Hey Justin Trudeau – Canada’s tech industry needs you bro

Tech startups are notoriously dominated by men. Bro’s. Aloof skinny-jeaned dudes with beards and bed head hacking the internet for the next big business opportunity.

This image contrasts with the exhaustingly conservative corporate Canada. So it’s no wonder that there is a vacuum at the federal and provincial level when it comes to tech. But hold on, there’s new kid in town.

Yes, I said kid.

He’s an advocate of marijuana and he’s aloof enough that, put him in a pair of skinny jeans, he might just pass for a senior programmer at Hootsuite.

Of course I’m talking about Justin Trudeau.

Taking a page out of Obama’s playbook, Justin is trying to do 2 things right now – 1) clearly differentiate himself from Harper 2) get people to vote who otherwise wouldn’t vote (since he won’t win over many conservatives he needs to activate more closet liberals). And when it comes to getting people to vote he is aiming at younger voters and divisive issues.

Who better than to champion a new era in Canada’s tech industry?

With Blackberry on the ropes we need someone who can kick corporate Canada in the loose fitting slacks and get them to see the value in investing in tech.

Justin just might be the dude to do it.

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Innovation eh?

Canada’s productivity is declining and as a recent article in Backbone Magazine details we’re not exactly leading the pack in innovation.

The article describes a common business scenario in Canada: entrepeneur has a good idea, it catches on, then they sell out.

Why?

It’s not just for the cash. We actually lack the systems and, maybe, the culture to grow businesses beyond the small to mid enteprise size.

It’s something I’ve noticed in Vancouver for sure. Nevermind legacy software or IT infrastructure – the whole market seems to be trapped in one legacy system or another, making piecemeal investments to upgrade. And even where there is an infrastructure improvement, the skill set is not there to support it. And even when the skill set is there, there isn’t a vision from the top.

Fundementally, there is a legacy mindset in Canada that is conservative and tinged with arrogance that may be a fatal flaw as the world quickly evolves to a place where consumers demand better experiences and industry disruption becomes more common. No wonder shoppers flock to the US, or that Blackberry didn’t see the iPhone coming.

But our markets remain relatively sheltered from competition. There is no sense of urgency, just a slow bleed at the lower end of the income scale. But this is slowly creeping up through the workforce. Canada’s global competitiveness is not keeping pace with change. We still have oil, and lumber, and minerals, and natural gas. And that goes a long way. But it isn’t something we’re creating. It doesn’t require a smarter economy. We can only lower the environmental standards for so long. Eventually the oil well will dry up.

Though there’s always water export, eh?

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