5 May 2009
“Dawn itself is the most neglected masterpiece of the modern world.” – R Murray Shafer
For those who don’t already know him, R Murray Shafer is the legendary superstar of the Canadian Musical avant garde – a great thinker, teacher, composer and all round renaissance man.
Having been a fan for over 30 years but with little local exposure, it was great to see his Harbingers of Spring: a rare soundwalk presented last week in Waterloo Region. I’ve had the great fortune to have experienced many of his masterworks, especially those from his ambitious, 12 part Patria series, including The Princess of the Stars, Ra and The Enchanted Forest. Each concert is a one of a kind, tour de force combining music, theatre, philosophy many times based on classic mythologies and almost always set in the natural environment.
The soundwalk event was really a set of mini-concerts stitched together during a 3 hour walk through the breathtaking, almost 1000 acre rare property at the confluence of the Speed and the Grand Rivers in Cambridge. First and foremost, a brilliant thought leader and …
1 May 2009
During the morning of Wednesday 29 April, 2009 I was flatly told, with no recourse, that my CIBC Aerogold Visa for Business card was being cancelled immediately because it, and many other cards, had been compromised by some unspecified third parties.
A quick web search indicates an almost endless litany of incursions by hackers into credit card processors, including Heartland Payment Systems or Another Unspecified Processor. Although perhaps just bad luck for me, shouldn’t I be delighted that CIBC is looking out for my interests using its highly sophisticated fraud detection software and systems? Well, maybe, but …
As an almost 15 year business customer of CIBC Aerogold VISA, I chose this product because it claims to offer the highest level of customer service aimed at a global and sophisticated business travelling clientele. Based on that, my company uses that card heavily for both a travel and payment card, including many monthly recurring payments. As a long term customer, my assessment of the VISA response to a problem inside their own payments ecosystem was inadequate because:When I asked for further clarification, the …
12 Apr 2009
Published by McGraw-Hill WorldCat • LibraryThing • Google Books • BookFinder
Don Tapscott is a real cheerleader for the Net Generation (also called Generation Y) and justifiably so. Often maligned, and ill understood, this generation has, at their best, harnessed the power to harness digital technologies to truly make the world a better place. While often misunderstood, few can ignore a generation with more demographic punch than the previously dominant baby boomers.
21 Mar 2009
The 20th Century was defined by an ill-fated search for a better world, inspired by late 19th Century, Victorian thinking. The irony, then, is that the 20th Century turned out to be probably the most destructive in human history, based on often misguided applications of powerful new technologies.
If you define a utopian society as one where governments plan to have zero unemployment, stable economic growth and high personal well being, how have we done in planning for this world? Up to now, in a word, wretchedly.
A personal defining moment was when I journeyed behind the Berlin Wall to East Berlin in 1989. This was just before the Soviet Bloc, along with its vassal state the German Democratic Republic, spectacularly imploded on 9 November, 1989. While I had previously sympathized with the notion that a socialist government could plan to make the world a better place, the dismal comparison of the East and West that I saw then graphically disabused me, forever, of that notion. East Berlin was a drab, grey, unpainted city in which even the prominent public buildings still …
15 Mar 2009
“Fortes fortuna adiuvat” – “Fortune favours the bold” – Latin proverb
The current economic meltdown has unleashed brutal forces acting on all aspects of the business world, but certainly innovative startups in fields like software, web, wireless, green technologies and life sciences are at grave risk. In Canada, our startups have generally been world class innovators, but severely underfunded when benchmarked against US and leading European countries.
Not only has the credit crunch forced most Angel Investors to the sidelines, but the supply of Venture Capital (VC) in Canada has contracted almost to the vanishing point.
Tomorrow’s Canadian Business documents this very well in VC Financing: Cold Realities.
Having started my first software company in the mid-1980’s, I am well aware that although VC money was available and well established in the Silicon Valley, VC money for knowledge-based startups such as mine was then nonexistent in Canada. Through the 1990’s, however, Canada started to build a cadre of new funds that showed early promise of replicating a US style VC funding ecosystem
In the early millennium when Verdexus investigated raising a institutional fund to fill …
6 Mar 2009
The Net Generation (born 1977 to 1997), also known as Generation Y or the Millennials, is an ill understood lot. Don Tapscott, noted thought leader on digital technologies, is a real cheerleader for them in his recent book Grown Up Digital.
However, while some of his examples may represent the bleeding edge thought leaders of this generation, almost everything he says is well reasoned and researched. I would suggest this book is a must read for the rest of us who will watch this demographically dynamic generation increasingly dominate all aspects of our society, including business, culture, education, politics and entertainment. Many of us are looking at this generation from the perspective of the previously dominant demographic group known as Baby Boomers or Boomers (born 1946-1964), also known as the TV Generation. I would note that already, the Net Generation outnumbers the Boomers.
Perhaps the defining characteristic of this group is that they are the first generation to have been immersed from birth in digital technologies, such as the internet, computers and online media. Because of this, they are sometimes labelled “digitals“, …
15 Feb 2009
In today’s challenging economic times, it is extra important for governments, academics and individuals to plan our future economic prosperity. Thus, it is timely that Richard Florida and Roger Martin from the Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto this month published Ontario in the Creative Age, which provides a detailed future-oriented policy blueprint.
It sets a policy agenda to help us unleash our full potential in the Twenty-first Century where economic success is increasingly coming from creatively-oriented enterprise versus our traditional strength in routine physical and routine service occupations. The report is backed by research which highlights both our existing strengths and weaknesses including those in education, income and even the gap in our creative/routine job mix compared to our peers. Starting from the base of today, the agenda suggests four main focus areas to drive future prosperity:“Harness the creative potential of Ontarians”, including businesses’ role in changing job mix, education and even marketing of our capabilities, “Broaden our talent base”, focused on significant increases to our post secondary educational levels and broadening managerial …
25 Jan 2009
“Efficiency is doing better what is already being done.” – Peter F. Drucker
Is there a green lining in the inevitable mountains of cash being channelled into economic stimulus?
The sequence of September’s ho hum election followed by the almost incongruous state of denial about both environmental issues and the state of our economy by Canada’s Stephen Harper Government, renders the proroguing of Parliament and his rapid policy about face almost exciting to watch. As a result, Tuesday’s budget should prove a lot more interesting than the six months that preceded it.
My post from last year, Finding Negawatts Right on your Doorstep, gave background to show how the EcoEnergy program could significantly reduce our collective residential Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, while simultaneously improving our housing stock and lowering operating costs. As noted, even with the current modest levels of uptake, this is an area where relatively small investments by our Federal and Provincial governments are starting to pay off.
In the context of Canada’s 2009 Federal Budget, there will certainly be significant funds allocated to economic stimulus, almost certainly with the traditional focus …
23 Jan 2009
While I’m hardly a shrinking violet, I generally shy away from newspaper coverage. That being said, after saying no several times to Gordon Pitts at the Globe and Mail, I finally agreed to be quoted. Here’s why.
Yesterday, Jim Balsillie won the Laurier Outstanding Business Leader of the Year Award. With his business, economic and philanthropic contributions to our area and Canada as a whole, I can’t imagine a more deserving recipient. It is truly inspirational to have people like Jim making a real difference to all of us.
In an unfortunate coincidence, on the same day, both Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were the subject of media coverage regarding a possible (and staggering) $100 million penalty regarding a stock options pricing case dating back to 1996.
In the current financial meltdown, many might believe that ever more zealous regulation is the answer, but this really isn’t the root issue here. And, bearing in mind that I don’t have all the facts that the OSC and SEC possess, I present some key points in questioning the motives of the timing and magnitude of …
17 Jan 2009
“Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.” – Elbert Hubbard
Being an inveterate early adopter, and loving the fusion of new research and web reach coming from the innovation in social media (see Science Fairs, Social Media & Fads – The New Science for the 21st Century), I decided to seek help of the blogosphere to sort out the social media wheat from the chaff.
Mark Evans recent tweet about Tumblr, made me try out yet another social media property. It could be interesting, but only time will tell.
And yet, with so many out there, I never know which are going to have personal value to me and, even more important, have staying power in a very crowded market. One thing is clear, especially in these lean times for tech financing, and that is that there will be long term consolidation. Therefore, I’d like to seek your help in predicting the ultimate winners and losers, and so . . .
PLEASE CAST YOUR VOTE: