!  Really!  I moved to Japan for work following a visionary idea, but it is you, my friends, who had helped me make progress in life and made me feel appreciated here!  So, I feel it’s appropriate to give a little summary of the time and events we shared in 2010.

In late 2009, in order to pursue the vision promised by Cuusoo.com, I invented the term “passionsourcing” and started to talk about “building an open sourced, CC licensed, open innovation tool on Drupal” to anyone who would listen!  This has become my key focus in 2010 and here’s a summary of my adventure.

  • Organized event to talk about “passionsourcing”, invited co-founder of TEDxTokyo and IMPACT Japan, co-founder from Socialutions, founder of Startup Weekend Tokyo and former CTO from Threadless.com as speakers.  Event did not materialize in the end, despite getting printed on the first ever Startup Weekend Tokyo newsletter. (Sorry Jonny)

  • Joined TEDxTokyo organizers meeting, connected with more people interested in TED (now IMPACT Japan) Innovation Hub to join forces with my open innovation project.

  • Joined the first round of P2PU.org courses to participate in the future of education – Peer-to-peer education!  My friend had passionately talked about this a year ago at BarCamp Hong Kong and it’s great to see the idea materialize.

  • Promoted the hell out of a Cuusoo.com showroom event.  Took this chance to do the “passionsourcing” panels talk again, huge thanks to the 2 speakers who took time out of their busy schedule to speak! (sorry about the pitiful turnout.) 😦

  • Started weekly “Drupal Wednesday Hack Nights”, officially named our open innovation project to “Open Hippel“.  Talked about it at tech and social media events, Tokyo Hackerspace and Japan Drupal User Group meetups.  Gathered many of you from different backgrounds – International schools, TEDx, web development companies, UNESCO, universities… all sharing a common interests in an open sourced, user collaboration tool!

  • Alerted Cuusoo’s CEO about adapting Groupon’s business into our pre-order process.  Tried to connect and partner with Piku.jp.

  • Lean Startup – Startup Lessons Learned San Francisco event, Tokyo simulcast at Tokyo Hackerspace.  Promoted and participated, learned a lot from the Lean Startup idea.

  • Connected good people.  Friend of a friend from Denmark’s MindLab, all in the user innovation field, went to Hong Kong.  Connected her to my friend there who did her grad program at MIT focusing on product design / development, new media and innovation under Eric Von Hippel.

  • BarCamp Tokyo, discussed building new, sustainable open business models with open source technologies! Connected high profile Asian open source evangelist with Tokyo’s open source crowd.
  • Member of Open Hippel project, 10 years User Experience veteran, grad student at Keio University, helped made Open Hippel an official, creditable project at Keio University.  Attracted new members to join our project.

  • Organized meetings to introduce friends from Open Manga from France to Open Hippel team, co-founder of TEDxTokyo / IMPACT Japan and co-founder of Socialutions.  Good discussions on disruptive new business models each of us are working on.

  • Applied for the Entrepreneurs Mentoring Initiative with a few new friends with our “‘Good’ Doctors / Businesses social ratings” idea.

  • Connected through friend at P2PU to Acquia Drupal.  Created and led a new course for the 2nd round of P2PU courses, building Open Hippel together while learning Drupal

  • Lucien Wang, born July 28th. 🙂

  • Went to first Startup Saturday HK event while I was in Hong Kong, talked about Open Hippel, re-connected with acquaintances from agile development and invention community.  Created a full-cycle business eco-system around Open Hippel.

  • Open Hippel development kick started into high gear in Tokyo while I was in Hong Kong, thanks to dedicated members continued to meetup, connected with high caliber Drupal developer passionate about Open Hippel’s idea!

  • With the help of probably the most famous tech blogger and consultant in Tokyo, organized meetups for my friends from Threadless.com and AngelList.  We had the best Akihabara tour ever!  (Thanks Steve!)

  • Organized startup event to connect local entrepreneurs with friends from AngelList.

  • Co-organized meetup for P2PU co-founder with friends from UN University.

  • Went to Next Context Conference 2010 at Digital Garage, (my curated.by NCC2010 conversations) took the chance to talk to Joi Ito about the new business model I’m creating for Cuusoo.com.

  • Invited to IMPACT Japan Design Thinking Session Co-hosted by GRIPS and Nikkei.

  • Participated in 1st official Startup Weekend Tokyo.  Pulled a team together to support and create SocioPad.  Won 2nd place (losing to 1st place by only 1 point.)

Throughout the whole year, I tried to connect all the people I met from above to Cuusoo… I tried very often to initiate actions in Cuusoo… unfortunately, company is quite resistant to my ideas.

    As some of you may know, I moved to Tokyo in August of 2009 to work for Cuusoo.com.  Cuusoo’s unique “crowdsourced product design” system gives companies insights into future market demand.  I believe this system, combined with the revolution in rapid prototyping and manufacturing-on-demand, can disrupt the current “mass produce everything for cheap” model, shifting production back to local communities and lower the burden on raw materials from our environment.

    However, Japanese management basically lock down on all its employees’ freedom – freedom to make decisions, freedom to innovate, freedom to be the best that you can be… you’re expected to just follow orders.  In less than 3 months, I realized I’ll need to “innovate at the edge (or even outside) of the organization”, in order to achieve the vision I followed.

    Inside the company, I don’t receive any praise as I refuse to waste my time doing things management assigned to me, e.g. get 100 fans on our Facebook fan page… by going to our client’s fan page, which they don’t use but has 140K+ fans, and manually send emails to each one, asking them to fan our page.  They don’t understand why I refuse to do what they told me to do.  When my manager gave me a “poor” for my yearly review, he asked me to try to work hard even if the tasks are difficult.  I told him “No, the tasks are not difficult, they are dumb and meaningless, that’s why I don’t do it!  If the work is has meaning, I’ll do it no matter how hard it is and succeed!”  Unfortunately, I don’t think he understood me.

    This is why, the progress I made with all of you outside of work, and the praise I received from all of you, meant a lot to me!

    Thank you for a great 2010!!  I hope in 2011, the seeds we had sown will begin to grow fruitful!

     

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    Just another guy trying to beat the system and be released from the Matrix http://about.me/nicholaswang

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