Choice is Overrated

For a while there it looked like we’d be traveling to Tokyo instead of Germany this fall. Europe won out, but Tokyo’s still high on my list, and by way of experimenting both with the city and with what’s available on the iDevices Tokyo-wise, I bought the Wallpaper City Guide to Tokyo.

Populated with Wallpaper magazine content, it’s a useful way to get a quick overview of the city; here’s the “contents” screen:

Wallpaper Tokyo: Contents

My favourite aspect of the application is that rather than trying to be a comprehensive guide to Tokyo, it’s a highly-curated stripped-down guide to Tokyo. In a world where Google can tell us 785,000 places to rent a car in Tokyo, the simplicity of “just go to Mazda Rent-a-Car” is very, very appealing:

Wallpaper Tokyo: Essential Info

We’re moving from an era where we were prisoners of scarcity of information to an era where we’re prisoners of choice; I’m convinced that there’s an unfulfilled demand for opinionated niche travel advice, the kind of advice that says “if you like Frank Gehry, go and visit these 6 places” instead of “here are the 2,600 things to do in Paris this weekend.”


Stephen's picture
Stephen on November 15, 2010 - 23:05 Permalink

Not just opinionated niche travel advice — opinionated niche all advice. I just want a good book to read, a good movie to watch, good music to listen to — take all the stuff I have enjoyed and tell me what’s next. The problem is that if I go to glu or some kind of recommending sites, i’ve seen all the stuff they recommend. If I go to Amazon, their recommendations are just silly — I don’t want to read 10 more books by the same author, I want another cool book by a tottaly different author. Ditto restaurants, ditto furniture stores. On a somewhat related note, I can’t figure out why Google doesn’t do a geographic/map version of tasks. Not as in “search nearby” but you plug in where you are going today and you are reminded of the other stores/things to do/pick up drop off that are on the way there — “next time I’m in that part of town, I need to pick up a ukele for my pet hamster at the World’s Most Unique Pet Accessory Store”.