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Canada Has a Disease Called Risk-Aversion and It’s Going to Take a Cultural Shift to Propel Us Forward

It isn't news that Canada's culture is inherently risk-averse. This made our banking sector the envy of the world during the recent recession, but in the startup game, it's a hindrance.

When people say they want a city in Canada to become "Silicon Valley North," I sigh. They focus on things like getting more angel and venture capital investment, deepening the talent pool, and expanding mentor networks. Yes, these things matter, and yes, Silicon Valley employs these things—but you can't grow a tree without a seed, and the seed of Silicon Valley isn't money or people; it's culture. A culture of risk.

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Google Owns You. But You Already Knew That, Right?

Just over 10 years ago, Google launched Gmail, a web-based email service that would compete with Microsoft’s Hotmail. When the service launched on April 1 of 2004 (a launch date which caused some to think it was an April Fool’s joke), Gmail was in beta and one couldn’t sign up without an invitation. In the tech community, Gmail invites were a hot commodity at the time; I seem to recall offering my first born in negotiations to secure an invite from a colleague.

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