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MiiStation chosen as one of Time Magazine’s 50 Best Websites for 2007 July 18, 2007

Posted by fukumimi in Internet, Media.

Congratulations to Matt and team.

When MiiStation.com launched and got Dugg (and also mentioned in the WSJ), there were some people who were sceptical of the service, but I think this is a good example of a service which caters to the less technical savvy (and/or lazy) users who actually comprise the bulk of people on-line.

Matt and friends have recently launched another site, 2kurabe.com, which is basically a Wii Vote channel for the web (including a widget to allow you to add the app to your blog).

Matt, can we expect a Facebook app version? Integration with something like MyBlogLog or similar would also be interesting….

Beyond the casual entertainment value, this type of app which can be used to profile users would be complimentary to other services which attempt to deliver targetted content or advertising….


1. matt - July 20, 2007

Thanks Shin! 🙂

We’re definitely exploring plugins / apps to integrate 2kurabe into, but as we’re currently targeting a Japanese audience, our options of larger services are limited. Short of Y! or Mixi (if they’d even open up), is there one you’d recommend we look into?

2. Ian - July 20, 2007

Plugins (widgets) for blogs are a good start for this market (“blog parts” as they are known). Try these sites for ideas of other widgets:


Do a Google/Yahoo search for ブログパーツ

I think your basic service idea could fit into a widget format well.

3. fukumimi - July 20, 2007

Thanks Ian, I was going to write pretty much the same thing.

But what I want to know is, why restrict yourself to Japan?

Who cares where the traction builds up?

I’m sure Google never intended for Orkut to be a Brazilian and Indian SNS….

4. Ian - July 20, 2007

It makes sense to build a base in one market and move on to the next. First see what works (if anything), tune it, then localize.

For a small business this is no small task, especially if there is a good deal of text and social interaction. English (language) based services can gain traction in many markets simultaneously (as you mention) but that is not the case obviously for Japanese based services or English based services in Japan.

When there is only a few members of the team prioritizing and focus are key.

5. fukumimi - July 20, 2007


I understand where you are coming from, but the proposed serial expansion strategy may not necessarily be the optimal one.

Let me just say my comments are from the perspective of looking at services and businesses as potential investments.

I agree that Japanese language services have a significant disadvantage as far as total market size is concerned, although that may be offset by advantages in the competitive landscape. (clearly this has been validated by various domestic services who have been “inspired” by originals elsewhere)

Colour me sceptical on English language services driven by user generated content specifically targetted at the Japanese market. (again, purely from a corporate investment perspective. It may well be an attractive enough proposition for a bootstrapped cashflow business or investment by angels)

Given the same technology (and all else (ie competitive landscape, etc) also being equal – which rarely the case of course), a service tackling the bigger market is always more attractive from an investment perspective.

Assuming an ability to develop a service for the English language market, one must then look at why an approach to target the big market is not preferred.

There may be logical reasons why this might be the case in certain situations, but, given a really innovative service, the real risk of being copied and the big market being taken by a copycat is reason enough to target that market from the get go.

There is no reason why an English language service developed in Japan should be at a particular disadvantage, given the right skillsets being available within the team. There are plenty of examples of services which have build traction away from the physical location of the core business.

A serial approach also assumes that the market requirements are significantly alike across differing markets. I’m not fully convinced that that is going to be the case, and the time you spend tuning to the whims of one market delays your entry into other markets. That is fine if the original market is correctly identified as the most attractive one, but, given the right skills are available, the local market may not necessarily be that most attractive market.

I fully agree that prioritizing and focus are key, but the most important thing is to prioritize and focus correctly.

Of course, the difficulty lies in the fact that the “correct” priority and focus are hard to identify with any degree of certainty. There has been many a venture which has stumbled upon a lucrative business away from what they had originally set out to do. Fortune favors the prepared mind.

(There is also the fundamental and philosophical issue of why one is putting a lot of effort and time into an endeavour. The right balance between doing what one wants to do, and doing what maximizes business success depends from person to person. Again, I am looking at this from a purely financial perspective, but most of us are constrained in a tension between the two factors)

Part of that preparation is doing a rational analysis of all the options available when setting out, and revisiting those decisions at intervals and looking at the data to see if the hypothesis still stands. (Which is why a metrics/analytics competency are a critical part of any business)

(The right balance between pre-planning and the “suck and see” approach does depend on the cost and ease of iterating/evolving, but again this is another maximization problem and one with constantly shifting boundary conditions at that…)

6. Ian - July 20, 2007

“suck it and see” approach, I like that 😉

I would contend that is exactly what the miistation service that you like was if I am not mistaken?

I should say that I was specifically commenting in respect to Matt’s venture 2kurabe, and the points revolved around 2 constraints:

1. The service is already built
2. The content is Japanese

So changing focus at this point (I see there is already a widget available) might not be optimal, depending on the current service uptake.

However, I fully agree with your points and in fact building an English language focused service while based in Japan is exactly what I am currently doing (if you have not yet tried the beta version click on my name). For most of the points you mention.

While this arrangement is not without its challenges it also has its benefits.

This service may well take some revising for the Japanese market, which we are already exploring as we are already here physically, as we have founds tastes do differ in design and usability requirements . Having a multi cultural team (Japanese, Asian, European, American) helps a lot here.

I don’t think this would be possible with an all Japanese team in a small venture due primarily to lack of foreign market awareness.

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