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In Focus posted October 8 2013

In Focus | David Mayes

David Mayes is an advocate for change. However, he is not just someone who shouts slogans from the sidelines, but has actually rolled up his sleeves to see change happen. Whether it is working with coalitions to influence global policies or teaching the next generation, David has had a chance to make a difference for the future. He currently teaches Entrepreneurship at UBCO where he has brought his experiences working in Silicon Valley to bear. He is known for being down to earth, easy to talk to and very friendly. Today David Mayes is In Focus.

Where do you work? 
Faculty of Management, University of British Columbia

How do people connect with you on Linkedin?

What is your Twitter account? 

What do you always find yourself saying? 
The harder I work, the luckier I get

If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select? 
Vandana Shiva, Indian environmentalist

If you were to receive any existing public award, what award would you like to win? 
Online News Association Award for Investigative Journalism

If you could spend a day with any historical figure, who would you choose? 
George Orwell

Who inspires you? 
David Suzuki, a kindred spirit

What are 3 things on your bucket list? 
Flying a P-51 Mustang, spending serious time in India, and sailing the Pacific Cup race from San Francisco to Hawaii.

If you had an enormous yacht, what would you name it? 

If you could foresee a single day of your future in its entirety, what date would you select? 
Any Saturday

What are you passionate about? 
Gaia, economic empowerment for those needing “a hand up” not a “hand out”, teaching and learning

What has been your favourite day of your life, up to this point? 
With my wife Isabelle in her birthplace, the village of Valensole in Haute Provence.

What has been your proudest accomplishment? 
Being thrust into the extraordinary role of leading a coalition of high tech execs from Compaq/HP, Intel and Microsoft to create a global standard for broadband Internet access, with the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva. Whew!

If you were trapped in an elevator with several wealthy investors from any field, which field would you want them to be experts in? What would say to them/talk about? 
I would want the investors to be Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB), Steve Saltzman of Intel Capital, Mike Satterfield of Yaletown Ventures, and Rolf Dekleer of Growthworks Capital, Ltd. All of these guys are experts in clean technologies, and renewable energy.

I would want to talk with them about pursuing BIG IDEAS, cultivating private equity venture capital ideas that will solve our major global problems, not more Web apps.

Where is your favourite place to dine in Kelowna? 

What is your favourite activity in Kelowna? 
Myra Canyon

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
My goal in ten years or less is to retire to a modest villa in Haute Provence near my wife’s birthplace, joining other well-known American expats in the south of France, taking pot shots at American politics, and climate change deniers.

What are your favorite books or the top books that have most influenced your life?
Many of Paul Theroux’s travel books fueled my love of foreign travel. Michael Lewis is a big favorite, author of Moneyball, and many important books on the financial meltdown. Lewis’ first book, Liar’s Poker, about his experience in the mortgage securities business at Solomon Brothers in London in the mid 1980’s, reads like Animal House, and was a true to life early warning of the financial catastrophe to come twenty years later. John Le Carre’s spy novels.

What do you value most in people? Friends?
Personal integrity, trustworthiness, and a devious sense of humor to compliment my own.

Tell us about a defining moment in your life.
At university one day, sitting on the grass on the commons, I realized that I no longer cared what other people thought about me. I cared only about what I thought. This was a major break with my adolescence, and defining moment that some people never achieve.

What makes you successful? Tell us about it.
People skills. I think interpersonal communication and public speaking skills, essentially selling myself, are the most important factors in my success. My best example of this, is of receiving a call from a friend to help his company with an Internet connectivity idea. Simply through my networking and people skills, it quickly mushroomed into a global consortium of high tech companies that solved the problem. That said, I am probably like many in business who have effective people skills, but are also a bit introverted.

If I could change 1 thing about Kelowna, it would be: 
I would like to change the utter vacuum and absence of a comprehensive vision for the economic future of Kelowna. Despite years of frustrating community meetings and planning the community has failed to articulate an economic vision for itself beyond gated communities and minimum wage seasonal tourism jobs. Some in the community seem to prefer doing nothing at all.

What do you think makes Kelowna great? 
The geography here, its challenges, limitations and its unrealized potential.

My choice for the Kelowna In Focus spotlight is: 
Keith Culver, Director of the Okanagan Sustainability Institute at UBC Okanagan

Some general comments I would like to share are:
I parachuted into the Okanagan a few years ago from the San Francisco Bay Area. It has been an eye opening adjustment.

In Focus is our gift to the community. A way for us to help show our recognition for the people, businesses and organizations that help make our city great. The team at is passionate about this community and the people that make it amazing. We want to show our friends, neighbours, family and colleagues that we notice them and the fabulous things that they do. We encourage you to leave your comments and words of support below, and submit your own nomination by clicking HERE. You are also welcome to submit a form of your own by clicking HERE. Thank you, Kelowna!

Post Author: David Mayes

Founder, Mayo615 Technology Partners Ltd., UBC adjunct faculty, Intel alumnus, technology assessment, international business, cleantech, fly fisherman, native Californian and citizen of France, who has been very fortunate to have traveled, lived and worked all over the globe. My wonderful wife, Isabelle has reintroduced me to my French Provençal heritage.

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