There are dozens great cities in this country that I love to spend time in, these are cities that are making an impact on the world and which get noticed by the world. Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver are the headliners with Calgary, Victoria, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Waterloo and Halifax all staking their own claims to greatness in unique ways.
There have been a lot of blog posts lately talking about how someday a Canadian city can be our Silicon Valley. Toronto or Montreal have been the most vocal in trying to be recognized as a great valley equivalent, and even Vancouver seems to have jumped in the fray. The bidding is in comparing the communities of each city, and the prize is the title of being the Startup Hub of Canada.
The point is being missed completely, and I have a surprise for everyone.
The way I see it is that our job here in Canada is different, and we should stop wasting time trying to become Silicon Valley (who really uses that term?): Canada will never have a San Francisco. We will never have a Silicon Valley, we won?t even have a Boston or a Seattle. We won?t really even have a Boulder.
The opportunity for Canada is first to build strong communities individually, and then the job is to build strong connections between those communities. Canadians (who are still here!) are different from those who flock to San Francisco in search of the holy grail. Canadians love their own city, and they aren?t very excited about the idea of all making their way to another city in search of success. Most of us will choose to make a go of it in our own backyard, where we are connected to our great communities and where we feel like we can all have an impact.
We need to compete fiercely with eachother for the prize of being the top city to build a startup in Canada, but we also need to start creating a larger ecosystem where we can can the egos and start to make connections.
I regularly impress myself with my own ignorance of what is going on in Vancouver especially. We constantly miss great stories just because the connections are so weak. Hopefully this blog can start to change that, but what is more likely is a tightening connection between BarCamp communities across the country.
Open, Creative and Connected Communities are the next Silicon Valley. No city will be able to compete.