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Showing posts from 2014

Zero to One: Some useful insights in a sea of dross

Many people have said good things about the Peter Thiel (with Blake Masters) book Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, and there were several parts I found worthwhile, but I can't add it to the recommended reading list for startup founders.

There's nothing particularly objectionable about the major theme—have a bold vision and a plan to get there—but there's very little in Thiel's underpinning for that theme that's going to be of much value. It's heavy on personal ideology—which may be enjoyable to read if you share the same views—but not so useful as a guide for startups.

I'm sure I could pull a dozen good tweets from the book (and will do, below ... 10 of them, anyway), but I found the first half to be largely a waste of time. Thiel's recollections of the late 90s dot-com boom are very different from mine. He looks back with nostalgia at a golden era characterized by big visions that he rarely sees these days. I remember the pe…

London, Ontario and its 20 to 44-year-old population ... is it really so bad?

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For its London X event this past weekend, Emerging Leaders republished some analysis from about a year ago of the 2011 Census that suggested London was doing a poor job of attracting and retaining people in the 20 to 44 age range when compared to other municipalities. At the time it was originally published, I looked it over and had some questions about whether London's numbers were really that bad, but didn't look into it more closely ... until now.

I'm going to use figures for the City of London rather than the London census metropolitan area (CMA), which includes eight municipalities, some of which are very different from London. London accounts for 77% of the population of the CMA, so there often isn't a big difference between the two, but the London CMA includes the farming-heavy communities of Adelaide Metcalfe and Southwold and the heavily working-class municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc, as well as St. Thomas. Looking at the CMA is worthwhile (and I have those n…

IRAP Q3 contributions for 70 organizations across 12 regions in SWOntario

The quarter ended December 31 (Q3 FY2014) was huge for IRAP contributions across Southwestern Ontario—way too many to go through individually. The long list of recipients includes Snapsort, Miovision, Renix, Akira Systems, Ortech, Digital Extremes, TecVana, LifeLike Biotissue, Pulse Infoframe, Magnet Forensics, Thalmic, Sand Plains Aquaculture, Fehr Machine, and System-On-Chip Technologies. Communitech, Innovation Guelph and the Canadian Innovation Centre also received contributions.

A few of these actually happened in Q2 and were disclosed late, but even so, it was one of the most active periods you'll see—particularly in London, where 21 companies received contributions. As I've mentioned several times, IRAP has long been a leading supporter of the London tech community. But it wasn't just London—there were contributions in 12 different regions of Southwestern Ontario. There are innovative companies across the region in a wide range of sectors. The largest contribution…

At first glance: Highlights of Budget 2014

Haven't read a lot of it yet, but these were some items that stood out from a innovation perspective ... and from a quasi-rural, living in Southwestern Ontario near the border perspective (a summary of my Tweets at the time):
Additional $40 million over four years to the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program to help entrepreneurs create new companies$305 million over five years to enhance access to high-speed broadband networks to a target speed of 5 Mb/sUp to $30 million to IRAP to support youth internships in SMEsReallocation of $15 million annually within the Youth Employment Strategy to support up to 1,000 full-time internships at SMEs $3 million over three years to the Canadian Digital Media Network for the creation of the Open Data Institute in Waterloo $15 million over three years, starting in 2014–15, to support the Institute for Quantum Computing in WaterlooCreate the Canada First Research Excellence Fund with $1.5 billion in funding over the next decadeAdditional $15 m…