In the run up to next week's federal election who is really listening to the startups that make our economy healthy? While we like to think of ourselves as having a market economy it is virtually impossible to do a startup in Ontario without running into the distortion of a government funded gatekeeper.
Almost all innovation policy and spending by the Ontario and Federal Governments are focused on subsiding private sector risk. These kinds of government programs create artificial gatekeepers, arbiters empowered to make capital allocation decisions despite never having "been there and done that" -- or often being less qualified to evaluate a new billion-dollar-plus opportunity than the startup founders they are judging.
Much is being made these days of the need for children to put down the tablets, remotes and other tech devices and get outside and play. Medical experts and media pundits are keying on health issues, such as childhood obesity and diabetes, as the key driver for increased play. And they are correct; but there are other important reasons: future jobs and economic growth.
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During the second mission to the moon in 1969, Apollo 12, the crew brought back a camera that had been sent some two and a half years earlier. When they returned, the camera underwent extensive testing including microbiological analysis. Much to their surprise, they found a colony of earthly bacteria; apparently the microbes had survived the inhospitable lunar environment.
Late tonight (for those on the west coast), and pre-dawn Monday morning (for the rest of us in Canada), a scary-looking, laser-carrying, plutonium-powered robot rover named Curiosity will attempts to make a soft landing on Mars. Succeed or fail, it is likely that a good many people are being inspired by Curiosity, including some of whom may aspire to take on similar challenges in all walks of life in the years ahead.