I hope people don't confuse the following criticisms with a lack of gratitude. Over the last couple days I was privileged to attend the Canada 3.0 Conference in Stratford. I went to a number of sessions across a variety of streams and met a number of great people working in a range of industries. There was discussion about "The Moonshot", some big grand sweeping visionary initiative that, like JFK's promise to put a man on the moon, will inspire an entire country to step up and do what's needed to make the impossible possible.
Some good ideas came out of the conference. Broadband must be ubiquitous and fast enough that everyone can take advantage of it. People need to know how to use the tools available to them. Entrepreneurship is key to our economic development and we need to do more to encourage it to happen and empower it to succeed.
All these things are true, and they're all steps we need to take, but frankly, they don't go far enough. We can talk about hardware and programs until the tweeting cows come home, but I think that we need to take a very hard look at the operating system that holds all this together: the underlying beliefs, behaviours, and attitudes that drive our decision making both as individuals and as a society. We need to have a hard conversation about our values, decide what kind of people we want to be, and take the steps to become those people. We can't lie to ourselves about who we are anymore. We can't ignore the realities that don't line up with our beliefs, ESPECIALLY when those are realities we have the opportunity to shape, change, and define if we have the balls to confront them. This is going to require massive changes to how we approach things. There will be winners and losers, and the losers will fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo, but right now we play the wrong games against the wrong people, we're competitive to the point that it undermines our capability to excel, and frankly? Right now, the losers are winning. It's a sick society we inhabit when we've gotten to this point, and slapping on band-aids or popping advil isn't going to cure this chronic disease that is our national operating system.
I'm using provocative language. I'm using loaded words. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. Over the course of the conference I took notes of big ideas I had, and I've listed them below. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to start fleshing them out in individual posts. Every single one of these is a statement I stand behind, every one highlights a problem with the current system, and every one presents an opportunity to learn from the consequences of the choices we've made in the past. My opinions aren't going to define what it means to be Canadian in the 21st century, but that conversation isn't happening, and if we don't have this conversation now, we're going to find ourselves at the mercy of those who do know who they are and what they plan to do. We aren't ignorant of this, and it was mentioned and alluded to a number of times at the conference, but never pursued to the depth it needed to be, and that disappointed me.
So here's a list of things I feel strongly about. I'm not one to usually ask for comments, but if there's something you see that you definitely want explored further, please say so and I'll make a point of getting to it in-depth because as much as I'll try to get to every one of these, I may not due to time and energy constraints. If you'd rather not post it publicly, feel free to email me.
- Farmville Empowers Losers And Is A Parasite On Society
- Generation Y Won't Save You
- Technology Won't Save You
- "If You Build It They Will Come" Only Works If You're Kevin Costner
- Why Government Doesn't Work
- We're Allowed To Change Things (Most Importantly Our Minds)
- Why A Lack Of Entrepreneurship Not Only Stifles Progress, But Actively Undoes It
- Capitalism Does Not Lead To Self-Actualization, But Actively Undoes It
- Government Investing In Your Idea Is A Band-Aid Solution, And Probably Hypocritical
- How To Stop Playing Zero-Sum Games
- Your Startup Idea Probably Sucked And You Know It
- Every Debt Should Be An Investment
- Risk-Averse Entrepreneurs
- "Everybody Wins" Has Broken Society
- Disconnect From Community Is Disconnect From Country