Canada 3.0 And Rewriting Our National OS

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

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9 comments

  • […] This is the second in a series on the values and attitudes we have as a population, why I think they need to change, and how I think they can be changed. Previously I wrote a general overview of the problem which can be read here. […]

    • Rewriting The National OS: Why Farmville Brings Out The Worst In Us
  • …and then comes on the telecoms, here regulated yet free to coalace their rates and much higher than ought for megabits, when this is a national resource in the spectrum-spread of content access in and out. Highways and roads and sewers and the like are tax-based essential services just the way digital bandwidth be handled in the public best interest. Otherwise, we're paying $2,500 to $3,000 after-tax income for the right to the great Internet color wheel of terrestrial, wireless and satellite. We're gasping at surving the dissproportion at the chasm of having or having not the services of compelling content at very affordable rates, due to Canadians and Native peoples. It's time for change.

    • DavidPL
  • I'm not sure how it'll coalesce into a finished product at this point… but I'll be working towards it over the next couple weeks.

    • Brian Alkerton
  • I hope you do address capitalism and government, but please remember to use a proper definition of capitalism and actually take the time to understand it rather than taking a Michael Moore style approach of using fraud or corporate socialism and defining that as capitalism. I'm somewhat concerned with the current concept of capitalism you've supplied, “Bigger, Faster, More”. Capitalism is simply an organisational structure that attempts to resolve conflicts over scarce resources by clearly defining who has a right to control them, and using free exchange to harness human self interest rather than using coercion to achieve desired goals. The benefit of capitalism is to have humans resolve conflicts through cooperation based on mutual self interest rather than force.

    • Brian
  • Don't worry, I do intend to go into far greater detail. I think the
    disconnect is that as great as capitalism is for resolving issues over
    scarce resources, we're entering a time when what's scarce and what's
    abundant is changing. I'm going to try and make the case that we have
    people dedicating more and more of their energies towards acquiring an
    abundant resource they mistakenly think is scarce, and I think we need
    to explore why they're mistaken and take steps to correct from there.

    Again, these are first thoughts and I'll be further developing them
    over the next few weeks.

    • Brian Alkerton