Showing posts from December, 2005

Commercialization is about products

Startup entrepreneurs may not spend a lot of time worrying about commercialization support policies, but governments at both the federal and provincial levels allocate tens of millions of dollars for programs they hope will support the development of small, technology-based businesses.

Within government, "commercialization" has become as hot a buzzword as "nanotechnology" or "Web 2.0" in tech circles. One quality shared by all three terms is that there's some doubt whether many of the people who use them really know what they mean.

One of the challenges for governments is that they don't want to give money directly to companies (fair enough), but they really want to support the commercialization of technological innovations.

So what can they do?

Typically, the answer has been that they give money to universities and hope that it somehow translates into commercial success. And that's unfortunate, because it's placing resources about as far as…

Google in Waterloo?

For months, there have been rumours about Google coming to Waterloo. In November, Google seed investor David Cheriton donated $25 million to the UW School of Computer Science -- now the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science -- and the behind-the-scenes preparation for that was likely the source of some of the Google scuttlebutt.

But now there's a job posting on Google's site looking for a mobile wireless application developer. "Position based in Waterloo, Canada."

There's just the one posting, and Google just announced it was opening an engineering facility in Pittsburgh, so I don't think we have to prepare for an invasion ... but this should keep the rumour mill alive for a while.

The commercialization bandwagon

When the Perimeter Institute was unveiled five years ago, it was described as "a Canadian institute dedicated solely to the study of theoretical physics." But, according to a group called the Toronto Region Research Alliance—yes, they say Waterloo is in the "Toronto Region"—PI is now in the commercialization business.

According to a TRRA news release, PI is "working to translate foundational ideas in physics and quantum computing into commercialized applications" along with UW's Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC). And it says PI wants additional money from the government to do this.

I hadn't heard that PI was underfunded, or that it was in the business of creating technology-based products. I'm not sure that it would make either claim, but when there are tax dollars to be handed out, organizations become very flexible in how they present themselves. "Commercialization" is the colour governments are buying this year, even if it'…