Robert Hart Opens Up About Innovation and the Canadian Market
Technology F. Scott Fitzgerald once remarked in a short essay titled My Lost City, that “there are no second acts in American lives.” However, are there second acts in Canadian lives?
Since the inception of the Canadian Cloud Council in 2011, I have to admit, we have taken a rather cynical approach to our country’s place as a innovator on the global stage — and rightfully so. This is a country that still does not have a national cloud policy in place nor a telecommunications sector willing to embrace open source technologies, or at least sell them to Canadian consumers. And, far too many lackluster “CIO” nerds just not willing to put their jobs on the line to drive forward any type of material change.
We do, however, have a digital strategy that is decidedly “anti-digital” (the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation is absurd), governments hell-bent on building the biggest “private clouds” on Planet Earth, and a slew of incredibly fast growing start-up companies who build their business with United States giants like Google and Amazon because they don’t have access to Canadian resident, on demand, API driven public cloud. So, many Canadian companies are innovating. Just not in Canada.
Of course, this was all incredibly good news for the big boys in the IT Cartel, but really bad news for the Canadian economy. Until recently. When things started changing.
"Canada has world-class data center ecosystem here. A ridiculously vibrant start-up software ecosystem with M&A opportunities at every turn and some of the smartest and innovative minds on the planet."
Shopify and Hootsuite, two of the largest software companies in Canada, were recently valuated at a $1 billion a pop. Salesforce announced their plans to establish Canadian data center operations and offer Canadians (and others I imagine) non U.S.-resident “data safe” cloud services. At last glance, at least three companies have gone to market with Canadian-hosted, open source public cloud infrastructure. And, well I hate to brag, a truly world class technology conference called Interzone was announced by yours truly. One, where many tech titans like Steve Wozniak, the CEO’s of Citrix and NetApp, and CTO’s of Twitter and GoDaddy will speak in Canada publically for the very first time.
Canada’s world-class ecosystem for data
Why is all this happening despite our government’s best efforts to the contrary? Because we have world-class data center ecosystem here. A ridiculously vibrant start-up software ecosystem with M&A opportunities at every turn. An oil and gas industry that is one of the biggest micro-economies in the world. And some of the smartest and innovative minds on the planet. And, well, who the hell would not want to build their company in Vancouver or Toronto — two of the greatest cities on the planet?
So, Canadians, let’s prove Fitzgerald wrong and Jay-Z right. “Moral victories is for minor league cultures,” he once said. Minor league? Marc Benioff, who’s already acquired two major Canadian software companies doesn’t think so. Neither does the co-founder of Apple who you can read about below. We are done with the moral tongue-wagging, endless post-punk cynicism and claims of dumbfounded moral victories. We have arrived on the global stage — the major leagues, baby. And, you only live twice.