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Silicon Valley Culture

Time To Thin Out Ineffective Startup Accelerators

If properly managed and matched to local economic need, resources and capabilities, local accelerators can be a significant local economic asset. However, the problem with so many of these “everywhere else” accelerators, is highly unrealistic expectations to be “the next Silicon Valley”, failure to connect with local economic needs, excessive focus on any and every new Web app, and most importantly, poor management. It is also apparent to me that many of these more remote smaller communities are so distant from the mainstream economy, that many of the “great ideas” that come out of them, are embarrassingly late.

User Interface

How Gigabit Fiber to the Home Will Transform Education Way Beyond MOOC's

The post below caught my attention because of the current industry debate and competitive battle over deployment of much higher Gigabit Internet bandwidth via optical fiber to consumers, known as Fiber to the Home or FTTH, at prices much lower than they currently pay for even 50 Megabit Internet connectivity. Gigabit connectivity is already a reality in Hong Kong and South Korea, with Europe not far behind. The big cable carriers, Comcast and Time Warner, have actually argued publicly that consumers don’t want or need higher bandwidth. How they came to that conclusion is a mystery. Now Google has entered into direct competition with the cable carriers, deploying Gigabit FTTH in Kansas City and Austin, Texas to be followed by other locations, at prices a fraction of Comcast’s pricing for lower bandwidth.

Canada

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend: Should Microsoft buy Blackberry?

Readers of this blog will recall last week’s post on the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) report on the mobile phone market. The problems for both Microsoft and Blackberry were exposed again for all to see. Microsoft’s Windows Phone market share at 3.7%, would have been even smaller without Nokia. Blackberry’s situation was even more dire. A few months back Microsoft and Blackberry opened another new patent war on each other, as if this would somehow help their situations.
This week Blackberry has announced the inevitable search for a potential buyer to take the company private, as has also happened recently with Dell Computer. The suggestion that Ballmer and Microsoft should consider purchasing Blackberry is actually a potentially very interesting idea. A broader market consolidation, with much larger implications, may be on the horizon.

Nuclear Fusion

The Other "Big Idea" Taking Root in Greater Vancouver: Nuclear Fusion

Maybe three years ago, I recall hearing something about a “nuclear fusion” company starting up in Burnaby. In my mind, the thought of a nuclear fusion company in Burnaby was outlandish and preposterous. Growing up in southern California, and later northern California, I had grown up close and personal with the Space Program, and nuclear physics at UC Berkeley Lawrence Nuclear Labs and the super secret Lawrence Livermore National Labs.

Canada

"Big" Idea Entrepreneur: The New 21st Century Career

There is a new player emerging on the cultural and business scene today: the idea entrepreneur. Perhaps you are one yourself — or would like to be. The idea entrepreneur is an individual, usually a content expert and often a maverick, whose main goal is to influence how other people think and behave in relation to their cherished topic. These people don’t seek power over others and they’re not motivated by the prospect of achieving great wealth. Their goal is to make a difference, to change the world in some way.

Canada

Industry Analysis: Norway Deals With It's "Natural Resource Curse" While Canada Does Nothing

In my earlier post on March 11th , “Alberta Bitumen Bubble and the Canadian Economy: An Industry Analysis Case Study,” I reported the stark facts of Canada’s current economic crisis as announced by Canada’s Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, and Alberta Premier Allison Redford, directly resulting from pricing forecasts for “Western Canada Select” (WCS) from the oil sands. In that post I also explored the now well-established economic conundrum known as the “natural resource curse.” This simply means that economies that rely heavily on natural resource exploitation, have historically underperformed more diverse economies. This is now most certainly the case in Canada.

Canada

Glut of Startup Accelerators Points Toward a Shakeout

Yesterday, I was an invited guest at an annual “entrepreneurship” event held in Vancouver. The event is an extraordinary opportunity to connect with most of the major figures, leaders, and investors in the entrepreneurship community. It also prominently showcased presentations from a number of the most promising new startups. But the undercurrents in conversations around the room were soul searching questions about the current glut of startup accelerators around North America, and the frothy euphoria and enthusiasm about “entrepreneurship.” Some experienced entrepreneurial investors complained about the air of unreality of it all, and the excess of mediocre companies being cranked out. A very prominent and experienced Vancouver venture capitalist pointed out to me that a glut of Canadian startups only compounds the long-standing issue that Canada could not produce the necessary risk capital even if more of these companies were investment ready, which they are not. A related issues is the waste of government money in these companies. Clearly, the situation is a mess.

Canada

Enactus UBC Faculty of Management Leadership Team Closes Out It's First Year

The formation of the University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Management chapter of Enactus occurred only three months ago, under the guidance of Dean Roger Sugden, but the Enactus student leadership team has already attracted nearly two dozen members, all of whom, including the leadership will return next year, to build the organization for handoff to future Faculty of Management students. Meanwhile, many of our current Enactus members will be off to destinations around the World for the summer.

Canada

Industry Analysis: High Anxiety Harper Gov't Now Openly Denies Climate Change Science

This is another post in my Industry Analysis series on the Alberta Bitumen Bubble and The Canadian Economy, and Canada’s strategic options. In a clear sign that the Harper government’s anxiety over the tars sands is increasing exponentially, the rhetoric from the Conservative government has become ever more shrill and less rational in tone. Rumors have abounded for some time that Harper himself is in fervent denial of climate change, but his PR handlers have cautioned him not to personally come “out of the proverbial closet” on climate change because it would cost Conservatives votes, the thing they care most about. But this stance appears to be changing, as Canada’s “natural resource curse”, consequent economic downturn, Canada’s failure to invest in innovation, and national productivity crisis converge on the Harper government. An ominous parallel can be drawn with South African President Thabo Mbeki’s official denial that HIV did not cause AIDS, which became an international embarrassment for South Africa. implications for all Canadians are immense.

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