I previously posted WRT the fact that we are approaching the limits of our ability to achieve physical proof of quantum physics. Why should we care? Where do we go after the CERN Hadron Super Collider confirmed the existence of the Higgs-boson particle, proving the role of dark matter? That said, two separate teams at CERN are debating the results of further experiments that suggest the possible existence of a new sub-atomic particle. This particle, if it exists, and can be confirmed, may support the existence of additional dimensions of space and time. The MIT Technology Review has also suggested that the CERN Hadron Super Collider could potentially prove the validity of the Star Trek hyperdrive technology. We should care because it is the future of the technology that will continue to change our lives.

Advertisements

Le Bourget airport just north of Paris is the place where Charles Lindbergh landed the Spirit of St. Louis. That event 88 years ago could now be interpreted as foreshadowing the era of globalization. Tomorrow, the world’s nations will meet there under the banner of the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC). COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.

An insightful interview with Reid Hoffman, venture capitalist and founder of LinkedIn. But to my mind, Hoffman seems blase’ about Big Ideas and “deep tech” funding. I share the views of Startup Genome founder, Max Marmer, and bemoan the limited focus of VC’s on world-changing technologies, leaving it to billionaire angels. I also sense myopia about the ongoing intense debate over the distortion of the sharing economy by Uber, Airbnb, and others.

My biggest complaint with venture capital and the current entrepreneurial landscape is the lack of Big Ideas— the superficiality of the technology sector. “We were promised flying cars and we got 140 characters” –Peter Thiel. We also got corporate greed masquerading as “the sharing economy.” Many other well-known observers of this industry share my complaint. Some argue that these Big Ideas are too big for private investment, and can only be funded by governments with the resources and vision to accomplish such large long term projects. I disagree.

Those following international events have probably already seen the stories on Putin’s Russia, and the combined impact international economic sanctions, and now, the unexpected and unwelcome plummet in World oil prices. The Russian economy in 2015 will likely see a budget deficit of $20 Billion or more as the ruble collapses and oil prices plummet. The problem is global and expected by analysts to persist for the foreseeable future. Lesser developed countries like Venezuela and Nigeria, which are more dependent on their oil economies, are expected to see even greater impacts. Economists commonly refer to this as the “natural resource curse.”

A local journal today glowingly reported that not one, but two local companies had won investment on the Dragon’s Den Canadian “reality” television show. What struck me about the two, apparently best “winning ideas” from our community, was how utterly mundane they were: an “empty beer bottle handling system” and “illuminated party clothing.” As an entrepreneur myself, I first need to give respect to the two entrepreneurs who achieved this success with the likes of Kevin O’Leary and the other investors. It is no mean feat and they should be acknowledged and congratulated for it. On the other hand, these are not the kind of ideas that are going to make a major dent in the local or Canadian economy. Meanwhile in Vancouver, two startups, D-Wave and General Fusion are working on Big Ideas that could change our lives.

General Fusion is our own UBC startup venture in Burnaby. Founder Michel Laberge was a keynote speaker at […]

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.