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JB: Does Malaysia really need your help?

AIZU: No. But I hope that main result of my efforts will be to help the other Asian countries, like Vietnam, or Laos, or Cambodia. These are very politically difficult countries, more so perhaps than Singapore. I hope to work with Nepal, Bangladesh, the Philippines Asia-wide. Looking at it from the Japanese side, my job is to help Japanese business to open these markets.

JB: Let's talk about the Internet and the World Wide Web. Is anyone in Japan asking what the end users want?

AIZU: How about Kareoke? Personal home pages are a global kareoke. Does Kareoke produce anything? I'm not too sure how popular the Kareokes are amongst intellectuals.

JB: So you come over here, visit the White House, and go back and write reports for the people who pay your rent. What do you tell them?

AIZU: I'm due to make the report a few months from now, but before that I will also go to Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines. What I meant is I really need to create a more global perspective than just the U.S., Europe and Japan, but also excluding Africa, and Latin America. The report will say that the information revolution, or digital revolution, is not driven by the large corporations, large money, large government. More important are tiny companies or the energy of highly creative individuals. To fully understand these dynamics you have to make yourself very close to such people, and you're working for the large corporations there is a lower chance of this happening.

I don't know how my corporate clients take this advice, but at least I was able to take executives of Toyota to the West Coast and showed them what's going on. I brought them to meet Howard Rheingold at his small start-up, Electric Minds, also to meet your Web team Kip Parent, Jake McGowan, and the group at Pantheon Interactive in Mountain View. I also brought them to Sun Microsystems, Cisco, and Netscape. To me, the latter have already become large giant companies. But two years ago Netscape had just barely started. We need to see and understand these kind of dynamics. Because these are the kind of companies that are creating the rules of the game.

The Japanese need to learn the skills to distinguish what kind of technology will take off and what kind of technology won't. For example, the people running the major software companies on the West Coast have networks of many personal friends who are also working in the technology areas; they know how to scan for information, for trends. Sending me with a delegation once a year, or something like that is totally inadequate.


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