Hello and welcome to our site. This is the place where we keep links to current work and old articles and assorted items about us. If you’re an old friend who’d like to keep in touch please look us up on Facebook.
Mark was born in Glasgow, but grew up in Kilwinning and Irvine, 30 miles south of Glasgow. Mary grew up in Uddingston, a village near Glasgow. We met on the first day of studying Manufacturing Sciences and Engineering at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.
Move to Japan
Mark came to Japan in 1989 and was an English teacher and an Editor of financial reports before working as a computer Network Administrator for a securities company.
After working while at University for Ford as a management trainee, Mary joined Andersen Consulting, where she was a Strategy Consultant. On arriving in Tokyo in 1990 she worked as an information Technology Consultant for Union Bank of Switzerland.
In September 1993 we started Crisscross with a friend who later left the business. Crisscross published the first four-page issue of Tokyo Classified on February 26, 1994. The magazine was initially handed out in 14 high-traffic locations throughout Tokyo. The “free forever” magazine was a hit with Tokyo’s foreign community who used it to buy and sell items, find jobs, housing and friends and meet Japanese people and other foreigners.
Around about the same time we ran trance parties under the name Strobe and rented out a laser that Mark had built to other party organizers.
In 1995 we started Crisscross Internet, which was one of Japan’s first Internet providers. The service comprised standard monthly dial-up service as well as “Instant Internet” a system where users could access the Internet using a premium-rate telephone number without having to buy a monthly contract. The business was sold in 1998.
In 1999 Tokyo Classified had its distribution of 30,000 copies week verified by Japan’s Audit Bureau of Circulations – the only English magazine in Japan to have ever done so.
In 2000, Tokyo Classified had grown to 48 pages/week and was renamed Metropolis and even more information was added about Tokyo entertainment and lifestyle. A quarterly city guide was added for tourists was added. In 2007 we published the 700th edition of the magazine, which was now at 80 full-color pages every week and made by a team of 35 staff from all over the world. The magazine was now publishing 800 classified ads every week and had hundreds of display and commercial classified advertisers. It was by far Japan’s No 1 English magazine in distribution and sales. A brief history of Metropolis is here.
In September 2000, we started Japan Today which became the most popular news site about Japan in the world, regularly hovering around the top 5000 sites in the world. Japan Today was the first news site in the world to have reader comments directly under the news articles. Before then the readers had always been forced into the forum area of the site.
Crisscross Social Search
In 2005 we launched Crisscross Social Network, which used a sophisticated drill-down system to connect people with the same interests. It was not until 2012 that sites like Facebook offered similar functions.
Move to USA, open Kroaky’s Karaoke
In September 2007 we sold Metropolis to Terrie Lloyd, a New Zealand and Australian dual national, based in Japan. We also sold Japan Today to GPlus Media.
In December 2007 we moved to Sarasota, Florida, where we opened Kroaky’s Karaoke, Florida’s first private room karaoke business in November 2008. The best way to follow Kroaky’s is to join its Facebook group.
In 2011 Mark created Sweepr, an iPhone game (currently not available).
In early 2013 Mark created Newslines.org, a collaborative news timeline site. Newslines fills the gap between Wikipedia and daily news.
We were married in Hawaii in 1995. We have two children.
Mark has written two screenplays:
- Tom Cruise: Missing in Action: A light comedy about what happens to Tom Cruise when he crash lands on a remote Scottish Island and loses his memory.
- The Mishima Incident: A drama about the final years of Yukio Mishima, one of Japan’s foremost writers, who turned to Emperor worship and committed ritual suicide in 1970 (see sidebar for more details).
Along the way Mary was on The Holiday Program and Arthur C. Clarke told Mark a joke.