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Month: October 2013

Startup Weekend Kyoto


Startup Weekend is coming to Kyoto again!

This time we’ll be giving discount to students. I will participate as a mentor (as always) so register and get your ticket at Doorkeeper now.

Startup Weekend Kyoto Nov 2013 – Schedule

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Nov 15
  •  Registration Starts
  •  Dinner & Networking
  •  Welcome & Speakers
  •  Pitches Start
  •  Attendees vote for the top ideas
  •  Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  •  Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Nov 16
  •  Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  •  Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  •  Lunch
  •  Call for needs & skills
  •  Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  •  Dinner
  •  Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  •  Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Nov 17
  •  Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  •  Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  •  Lunch
  •  Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  •  Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  •  Dinner
  •  Judging & awards
  •  Wrapup
  •  Go home!

If You Aren’t Technical, Get Technical

If You Aren’t Technical, Get Technical

I know a couple of non-technical founders who were forced to learn how to code when their CTO left company for unfortunate reasons. Those founders not only kept existing service up and running without any downtime but also rewrote code from scratch if necessary.

Some even did entire migration from on-premise hardware servers to AWS cloud just by himself, which includes Linux configuration, application deployment and so on. Again, those founders are not technical, but they did it anyway just to keep their company alive. So nothing is impossible.

SF Japan Night VI Semi-Finals

Attended SF Japan Night VI event held at Daiwa Conference Room. A list of startups that pitched is as follows.

My overall impression was that English presentation given by each startup got a whole lot better than previous SF Japan Night event where my startup Coworkify was chosen as a semi-finalist. Most of speakers were actually quite fluent in English and content of presentation was beyond my expectation.

I think it’s worth mentioning that there was a couple of hardware related startups like Fukushima Wheel, Fourbeat, Ring delivering good presentation. I see that’s one way Japanese startup really can show its strength and differentiate itself from competitors from the U.S. and Asia.

New York Needs to Up Its Broadband Game ASAP

New York Needs to Up Its Broadband Game ASAP

>One of the things that I’ve been always proud of my hometown is availability of free WiFi provided by the city. Take a look at this map from Kyoto city and check out its WiFi coverage.

Needless to say, Japan offers ultra-fast broadband connectivity that no other countries can match its speed. Having this kind of free WiFi service is beneficial not only to tourists coming to the town but also local startups that occasionally use coffee shops or even benches at Kamo River as their workspace. I personally enjoy the service a lot whenever I go outside.

Hoping NYC will catch up very quickly.

Why Dwolla charges 25 cents for an $11 million transaction – CEO Ben Milne

Why Dwolla lets you transfer $11 or $11 million for just 25 cents

As far as I can remember I was aware of Dwolla almost three years ago. I even tried to use it for my own startup Coworkify back in 2011 since I really wanted to lower the barrier of entry for new people and let as much as people experience how coworking can change typical workspace environment.

Amount of each transaction at Coworkify at that time was very small and most of those transactions were what’s called “day passes” that basically give coworkers permission to use particular coworking space for a day. The price of day passes ranges from $10 to $20. When transaction is such small, payment processing fee impacts a lot on both end users and businesses like us. That was a primary reason why I wanted to give Dwolla a shot.

Quick disclosure: Although I launched the startup in Kyoto Japan, I was technically able to apply for Dwolla since Coworkify was registered in Delaware and I had a social security number from my previous living in the United States. Huge thanks to John Sasaki at JSV Foreign Law Office for helping us register the company there. Without JSV, we wouldn’t be able to explorer various options like Dwolla.

It’s quite interesting to see how Dwolla grew since then and how it takes its stance on current virtual currency scene including Bitcoin.