Last week I had a chance to swing by the HackerNews Tokyo event in Roppongi. As most readers know, HackerNews is a social news site for tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. There is a strong community of contributors and commenters, and many community meetups take place all over the world, including here in Japan.
There are a number of tech events that take place in Japan, and because HackerNews is an English language site, participants in this one are mostly expats. But speaking to them at a recent Tokyo meetup, I found the place filled with smart interesting folks, many working on their own startup or app – contributing to the local community in ways that often go overlooked.
Many entrepreneurs in attendance were given a few quick moments to share what they were working on, and I’m sure that resulted in quality feedback from those in attendance afterwards.
Tokyo HackerNews organizer Jason Winder explained that these events represent a great opportunity for founders, coders, investors, CEOs, marketers and everyone interested in business and technology to get together and talk shop.” With those advantages in mind, it would be great to see an event like this grow .
Beyond the capital
Meanwhile, there are other HackerNews events taking place beyond the Tokyo as well, with HackerNews Kansai getting a foothold in the past year or so. I spoke to Sacha Greif, a very well-known French designer based in Osaka , who has been involved with organizing HackerNews events in the Kansai region, along with Raphael Guyot and Paco Alcantara. He describes the events thusly:
We’ve had quite a few interesting presentations from HNKansai members and visitors (including one by a YCombinator entrepreneur) on topics ranging from startups and Bitcoins, to quadrocopters and electromagnetic brain stimulation. The meetup also helped a few people find new jobs or freelancing gigs. So altogether I think it has been a very positive initiative. Now our next goal is to reach more of the local Japanese startup and tech community. The meetup is still very foreigner-centric, and we’d like to change that to promote more exchanges between the two communities.
There are some talks from HN Kansai events over on their YouTube channel including one below from Sacha on the importance of side projects (see below).
Groups like these are great bridge events. As we have written here before (citing Rakuten’s Hiroshi Mikitani, no less), since Japan is lacking engineers, making use of skilled foreigners may be a good way to pick up the slack. They make for a more diverse tech ecosystem, people of different backgrounds and specialities can learn from one another.