Let's get Joichi Ito's professional credentials out of the way first. The 44-year-old Japanese venture capitalist is the incoming director of the avant-garde MIT Media Laboratory. A self-professed "informal learner" (he dropped out of college twice and never finished a degree) now shines as one of the stars of the digital age, serving on the board of directors for Creative Commons, Technorati, ICANN, and Mozilla, and catching the wave as an early-bird investor in Last.fm, Flickr, and Twitter.
Currently a resident of Dubai (he moved there so he could get a better feel for the people and the region), he circumnavigates the globe a full two times every month in the course of his international pursuits. According to his Twitter stream, he's been scuba diving in Japan this week taking underwater radioactivity samples; after catching the bug to learn how to dive, he promptly became a master diver and now is a PADI open water instructor. He's the godson of psychedelic explorer Timothy Leary ...
... and a guild leader in World of Warcraft. "My feeling is that what we are doing in WoW represents in many ways the future of real time collaborative teams and leadership in an increasingly ad hoc, always-on, diversity intense and real-time environment," he wrote in his blog back in 2006. In fact, one of his presentations on WoW made it into an early incarnation of our Moviewatch feature in 2007.
So yeah, we're going to talk about WoW ... Need anything else to cement his gaming cred? Two more tidbits: Ito's GMed a WoW raiding guild since the original days of Molten Core, and he owns an actual handwritten map drawn by Richard Bartle, creator of the first MUD -- it's like the Magna Carta of gaming.